Section 2: Power, inclusion, exclusion and invisibility
This section may be used as supplementary material to Section 5 of the Multilingualism, Mental Health and Psychological Therapy course. Please see that material here.
Use of language is inextricably linked with the themes of power, inclusion, exclusion, and invisibility. These themes are particularly poignant in relation to a minority language. In Wales, despite being the indigenous language, Welsh is the minority language in most parts of Wales although within not all communities. Language is invisible unless spoken, heard or visually available. English is a global language; there are so many opportunities to see /hear/engage with the English language. It’s unmissable! There are fewer opportunities to engage with a minority language as any default in a mixed language group inevitably will be English. These themes relate to natural selection and survival of the fittest (or the loudest), and the inevitability of loss and suppression. All these experiences may have implications for psychological wellbeing for speakers of that heritage language, either overtly if the speaker has awareness of these issues, or arguably covertly, in terms of the psychological undertones of living with a devalued culture and language.
Listen to the course materials, and / or download the transcripts below:
Q.1: How could you invite Llio to engage in the therapy session?
HINT: preparatory work in advance of the session to check if Llio speaks Welsh (or any other languages).
HINT: Ask in preparation how to say Llio.
HINT: Introduction could be: ”Hello. Lovely to meet you. What brings you here today and what would you like me to call you?”
“Tell me about you. What brings you here today?”
Almost unavoidable conflict in this scenario.
HINT: Preparation. We have no idea what brings Llio to the session. Maybe the session would be better planned around the reason for being present and avoiding the issue of Cymraeg and Cymru?
HINT: Avoid comments on beautiful country, lovely language, - any comments that imply a value-based judgement on the client’s country, culture, language, etc.
This section may be used as supplementary material to Section 6 of the Multilingualism, Mental Health and Psychological Therapy course. Please see that material here.
A Welsh learner therapist and client have decided to revert to English as the therapist's language skills aren’t fluent enough to fully support the client and the therapist has some anxiety around the focus becoming about her rather than the client. The therapist is wanting to be able to use Welsh as a therapeutic tool but struggling a bit with letting go of a fully Welsh session and seesawing thoughts and feelings around how to facilitate this. The internal monologue of the therapist is in brackets.
Invisible... the silent scream