Mental Health Counseling: Integrating Consultation and Social Advocacy

1997 Words Dec 10th, 2012 8 Pages
With the meshing of consultation and advocacy, mental health counselors can both assist in dealing with the issues that their clients face personally, but also help to make better the world around them.
In order to respond to the thesis questions presented in this paper, we must first define consultation and social justice advocacy within the counseling context.
Typically, consultation means a general meeting or conference between parties. In the counseling context however, we can say that it “usually involves three parties: a consultant, a consultee, and a client system. The consultant delivers direct service to the consultee, who delivers direct service to a client system" (Doherty, 1990). Consultation for professional
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In working with populations that have experienced social injustices such as poverty, racial intimidations, abuse, etc. it is the responsibility of the counselor to be the voice for those who cannot speak up for themselves. Practices such as collaborating with multiple stakeholder groups and identifying institutional polices that may promote marginalization of vulnerable community members are used by both consultants (Brown, 1993; Kampwirth, 2006) and advocates (Vera & Speight, 2003). While it is important to understand the social injustices that many clients face, it is also critical to know exactly why these injustices occur. It is also important that counselors attempt to change the structures that are responsible for the oppression of mental health clients. This social justice movement is sometimes referred to as professional counseling’s fifth force (Ratts, D’Andrea, & Arredondo, 2004)—in other words advocacy counseling. Counseling is indeed an effective and powerful tool in helping the less fortunate with their problems. However, counseling by itself is cannot be used to advance clients’ wellbeing. There must be an interlocking of counseling, consultation and social advocacy. That is, the oppressed clientele would greatly benefit from outside consultants that have the capability of promoting change within the corrosive environments in which
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