Humiliation and people who have learning disabilities

Humiliation can get the better of anyone, but in learning disability practice, it is crucially important to be mindful for patients, says David O'Driscoll

The film ‘I, Daniel Blake’, director Ken Loach’s powerful indictment of welfare strategy for people with disabilities, shows what the government makes people go through to get their benefits. It’s a Kafkaesque cycle of bureaucracy, causing stress and humiliation. Watching it made me think about humiliation in the lives of people with learning disabilities and whether we need to think about it more.

One of the key elements of humiliation is being in a diminished position – it is shameful, embarrassing and even degrading.

There are different degrees of humiliation: having to go to a food bank, which was powerfully shown in the film, for others maybe being on benefits and certainly being in poverty. Ken Loach argues that humiliating people is a


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