Multicultural Counseling and Social Justice Competencies
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Social Justice

Social Justice in counseling refers to a perspective in which a central role of counselors is to work toward increased equity, fairness, human rights and to work to eliminate injustice, oppression, and human violation.The Handbook of Social Justice for Counseling Psychology provides a multitude of examples of social justice work being done by counselors and and counseling psychologists (Toporek, Gerstein, Fouad, Roysircar, & Israel, in press).



After completing the Social Justice and Advocacy Professional Development Planning Tool, you will be able to:

  • Describe the Advocacy Competencies and their components
  • Implement advocacy and social justice strategies in counseling
  • Recognize systemic barriers that may interfere with mental health and well-being
  • Identify strategies that you and/or your client(s) may take to minimize the negative effects of systemic barriers
  • Engage in strategies that change organizational practices and policies that result in oppression, mistreatment, and inequity.
Social Justice and the Advocacy Continuum

The activities of the counselor may be viewed along an advocacy continuum (Toporek, 2000; Toporek & Liu, 2001) ranging from empowerment to social action.

Empowerment Interventions are those in which the counselor works directly with clients to address systemic barriers by providing resources, teaching skills, and processing client emotions to better able them to address the systemic barriers.
Social Action includes addressing systemic barriers of clients or client groups indirectly by acting on systems through policy or legislation.

Counselors may engage in advocacy anywhere along that continuum.


Before Continuing
Before continuing in the Social Justice and Advocacy Counseling Competence Development Plan, please read the user agreement.

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©Rebecca L. Toporek (2008)