What is a Disability?

The World Health Organisation describes a ‘disability’ as a term that refers to a huge spectrum of impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions.

An impairment is classed as a problem in body function or structure. An activity limitation is something that causes difficulties when undertaking a task or action, while a participation restriction causes difficulties when undertaking day-to-day tasks.

In the UK, there are over 11 million people with a disability, impairment or limiting long-term illness. Living with a disability can be a long journey, both mentally and physically. It can be just as tough for those who live with, or care for a disabled person. Friends and family may too find it difficult to come to terms with the condition, as well as adapting to a lifestyle that involves new challenges.

A diagnosis doesn’t come with instructions. Often, you will not know what to expect next, and there can be constant twists and turns along the way. Finding out as much detail about the disease you are dealing with can be helpful, to prepare you for what happens next.

Counselling and psychotherapy can offer support in dealing with the psychological, physical and social impact of a serious illness. It can be an effective and helpful tool in finding ways to cope with anxieties and fears – for the person who is ill, as well as for the loved ones whose world has been rocked by the diagnosis.