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Professional Counseling And Social Justice Essay

2096 words - 9 pages


Stepping up Counseling Responsibilities in a Socially Unjust Society

Social Justice has been an emerging issue over the last century in today’s service environment of helping professionals. I reviewed several articles where the main theme is; we live in a world of systems that allow for injustice and oppression. The Professional Counselor’s work deals with many of the symptoms that permit for this injustice and oppression. The articles had similar recurring traits that are stressed as important practices that need to be adopted by Professionals in the helping field to increase awareness of social ...view middle of the document...

The models and tests that we often use in our practices were created to fit the demands and perspectives of white men. Politics play a huge role in the counseling environment and assume that community standards are working as they should be and do not take into consideration social inequities that affect human beings and their standard of living. Rosner-Salazar (1994) agree that counseling standards are political and do not fit the needs of cultural diversity in todays communities. She identifies that restructure is needed and must start in College and University curriculums for helping professionals. To identify the gaps in our models, she suggests a service-learning approach that would enable students and community professionals and leaders to work together. “This teaching approach requires students to reflect on the role of social inequality and explore whether people with power and privilege can define problems and solutions for people who lack such privilege” (Rosner-Salazar p. 65).
There is a need for Professional Counselors to assume a variety of positions in order to address the social justice inequities within their communities. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW 2008) defines social justice as “the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities.” Oppression derives from inequality due to a multitude of issues such as race, gender, religion, and pay. Human services workers must be the voice of reason and advocate of change to strive for unity in their communities and else where. Proverbs 31:9 reads, “Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy” (ESV). The traditionally defined roles of counselors and existing guidelines need to incorporate extensive education in knowledge of social justice, awareness of system failures, updated research methods that incorporate cultural diversity, and advocacy strategies to improve communities. Language stressing all four attributes can be found in the ACA Code of Ethics, CJS Code of Ethics, and the Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists, the NASW Code of Ethics and the Feminist Therapy Ethical Code.
Knowledge of Values and Prejudices
Personal beliefs and standards may strongly influence the level of understanding and apprehensions a counselor may have. Hogan (2007) believes that in order for a counselor to understand how they view the world, they must understand their own cultural views and how they arrived at them. Counselors must then understand how their views align with the community in which they are working. The ACA Code of Ethics backs up Hogan’s view as well, saying counselors must understand how their own identities affect the counseling process. In the CSJ Code of Ethics principle labeled, Dignity and worth of all persons, it states that professionals are “to be aware of and understand their own of the worldview (beliefs, values and assumptions) and cultural/racial identity…” (p....

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