"Slacktivism" is a term that has been coined to cynically describe the token efforts that people devote to some cause, without long-term or meaningful impact. We wear colored wristbands, pins, or ribbons proclaiming support for a particular organization. We might post something on social network sites or send messages to friends about causes dear to our hearts. We might even volunteer our time to work on behalf of marginalized, oppressed, or neglected groups—or donate money to a charity. Yet the key feature of significant social action is follow through—continuing efforts over a period of time so as to build meaningful relationships, provide adequate support, and conduct evaluations to measure results and make needed adjustments that make programs even more responsive.
This book is intended as an inspiration for practicing psychotherapists and counselors, as well as students, to become actively involved in a meaningful effort. The authors have searched far and wide to identify practitioners representing different disciplines, helping professions, geographic regions, and social action projects, all of whom have been involved in social justice efforts for some time, whether in their own communities or in far-flung regions of the world. Each of them has an amazing story to tell that reveals the challenges they’ve faced, the incredible satisfactions they’ve experienced, and what lessons they’ve learned along the way. Each story represents a gem of wisdom, revealing both questions of faith, as well as of sustained action. The authors have been encouraged to dig deeply in order to talk about the honest realities of their work. After reading their stories, you will be ready to pick a cause that speaks to you and begin your own work.
"Perhaps never before in psychology has a more inspirational book been written. The selflessness of these over two dozen colleagues will reawaken your most magnanimous inspirations and transpose you to re-envision your own highest level of social action." Nicholas A. Cummings, PhD, ScD, former President, American Psychological Association
"As a psychotherapist/social justice activist, I am inspired by these stories to reach higher, take more risks, and to realize that the limits that we place on ourselves in our professional roles are there to be questioned and challenged. This volume is powerful, not only because of the stories it tells, but because it illuminates the path for all of us in the world of psychotherapy who are wondering how we can make a difference in the larger world." - Laura S. Brown, PhD, ABPP, Founder and Director, Fremont Community Therapy Project, Seattle WA
"Beautifully written, covering a wide range of important and moving projects, this book speaks to the place of hope in all of us…hope that we can make a difference in the world, bringing forth the best in all peopled and lessening the suffering which robs people of their dignity and wellbeing. This book is essential reading for anyone dedicated to creating real change in the world." - Judith V. Jordan, PhD, Director, Jean Baker Miller Training Institute, Wellesley Centers for Women; Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School
Part I: Re-Visioning Clinical Practice Kottler, The Power of Transcendent Empathy: Empowering Lower Caste Girls in Nepal. Doherty, The Citizen Therapist and Social Change. Part II: The Dreamers: What Change Could Be Gold, When Work is Not Enough: Searching for Greater Satisfaction and Meaning. Brew, Marginalized No More. Sheer, A Wannabe Therapist’s Journey to Make a Difference. Sibbing, Social Justice and the Part-Time Counselor. Part III: Community Action Bosch, Cervantes, Sacred Advocacy: Assisting At-Risk Boys and Girls to Find Meaning in Violent, Unjust Communities. Walker, Real-Life Social Action in the Community. Monk, Walking the Tight Rope of Change: Building Trust and in a Diverse Urban Community. Stout, Stout, Two Roads Leading to One. Pyles, Moving beyond the Professional Response to Gender-Based Violence: Community Organizing with Women Survivors. Yznaga, I am Your Future, You are My Past: Reaching Back to Move Forward. Bethea, A Call from My Ancestors: Honor, Responsibility, Commitment, Reciprocity, Propriety, and the Illumination of the Human Spirit. Codrington, When Your Liberation is Tied-Up with Mine: Social Justice Work as a Tool for Resistance, Empowerment, and Nation Building for African Descended Peoples. Ellis, No One Gets Left Behind. Bemak, Counselors without Borders: Community Action in Counseling. Part IV: Global Outreach Emavardhana, Life Task in a Life Time. Edwards, Rodriquez, Counseling Internationally: Caring for the Caregiver. Norsworthy, Khuankaew, Feminist Border Crossings: Our Transnational Partnership in Peace and Justice Work. DeLoach, Bon Kouraj: Learning Courage through Service. West-Olantunji, Kicking and Screaming: My Social Action Journey. Guay, Please Do Not Forget Me Nepal. Part V: Closure and Reflection Kottler, Twenty Intensely Personal Motives for Involvement in Social Justice Projects: Saving the World or Saving Myself? Carlson, A Life Devoted to Service. Englar-Carlson, Paying for Our Place in the World: A Reflection on the Personal Meaning of this Book and Its Stories.
About the Author:
Jeffrey A. Kottler, PhD, is Professor of Counseling at California State University, Fullerton, and the author of over 80 books. He is the founder and CEO of the Empower Nepali Girls foundation.
Matt Englar-Carlson, PhD, is Professor of Counseling and the Co-Director of the Center for Boys and Men at California State University, Fullerton.
Jon Carlson, PsyD, EdD, is Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Counseling at Governors State University, University Park, Illinois and a psychologist with the Wellness Clinic in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.