The Journey from Shame to Disability Pride
Author: Michael Sugarman MSW | Contact: Disabled World (Disabled-World.com)
Synopsis: Using themes from psychosocial applications: positive re-framing, disability acceptance, and disability pride help people with disabilities move from a negative self-concept toward a liberating self-image. Our journeys are not linear. We progress and regress. We may go through the same phase multiple times and/or different phases simultaneously. Disability pride is important for people with disabilities, allowing us to tell our stories and be visible in the community. The Journey from Shame to Disability Pride (below) describes the phases people with disabilities experience.
No one goes to sleep with a lifetime of negative self-talk and wakes up with a sense of pride in their identity. Moving from shame to coming out and from internalized pain to pride are not simple transformations.
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Using themes from psychosocial applications: positive re-framing, disability acceptance, and disability pride help people with disabilities move from a negative self-concept toward a liberating self-image.
Positive re-framing involves thinking about a negative or challenging situation in a positive way(1). Disability acceptance requires change in one's value system. It allows people to accept the reality of their disability. Disability pride is important for people with disabilities, allowing us to tell our stories and be visible in the community.
The Journey from Shame to Disability Pride (below) describes the phases people with disabilities experience.
The Journey from Shame to Disability Pride infographic.
What the Infographic Above Reads
Our journeys are not linear. We progress and regress. We may go through the same phase multiple times and/or different phases simultaneously.
These phases can include:
- Shame: An individual experiences pain and lack of belonging resulting from societal norms and values.
- Internalized Pain: An individual defines and compares themselves with societal norms; feels less competent in pursuing employment, relationships and academics.
- Coming Out: An individual's journey is initiated by openly owning their disability.
- Letting Go: An individual allows the entire self to emerge, rather than thinking the disability is a personal tragedy, and embraces a positive identity.
- Pride: An individual celebrates disability rights and independent living movements, disability culture and encourages recognition by the broader community.
(1) - Harvard University Stress & Development Lab (n.d.). Positive re-framing and Examining the Evidence Harvard University. https://sdlab.fas.harvard.edu
Bogart, Kathleen. How disability pride fights ableism
Psychology Today. August 10,2020
Disabled World - Models of Disability: Types and Definitions Published:2019-12-06
Dunn, Dana and Shane Bucaw. Thinking about disability identity APA Disability Newsletter. November 2013
Sugarman, M, & Phred Swain-Sugarman. Ableism to Disability Pride-Transformation Model Disabled World July 5, 2021
Sugarman, M. Psychosocial Speech Disability (Stuttering) Transforming Ourselves and Society Disabled World June 14, 2021
Sugarman, M. "Peer Counseling and Self-Help Group Facilitation for People who Stutter" National Stuttering Project 1995
Sugarman, M. "It's Ok to Stutter: Personal Account" Journal of Fluency Disorders Vol. 5 Number 2 June 1980
Sugarman, M. "From Being a Stutterer to Becoming a Person who Stutters" Transactional Analysis Journal Vol. 9 Number 1 January 1979
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Cite Page: Journal: Disabled World. Language: English (U.S.). Author: Michael Sugarman MSW. Electronic Publication Date: 2021-07-13. Title: The Journey from Shame to Disability Pride, Source: <a href=https://www.disabled-world.com/disability/publications/shame-to-pride.php>The Journey from Shame to Disability Pride</a>. Retrieved 2021-07-27, from https://www.disabled-world.com/disability/publications/shame-to-pride.php - Reference: DW#292-13997.