Program Commitment to Diversity and Social Justice

The Counseling Psychology Program at the University of Florida is a multicultural and diverse community. As members of the Counseling Psychology community, we strive to learn from each other in an atmosphere of positive engagement and mutual respect. To this end, the program endorses, and our training reflects, the APA Board of Educational Affairs Statement on Preparing Professional Psychologists to Serve a Diverse Public (see Appendix A of the Student Handbook). Students in the program are required to read this statement and confirm that they will abide by it, and they are evaluated accordingly.

Our commitment to diversity and social justice means that we strive to attend to issues of power, privilege, and oppression in courses, research, clinical practica, and professional service. In these efforts, we are guided by feminist and multicultural principles summarized by Goodman et al. (2004) as a useful compass for social justice work in counseling psychology. These principles are:

  1. Ongoing self-examination, including vigilance regarding power dynamics and the assumptions and values underlying our views, goals, and commitments.
  2. Sharing power, including transparency about power differences, engaging in collaborative processes when appropriate, and fostering the power of marginalized individuals and groups.
  3. Amplifying and attending to the voices and experiences of groups and individuals with relatively less power.
  4. Consciousness raising by attending to how individual or group difficulties may be shaped by political, societal, institutional, interpersonal, and other contextual power dynamics.
  5. Focusing on people’s strengths and engaging these strengths to address challenges, including working toward social change.
  6. Promoting self-determination with the people we work with by developing tools that are informed by the needs and experiences of the constituent communities.

We acknowledge that the vision and principles articulated above are not achieved completely by any individual or training experience. Rather, this vision and the principles guide our shared responsibility for ongoing efforts to enact our commitment to diversity and social justice in our professional work.

For further detail, see Goodman, Liang, Helms, Latta, Sparks, & Weintraub (2004). Training counseling psychologists as social justice agents: Feminist and multicultural principles in action. The Counseling Psychologist, 32, 793-837.