Structural Competency as a Framework for Training in Counseling Psychology

Alisha Ali, Corianna E. Sichel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this article is to explore structural competency as a framework for training in counseling psychology. Structural competency as a guiding paradigm can be an important component of counseling practice that is informed by an understanding of the effects of oppression and structural-level disparities on the psychological well-being of marginalized groups and individuals. We outline a set of training principles that can inform the development of socially responsive curricula in counseling psychology programs. These principles are derived from the need for an emancipatory, liberatory stance among newly trained practitioners and from the need for counseling psychologists to engage in anti-oppression advocacy. We argue that part of this advocacy must involve partnering with clients to counteract the over-reliance on de-contextualized treatments that ignore the role that individual and collective agency can play in bringing about positive psychological change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)901-918
Number of pages18
JournalThe Counseling Psychologist
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2014


  • multiculturalism
  • prevention/well-being
  • professional issues
  • social justice
  • training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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