Title

Mindful Social Justice Counselor Education

Conference Strand

Teaching, Training, and Supervision

Abstract

In this workshop/presentation, presenters, including a faculty member and six graduate counseling students, will share their experiences of a mindfulness-based multicultural and social justice counseling graduate course. The program will focus on how mindfulness principles and practices support the counselor’s ability to “hold” strong emotions and respond effectively in social justice counseling, activism, and advocacy. Experiential mindfulness practices are offered.

Description

Program objectives:

After having attended this presentation, participants will be able to:

1. Describe basic mindfulness principles and how they can be integrated into multicultural/social justice counseling training;

2. Recognize the ways that mindfulness practices increase the ability of the counselor in training to “hold” and respond effectively to difficult material in the counseling session, consciousness-raising process, and in engagin in advocacy and social change projects as activists;

3. Explain and independently engage in a basic mindfulness practice.

Based on 20 years of action research and direct experience, the faculty presenter has developed a model of “mindful social justice counselor education” that has proven particularly useful and effective in multicultural and social justice contexts. In this workshop, she will discuss this model and its applications in multicultural/social justice counselor education. Graduate students will discuss their experiences in the previously described training venues. The workshop will include experiential activities demonstrating the value of mindfulness activities during the multicultural/social justice counseling training process, with a particular focus on trainee identities and social locations of privilege or marginalization. Workshop participants will be invited to experience basic mindfulness practices and debrief their experiences. Attendees and participants will reflect together on how mindfulness can be applied in their own professional activities, activism, and advocacy.

Evidence

Counselors continuously face the challenge of recognizing, managing, and utilizing their own internal cognitive, physical, and emotional responses within the context of a therapeutic process and in advocacy and social change work. To date, few direct methods have been described to support trainees in cultivating internal states that support and inform well-grounded counseling and social justice work. The past 15 years ushered in an explosion of literature emphasizing the use of Buddhist mindfulness principles and practices in “mainstream” counseling and psychotherapy (Eppstein, 1998; Germer, Siegel, & Fulton, 2005; Hayes, Follette, & Linehan, 2004; Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002). Counselors-in-training can learn to utilize mindfulness principles and practices in order to incorporate these tools in the counseling process and in systemically focused social change activities. Mindfulness principles and practices also offer trainees the opportunity to directly cultivate the steadiness of mind and “non-anxious presence” that is so essential in their efforts to create a non-reactive, supportive counseling space and to respond rather than react when engaging in social justice work effectively.

Similarly, individuals engaged in direct human service can experience overload, burnout, and compassion fatigue when working in high stress environments. It is crucial that “care providers” find effective methods for managing their own internal responses to the intense and challenging situations they face on the job. The philosophy and practice of mindfulness offers valuable tools for preventing and addressing the emotional effects of the important, yet difficult work of counselor, teacher, psychiatric tech, and other direct service providers (Kabat-Zinn, 2007).

Format

Panel Presentations

Biographical Sketch

Kathryn L Norsworthy, Ph.D., NCC, LPY Kathryn Norsworthy is a professor of Graduate Studies in Counseling at Rollins College, an LGBTQ civil rights activist, and conducts ongoing social justice projects in collaboration with local colleagues in Southeast Asia, specifically Thailand and with the refugee communities of Burma (for 20 years).

Whitney Lake, B.A. Whitney is a graduate student in the Rollins College Graduate Program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

Sarah Clode, B.A. Sarah is a graduate student in the Rollins College Graduate Program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

Michelle Sullivan, B.A. Michelle is a graduate student in the Rollins College Graduate Program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a Buddhist theologian.

Jorge Alberto Valladares, M.A. Jorge Alberto is a graduate student in the Rollins College Graduate Program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

Princessa Long, B.A. Princessa is a graduate student in the Rollins College Graduate Program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

Start Date

2-9-2018 10:45 AM

End Date

2-9-2018 12:00 PM

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Feb 9th, 10:45 AM Feb 9th, 12:00 PM

Mindful Social Justice Counselor Education

In this workshop/presentation, presenters, including a faculty member and six graduate counseling students, will share their experiences of a mindfulness-based multicultural and social justice counseling graduate course. The program will focus on how mindfulness principles and practices support the counselor’s ability to “hold” strong emotions and respond effectively in social justice counseling, activism, and advocacy. Experiential mindfulness practices are offered.