advocace for marginalized population

Advocacy for Marginalized Population

Professional Context

Counselors and therapists have an ethical responsibility to advocate for marginalized populations with the goal of eliminating barriers for marginalized populations (ACA, 2014). Sue and Sue (2016) emphasized that this may require challenging the traditional assumptions of counseling and therapy. For example, this could involve recognizing that the locus of a client’s problem may be the environment at school or work.

Counselors and therapists must be prepared to act at the individual and systems level. Sue and Sue (2016) cited the literature on advocacy roles counselors and therapists may need to play, including advocate, change agent, facilitator of indigenous support systems, and advisor. Promoting social justice will require counselors and therapists to be prepared to intervene to act at the micro, meso, and macro levels as discussed by Dr. Paylo. You may also find use in referring to the Advocacy Counseling Domains media piece when crafting the specific appeals in your letter.


During your internship at the Riverbend City clinic, you have been training to be alert to the impact of oppression and discrimination on mental health. Thus, you are in an excellent position not only to assess the impact of discrimination on clients but also to act as an advocate to reduce discrimination at a systems level. In fact, your knowledge of the research literature along with the first-hand experience you are building with clients empowers you as a professional who can speak on behalf of marginalized populations.

As a professional counselor or marriage and family therapist you and a member of a professional association you make it a point to remain aware of national and state advocacy campaigns (for example, see the ACA’s Take Action website linked in the resources).

You notice there is an active legislative campaign to ban conversion therapy in your state. This is disturbing to you given your first-hand experience with the risks of addiction and mental health disorders faced by teens who are gay due to discrimination (see the Huffington Post article or NBC Learn video linked in the resources).

You bring this up in supervision as you want to take action to support the ban on conversion therapy. You ask if your supervisor would offer some pointers for drafting a letter to your state legislators to raise their awareness on the risk of conversion therapy and urge them to support the legislation to oppose the ban. You also ask if your supervisor would review your letter once it is drafted as you want to ensure that your presentation of the facts is accurate, well-written, and sufficiently persuasive.


American Counseling Association. (2014). ACA code of ethics. Retrieved from:…

Sue, D. W., & Sue, D. (2016). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice (7th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Assignment Instructions

For this assignment, you will compose a letter to a legislative member which advocates for them to take specific action on the topic of conversion therapy policy. In your letter, you should emphasize evidence and research-based reasoning to support your platform. However, you should not completely disregard the use of anecdotal evidence of patients to emphasize the human and emotional elements of the subject. The use of rhetoric or other persuasive writing strategies is also recommended (see the Riverbend City: Making a Case with Solid Rhetoric media piece for extra practice, if you have not already worked through it). Additionally, keep in mind that you are advocating from your role as a counseling or therapy professional on behalf of clients or populations you work with. While your personal feeling may or may not align specifically with the professions platform on the issue, it is important that you are able to differentiate between your professional responsibilities and personal views.

In your letter, make sure to address the following:

  • Present your counseling or therapy profession (for example, Clinical Mental Health Counseling), your ethical obligation to advocate for marginalized populations, and scientifically grounded practice.
    • What counseling or therapy profession are you approaching this issue from?
      • How do your profession and ethical code guide you towards advocacy for marginalized populations and scientifically grounded practice?
  • Explain the risks to the identified population for which you are seeking legislative protection.
    • What are the risks facing the identified population?
      • How do these risks endanger or negatively impact individuals from this population?
      • Why do these risks warrant legislative protection?
  • Describehow therapeutic interventions grounded in best practices promote help-seeking and optimal development among individuals and families.
    • What are examples of therapeutic interventions grounded in best practices?
      • What is the evidence that these interventions promote help seeking and optimal development among individuals and families?
      • How is this relevant to the population and issue you are writing about?
  • Advocatefor specific legislative or policy action on the grounds of its benefits for a specific population.
    • What is the specific legislative or policy action?
      • What are its benefits for a specific population?
        • Why are these benefits worthy of the time and resources to create new legislation or policy?
      • What are the risks of not taking legislative or policy action?
  • Communicate an argument regarding an advocacy issue that is persuasive, respectful, and promotes interdisciplinary collaboration between counselors or therapists and relevant governmental offices.
    • Apply the principles of effective composition.
    • Determine the proper application of the rules of grammar and mechanics.
    • Apply a persuasive technique to your writing.
  • Integraterelevant sources to support assertions, correctly formatting citations and references using the current APA style.
    • Determine the proper application of APA formatting requirements and scholarly writing standards.
    • Assess the relevance and credibility of information sources.

Submission Requirements

  • Written communication: Written communication must be grammatically correct and free of errors that detract from the overall message. Writing should be consistent with the graduate-level scholarship.
  • APA format: Main body and references should be formatted according to the current APA style and formatting as appropriate for a letter. Please also include a reference page after your letter for any sources that you cited in-text.
    • You may wish to refer to the following APA resources (linked below) to help with your structure, formatting, and style:
      • APA Style and Format.
      • APA Paper Tutorial.
      • APA Paper Template.
  • Number of resources: A minimum of two scholarly resources from peer-reviewed journals published within the past 5–7 years. You should also consider relating at least one piece of anecdotal evidence. Distinguished submissions typically exceed this minimum.
  • Length of letter: There is no length requirement, but 1–3 pages should allow you to fully address all the scoring guide criteria, while also keeping the letter focused and to the point.
  • Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12 point.


You are required to submit a draft of your assignment to SafeAssign prior to submitting it for grading. Submit your work as a draft to check for any necessary edits.

Once the assignment is finalized and all edits have been made, submit the final version to your instructor for grading using the following file naming format: Your_Name_AssignmentNumber_Assignment_Title (for example: Ima_Learner_u03a1_Assignment_Title).

Verify you have reviewed your SafeAssign draft report by providing the following comment in the assignment area: “I verify that I have reviewed the SafeAssign draft report for this assignment and this work meets academic honesty expectations.”


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