ADVANTAGES

And while we know much about racism and other forms of oppression, the helping profession has little information on social class and classism. As suggested by Liu and his colleagues (Liu, 2001, 2006; Liu & Ali, 2008; Liu, Ali et al., 2004; Liu, Soleck et al., 2004; Liu & Arguello, 2006), understanding and integrating social class and classism into counseling is an important multicultural competency. But using social class and classism is a problem if sociological perspectives are used rather than a subjective and phenomenological approach. That is, counselors understand and use the interpersonal and intrapsychic construction of race and racism, for instance, and frame their work with clients with theories such as racial identity and acculturation. Counselors do not focus specifically on race but on the psychological construction and experiences of race (i.e., racial identity, acculturation). In the end, counselors and all helping professionals need to be able to integrate multiple levels of understanding to fully comprehend the cultures and identities of a client. This multiple level of assessment, theory, and framing allow the helping professional to better understand the intersections of oppressions and marginalizations a client may be experiencing. Certainly these levels of identities do not end with race, gender, and social class, and so the helping professional needs to continue developing and evolving his or her awareness of these oppressions.

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