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Advocacy for Marginalized Population

Advocacy for Marginalized Population
Professional Context

Counselors have an ethical responsibility to advocate for marginalized populations with the goal of eliminating barriers for marginalized populations (ACA, 2014). Sue and Sue (2016) emphasized that this may require challenging the traditional assumptions of counseling. For example, this could involve recognizing that the locus of a client’s problem may be the environment at school or work.

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Counselors must be prepared to act at the individual and systems level. Sue and Sue (2016) cited the literature on advocacy roles counselors may need to play, including advocate, change agent, facilitator of indigenous support systems, and advisor. Promoting social justice will require counselors to be prepared to intervene to act at the micro, meso, and macro levels as discussed by Dr. Paylo. You may also find use in referring to the Advocacy Counseling Domains media piece when crafting the specific appeals in your letter.
Scenario

During your internship at the Riverbend City clinic, you have been training to be alert to the impact of oppression and discrimination on mental health. Thus, you are in an excellent position not only to assess the impact of discrimination on clients but to advocate to reduce discrimination at a systems level. In fact, your knowledge of the research literature along with the firsthand experience you are building with clients empowers you as a professional who can speak on behalf of marginalized populations.

As a professional counselor and a member of a professional association, you make it a point to remain aware of national and state advocacy campaigns (for example, see the ACA’s Take Action website linked in the resources).

You notice there is an active legislative campaign to support the allowance of conversion therapy in your state. Conversion therapy is unsettling to you given your knowledge about the risks of addictions and mental health disorders faced by teens who are gay (see the articles in resources).

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