Running Head: COUNSELING AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
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. Social Justice is a mindset and an action for change. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia defines social justice, as “the ability people have to realize their potential in a society where they live. Classically, ‘justice’ referred to ensuring that individuals both fulfilled their societal roles, and received what was due from society. ‘Social justice’ is generally used to refer to a set of institutions which will enable people to lead a fulfilling life and be active contributors to their community.” Social justice is equality for all. When we live, work, go to school, see a doctor, and even attend church in a community that does not have an equal playing ground, oppression occurs. In 2010 the Counselors for Social Justice (CJS) Code of Ethics was formally endorsed. The code is meant to clarify the American Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics from a perspective of social justice. It provides action steps “to clarify how social justice-oriented counselors can transition ethical intent to ethical practice” (CJS Code of Ethics p. 2). 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. Oppression derives from inequality due to a multitude of issues such as race, gender, religion, and pay. Research shows that the counseling professionals job does not stop inside of the office walls. If professional counselors want to promote social justice, to be effective there has to be a movement to take action on the burdensome stigmatisms and unfortunate inequities that human beings bring to professionals about the communities they live in. Human service workers must be the voice of reason and advocate of change to strive for unity in their communities and else where. The 2014 ACA Code of Ethics mission “is to enhance the quality of life in society by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing the counseling profession, and using the profession and practice of counseling to promote respect for human dignity and diversity” (p. 2). While the role and ethics of a therapist is fast in nature, I will focus on four main attributes: knowledge, awareness, research and advocacy that lie the groundwork for a socially justice counselor. All four characteristics can be found as a reoccurring theme in the ACA Code of Ethics, CJS Code of Ethics, and the Canadian Code of Ethics for Psychologists, the National Association of Social Workers (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. 3). While it seems that scholars are in agreement that knowledge of self-cultural and beliefs are important, in today’s social unjust and diverse population, it is not enough. “Homan (2008) emphasizes that we need to change conditions that affect people, not just change...
References: American Counseling Association. (2014). 2014 ACA Code of Ethics. Retrieved from http://counseling.org
Canadian Code Of Ethics For Psychologists. (n.d.). Canadian Code of Ethics For Psychologists. Retrieved April 12, 2014, from http://www.cpa.ca/cpasite/userfiles/Documents/Canadian%20Code%20of%20Ethics%20for%20Psycho.pdf
Corey, G., Corey, M. S., & Callanan, P. (2011). Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.
Counselors For Social Justice Ethics Committee. (2011). The Counselors for Social Justice (CSJ) Code of Ethics [Abstract]. Journal for Social Action in Counseling and Psychology, 3(2), 1-21.
Feminist Therapy Code Of Ethics. (1999). Feminist Therapy Code of Ethics. Retrieved April 12, 2014, from http://http://old.psy.auth.gr/isotita/files/article/14/Feminist%20Therapy%20Code%20of%20Ethics%20%20(Revised,%201999).pdf
Fouad, N. A., Gerstein, L. H., & Toporek, R. L. (2006). Counseling and Psychotherapy Transcripts, Client Narratives, and Reference Works (1 ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Homan, M. (2008). Rules of the game: Lessons from the field of community change (4 ed.). Belmont, CA: Brookds/Cole, Cengage Learning.
National Association Of Social Workers Code Of Ethics. (2008). Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. Retrieved April 12, 2014, from http://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/code.asp
Rosner-Salazar, T. A. (2003). Multicultural Service-Learning And Community-Based Research As A Model Approach to Promote Social Justice [Abstract]. Social Justice, 30(4), 64-76.
Sakamoto, I. (2007). An Anti-Oppressive Approach To Cultural Competence [Abstract]. Canadian Social Work Review, 24(1), 105-114.
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