Counselors as Social Justice Advocates
In 2002 the American Counseling Association (ACA) recognized Counselors for Social Justice (CSJ) as an official division, and in 2003 ACA endorsed the Advocacy Competencies. While the counseling profession has a long history of advocacy, this step underscored our role as counselors in recognizing and addressing the “impact of social, political, economic, and cultural factors on human development” (American Counseling Association, 2011). The Advocacy Competencies, first introduced in Unit 1, articulate for us the multiple levels at which a counselor may advocate with or on behalf of a client. These include the more traditional domains of the client/student/family level (micro level), the school/agency/community level (meso level), as well as the public arena (macro level).
In this unit, we will consider how a “social justice orientation represents a paradigm shift in how we view the locus of the problem and the need to develop organizational and systemic intervention skills” (Sue & Sue, 2008, p. 287). In addition to developing an understanding of key principles of social justice counseling, we will also be introduced to a model for gauging the cultural competence of organizations, and the role of the counselor at each level as a social justice advocate.
We will have an opportunity to hear from an expert in the field on what it means to advocate at each level. Then we will have our own opportunity to recommend advocacy interventions at the micro, meso, and macro levels based on a case scenario involving refugees. In our analyses, we will examine the impact of immigration, poverty, and welfare on individuals and families from both an historical and political perspective.
American Counseling Association. (2011). Advocacy competencies. Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org
Counselors for Social Justice. (2011). Retrieved from http://
Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (2008). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
To successfully complete this learning unit, you will be expected to:
1. Analyze a counselor’s role in the reduction of biases, prejudices, and process of intentional and unintentional oppression and discrimination.
2. Articulate the advocacy strategies that promote social justice for diverse populations at the individual, couple, family, and group levels.
3. Evaluate the impact of immigration, poverty, and welfare on individuals and family systems from both a historical and current political perspective.
4. Analyze the advocacy processes that address institutional racism and social barriers that impede access, equity, and success for clients from diverse populations.
5. Prepare for the interview of the selected organization.
6. Analyze the characteristics and concerns within and among diverse groups, both nationally and internationally, to inform culturally competent counseling practices.
Learning Activities Studies
Use your textbook, Sue and Sue’s Counseling the Culturally Diverse: Theory and Practice, to complete the following:
• Read Chapter 4, “The Politics of Counseling and Psychotherapy: Social Justice in Counseling,” pages 89–112.
• Read Chapter 19, “Counseling Arab and Muslim Americans,” pages 441–448.
• Read Chapter 21, “Counseling Immigrants and Refugees,” pages 457–470.
• Review Chapter 5, “Systemic Oppression: Trust, Mistrust, Credibility, and Worldviews,” pages 137–144.
Use the Library to complete the reading designated for your specialization area:
• Addictions Counseling: Schroeder’s 2005 article, “An Agenda to Combat Substance Abuse,” in Health Affairs, volume 24, issue 4, pages 1005–1013.
• Career Counseling: Yakushko, Backhaus, Watson, Ngaruiya, and Gonzalez’s 2008 article, “Career Development Concerns of Recent Immigrants and Refugees,” in Journal of Career Development, volume 34, issue 4, pages 362–396.
• Marriage and Family Therapy: Beckerman and Corbette’s 2008 article, “Immigration and Families: Treating Acculturative Stress From a Systemic Framework,” in Family Therapy, volume 35, issue 2, pages 63–81.
• Mental Health Counseling: Lopez-Baez and Paylo’s 2009 article, “Social Justice Advocacy: Community Collaboration and Systems Advocacy,” in Journal of Counseling and Development, volume 87, issue 3, pages 276–283.
• School Counseling: McCall-Perez’s 2000 article, “The Counselor as Advocate for English Language Learners: An Action Research Approach,” in Professional School Counseling, volume 4, issue 1, pages 13–22.
Use the Internet to complete the following:
• Read the Center for Applied Linguistics: Cultural Orientation Resource Center’s Cultural Profile, “Challenges in Resettlement and Adaptation of Muslim Refugees,” (Scroll to page 15 of the PDF for Case 1, page 21 for Case 2, page 23 for Case 3, page 27 for Case 4, and page 29 for Case 5 as you select one for your work on this unit’s discussion).
• Optional Readings
The literature is rich with resources to help counselors and therapists delve more deeply into the topics being covered in this course and to pursue their own special interests. Below you will find a reference list compiled by experts in each of the specialization areas at Capella University; look to these for information and use as you wish in your professional development. Please note that it is acceptable to draw from these resources for your discussions and assignments; however, you should not rely exclusively on these resources in completing assignments that require library research.
• In Rastogi and Thomas’s Multicultural Couple Therapy, read the following:
o Daneshpour’s chapter, “Couple Therapy With Muslims: Challenges and Opportunities,” pages 103–120.
o D’urso, Reynaga, and Patterson’s chapter, “The Emotional Experience of Immigration for Couples,” pages 29–45.
• In McGoldrick and Hardy’s Re-visioning Family Therapy: Race, Culture, and Gender in Clinical Practice (2nd ed.), read Abudabbeh’s chapter, “My Evolving Identity From Arab to Palestinian to Muslim,” pages 204–212.
• In Almeida, Dolan Del-Vecchio, and Parker’s Transformative Family Therapy: Just Families in a Just Society, read the following:
o Chapter 5, “Healing as a Community Effort: Culture Circles,” pages 96–122.
o Chapter 6, “Creating Communities of Resistance and Support: Sponsors and Cultural Consultants,” pages 124–139.
• Read Burnam and Watkins’s 2006 article, “Substance Abuse With Mental Disorders: Specialized Public Systems and Integrated Care,” in Health Affairs, volume 25, issue 3, pages 648–658.
• Read Ghazal Read’s 2004 article, “Family, Religion and Work Among Arab American Women,” in Journal of Marriage & Family, volume 66, issue 4, pages 1042–1050.
• Read Stone’s 2000 article, “Advocacy for Sexual Harassment Victims: Legal Support and Ethical Aspects,” in Professional School Counseling, volume 4, issue 1, pages 23–30.
Discussion 1 : Part 1 and Part 2 Post – Two pages needed with 3 references.
The Role of Counselors as Social Justice Advocates
• Challenges in Resettlement and Adaptation of Muslim Refugees.
For this graded discussion activity, first complete the Locus of Control self-evaluation from this Unit 7 Study 1. Using the results from the self-evaluation and this unit’s text and study materials, prepare a post that encompasses the following:
Part 1 of the Post
Discuss the goal of social justice and how Multicultural Counseling and Therapy is related to social justice values.
• How do the concepts of worldview and locus of control inform competent counseling practice?
• Based on the self-assessment, what did you learn about your locus of control?
Part 2 of the Post
Refer to the cases presented in your reading from the Center for Applied Linguistics: Cultural Orientation Resource Center’s “Challenges in Resettlement and Adaptation of Muslim Refugees” (scroll down to page 19 of the PDF) and select one that interests you. Imagine that the caseworker has referred the individual, couple or family to you for counseling. Based on your readings, identify and discuss the cultural considerations that would inform your work with the client or clients.
As you consider the challenges faced by your client or clients, you recognize that you have a responsibility to take on the role of advocate. Propose an Advocacy Plan that addresses the following:
• Describe the counselor’s role in promoting social justice.
• Analyze the characteristics and concerns of refugees, both nationally and internationally, as they pertain to culturally competent counseling practices. For example, what are international political and social issues that a counselor should seek to understand about Muslim refugees? What national policies, such as Homeland Security, need to be considered?
• Evaluate the historical/current implications regarding immigration, poverty, and welfare.
• Evaluate the advocacy processes that address institutional racism and social barriers that impede access, equity, and success for clients from diverse populations.
• Address your role as the counselor in the reduction of biases, prejudices, and discrimination, whether intentional or unintentional.
• Social justice is a philosophy or theory that promotes equal access and opportunity for all people, by advocating at the micro (individual or family), meso (school or community), and macro (public policy) levels. Recommend a strategy that you could employ to promote social justice at each of those levels.