Pragmatic Apparatus – Social justice in counseling psychology practice: Actualizing the ethics of compassion

Cited by Lee Sonogan

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Abstract by Nicola Amari

This article articulates how compassion can be integrated into counseling psychology practice to augment the commitment to social justice. Drawing on a humanistic–existential paradigm that asserts the primacy of ethics, a multilayered understanding of compassion is explored in its implication for practitioners. First, as acknowledgment of the other’s suffering, compassion means being aware of the relational dynamics that extends from the therapist–client dyad to include the wider communities to which they belong. Second, as appreciation for suffering as an existential given, compassion expresses connectedness through the shared experience of otherness while revealing the inherent potential toward growth in clients. Third, as access to the suffering other, compassion exposes the societal power dynamics that threaten the therapeutic relationship. Fourth, as acceptance of the response to the suffering other, compassion requires to embrace the intrapersonal and interpersonal experience evoked in meeting clients. Fifth, as alleviation of the other’s suffering, compassion becomes the expression of a value-based practice that can drive the shift that sees psychotherapy as an interpersonal process based on connectedness to foster healing. Therefore, compassion is put forward as the foundation of counseling psychology ethics of social justice.

Publication: Journal of Humanistic Psychology (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

Pub Date: Aug 15, 2021 Doi:

Keywords: counseling psychology, compassion, social justice, ethics, humanistic psychology (Plenty more sections and references in this research article)

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