Philosophy that informs my approach to community work

As an instructor and Registered Clinical Counsellor, I supervise and support frontline workers who work alongside marginalized clients. I believe we can be of use in community work that happens in contexts of social injustices. When we operate in alignment with our ethics, embrace a spirit of solidarity, and collective responsibility, we can sustain ourselves and shore up each other in this challenging work.

How do we do this together?

At the heart of my work are Six Guiding Principles that shape my intentions and form the foundation from which I engage in my practice.

The Six Guiding Principles are:

1. Centering Ethics

Our personal and relational ethics are at the centre of how I approach supervision and training. As practitioners responding to clients’ varying needs, if we act in alignment with our collective ethics, then we have a positive impact on our community work and the entire field.

2. Doing Solidarity

Doing Solidarity means that we see all of our work as interconnected and that we act collectively to promote social justice and resist oppression. This concept evolved from the activist practice of looking for points of connection and bringing people together to create community.

3. Addressing Power

Addressing Power requires identifying injustices and taking positions that address abuses of power. It includes witnessing peoples’ resistance to oppression, and it invites creating practices of cultural and collective accountability.

4. Fostering Sustainability

We foster sustainability collectively by having a genuine connectedness with others and a spirited engagement with our work. This encompasses the capacity to experience ourselves as being of genuine use to clients with an openness to our transformations across time.

5. Engaging with Language

Language is a powerful tool used to resist or serve abuses of power, so I hold an overt intention of utilizing language in liberalizing ways. Critically engaging with language also recognizes the language of the body and acknowledges the intricate communications that happen over and beyond the use of words.

6. Structuring Safety

All conversations across difference are risky, and the possibility of doing harm by replicating oppression is one potential risk. Structuring Safety creates practices that invite safety into our work; informs us to act as allies where we are privileged; and to honour accountability and collaboration.

These Guiding Principles have shaped my values and outlook, while ensuring the continuous development of the work I undertake.