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Vanguards for Change: ACES and Social Justice


Vanguards for Change: ACES and Social Justice Catharina Y. Chang Georgia State University Hugh C. Crethar University of Arizona Denise Pickering University of Vermont – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Vanguards for Change: ACES and Social Justice

Vanguards for Change ACES and Social Justice
  • Catharina Y. Chang
  • Georgia State University
  • Hugh C. Crethar
  • University of Arizona
  • Denise Pickering
  • University of Vermont

Social Justice in Counseling
  • Do you believe that every individual in the world
    has the same value?
  • Do you believe some people are more valuable than
  • Should everyone receive equal benefits of
  • Do you believe all people should have equitable
  • Do you believe all people have the right to a
    good life?

Social Justice Defined
  • Social justice in counseling represents a
    multifaceted approach in which counselors strive
    to simultaneously promote human development and
    the common good through addressing challenges
    related to both individual and distributive
  • Social justice includes empowerment of the
    individual as well as active confrontation of
    injustice and inequality in society as they
    impact clientele as well as those in their
    systemic contexts.
  • In doing so, counselors direct attention to the
    promotion of four critical principles that guide
    their work equity, access, participation, and

Social Justice Defined
  • Equity - the fair distribution of resources,
    rights and responsibilities to all members of
  • Access - notions of fairness for both the
    individual and the common good based on the
    ability of all people to access the resources,
    services, power, information and understanding
    crucial to realizing a standard of living that
    allows for self-determination and human

Social Justice Defined
  • Participation - the right for every person in
    society to partake in and be consulted on
    decisions that impact their lives as well as the
    lives of other people in their contexts and
  • Harmony - a principle of social adjustment
    wherein the actions revolving around the
    self-interests of any individual or group
    ultimately produces results that afford the best
    possible outcomes for the community as a whole.

Why should we address SJ in Counseling?
  • Relationship between social injustice and mental
    health of marginalized groups.
  • U.S. Surgeon Generals report entitled, Mental
    Health Culture Race, and Ethnicity A Supplement
    to Mental Health (U.S. Department of Health and
    Human Services USDHHS, 2001).
  • Discrimination, poverty, chronic depression,
  • 2005 ACA Code of EthicsE.5.c., directs
    counselors to recognize historical and social
    prejudices in the misdiagnosis and pathologizing
    of certain individuals and groups and the role of
    mental health professionals in perpetuating these
    prejudices through diagnosis and treatment.

Social Justice as a Foundation for Counseling
  • Frank ParsonsBostons Vocational Bureau
  • Clifford BeersMental Hygiene Movement
  • Carl Rogersaddresses social problems
  • 1971Counseling and the Social Revolution
    special ed. of Personnel Guidance Journal
  • 1987ACA Position Paper on Human Rights
  • 1992Multicultural Counseling Competencies (Sue,
    Arredondo, McDavis, 1992)
  • 1998Social Action A Mandate for Counselors (Lee
  • 1999JCD special edition dedicated to racism
  • 2001Counselors for Social Justice
  • 2003Advocacy Competencies endorsed by the ACA
    Governing Council (Lewis, Arnold, House,
    Toporek, 2003)
  • 2005ACA revises Code of Ethics
  • 2006ACES Social Justice Human Rights Committee
  • 2007ACES Social Justice Summit

ACES Social Justice Summit
  • Joint effort between the NARACES, ACES SJHR
    Committee, and CSJ.
  • Description of the Summit.
  • Data from the Summit.
  • Future directions

Social Justice in Counseling Today
  • Social justice has developed into an increasingly
    influential theme within counseling over the past
    few decades.
  • This is evidenced by the way it is increasingly
    referred to as the 5th force in counseling, has
    lead to the creation of a division of ACA
    (Counselors for Social Justice) and has resulted
    in the development of the ACA Advocacy
  • The advocacy competencies provide counselors a
    framework for addressing issues of oppression
    both with and on behalf of clients and include
    clear articulation of the concepts of client
    advocacy and client empowerment.
  • As leaders in the field continue to develop
    awareness and understanding of the relationship
    between social injustice/oppression and mental
    health outcomes, social justice will continue to
    be a force that shapes counseling.

Personal Action Steps (Lee, 2007)
Social Justice Activities
  • Join the ACA Government Relations Listserv to
    stay updated on events affecting our profession
    and how you can make a difference. Send an email
    to with the subject line GR
    Listserv Sign Up to subscribe to the listserv.
  • Have your voice heard by sending a fax or email
    to your legislators through the ACA Legislative
    Action Center located at http//
    /PublicPolicy. Through this center, you will be
    able to send personal emails to your U.S.
    Senators and Representative about important
    legislation that impacts our profession. It only
    takes a few minutes to set up and under a minute
    for each fax or email.

More SJ Activities
  • Volunteer for a political campaign. By
    volunteering for a politician, you will be much
    more influential in that particular politicians
  • Support/volunteer time with other local service
    organizations that work for social justice
    issues. Some of these organizations also have
    public policy directors and lobbyists which may
    need help in finding and summarizing counseling
    research and literature about their particular
    issues. This is an excellent opportunity to use
    your skills of interpreting research for
    politicians and the general public.
  • Join and get involved in ACA divisions that
    advocate for social justice causes such CSJ,
    ALGBTIC, and AMCD.

Social Advocacy and Professional Advocacy
  • Client Advocacy
  • Self awareness
  • Client services
  • Community collaboration
  • Professional Advocacy
  • Self awareness
  • Client services
  • Community collaboration
  • (Chang, Hays, Milliken, 2007)

  • How do you see Social Justice related to
    Counseling? Counselor Education? Supervision?
  • How do you view the relationship between social
    advocacy and professional advocacy?
  • How have you worked to infuse social justice
    issues into your teaching? Clinical practice?