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Empowering Clients as Leaders

Presented by Rebecca Toporek, PhD - 3 CE Hours

Workshop Description:
Multicultural and social justice practice is recognized as critical values in marriage and family therapy and counseling. Our individual approaches may strive to empower our clients, yet our organizations often reinforce deficit and passive models for clients and their communities. This imbalance of power is especially problematic within the context of historical oppression by dominant society on communities of color, poor communities, and other groups. This presentation seeks to change that lens by reconsidering possibilities for integration of client expertise. Leadership, professional development, organizational structures, and other opportunities put social justice values into practice by collaborating with clients and communities.

Learning Objectives:
Upon completion of this workshop, participants will be able to:
1. Distinguish strength-based versus deficit based conceptualization of clients and hypothesize the impact of these conceptualizations on the process of counseling and the engagement of the client.
2. Describe models of client/community engagement in counseling organizations that integrate participatory methods for empowerment, and hypothesize the impact of this engagement on wellness and positive growth in self and relationships.
3. Formulate ways to reconceptualize their own organizational structures to consider ways of engaging clients and client communities as leaders and experts.