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Understanding Social Advocacy through the Views of Mental Health Practitioners:Practical Issues Related to Social Advocacy in Small Communities.

Bradley, Joshua Michael (2011) Understanding Social Advocacy through the Views of Mental Health Practitioners:Practical Issues Related to Social Advocacy in Small Communities. PhD thesis, Radford University.

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Abstract

Social justice is a concept that ethicists and philosophers have debated for thousands of years. On a more practical level, mental health advocates and practitioners work with clients who often face social injustices. Consequently, it is not surprising that there appears to be a growing awareness among mental health practitioners of the inequalities and disparities experienced by various groups. Within the past decade, counseling psychologists have made calls to action that have emphasized the importance of social advocacy in the practice of counseling psychologists (Ivey & Collins, 2003). Although the professional literature related to social justice has become more prominent, there has been little discussion of the practical issues associated with social advocacy (Toporek & Williams, 2006). However, clearly, adding new roles will result in new considerations for counseling psychologists, regardless of where they practice. The need to be attuned to how the practical aspects of advocacy intersect with the context of psychological work may be especially present in small communities where practitioners may be more involved in the community and thus their actions highly visible (Schank & Skovholt, 2006). Because small communities may have few resources, a limited number of mental health professionals, and higher rates of mental illness, as well as face other challenges, psychologists practicing in small communities may feel compelled to engage in advocacy. Yet, there is little practical guidance for these psychologists. Therefore, given the sparse research present related to social advocacy in small communities, I designed a qualitative study using the grounded theory approach (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) to gather data that will allow interested parties to better understand the decision making process used by practitioners in rural communities when they decide whether to engage in social advocacy. Eight mental health practitioners who live and provide services in rural communities were interviewed. From the interviews, I identified 26 themes that existed among rural practitioners regarding the positive aspects and challenges of rural practice and practical issues associated with social justice advocacy in rural communities. The implications of the research for rural practitioners who wish to become involved in advocacy are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Social justice, rural, advocacy, small community.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Divisions: UNSPECIFIED
Depositing User: Joshua Michael Bradley
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2013 15:25
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2013 15:25
URI: http://wagner.radford.edu/id/eprint/89

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