… I thought it might be useful to pass along some information related to a question that was recently asked of me. I was asked what the obligations were of a therapist or counselor if he or she agreed to see a deaf patient who was seeking professional services. More specifically, I was asked whether the therapist or counselor would be obligated to provide and pay for an interpreter? To my surprise, the answer seems to be “yes.” While there may be circumstances that would allow for a different answer, such as where an undue burden would be created by imposing these requirements upon a practitioner, see the article referenced below for a thorough and thoughtful discussion of this topic.
Rather than express my own opinion about this interesting question, I will simply refer you to the February 14, 2008 article entitled A Matter of Law: Providing an Interpreter for the Deaf under ADA (a Practice Update written by the Legal and Regulatory Affairs Staff of the American Psychological Association Practice Organization). Be sure to read the section at the end of the article that starts with “PLEASE NOTE.” It is useful to read this article, especially in light of the fact that the reader’s mental health professional association likely has one or more provisions in its ethical standards that either prohibits the denial of services to people on the basis of physical disability, or requires that the practitioner makes reasonable efforts to accommodate patients or clients who have physical disabilities, or both.
You can access this interesting article here.