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European Association for Counselling

Implementing Social Justice 


Extracted from an article from the Counselling Today Newsletter entitled  

An eight-step process for implementing social justice 


social justice


Gone are the days of counselling in a silo. Our clients live in the real world. And in the real world, our clients suffer privilege and marginalisation. Counselling and counsellors would be well-advised to prepare for the spectrum of cultural issues that we may encounter in session. In other words, we need to enhance our multicultural competence. Not only is it written into the American Counselling Association Code of Ethics, but it also just makes common sense. If we want to continue to work with, for and on behalf of our clients, we need to ebb and flow with the tide, and this is the tide.

If you are a counsellor, you might think that you already possess a good deal of cultural competence, but let me unveil three common statements that can lead to a false sense of cultural competence.

1) “I took a class in my master’s program, and it covered a lot of material. I know the multicultural theories and models. I must be culturally competent.”

2) “I have three black friends, and my neighbour is from India. I know how to talk to people of colour, and I know their cultural norms. I must be culturally competent.”

3) “I don’t stereotype. I don’t judge others. I must be culturally competent.”

I must confess that, as a white counsellor, I’ve found those words bouncing around in my own head from time to time. I used them to strengthen my belief that I was a culturally competent counsellor. That belief made me feel good about myself — even if it wasn’t true. Those statements assuaged the guilt I felt knowing that I actually wasn’t as competent as I should be. I used those statements as excuses to avoid growing and sharpening my counselling skills because it was an area that challenged me and even scared me a bit.

To read the who article please click on eight steps to social justice.

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