Integration is a recurrent theme in classic theories of personality development, reflecting the perennial human struggle to resolve opposing pulls toward separation and unity. Identity development is examined in this paper as a particular case of the striving for integration on both individual and group levels. In the context of minority identity development, the steps toward achieving a sound disabiltiy identity are discussed with respect to intrapsychic, interpersonal, and social dynamics. Four types of integration underlying disability identity development are delineated with examples: (1) ‘coming to feel we belong’ (integrating into society); (2) ‘coming home’ (integrating with the disability community); (3) ‘coming together’ (internally integrating our sameness and differentness); and (4) ‘coming out’ (integrating how we feel with how we present ourselves). The paper ends with a discussion of the significance of this integration process for personal empowerment and disability rights activism.
Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation – IOS Press
Published: Jan 1, 1997