We support a value system that integrates strongly with social justice principles. We recognize that everything we do or don’t do is a political act. These values reflect the view that everyone deserves rights, and economic, political and cultural opportunities. Through active community initiatives, we aim to stand up to oppressive, pathologizing practices of inequity and create access and opportunity for everyone, particularly those that are vulnerable and in greatest need.
Participants experienced professional growth and were able to apply their new learning directly to both their clinical practice and their everyday life. - Nancy Webb MSW, RSW, Psychotherapy, Clinical Consultant
Past Community Initiatives
Over the past number of years there has been increasing concern that the negative forces of big corporations and big pharma were intentionally thwarting collaborative, non-pathologizing practices. In response to a "Call", over 50 social activist, practitioners, social scientist, researchers, social workers, academics and mental health professionals from 8 different countries joined together in May, 2016 in Galveston Island, Texas in search of creative initiatives to address this serious issue. The event was entitled Galvanizing Family Therapy: Reclaiming and Revitalizing Collaborative Practices. A Think Tank Gathering With a Focus on Action.
The organizing committee was comprised of Jim Duvall, Jill Freedman, Gene Combs and Karen Young. The facilitators for the 2-day were Harlene Anderson and David Pare.
The purpose of the group was to address political and professional trends that are eroding and stagnating the practice of collaborative, non-pathologizing approaches to working with people. There is a recognition that the corporatization and medicalization of therapy has increasingly pushed our field toward categorizing and pathologizing people, which is at the service of economic rationalization; Efficiency and economics have come to supplant creativity and caring. Therapists are not able to practice in ways that are congruent with their values. The current, pervasive, deficit-focused approach to counseling and service is having a detrimental effect on children and families at precisely the time that more and more of those children and families are living below the poverty line.
We aimed to start a ripple effect that will endure in the future practices of our field. The 2-day think tank resulted in a number of writing projects, which include:
- A Special Section planned for summer issue of Journal of Systemic Therapies, which will address the integration of therapeutic practices, and social justice issues.
- A declaration of issues and positions which were achieved at the gathering called the Galveston Declaration.
- A project collecting stories from practice addressing social justice issues in therapeutic was conducted at Nova University that was coordinated by Jim Hibel.
- Many other writing projects and initiatives are underway.