ADVOCATING FOR SOCIAL CHANGE AND IMPACTING LEGISLATIVE ACTION
Your ultimate goal of becoming a clinical mental health counselor means working with clients to help them understand and work through their issues and strengthen their overall well-being. A critical part of your development as a counseling professional involves learning about emerging issues your clients may be facing and using your unique position to impact positive social change.
Advocating for social change starts with choosing your message and getting the word out. The methods for making the public aware have progressed from flyers, brochures, and poster sessions at conferences to advocating online, including blogs, wikis, and social media. However, the central goal of these communications remains focused on presenting the issue and the goal as clearly and succinctly as possible. Using these skills to advocate for change, especially legislative action, can have widespread impact on you and your current and future clients.
This week’s Discussion has two components. First, you will develop skills to become an effective agent for social change by creating an informational product advocating for a particular population or issue that interests you. Then, you will take the next step by contacting an elected official to share your material and advocate for legislative action.
Post a brief reflection on the impact of your actions (3-5 sentences) and paste the content of your letter or email into the discussion board (do not submit as an attachment). Use the following questions to guide your reflection summary:
- How do your personal actions as a professional counselor (such as writing a letter to your congressperson) impact your current and future clients?
- How do these types of actions reflect Walden’s commitment to social change?
Include an attachment or link to your Social Change informational product with your discussion post and advocacy letter.
- Erford, B. T. (Ed.). (2018). Orientation to the counseling profession: Advocacy, ethics, and essential professional foundations (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
- Chapter 14, “Advocating for the Counseling Profession” (pp. 435-457)
- Chapter 15, “Advocacy Counseling: Being an Effective Agent of Change for Clients” (pp. 458-485)
- American Counseling Association. (2012). Home pageLinks to an external site..Links to an external site. Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org
- American Counseling Association. (n.d.-a). ACA branches.Links to an external site. Retrieved March 13, 2018, from https://www.counseling.org/about-us/divisions-regions-and-branches/branches
- American Counseling Association. (n.d.-b). ACA government affairs: Overview.Links to an external site. Retrieved March 13, 2018, from https://www.counseling.org/government-affairs/public-policy
- Longley, R. (2019, October 2). Tips for writing effective letters to Congress.Links to an external site. ThoughtCo. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/write-effective-letters-to-congress-3322301
- Multicultural Counseling Competencies Revisions Committee. (2015). Multicultural and social justice counseling competencies Download Multicultural and social justice counseling competencies. Download .Retrieved from https://www.counseling.org/docs/default-source/competencies/multicultural-and-social-justice-counseling-competencies.pdf?sfvrsn=20