The social justice counselor (SJC) is essentially a new breed of contemporary counselor who no longer works with blinders on regarding a narrowed vision of counseling that focuses on treating a client’s symptoms while ignoring any external contributing factors of client distress. This chapter describes social justice counseling, its emphasis, why it is needed, and why all counseling disciplines should stay abreast of the topic, its counseling strategies, and the premise as to why social justice needs to be considered in counseling. Social psychologists and sociologists have long studied the psychological ramifications of inequality regarding the reciprocal effect of individuals’ interactions with their environment. The chapter explores the economic, health, and psychosocial ramifications of inequality and oppression to provide counselors with insights regarding the worldview and daily lives of the poor and oppressed in American society.
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The root causes of social injustice are in part centralized around wealth inequities, politicians and legislation favoring the wealthy, discrimination, and a Darwinian mentality (Greenwald, 2011; Marini, 2012b; Warren, 2014). This chapter explores the ramifications of social injustice in America focusing on those with disabilities. It discusses the ripple effect of poverty, oppression, and disability, and its subsequent deleterious impact for equitable treatment and opportunity. Beginning with prevalence statistics regarding poverty in general and disability specifically, the chapter segues into an exploration of the domino and vicious cycle effect of inequitable education, employment, health care, and health. The resulting psychosocial impact on minorities and those with disabilities is a reciprocal occurrence among these populations interfacing with an arguably apathetic societal and political populace. Finally, the chapter discusses a dialogue regarding the social justice counselor and strategies for counseling and advocating for this most ignored and disenfranchised population in America.
This book deals with a number of issues and strategies for counseling people with disabilities. It allows counselors and other related health professionals to learn from the writings of 16 people with disabilities across North America. The book provides information on how other professional disciplines perceive and are trained to view disability. It discusses the medical and psychosocial aspects of caregiving in the country and highlights some of the most difficult decisions individuals and families may have to make in this process. The book is organized into four parts containing sixteen chapters. Part I explores disability from a sociological perspective. The topics covered are: the history of how people with disabilities have been viewed and treated in society; attitude formation, societal attitudes, and myths about disabilities; culturally different issues and attitudes toward disability; and attitudes toward disability by specific special interest and occupational groups. Part II focuses on the psychology of disability surrounding the individual and his or her family. The topics address: theories of adjustment to disability by the individual; family adaptation across cultures toward a loved one who is disabled; sexuality and disability; and the psychosocial world of the injured worker. Part III addresses pertinent topics concerning psychosocial issues of disability. The topics include: disability and quality of life over the life span; implications of social support and caregiving of loved ones with a disability; and thriving versus succumbing to disability: psychosocial factors and positive psychology. Part IV addresses counseling strategies and insights for working with persons with disabilities. The topics discuss: which counseling theories and techniques work best with different disability populations and why; social justice, oppression, and disability; counseling families in the community; ethical responsibilities in working with persons with disabilities and our duty to educate; and basic dos and don’ts in counseling persons with disabilities.