Advocacy Training in Counselor Education Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2700 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 23  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Psychology

Advocacy Training in Counselor Education

Clifford Beers was one of the founders for advocacy work for the mentally retarded in the early part of the twentieth century and may be considered to be one of the founders for advocacy counseling, though as such one can say that the process of advocacy counseling in it has gone on for many generations prior to that. Clifford Beers was followed by another major advocacy counselor, Lawrence Gerstein who has been talking about the oppressed persons of Tibetan origin from 1991. The history of Clifford Beers is best learnt from his autobiography called "A mind that found itself: An autobiography" which was published in 1908. He had continued writing till 1956. The original book is considered to be a classic and has been reprinted many times. The most tragic part is that he died in a state of chronic depression in a psychiatric facility at the age of 67, yet his concept of advocacy is still pursued by a lot of others. His condition at the time of his death truly shows him to be a tragic hero. (Kiselica; Robinson, 2001)

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On the other hand, Lawrence Gerstein was a professor of counseling psychology at Ball State University and had received the Kitty College Human Rights Award. This is to "honor an American Counseling Association member who has made significant contribution in one or more areas of the broad spectrum of human rights." (Kiselica; Robinson, 2001) He received his award in 1999. He had concentrated on developing the condition of the Tibetan people through a multi-faceted, international consciousness raising campaign. This movement was originally called the Indiana Tibet Committee and is now known as International Tibet Independence Movement. (Kiselica; Robinson, 2001)


TOPIC: Term Paper on Advocacy Training in Counselor Education Assignment

The definition of advocacy counseling has been given by Loretta Bradley as "Regardless of the particular setting in which he or she works, each counselor is confronted again and again with issues that cannot be resolved simply through change in the individual. All too often, negative aspects of the environment impinge on a client's well being, intensifying personal problems or creating obstacles to growth. When such situations arise, effective counselors speak up! We think of advocacy as the act of speaking up or taking action to make environmental changes on behalf of our clients." (Kiselica; Robinson, 2001)

B. Need for advocacy within the profession:

In many instances of education, there are laws that are passed which are not in the best interest of students and some individuals have to protest. This is a job which the teachers can do the best as they are in direct contact with the students and know the effect of all changes on them. One such issue was the attempted deregulation of the Vocational Education Act of 1963 in 1982. It is the teachers who directly protested against the act being changed, apart from the complaints by women and other advocacy groups for disadvantaged and handicapped groups. (Weeks, 1982) One of the main objectives of teachers is to protect the interests of students and for this alone, advocacy may be required sometime.

C. Stage model/framework for teaching advocacy for profession (not client-focused) in Counselor Ed. Programs:

All states require school counselors to have State school counseling certification and to have finished some graduate work in different fields. Some states also require the completion of master's degree. Other states require school counselors to have both counseling and degree certificates and to have some experience in teaching. For counselors who are not based in schools, 47 states and the District of Columbia use some form of counselor credentialing, licensing, certification or registration that controls their practice of counseling. The general requirement is the completion of a master's degree in counseling, the accumulation of 2 years or 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience beyond the master's degree, the successful completion of an examination recognized by the state, general adherence to certain ethical codes and standards and also completing the annual requirements of continuing education. (Counselors)

In general the counselor education programs in colleges and universities are in departments of education or psychology. The required subjects of study are school counseling, education, gerontological counseling, marriage and family counseling, substance abuse counseling, rehabilitation counseling, agency or community counseling, clinical mental health counseling, counseling psychology, career counseling and other similar fields. The study is concentrated in four main areas of human growth and development, social and cultural diversity, relationships, group work, career development, assessment, research and program evaluation and professional identity. In all master's degrees which are accredited, 48 to 60 semester hours of graduate study are required and that includes periods of clinical experience. (Counselors)

D. Discuss benefits of new model to profession & community:

The new model is one of direct action and here the counselors take action along with the students than help them through their troubles. One such example has been the different actions taken by Jewish Agency for Israel and Hillel or the foundation for Jewish Campus Life who sponsored an advocacy training mission in Israel. There were students in this mission which had more than 350 Jewish leaders and they had meetings with political figures and briefings from academics, journalists and military personnel. This was a part of the proactive role from Hillel for supporting the cause of Israel. The campaign was called "Wherever we stand, we stand with Israel" there was organization of 65 buses to take the students all the way to Washington from California. There were advertisements in campus newspapers and resource kits. Each resource kit had a banner, 1,000 stickers, 400 key chains, Israeli and American flags, books and fact sheets. The students paid $250 for the mission of which $180 will go to the local Israel Emergency Campaign. After the program in Washington, 80 students will remain for training in Israel. (Student Activists learn advocacy in Hillel push to be more proactive) The question that I have is whether this can be called to be advocacy in the concept of Clifford Beers or in line with present training?

II. Need for Advocacy in Counseling Profession

A. Empowerment of counselors as advocates:

Counselors work as advocates when they plead on behalf of a client or some social action. This is the reason why advocacy work is considered to be a form of social action. The first reason is that counselor advocates work social contexts of their client's problems. The second reason is that counselor advocates take action to eliminate or reduce social problems like poverty, unequal access to opportunity or other forms of prejudice which hurt the client. Thus a social justice approach to counseling would also make them work as advocates. (Kiselica; Robinson, 2001)

B. Unity within the profession:

It is difficult to say at any time that two individual experts in the same field of studies will ever agree with each other, but the unity is in different ways. Social advocacy means that the status quo has to be questioned, the rules and regulations that deny students access have to be challenged, changes that are taking place have to be protested against and methods that decrease opportunities for the under privileged have to be opposed. (Philosophical Counselor as Social Justice Advocate) Thus philosophies of counselors are the same, irrespective of where they are working, and this is the unity that brings them together.

C. Challenges to the profession:

The profession gets into situations where the honesty of the individuals involved are in doubt. One senator got 29 letters from an elementary school in Omaha opposing certain tax bills, and one of her opponents in an upcoming election was married to a teacher in that school. (State Journal: Advocacy? Timing) In another case it seems some data was manipulated by some advocates to get results that they wanted - implementation of voucher programs in all schools throughout the country. This was misinterpretation of data from Cleveland. (Metcalf, 1998) Another troublesome issue is of school violence and many schools are still facing violence according to National Center for education Statistics. Theft, vandalism and fist fights are very common. Apart from this there are medical emergencies that come due to strenuous sports and class trips. This is a problem that has to be taken up by the counselors. (Survivor Mentality)

Another problem is that of girls in schools and the girls themselves say "Schools need to stop telling us that we should just be good and not think about what we believe good is. I think they try to get us to all act alike so that they can deal with us all in the same way. When we stop using our own judgment, these problems -- body image, sexual activity starts to come into play." (What Girls Want) Another set of problems come from beliefs like on that basic understanding of religions, their major internal contours and relationship to one another cannot be taught though that is very significant for understanding certain situations like 9/11. (Freitas; Rotherham, 2004)

D. Benefits:

In certain issues, there… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Advocacy Training in Counselor Education.  (2005, August 31).  Retrieved September 27, 2021, from

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"Advocacy Training in Counselor Education."  August 31, 2005.  Accessed September 27, 2021.