Engaging Advocacy Initiative

The Engaging Advocacy Initiative was part of a larger set of initiatives proposed by the 2021 SCP President Mary O’Leary Wiley. She invited Jennifer Taylor, Ryon McDermott, and Andrés Consoli to tri-chair it with Germán Cadenas serving as a liaison/consultant. The Engaging Advocacy tri-chairs developed three primary initiatives: 1) advocacy training opportunities for Division 17 members, 2) innovative ways to engage in rapid response, broaden our leadership within Division 17, and capitalize on the expertise of our members, and 3) honing in on engaging advocacy at the international level. On this webpage you will find inspiration for your own advocacy work by listening to the stories of other inspiring counseling psychologists and APA members, an opportunity to get involved in SCP rapid response efforts related to your areas of interest/expertise, links to SCP sections and the initiatives underway in each area, and current advocacy opportunities, including virtual trainings and a range of resources.

Summary of Initiative

Community Connection

Gain inspiration for your own advocacy efforts and celebrate the remarkable work your fellow counseling psychologists are doing by checking out our “Ask An Advocate” series:

Dr. Sherry C. Wang is an Associate Professor in the Counseling Psychology department at Santa Clara University. She is a licensed counseling psychologist and an anti-racist educator. Her scholarship is rooted in advocating for the voices of underrepresented groups (e.g., BIPOC, immigrants, refugees, LGBTQ populations) and she focuses on the ways in which sociocultural determinants (e.g., access to healthcare services, social support, community attitudes) contribute to ethnic/racial health disparities. At the national level, she is the current co-chair of the Asian American Psychological Association’s (AAPA) Division on Women (DOW). She also chairs the American Psychological Association (APA) Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs. She was previously part of APA's Committee on Psychology and AIDS, which has since been expanded and renamed as a committee on health disparities. Since the start of COVID19, she has been featured, cited, and interviewed in the media on the topic of anti-Asian racism, cross-racial coalition-building and xenophobia.

Want to nominate a counseling psychology advocate for our spotlight series? Contact Jennifer at: [email protected] to do so! Students and self-nominations are welcome too!

To learn about citizen psychologists across APA and hear stories that highlight the ways they have made this world a better place, click here! Also, check out this resource, designed to help you learn how to become or serve as a successful APA citizen psychologist too!


Wondering how to get involved in advocacy efforts that are important to you within our SCP family? We hope to create a database that lists members’ interests and interest areas. When emerging issues arise, we hope to lean into our database and invite folx to advocate (e.g., through public statements, action efforts, rapid response). Note that completing this survey does not obligate you to service – our hope is to be thoughtful about extending invitations when opportunities arise and including as many voices within SCP as possible, in an effort to foster our collective and collaborative efforts.

Other Sections

The Society of Counseling Psychology includes 13 different sections, each focused on unique and sometimes intersecting issues, needs, and advocacy efforts. To learn more about each section, click here:

Take Action Now

Would you like to learn more about how you can partner with the American Psychological Association and your colleagues on a federal level? Click here to take action!
  • Would you like to stay updated on important legislative issues impacting psychology at Capitol Hill? Join APA’s Psychology Advocacy Network!
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest advocacy efforts within APA by checking out these news stories.
  • Wondering which members of Congress to contact, when to act, and how to craft your message? Click here! You can find your U.S. Representatives members here and your U.S. Senators here.
  • Curious how you can use your voice to effect change on a systemic level? APA has some helpful suggestions for written correspondence, phone calls, and in-person meetings with members of Congress: 
  • Would you like to write a letter or email to members of Congress, but wonder how to stand out? Check out these helpful tips (and some sample letters!).
  • Click here for tips to craft an effective message when you call your senator or representative’s Washington, DC office! 
  • Curious how you can plan an effective, focused face-to-face meeting with your legislator or their staff? Click here for advice that will maximize your success! You can also find strategies to follow your Congressional meetings, including sample thank you letters and emails
  • Wondering how to successfully plan your own advocacy efforts? Consider this toolkit that outlines steps toward change. 
  • Looking for additional advocacy resources? Check out our colleagues within the American Counseling Association, who have developed a 2022 Legislative Agenda, a Government Affairs and Public Policy Advocacy Toolkit, a Mental Health Access Improvement Act Fact Sheet, an Analysis of the Medicare Coverage Gap on Counseling Professionals, and a section for Graduate Students. 
  • Want to explore what advocacy competencies look like? Take a look at this great resource on Advocacy Competencies, with contributions from several Counseling Psychologists, including Dr. Rebecca Toporek! 
  • Would you like to learn how to request a meeting with members of Congress/Congressional staff? Tips for preparing for those meetings and the conversations themselves? Wondering what to expect during those meetings? Wondering how to address “pushback”? Would you like to know more about the contextual influences that impact policymakers? Interested in learning more about the debt crisis and why this is a systemic issue of oppression? Want to make a difference by advocating for the reduction of student loan debt among doctoral psychology students? Click here for day one and day two of a Federal Advocacy training co-hosted by the University of Utah’s Supporting Counseling Psychology Engagement (SCoPE) team and APA Advocacy! The videos also include a role play (in day 2!) that involves counseling psychology advocates and a “Congressional staff member” to demystify the process and help you gain federal advocacy self-efficacy!

In the words of past SCP President Anneliese Singh, “We all have a personal experience of liberation. It is the feeling deep in our bones when we are free from all the internalized messages we were taught of who we were supposed to be and the expansion we feel when we transform these messages into critical consciousness to act upon the world and change it.

The project of working toward liberation for all people who experience oppression is one that frees all of us along the way. Liberation is a psychological construct, but it only has meaning when we enact it. Liberation moves us beyond the debates of whether or not we should engage in advocacy and social justice, and moves us to envision the world we want to leave behind as counseling psychologists and actively build towards that world.

Think about it. What would a world free of racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, ableism, anti-immigrant sentiment, and other oppressions ‘look like?’Building a counseling psychology of liberation helps us dream that this new world can not only exist, but that there are also specific action steps as counseling psychologists that we can take right now to work towards that goal; and, this means ‘liberation’ should take its place alongside our other hallmark counseling psychology values of lifespan and career development, prevention and wellness, multiculturalism, and social justice.” (Singh, 2020, p. 1112-1113)

Singh, A. (2020). Building a counseling psychology of liberation: The path behind us, under us, and before us. The Counseling Psychologist, 48(8), 1109-1130. https://doi.org/10.1177/0011000020959007

(please contribute to it by sending an email to [email protected] with your suggestions)

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