In counseling training programs in the past, neophyte therapists are taught to remain neutral, not take sides of a political perspective or allow their personal views interfere with the therapeutic space. It seems that today we really need to take a more in depth look at the value of shifting to a social justice perspective.

If we limit treatment to just treating the client’s diagnosis, we are overlooking the system in which they are attempting to navigate. We need to develop respectful, nonhierarchical, collaborative relational practices that honor the sacred in each person. These are the values we instill in our students at Marylhurst University.

We need to take a stand on not allowing discriminatory behaviors to be tolerated. We need to advocate, speak out and help the people we serve to be liberated from the oppressive environments and systems in which they are entrenched. We need to question what we read, engage with curiosity to deeply understand one another and be willing to speak up when we disagree.

How do you frame your work and are you willing to take a stand?

Mary Andrus, ATR-BC, LPC, LCPC
Art Therapy Counseling Assistant Professor and Program Director