Looking at Life through a Different Window: Group Counselling for the Mothers of Disabled Children

  • Cem TümlüEmail author
  • Ramazan Akdoğan


In this study, the life satisfaction criteria of the mothers of disabled children were determined using focus group interviews, and group counselling was actioned with a group aimed at overcoming psychological difficulties related to these criteria. The effect on life satisfaction and psychological symptoms from the group counselling, which basically aimed to focus on the positive aspects of life, was tested experimentally also involving a control group. The life satisfaction criteria were defined in terms of the themes of experiencing: difficulty seeing positive life events, difficulties in marital relationships, accepting the child’s disability, feeling excluded and not receiving social support, difficulties appreciating personal strengths and effectiveness, and difficulty in making time for self. A group-counseling program of eight sessions was developed in light of the literature and expert opinions, but especially in terms of the themes obtained from focus group interviews. During the implementation of the program, the experimental group participants were helped to raise awareness of the difficulties related to having a child with a disability and to develop ways to cope with these difficulties. No intervention was undertaken with the control group, although those participants undertook the same counseling program after the completion of the experiment. At the end of the study, it was determined that the mothers of disabled children who had received group counselling had increased levels of life satisfaction and reduced levels of anxiety, depression, negative self belief, somatisation, and hostility. In the light of these findings and previous reports in the literature, there is a growing belief that in the application of counselling, the subjective perceptions of mothers with disabled children should be taken into consideration to increase life satisfaction and indirectly decrease psychological symptoms.


Life satisfaction Psychological symptoms Mothers of disabed children Group counselling 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no any conflict of interests.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional of the investigators and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. In this context the study was carried out within the framework of the institutional board decision of the Anadolu University Research Institute for Individuals with Disabilities (2015–20/1), and relevant law (93–496).

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all the mothers of disabled children included in the study.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Anadolu UniversityAnadolu University Research Institute for Individuals with DisabilitiesEskişehirTurkey

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