The majority of research and writing about visual impairment is influenced by medical models of understanding, and is usually undertaken by sighted experts about those who are visually impaired. Songs at Twilight takes a different stance and uses a collaborative narrative methodology to enable the author, who is visually impaired, and thirty contributors, who are also visually impaired, to explore their experiences of living with a visual impairment and the effect this has had on their claims to identity.
The dynamic research process is shown as a social construction of lived experience where questions of identity are addressed through conversation and narrative. Sighted assumptions about blindness are challenged as the author and contributors discuss aspects of diagnosis and treatment, education, employment, societal attitudes towards blindness, relationships, treatment possibilities, emotional support (including counselling) and emancipatory research practices.
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“This book is a joy to read. It delivers relevant and congruent messages about living with sight loss. Dialogue portrays the honest experiences working through common themes that need to be considered when working with this client group.Sue’s personal exploration adds a relational depth to her exploration that helps draw out and expose the ‘real’ issues rather than the ones that we assume need to be worked with.This book is a must for any counsellor or psychotherapist who is contemplating working [with] a client with a visual impairment, and Sue’s work highlights the very pressing need to have therapy and emotional support at the heart of the sight loss journey.”—Amanda Hawkins, Senior Manager, Emotional Support Services, RNIB; Deputy Chair, British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy“This thought provoking book is an invaluable resource for anyone wishing to work with people who have vision impairment. The book is a testament to the complexities of life with vision impairment—utter despair intertwines with exceptional courage and inspirational resilience.Dale sensitively conducts each solo voice in the book, with the skill of a virtuoso, weaving together conversations, meetings, emails and experiences to create a unique symphony, which cannot fail to move the reader.”—Mhairi Thurston, Lecturer in Counselling, University of Abertay, Dundee; Chairperson of VINCE (Vision Impairment Network for Counselling and Emotional support)“What a great pleasure to have been given the opportunity to comment on Songs at Twilight.The author’s sensitivity towards, and understanding of, the emotional issues attached to living with sight loss and the writing style which has been adopted affords the reader rare insight into the day to day practical and emotional challenges faced by individuals with vision impairment. This narrative leaves the reader in no doubt that timely and appropriate emotional support is a vital aspect of an individual’s journey through sight loss. Songs at Twilight is an important addition to the literature on sight loss and should be required reading for all professionals in the field of vision impairment.”—Alison S. Hood, Head of Research, Guide Dogs
Susan Dale completed a doctorate in education specialising in narrative and life story research at Bristol University in 2009. She works as an independent counsellor, trainer and researcher. She has published in leading national and international academic journals on counselling, narrative practices and visual impairment and is author of Different Horizons: Counselling People Who Are Blind and Partially Sighted published in 2008 by RNIB Publications, and Where Angels Fear to Tread: An Exploration of having Conversations about Suicide in a Counselling Context published in 2010 by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.