Farah Ibrahim, PhDSchool of Education and Human Development Professor Farah Ibrahim, PhD, Counseling Program, received the Reese House Social Justice Advocate of the Year Award during the American Counseling Association’s annual conference March 22-25 in San Francisco.

The Counselors for Social Justice (CSJ), a national professional organization. She was selected for the award because of her service to public schools focusing on social justice and cultural responsiveness over her academic career, and specifically for the new school counseling educational curriculum that she developed in 2010, designed to close the achievement gap, using a service learning model.

The award is named for Reese House, who started the Education Trust, as an avid proponent for confronting and addressing the achievement and opportunity gap in public education.

During the annual conference, Ibrahim presented:  ACA Code of Ethics and Social Justice during a panel discussion on Integrating Social Justice into the New ACA Code of Ethics. Ibrahim also chaired the committee that developed ethical standards for CSJ, which were adopted by the organization in September 2010.

She was invited to participate in this session to share recommendations with the committee currently revising the American Counseling Association (ACA) ethical code. Her recommendations for the inclusion of social justice and advocacy for the American Counseling Association’s ethical code included:

  • operationalize the organization’s social justice orientation;
  • delineate a set of values, behaviors and best practices for counselors regarding social justice;
  • construct a professional course of action that will best serve clients using counseling services; and
  • serve as the basis for processing ethical complaints and inquiries initiated against members of the organization.

Ibrahim also presented Infusing Social Justice and Cultural Responsiveness in Group Counseling Training which discussed how she helps counseling students build trust among group members, understand their cultural identities, privilege and oppression. This approach uses the Cultural Identity Check List© she created as well as the Privilege-Oppression Continuum generated by the Miami Family Therapy Institute.

Incorporating counselor cultural identity, privilege and oppression in counseling courses, Ibrahim believes, opens the door to understanding the cultural landscape of the U.S. and sensitizes counselors-in-training in ways that will lead to better counseling and advocacy with future counseling clients.

This presentation was based on her publication: Ibrahim, F. A. (2010). Social justice and cultural responsiveness: Innovative teaching strategies for group work.

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