Creating a Pro-justice Therapeutic Environment
An Article Review
Pare, D. (2014). Social justice and the word: Keeping diversity alive in therapeutic conversations. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 48(3), 206-217.
Find the original article here.
In his article, Paré explores the way therapeutic conversations can serve as an arena in which both justice can be enacted and injustices can be perpetuated. Paré asserts that, given that our society is not entirely just, and given that therapeutic conversations take place within an unjust context, injustices are inevitably enacted in psychotherapy. In this article, the argument is made that advocacy for social justice can occur in therapeutic conversations.
Paré delineates a few ways therapeutic conversations can be justice oriented, one of which requires the counselor to keep context visible within each therapeutic encounter. Individual deficits can often be emphasized and context minimized or forgotten, when an individual’s problem nearly always includes a circumstantial variable. This is especially important when a problem may stem from societal or institutional discrimination. Attending to responses is also seen as essential to a pro-justice therapeutic conversation. A sharp attentiveness to an individual’s responses helps maintain their sense of agency while also validating their suffering. Additionally, an important piece to creating a pro-justice therapeutic environment involves inviting individuals to evaluate their own diagnoses. He discusses the use of exploring implications of their diagnoses while giving room for the coexistence of their multiple identities. Finally, social justice can take place in the therapeutic encounter when an individual is separated from a problem stemming from social injustice through verbally externalizing it. This acts as a means of maintaining the individual as an active agent in the conversation and in their therapeutic treatment. Social justice is often viewed as acts that help create equal access to opportunities for all people. Within this framework, psychotherapists have can have integral role in the facilitation of social justice through psychotherapy.
Cite This Article
Fitzgerald, H. & Greig, A. (2016, August). Creating a pro-justice therapeutic environment: An article review [Web article] [Review of the article Social justice and the word: Keeping diversity alive in therapeutic conversations, by D. Paré]. Retrieved from: https://societyforpsychotherapy.org/social-justice-word-keeping-diversity-alive-therapeutic-conversations-summary