long dreamed of earning the degree but had instead chosen to
work in a variety of settings, mostly in the field of disability —
including nearly eight years as a vocational counselor with the
California Department of Rehabilitation. He earned a master’s
degree in marriage, family and child counseling (with an
additional specialization in rehabilitation counseling) in 1991
from San Francisco State University.
“I’ve never regretted going back to school to get my
doctorate,” Guber says. Even so, getting the degree was a
challenge, particularly since Guber relies on books on tape
and text-to-speech software for most of his reading and
Today, Guber works as a solo practitioner, primarily
treating older adults. Most clinicians, he says, get little training
in disability issues and there is sometimes an “unconscious
negative assessment of people with disabilities.” He’s even had
his clinical competence questioned, sometimes not so subtly,
with queries such as: “How can you be a good psychologist
when you can’t see facial features or make eye contact?”
Still, he says, the ADA has had a profoundly positive impact
on his life and career. The accessibility in higher education and
employment for people with disabilities would not have taken
place without being legally mandated, he says. It also has had
a “very significant impact on the social awareness of disability.
It has put disability on the social radar and has removed — at
least to some extent — the taboo associated with the presence
He hasn’t been disappointed by the ADA’s limitations, noting
it’s “not a magic bullet” and, like the Civil Rights Act, it can’t
eliminate problems such as discrimination overnight — but can
work to advance the cause.
His professional frustrations, too, are counterbalanced by
Taking pride in being different
what his career brings him. “I’ve been able to do work which
both benefited others — sometimes in very significant ways —
and which is deeply satisfying personally,” he says.
Erin Andrews was born with no legs and missing part of one
arm. Until she started college at Michigan State University
in 1999, she had little exposure to others with disabilities
— and she liked it that way. She didn’t want to be thought
of as different. But when she met other disabled students at
college, “I discovered that I had a lot in common with others
who had grown up disabled and that I could relate to them in
meaningful ways,” says Erin, now 34.
She came to fully embrace disability culture, which she
defines as a shared system of beliefs and values, including
disability-related humor, language, symbols and art, as well as
a collective worldview that promotes independent living.
Andrews also became fascinated with psychology and earned
a PsyD in clinical psychology from Wright State University in
2008. Today, she is a supervisory psychologist at the Austin
(Texas) VA Outpatient Clinic, overseeing 35 mental health
professionals, and co-director of psychology training at the
Central Texas Veterans Health Care System. She also is a clinical
assistant professor for the College of Medicine at Texas A&M
Health Science Center.
When not working, Andrews cares for her two children — a
6-month-old daughter and 3-year-old son — and advocates for
the rights of parents with disabilities. Concerns include a lack of
support and resources for disabled parents, difficulty acquiring
adaptive parenting equipment, bias in the adoption system and
discrimination in access to assisted reproductive technology.
As part of her advocacy in this area, she testified before
Most clinicians get little training in disability issues
and there is sometimes an “unconscious negative
assessment of people with disabilities.”
Guy Guber, PsyD
Practitioner, Oakland, California