A collaboration of works was examined to answer the following questions. How do you see yourself related to advocacy or consultation as you become a professional within your area of specialization? Within your own definition, do you see consultation and advocacy similar or different? How does advocacy benefit the care provided for children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families related to the specific specialty area that you plan to practice? Within the context of the examined works institutional and social barriers were also addressed. In an effort to further relate advocacy to the area of focus a hypothetical situation was created that tied in advocacy, consultation and collaboration.
It is important to understand the role we have as advocates of social change and how that affects the individuals we serve. Counselors are encouraged to consider the role that their profession plays within the dominant culture to reconcile the role of healer with that of social change agent and to advocate for systematic change on behalf of clients (Moe, Perera-Diltz, & Sepulveda, 2010). Advocacy for both clients and for the profession is essential for the future of counseling (Myers, Sweeny, & White, 2002). A national plan for advocacy is needed; the effectiveness of this plan depends on professional identity, promoting a positive self image, and effective interprofessional collaboration (Myers et al., 2002).
The need for professional advocacy can be traced in the history of mental health counseling, dating back to the 1700’s when the advocacy for persons’ with mental illness emerged as a moral issue (Myers et al., 2002). Mental illness expands across the board and includes various levels of intensity and includes dual diagnosed individuals. Prout and Strohmer (1998) note that persons with mental retardation often have been served in the mental retardation, developmental disability, and rehabilitation service delivery systems. However, when their problems extend into the mental health area, there appear to be some difficulties accessing the full range of services (p. 115). It has been a common occurrence that when a dual diagnosed patient is brought to the hospital in crisis they are often diverted or sent home without being properly assessed by the on call psychiatrist due to the simple fact that the psychiatrist is unable to distinguish if the presenting issues are related to the patients’ cognitive disability or their mental health disorder. This is where advocacy comes into play for our dually diagnosed clients. When mental health agencies are made aware of clients that are in crisis and can benefits from a respite from their residential setting, the mental health agency can advocate and collaborate with the treating hospital to provide crisis intervention. Myers et al. (2002) indicates that within any given setting the needs of clients can best be met through collaboration efforts of all professionals.
Merriam-Webster defines advocacy as supporting a cause or proposal. Advocacy and consultation plays two diverse roles in the counseling field and serves two distinct purposes for clients and can be utilized simultaneously to achieve one desired goal. In other words, advocacy and consultation should be used together to optimize the successful outcome for any vulnerable client. According to Moe, Perera-Diltz, and Sepulveda (2010) scholars have identified that consultation and advocacy share conceptual grounding in modes of practice that encourage counselors to act outside of the counselor/client interaction. Practice such as collaboration with multiple groups may promote marginalization of vulnerable community members are used by advocates to achieve desired goals (Moe et al., 2010).
According to Knight and Oliver (2007) recent policy has emphasized the need for advocacy services for children and young people, developments that have gone hand-in hand with greater levels of...
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Myers, J. W., Sweeney, T. J., & White, V. E. (2002). Advocacy for counseling and counselors: A professional imperative. Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD, 80(4), 394-402. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.library.capella.edu/docview/219014963?accountid=27965
Moe, J., Perera-Diltz, D., & Sepulveda, V. (2010). Are Consultation and Social Justice Advocacy Similar?: Exploring the Perceptions of Professional Counselors and Counseling Students. Journal of Social Action in Counseling and Psychology, 2(1), 106-123. Retrieved from http://www.psysr.org/jsacp/Moe-v2n2-10_106-123.pdf
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