Walking with People Challenged by Physical Disability: An Experience from Sichuan— Ocean Hung


This paper describes the use of narrative therapy with survivors of the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, China, in which more than 300,000 people were injured. The author explores some of the discourses around injury and the ‘disabled-person identity’, and raises questions about the dominant ideas of ‘restoration’ and ‘recovery’. Instead, the ‘rites of passage’ metaphor is proposed as a more useful way to conceptualise injury and disability in the wake of natural disasters. Ways of responding to people facing the identity-disrupting effects of injury, disability, and trauma are explored through two case studies. Finally, the author explores how responses to disability can move from the realms of individual therapy in a rehabilitation centre or therapy room, and also involve social advocacy and actions at a community level.