The role of advocacy is an important part of every counselor’s professional identity. In this unit, you will learn about this role in terms of
addressing environmental stressors that serve as barriers to healthy growth and development for both clinical mental health counselors and clients. Clinical mental health counselors need to become skilled advocates for themselves as well as for their clients and communities in order to foster resilience and effectively engage in prevention efforts.
To successfully complete this learning unit, you will be expected to:
1. Evaluate social context to determine appropriate and effective methods used to advocate for clients in diverse communities.
2. Investigate the key advocacy methods and strategies used by mental health counselors.
3. Describe how advocacy strategies may influence local, state, and national public policy.
Learning Activities Studies
Use your Orientation to the Counseling Profession text to read:
• Chapter 9, “Advocating for the Counseling Profession,” pages 274–293.
• Chapter 10, ” Advocacy Counseling: Being an Effective Agent of Change for Clients,” pages 294–320.
Use the Library to read the following:
• Toporek, Lewis, and Crethar’s 2009 article: “Promoting Systemic Change Through the ACA Advocacy Competencies,” from the Journal of Counseling & Development, volume 87, issue 3, pages 260–268.
Visit the following Web sites and pages:
• American Counseling Association’s Advocacy Competencies.
• American Counseling Association’s Current Issues.
• American Counseling Association’s Public Policy.
Assignment 1: 1 page needed with 2 references.
Advocacy for Clinical Mental Health Counselors
Explore the Current Issues pages of the American Counseling Association’s (ACA) Web site, provided in this unit’s studies. Read about the various federal policy issues that the ACA is currently working toward changing. Then, to complete your post:
• Select and describe one issue of interest. Identify public policies on the local, state, and national levels that affect the quality and accessibility of mental health services.
• Describe advocacy processes needed to address institutional and social barriers that impede access, equity, and success for clients.
• Search the internet to determine who else might be advocating toward or against this specific policy and list these organizations.
• Discuss why they may or may not be advocating in the same manner as clinical mental health counselors.
• Explain why it is important to support counselor advocacy and influence public policy and government relations on local, state, and national levels to enhance equity, increase funding, and promote programs that affect the practice of clinical mental health counseling.