Since social change involves a shift in attitudes, values and actions, deliberate important dialogues need to take place. Conversations about topics such as racism and White privilege can create a sense of cognitive dissonance, which is defined as “the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.” Discomfort. Tension. Anxiety. Guilt. These are common reactions and can be helpful when not used to justify and rationalize but rather to take responsibility and action. Systemic Racism. Injustice and Civil Rights Violations. Historical Trauma. White privilege. Inequality and Education Gaps. Issues of power, privilege, and oppression are important, yet difficult topics and it is important that therapists develop and continue to hone competencies to be able to effectively work with a diverse group of clients.
The Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies MSJCC offers a framework to apply multicultural-and-social-justice-counseling-competencies
. This begins with self-awareness of the counselor’s identity, cultural values, beliefs, and biases. This helps understand the client’s worldview and important dynamics of power and privilege and intersectionality of being a therapist or client as privileged or marginalized in regards to areas of identity such as race, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability. Cultural values, biases and beliefs that impact the counseling relationship are also important and impact interventions.
As therapists, we want to increase access to mental health treatment, where there is equal access to quality levels of care. We want to help create a sense of safety where members of marginalized groups feel physically and psychologically secure. We want to be able to create space to process, reflect, and heal. “Looking ahead, we know that systems change comes when those affected by the issues are centered in the solutions. Mental health care is changing rapidly, and we are at the center of the next evolution of the mental health system, and CARE Counseling is committed to being at the forefront”.