Diagnosis and Social Justice Advocacy: Reconciling Tensions for Students and School Counsellors

  • Lindsay J. Kennedy Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology, Athabasca University
Keywords: social justice, diagnosis, school counsellor, school psychologist, students – mental health

Abstract

Combining the existing diagnostic system with social justice advocacy creates tensions for school counsellors and their clients. A central tension is that diagnoses enable individual-level social justice advocacy by allowing students and their families to access mental health services, while constraining systemic change related to the dominance of the diagnostic system. Suggestions are offered about how tensions can be reconciled to facilitate, rather than constrain, the mental health services offered in Kindergarten to Grade 12 schools. In highlighting tensions and possibilities, an integrative both/and perspective emerges that respects the utility of the discourse of diagnosis and social justice advocacy.

Author Biography

Lindsay J. Kennedy, Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology, Athabasca University

Lindsay J. Kennedy is a graduate of the masters of counselling program at the Graduate Centre for Applied Psychology, Athabasca University. She currently works as a provisional psychologist in a private practice setting in Calgary. Her interests include postmodern and social constructionist approaches to counselling.

Address correspondence to Lindsay Kennedy, Affinity Psychology Group, 2804 - 16 Street S.W., Calgary, AB, Canada, T2T 4G4. E-mail: lindsay.j.kennedy@gmail.com

Published
2016-07-18
How to Cite
Kennedy, L. J. (2016). Diagnosis and Social Justice Advocacy: Reconciling Tensions for Students and School Counsellors. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 50(3). Retrieved from https://cjc-rcc.ucalgary.ca/article/view/61115