Title

Exploring gender justice in counselor education: Counseling students speak out

Conference Strand

Social Change, Leadership, and Advocacy

Abstract

Social justice and advocacy are at the heart of the counselor education process. Cultivating awareness, knowledge, and skills in the area of gender justice is central to the process of deepening critical consciousness of counselors-in-training. Join a group of graduate counseling students and a faculty member as they facilitate a classroom simulation demonstrating a feminist-liberation framework for increasing critical consciousness and cultural competency in anti-sexist counseling and activism.

Description

Liberation theory, as discussed by Paulo Freire (1972) and Ignacio Martin-Baro (1994), challenges conventional perspectives in education and psychology by taking the position that those most subordinated in society are capable of defining and analyzing their own situations and in engaging in social transformation aimed at their own liberation. Liberation theory encourages a structural analysis of all forms of oppression from the perspective of those in oppressed positions. Further, there is recognition that everyone is caught in the “web of oppression” and that everyone has a stake in addressing our own internalizations of oppression as well as the external manifestations if we are all going to be truly free. In utilizing a group approach, practices of liberation theory involve beginning with the experiences of group members and supporting them in articulating the issues or concerns based on their cultural and socio-political contexts. Facilitators utilize a problem-posing, dialogic approach to support this process and work collaboratively, offering frameworks within which the wisdom of the group can emerge as they attempt to find solutions and directions for social change. Through this kind of process, group members cultivate a critical consciousness (Freire, 1972), whereby they can reflect on their lived experiences, analyze them, and then take appropriate action to address the systems of oppression and domination that are contributing to their social and political subordination.

Contemporary feminist psychology brings in the importance of gender and its interactions with other aspects of identity, such as race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, age, ability/disability, and spiritual tradition, as a central organizing principle in human lives. The implication here is that experience must be contextualized to truly understand its complexities and meanings, and that, like liberation theory, the individual holds authority in defining his or her experiences and the meanings of them. There is an emphasis in feminist theory on analyzing power in relationships and in contexts as an essential part of meaning making and in developing solutions to problems. Laura Brown poses two core values, diversity and anti-domination, in guiding feminist theory and practice. Valuing diversity means recognizing multiple perspectives and multiple standpoints as important and necessary to fully represent the complexity of a situation or an issue. Anti-domination values call for active efforts to oppose, interrupt, and change situations and systems based in oppression and subordination.

Emphasizing the previously described principles and praxis, this workshop invites participants to experience a feminist liberation framework for supporting counselors-in-training in exploring gender-based oppression and positions of privilege in preparation for begining work with clients and for engaging in feminist activism and social change.

The goals of the workshop are to increase participants':

1. Understanding of a feminist-liberation pedagogy for training counselors in anti-sexist counseling and social change;

2. Awareness, knowledge, and skills in exploring gender justice in counselor education;

3. Expanding and deepening cultural competency in social justice-based counselor education.

4. Exposing participants to the perspectives of counseling trainees in terms of effective social justice counselor training.

Evidence

Brown, L. S. (2010). Feminist therapy. Washington DC: American PsychologicalAssociation.

Enns, C.Z. (2010). Locational feminisms and feminist social identity analysis. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 41(4), 333-339.

Freire, P. (1972). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Herder & Herder.

Martin-Baro, I. (1994). Writings for a liberation psychology: Ignacio Martin-Baro (A. Aron & S. Corne, Eds. and Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Norsworthy, K. L. & Khuankaew, O. (2012). Feminist border crossings: Our transnational partnership in peace and justice work (pp. 222-233). In Kottler, J., Englar-Carlson, M. &Carlson, J. (Eds.), Helping beyond the 50 minute hour: Therapists involved in meaningful social action. New York: Routledge.

Prilleltensky, I. (2008). The role of power in wellness, oppression, and liberation: The promise of psychopolitical validity. Journal of Community Psychology, 36, 116-136.

Watkins, M., & Shulman, H. (2008). Toward psychologies of liberation. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Format

Panel Presentations

Biographical Sketch

Kathryn L. Norsworthy, Ph.D., NCC, Licensed Psychologist is a professor of graduate studies in counseling at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. She is also a civil rights activist and an activist scholar focusing on lgbtq liberation, immigrant rights, and decolonial frameworks for Global North/South collaboration on social justice issues, particularly in Southeast and South Asia.

Barb Santos, Michelle Ilugbusi, Christina Senesi, Sarah Moore, and Taylor Sweet are counselors-in-training in the Rollins College Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master's program.

Location

PARB 239

Start Date

2-8-2019 4:00 PM

End Date

2-8-2019 5:15 PM

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Feb 8th, 4:00 PM Feb 8th, 5:15 PM

Exploring gender justice in counselor education: Counseling students speak out

PARB 239

Social justice and advocacy are at the heart of the counselor education process. Cultivating awareness, knowledge, and skills in the area of gender justice is central to the process of deepening critical consciousness of counselors-in-training. Join a group of graduate counseling students and a faculty member as they facilitate a classroom simulation demonstrating a feminist-liberation framework for increasing critical consciousness and cultural competency in anti-sexist counseling and activism.