The Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in Counseling (ALGBTIC), the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD), and Counselors for Social Justice (CSJ) stand in strong opposition of SB 1556/ HB 1840 that was passed in the Tennessee Legislature. This bill would allow professional counselors to deny services to an individual based on the counselor’s strongly held beliefs. By allowing counselors to broadly discriminate against their clients, this bill defies professional standards and is in direct opposition of the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics. Most importantly, this bill will cause significant harm to vulnerable individuals who are seeking assistance, and this bill threatens our client’s right to healthcare. From our inception, ALGBTIC, AMCD and CSJ have celebrated human diversity and core to our mission is the belief that the development of human rights and the psychological health of all people are critical to the social, educational, political, professional, and personal reform of the United States. Discrimination under any condition goes against the foundation of the counseling profession. ALGBTIC, AMCD, and CSJ stand in solidarity with our Tennessee members and urge all counselors to contact Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, at 615-741-2001 or Bill.Haslam@tn.gov to veto this hateful legislation.
“It is necessary to work toward establishing a new framework for coexistence, a new ‘social contract’ that would allow collective interaction without turning disagreement into mutual negation. There is an urgent need to work toward a process of greater social sincerity, in order to learn about realities before defining them, to accept facts before interpreting them….to educate by reason, not by force, so that coexistence can be based on mutually complementary efforts employed to resolve problems, not on violence used to impose one’s own alternative.”
What is Counselors for Social Justice?
The mission of Counselors for Social Justice is to work to promote social justice in our society through confronting oppressive systems of power and privilege that affect professional counselors and our clients and to assist in the positive change in our society through the professional development of counselors.
What is social justice in counseling?
Social justice counseling represents a multifaceted approach to counseling in which practitioners strive to simultaneously promote human development and the common good through addressing challenges related to both individual and distributive justice. Social justice counseling includes empowerment of the individual as well as active confrontation of injustice and inequality in society as they impact clientele as well as those in their systemic contexts. In doing so, social justice counselors direct attention to the promotion of four critical principles that guide their work; equity, access, participation, and harmony. This work is done with a focus on the cultural, contextual, and individual needs of those served.
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