Advocacy is an aspect of counseling that is of great importance to my practice. After all, at its most basic level, advocacy means “to help or assist.” Isn’t that the essence of counseling?

Many counselors realize that sometimes working with a client one-on-one isn’t always enough; making lasting differences in clients’ lives often requires challenging the prevailing environment and working to change it. Advocating for all clients means that counselors help not just by talking about their clients’ present issues, but by ensuring that they have access to the resources necessary to meet their needs. This current overall shift toward advocacy is reflected in the increasing number of counseling programs that train students in working for social change. Within this framework, there are six domains of appropriate advocacy for counselors:

  • Client/student empowerment
  • Client/student advocacy
  • Community collaboration
  • Systems advocacy
  • Public information
  • Social/political advocacy

On another level, for example, a counselor can advocate for a person in a one-on-one session by reminding them of distorted, internalized thinking that they are the one who is “broken” when maybe they are wrestling with internalized misogyny or residual trauma. By taking this interdisciplinary outside approach, counselors can better treat their patients and achieve healing in a more sustainable way.

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