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The Space Between
Disability In and Out of the Counselling Room

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A Symposium jointly presented by the Department of Adult Education and Counselling Psychology, and the Department of Sociology & Equity Studies of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.  Generously sponsored by the Centre for Diversity in Counselling and Psychotherapy (CDCP).


October 8, 2010
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

See Rooms and Schedule below.

View the symposium poster

As its central premise, this symposium holds that disability always exists as a relational, fluid dynamic between two or more people as opposed to an unshifting biomedical condition or ‘defect.’


As able-bodied and disabled counsellors, how does this premise inform our work with (non-disabled and) disabled clients? What does it mean to acknowledge that in our interactions with one another, we create, amplify, diminish and eliminate disability every day? In what ways is disability magnified and obscured between counsellor and client in the counselling room? How can counsellors engage and play with the notion of disability as ‘the space between’ in a way that allows us to better serve our clients?

Keynote Speaker:  Dr. Dan Goodley.
Dr. Goodley is a Professor of Psychology and Disability Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University.  His research engages with the areas of disability studies, learning disabilities, narrative research and critical community psychologies.

Keynote Address: Disability Studies and Psychoanalysis: Time for the couch or culture?

In this paper I will consider the relative merits of synthesising ideas from psychoanalysis with the political and theoretical aims of disability studies. While other transformative and trans-disciplinary spaces of feminism, postcolonialism and queer have critically engaged with psychoanalysis, disability studies has been slow to make such connections. I will argue that the time is now right for disability studies scholars to make these connections; not necessarily on the couch but in and with culture. I will argue with reference to previous writings and ongoing projects (see below) that psychoanalysis provides timely analyses of ideology; normalisation; ableism and psychoemotional disablism. Crucially, psychoanalysis turns the gaze back onto normative / non-disabled / disabling society, in ways that expose the myth of the ableist ‘good times’ that we currently live in. I will draw on some ideas from Lacanian psychoanalysis in order to diagnose (perhaps pathologise) the lacking collective unconscious of disabling society and ableist culture’s tendency to disavow disabled people

Symposium Schedule

Coffee in the OISE library - ground floor. 9am to 9:25am

Welcome and Introductory remarks in the OISE library - ground floor. 9:30 am to 9:50am

Session 1. 10am - 11pm: Disability in the Counselling Room and the Doctor's Office. In the OISE library - ground floor.

"From Tragedy to 'Crip' to Human: The Need for Multiple Understandings of Disability in Psychotherapy." Kaley Roosen

"The Melancholy of Pain: Misrepresentation of Women’s Chronic Pain Experiences" Maria Guadagnoli-Closs

"Achieving and Maintaining The Third Space In Counselling Clients with Learning Disabilities." Madeleine Lerch

Session 2. 11:15am - 12:15pm Disability in the Academy and in Neo-Liberal Spaces. In the OISE library - ground floor.

"Conversations about Disabling Education, (Hidden) Practices and Policies in Academia: A Case Study." Nancy La Monica

"Is Passing Even an Option? Accommodations within Post-Secondary Education and the Rights of Non-Visibly Disabled Students." Fady Shanouda

"Playing With Disability as the Space Between: Reciprocity in a Neoliberal Context." Catherine Aubrecht

Lunch is served in the OISE library - ground floor. 12:15 -1:00

Keynote Address #1: 1pm to 1:45 in the OISE library - ground floor. "The Space Between Disability Studies and Psychology: A Place for Community Psychology?" Rebecca Lawthom

Session 3 (concurrent with Session 4). 2pm to 3pm. Disability in the World. In Room 12-199 - 12th Floor.

"Crippling narratives and disabling shame: Disability as metaphor, affective dividing practices, and an ethics that might make a difference." Chris Chapman

"Breaking A Disabled Limb: Social and Medical Constructions of ‘Legitimate’ and ‘Illegitimate’ Impairments" Isaac Stein

"Attitudes Towards Persons with Physical Disabilities: The Impact of Television Presentations of Paralympic Athletes" Lianne Trachtenberg

Session 4 (concurrent with Session 3). Special Workshop Presentation. In the OISE library - ground floor.

Workshop: "Growing up with parents with mental health difficulties" Natasha Kis-Sines and Ruth Pluznick

Coffee. 3:00pm - 3:30pm in the OISE library - ground floor.

Keynote Address #2: 3:30 - 5pm in the OISE library - ground floor. "Disability Studies and Psychoanalysis: Time for the Couch or Culture?" Dan Goodley