Article Review

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You will write an article review,


relevant to this week’s learning module and readings. You will select the article yourself by searching the UWA Library Databases. The article you choose should be a research article (has a hypothesis that is empirically tested). Pick an article relevant to a topic covered in the weekly readings. Each review is worth 20 points.


The review should be 1-2 single-spaced pages in a 12-point font. It is in your best interest to submit your review before it is due so you may check your originality report and correct any spelling and grammatical errors identified by the software program. 

The purpose of the review is to provide students knowledge of how research is conducted and reported. The main part of your review needs to include the following information. Please comment on these aspects of the article as part of your review. Provide only the briefest summary of content. What I am most interested in is your critique and connection to weekly readings.  

Reference.Listed at the top of the paper in APA style. 

Introduction. Read the introduction carefully. The introduction should contain:


A thorough literature review that establishes the nature of the problem to be addressed in the present study (the literature review is specific to the problem)

· The literature review is current (generally, articles within the past 5 years)

· A logical sequence from what we know (the literature review) to what we don’t know (the unanswered questions raised by the review and what this study intended to answer

· The purpose of the present study

· The specific hypotheses/research questions to be addressed. 

· State the overall purpose of the paper. What was the main theme of the paper?

· What new ideas or information were communicated in the paper? 

· Why was it important to publish these ideas?

Methods. The methods section has three subsections. The methods sections should contain:

· The 
participants and the population they are intended to represent (are they described as well in terms of relevant demographic characteristics such as age, gender, ethnicity, education level, income level, etc?).

· The number of participants and how the participants were selected for the study

· A description of the 
tools/measuresused and research design employed. 

· A detailed description of the procedures of the study including participant instructions and whether incentives were given.

Results. The results section should contain a very thorough summary of results of all analyses. This section should include:

· Specific demographic characteristics of the sample

· A thorough narrative description of the results of all statistical tests that addressed specific hypotheses

· If there are tables and figures, are they also described in the text?

· If there are tables and figures, can they be interpreted “stand alone” (this means that they contain sufficient information in the title and footnotes so that a reader can understand what is being presented without having to go back to the text)?

Discussion. The discussion is where the author “wraps up the research”. This section should include:

· A simple and easy to understand summary of what was found

· Where the hypotheses supported or refuted?

· A discussion of how the author’s findings compares to those found in prior research

· The limitations of the study

· The implications of the findings to basic and applied researchers and to practitioners 



In your opinion, what were the strengths and weaknesses of the paper or document? Be sure to think about 
your impressionsand the reasons for them. Listing what the author wrote as limitations is not the same thing as forming your own opinions and justifying them to the reader.


. Were the findings important to a reader?

. Were the conclusions valid? Do you agree with the conclusions?

. If the material was technical, was the technical material innovative?



Once you provide the main critique of the article, you should include a final paragraph that gives me your overall impression of the study. Was the study worthwhile? Was it well-written and clear to those who may not have as much background in the content area? What was the overall contribution of this study to our child development knowledge base?  


APA Format Review


If you are unfamiliar or a bit “rusty” on your APA format, you may want to use the tutorial available through the APA website which is listed on your syllabus. 


Grading Criteria


I will grade your paper based upon:

· How well you followed directions (as indicated in this page) 

· How thoroughly you used examples to support the critique 

· How accurately you used APA format 

· your organization, grammar, and spelling 

· Integration of assigned weekly readings 

Journal of Counseling & Development ■ Winter 2007 ■ Volume 8524
© 2007 by the American Counseling Association. All rights reserved.

For many decades, counselors and counseling psychologists
have been concerned with the relationship between individu-
als’ mental health and the social milieus in which people live.
As the racial and ethnic diversity of the United States con-
tinues to increase, the need for mental health professionals
to tailor their mental health services to the needs of various
cultural populations has become more germane (Constantine,
Kindaichi, Arorash, Donnelly, & Jung, 2002). In particular,
the growing recognition of the negative consequences of
oppression in the lives of people of color has been crucial
in helping many counselors and counseling psychologists to
identify effective interventions to address such issues and to
work more broadly to effect social change (Hage, 2003; Vera
& Speight, 2003). Such awareness and actions have paralleled
the emergence of the multicultural competence movement
(Arredondo & Perez, 2003; Sue et al., 1982).

Multicultural competence generally is defined as the extent
to which counselors possess appropriate levels of self-aware-
ness, knowledge, and skills in working with individuals from
diverse cultural backgrounds (Arredondo et al., 1996; Sue,
Arredondo, & McDavis, 1992). In particular, self-aware-
ness entails being cognizant of one’s attitudes, beliefs, and
values regarding race, ethnicity, and culture, along with
one’s awareness of the sociopolitical relevance of cultural
group membership in terms of issues of cultural privilege,
discrimination, and oppression. The knowledge dimension
of multicultural competence refers to information one has
about various worldview orientations, histories of oppression
endured by marginalized populations, and culture-specific
values that influence the subjective and collective experi-
ences of marginalized populations. The skills component of
multicultural competence involves the ability to draw from an

existing fund of cultural knowledge to design mental health
interventions that are relevant to marginalized populations.
In many respects, multicultural competence has become
inextricably linked to counselors’ and counseling psycholo-
gists’ ability to commit to and actualize an agenda of social
justice (Kiselica & Robinson, 2001).

Social justice reflects a fundamental valuing of fairness
and equity in resources, rights, and treatment for marginal-
ized individuals and groups of people who do not share equal
power in society because of their immigration, racial, ethnic,
age, socioeconomic, religious heritage, physical ability, or
sexual orientation status groups (Fondacaro & Weinberg,
2002; Prilleltensky & Nelson, 1997). In order to address
social justice issues, some counselors and counseling psy-
chologists in the United States have adopted a professional
commitment to ensuring global or international social change
(Osborne et al., 1998). Others have been involved primar-
ily at a domestic level by being concerned with helping
members of U.S. society to deal with the personal, societal,
and institutional barriers that impede their academic, per-
sonal, social, or career development. Both of these levels
of involvement in social justice issues, however, are critical
in understanding the interdependence of macrosystems and
microsystems in people’s lives, especially in the lives of
marginalized populations.

In this article, we discuss the historical and contemporary
connection to social justice issues in the fields of counsel-
ing and counseling psychology vis-à-vis the multicultural
counseling movement. In addition, we underscore ways that
social justice issues can be incorporated into counselors’ and
counseling psychologists’ work with culturally diverse clients
and into the curricula of academic training programs.

Madonna G. Constantine, Sally M. Hage, and Mai M. Kindaichi, Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, all at Teach-
ers College, Columbia University; Rhonda M. Bryant, Department of Counseling, Educational Leadership and Foundations, Albany
State University. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Madonna G. Constantine, Department of Counsel-
ing and Clinical Psychology, Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 West 120th Street, Box 92, New York, NY 10027 (e-mail:

Social Justice and Multicultural Issues:
Implications for the Practice and
Training of Counselors and
Counseling Psychologists
Madonna G. Constantine, Sally M. Hage, Mai M. Kindaichi, and
Rhonda M. Bryant

The authors discuss the historical and contemporary connection to social justice issues in the fields of counseling and
counseling psychology via the multicultural counseling movement. In addition, the authors present ways in which social
justice issues can be addressed in counselors’ and counseling psychologists’ work with clients from diverse cultural
backgrounds and in graduate training programs.

Journal of Counseling & Development ■ Winter 2007 ■ Volume 85 25

Social Justice and Multicultural Issues

Social Justice and the Multicultural
Competencies: Their Connections
to the Fields of Counseling and
Counseling Psychology

Within the fields of counseling and counseling psychology,
the holistic, strengths-based philosophy about human nature
and its emphasis on instituting culturally relevant psychoedu-
cational, developmental, social, and vocational interventions
for diverse populations have provided fertile ground for many
social justice initiatives (Vera & Speight, 2003). In fact, many
counselors and counseling psychologists have functioned
as leaders in identifying and implementing guidelines that
address multicultural competence in mental health profes-
sionals (e.g., American Psychological Association [APA],
2003; Arredondo et al., 1996; Sue et al., 1992; Sue et al.,
1982; Sue et al., 1998). The development of such guidelines
or “competencies” has exemplified these fields’ commitment
to social change and remedying social injustices by assisting
various mental health professionals to understand individuals’
circumstances and concerns from a more ecological perspec-
tive (Fondacaro & Weinberg, 2002; Vera & Speight, 2003).
Moreover, the Multicultural Competencies have contributed to
greater awareness of the potentially oppressive roles that these
professionals could unintentionally play through unfounded
assumptions about the universality of cultures and human
experiences (Arredondo & Perez, 2003).

The original presentation of the Multicultural Counseling
Competencies was published in a counseling psychology
journal in the early 1980s (i.e., Sue et al., 1982). Ten years
later, under the leadership of Thomas A. Parham, then-
president of the Association for Counseling and Multicultural
Development, the second iteration of the Multicultural Coun-
seling Competencies was presented (i.e., Sue et al., 1992). In
1996, Arredondo et al. issued a framework that operationalized
the revised version of the Multicultural Counseling Competen-
cies. In 1998, Sue et al. added two competencies related to
organizational multicultural competence. Previous delineations
of the Multicultural Counseling Competencies served as the
backbone of the recent “Guidelines on Multicultural Educa-
tion, Training, Research, Practice, and Organizational Change
for Psychologists” (APA, 2003), which was endorsed by the
APA Council of Representatives in August 2002. Thus, the
broader field of psychology was challenged to adhere to these
aspirational guidelines to promote multicultural competence
in various dimensions of professional practice (e.g., service
delivery, research, and training).

The Multicultural Counseling Competencies (Sue et
al., 1992) were developed as an independent social justice
movement devoted to increasing the relevance of mental
health practice, research, and training to diverse populations
(Arredondo & Perez, 2003). However, most of the existing

literature related to the Multicultural Competencies reflects
attention to issues of social justice at a microlevel (e.g.,
individual counseling and small-group interventions). Such
interventions, however, are generally limited in their ability to
foster broader social change and, consequently, to bring about
true social justice (Helms, 2003). Fairly recent writings (e.g.,
Blustein, Elman, & Gerstein, 2001; Eriksen, 1999; Fox, 2003;
Jackson, 2000; Lee, 1997; Prilleltensky & Prilleltensky, 2003;
Vera & Speight, 2003) have called for increasing numbers of
counselors and counseling psychologists to engage in profes-
sional roles that attend more fully to social and contextual
forces that affect people’s mental health and well-being. As
such, in conducting social justice work, some of these mental
health professionals have adopted roles that have taken them
beyond their offices to settings such as community centers,
churches, school systems, and even legislative bodies for
the purpose of facilitating systemic changes in response to
social injustices (Hage, 2003; Kiselica & Robinson, 2001;
Thompson, Murry, Harris, & Annan, 2003). In addition, coun-
selors and counseling psychologists have been encouraged
to assume preventive mental health roles (e.g., Hage, 2003;
Romano & Hage, 2000) as extensions of social justice and
multicultural agendas.

In our clinical and research work in the areas of multicul-
tural competence and social justice, we have identified nine
specific social justice competencies that we believe are impor-
tant for counselors and counseling psychologists to consider
as they work with increasingly diverse cultural populations in
the United States. These competencies are as follows:

1. Become knowledgeable about the various ways op-
pression and social inequities can be manifested at
the individual, cultural, and societal levels, along
with the ways such inequities might be experienced
by various individuals, groups, organizations, and

2. Participate in ongoing critical reflection on issues of
race, ethnicity, oppression, power, and privilege in
your own life.

3. Maintain an ongoing awareness of how your own
positions of power or privilege might inadvertently
replicate experiences of injustice and oppression in in-
teracting with stakeholding groups (e.g., clients, com-
munity organizations, and research participants).

4. Question and challenge therapeutic or other interven-
tion practices that appear inappropriate or exploitative
and intervene preemptively, or as early as feasible,
to promote the positive well-being of individuals or
groups who might be affected.

5. Possess knowledge about indigenous models of health
and healing and actively collaborate with such entities,
when appropriate, in order to conceptualize and imple-
ment culturally relevant and holistic interventions.

Journal of Counseling & Development ■ Winter 2007 ■ Volume 852�

Constantine, Hage, Kindaichi, & Bryant

6. Cultivate an ongoing awareness of the various types of
social injustices that occur within international contexts;
such injustices frequently have global implications.

7. Conceptualize, implement, and evaluate comprehen-
sive preventive and remedial mental health interven-
tion programs that are aimed at addressing the needs
of marginalized populations.

8. Collaborate with community organizations in
democratic partnerships to promote trust, minimize
perceived power differentials, and provide culturally
relevant services to identified groups.

9. Develop system intervention and advocacy skills to
promote social change processes within institutional
settings, neighborhoods, and communities.

Social Justice Issues and
Counseling Practice

Active involvement in advocacy, community outreach, and
public policy making are prime examples of interventions that
can promote attention to social justice issues among practic-
ing counselors and counseling psychologists (Eriksen, 1999;
Hage, 2003; Vera & Speight, 2003). In the spirit of encour-
aging mental health professionals to broaden their potential
repertoire of helping behaviors beyond those associated with
providing individual counseling or psychotherapy, Atkinson,
Thompson, and Grant (1993) presented a framework that
addressed eight potential helping roles in relation to working
with diverse cultural populations: (a) facilitator of indigenous
healing methods, (b) facilitator of indigenous support systems,
(c) adviser, (d) advocate, (e) change agent, (f) consultant, (g)
counselor, and (h) psychotherapist. Atkinson et al. proposed
that the assumption of any given role(s) depended on the
interaction of three client-based factors: clients’ level of ac-
culturation (i.e., the degree to which clients identify with the
values, beliefs, customs, and institutions of their culture of
origin and the host culture), the locus of the etiology of clients’
presenting problem(s) (i.e., the extent to which clients’ pre-
senting issues stem from internal issues or dynamics or from
external sources), and the goals of intervention or treatment
(i.e., the desired outcomes of helping).

Mental health professionals often adopt the counselor and
psychotherapist roles because they have been taught almost
exclusively to do so in the context of their training programs
(Constantine et al., 2002). However, the assumption of such
roles without full consideration of clients’ level of accultura-
tion, problem etiology, and treatment goals might result in the
delivery of ineffective or culturally irrelevant services. For
example, some low-acculturated individuals might experi-
ence interpersonal difficulties stemming from internal issues
(e.g., low self-esteem), but these individuals may not feel
comfortable or safe in helping relationships with counselors
or counseling psychologists who are not members of their
indigenous frameworks of helping (e.g., family members or

close friends). In such cases, these clients might benefit more
from working with counselors or counseling psychologists
who are able to serve as facilitators of indigenous support
systems or facilitators of indigenous healing methods. In
adopting either of these latter roles, these mental health
professionals should be aware of the potential functions and
importance of indigenous cultural resources, such as family
and friendship networks, religious figures and institutions,
respected community elders or leaders, and “energy healers,”
who could provide assistance that might be more synchronous
with some clients’ worldviews and values.

The roles of adviser, consultant, advocate, and change
agent embody tenets of social justice and activism through
client empowerment and advocacy. In particular, counselors
and counseling psychologists serve as advocates and change
agents when they communicate or interface with structures,
organizations, or institutions that marginalized or disenfran-
chised individuals or groups of people perceive as inherently
oppressive to their well-being. For example, a Black gay
male real estate agent, repeatedly overlooked for promotions
despite an exceptional sales record, might seek counseling or
psychotherapy to address his depressive symptoms arising
from a sense of feeling powerless at work. Although counsel-
ing or psychotherapy might assist this client in achieving his
stated presenting goal, the client also might be helped by a
counselor or counseling psychologist who could assume other
roles such as (a) aiding the client to identify his experiences
regarding racial and/or sexual discrimination and (b) helping
the client to identify potential legal recourses related to his
experiences of discrimination on the job (e.g., serving as an
adviser or consultant). The client also could be encouraged to
join a gay men’s support group or a support group consisting
of men of color in order to obtain support for discussing is-
sues of discrimination based on race or sexual orientation (i.e.,
serving as a facilitator of an indigenous support system). This
example shows that counselors and counseling psychologists
committed to principles of social justice must develop skills in
creativity and courage in order to ameliorate the consequences
of social injustice.

Using the following case example, we illustrate some ways
in which several of Atkinson et al.’s (1993) helping roles
outside of those of counselor and psychotherapist might be
assumed by a counselor or counseling psychologist working
with an international college student.

Case Example

Lydia (a pseudonym) is a 20-year-old, 3rd-year college student
from Lima, Peru, who attends a predominantly White univer-
sity in the midwestern United States. According to the intake
counselor at the university college center, Lydia presented
with issues related to feelings of homesickness. Throughout
her college experience, Lydia stated that she has struggled to
“fit” into the campus community. She also indicated that she
daydreams about her life in Peru, especially her friends and

Journal of Counseling & Development ■ Winter 2007 ■ Volume 85 27

Social Justice and Multicultural Issues

family, and that she misses speaking Spanish. Lydia spoke fluent
English, with a very slight Peruvian accent. At the end of her
intake session, Lydia requested to work with a Latina therapist,
preferably one who spoke Spanish. However, no Latina counselor
was available for ongoing counseling sessions, so Lydia was as-
signed to work with an Asian American female counselor.

During her initial counseling sessions, Lydia discussed her
erratic sleeping patterns, noting that her sleep cycles had been
short and interrupted over the past 3 weeks. She also stated that
she often had to remind herself to eat and that she had been
feeling lethargic and disinterested in her academic courses.
In addition, she reported that she had begun to withdraw from
her friends in the dorm because, she said, she “doesn’t want
to burden them with my problems.”

Lydia indicated that her symptoms began shortly after the
semester had begun, about 1 month ago. After 2 years of work-
ing part time as a teller with a Latino male supervisor with
whom she was on friendly terms, the supervisor left and was
replaced by a White woman. When Lydia was under review
for a salary increase, a financial discrepancy arose in which
the bank till was short. The female supervisor denied Lydia a
raise, despite a flawless work record, and then accused Lydia of
stealing from the bank. During this same time period, Lydia’s
philosophy professor asked her to respond to a question in
class, to which she hesitated because she felt “self-conscious”
about her accent and ability to articulate her thoughts clearly.
In the middle of Lydia’s response, her professor interrupted
and said, “Hurry up, chica,” to which her classmates laughed.
Lydia felt mortified, and, shortly after these incidents, she
became easily distracted from her studies and cared less about
schoolwork in general. Lydia remarked,

It’s not only that I think I don’t fit in here, but it’s like nobody
really wants me here, and I don’t want to be here either. I work
20 hours a week at the bank with that woman and twice as
long as other students [in completing homework assignments].
Somehow, even though my grades are good, I feel down and
drained. I try to show my teachers that I’m as smart as every-
body else, but they keep asking me if I need a tutor and to speak
quicker. I feel like no one else is going through what I’m going
through. Maybe I should just go back home to Lima.

Discussion of the Case Example

Lydia’s intake counselor initially had conceptualized her
situation as involving feelings of homesickness. However,
as Lydia worked with her assigned counselor, it appeared
that her experiences of cultural discrimination in her work
setting and in her classes had precipitated some depressive
symptoms. Lydia’s counselor explored her feelings about her
employment and educational experiences as related to ethnic
and gender discrimination and considered additional ways she
might be able to help address some of Lydia’s concerns in ways
that extended beyond their direct one-on-one work together.
For example, her counselor assumed the role of adviser by

educating Lydia about how to access civil protections against
discrimination, such as consulting with the campus Affirma-
tive Action Office and the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission. The counselor also undertook a change agent
role on the university campus by offering cultural sensitivity
workshops to faculty members and students, focusing on rais-
ing participants’ awareness of international college students’
cultural adjustment experiences. Such a role could represent
one potential way of indirectly helping Lydia and other inter-
national students to experience less distress related to cultural
insensitivities or racism on campus. Lydia’s counselor also
served as a facilitator of an indigenous support system by
referring Lydia to a Latino(a) student organization so that she
could interact with and obtain support from other Latino(a)s
on campus who might be experiencing similar issues.

Social Justice Issues and
Counseling Training

To prepare future counselors and counseling psychologists
to assume social justice roles, it is vital that the structure,
requirements, and goals of many graduate training programs
are modified to assist students in developing competencies to
intervene at broader levels. Social justice training initiatives,
which often include applied service delivery components
(e.g., Kenny & Gallagher, 2000; Pearlman & Bilodeau, 1999;
Victims’ Service Program, 1992), have offered some graduate
students in counseling and counseling psychology with oppor-
tunities to translate their academic knowledge into real-world
contexts by developing and implementing innovative models
and programs within large community sites and by becoming
involved in social policy work (Pearlman & Bilodeau, 1999).
For example, service-learning training programs can provide
students with a practical understanding of large-scale societal
inequities, along with mechanisms by which they may intervene
to effect change (Kenny & Gallagher, 2000). In addition,
service-learning programs could offer opportunities to gain
valuable research, evaluation, and program development skills
in the context of community mental health settings, which coun-
selor and counseling psychology trainees could then transfer to
other related settings (Kenny & Gallagher, 2000).

Some counselor and counseling psychology training pro-
grams also might consider including educational, legal, and
public policy institutions as experiential or applied learning
sites for the development of critical social justice competen-
cies among their students. For example, Boston College has
partnered with the Boston Public School System’s School-to-
Career program to facilitate academic–community collabora-
tion and to provide trainees with an opportunity to learn from
educational empowerment programs (Hartung & Blustein,
2002). Within this partnership, trainees work with ninth-grade
students by offering career counseling psychoeducational
services focusing on four areas (i.e., identity development, rec-
ognizing resources and barriers to academic and career goals,

Journal of Counseling & Development ■ Winter 2007 ■ Volume 8528

Constantine, Hage, Kindaichi, & Bryant

bridging school and work, and building personal strengths).
Academic–legal collaborations also may offer counselor and
counseling psychology trainees with opportunities to witness
litigation issues related to the victimization of specific groups
of people, such as racial discrimination and sexual harassment
cases. Furthermore, collaborations with legal entities or insti-
tutions might provide these trainees with increased fluency in
navigating bureaucratic processes (Fox, 1993, 1999).

Working in social justice training settings that emphasize
less traditional helping roles could challenge some counselor
and counseling psychology trainees to work outside of their
comfort zones. Moreover, trainees who work with some com-
munity action organizations might encounter difficulties in the
initial stages of establishing trust with some of these entities,
particularly if these students and the community’s constituents
are racially, ethnically, and/or socioeconomically different from
each other. Hence, it is vital that counselor and counseling
psychology trainees who engage in social advocacy work with
organizations reflect on their personal ecological histories and
how their values, beliefs, and privileges can either facilitate or
undermine their work efforts (Prilleltensky, 2001). Experience
in community-based social justice settings also could contribute
to these trainees’ abilities to self-reflect about issues of race,
ethnicity, oppression, power, and privilege relative to their own
lives (Mulvey et al., 2000) and to nurture their competence in
working with a broader array of individuals.

Another potential issue related to counselor and counseling
psychology training and social justice initiatives pertains to
the importance of trainees critically examining their ethical
judgment and decision-making styles in relation to clients
from diverse cultural populations. For example, Welfel and
Lipsitz (1983) reported that counselors’ ethical orientation
was positively correlated with moral reasoning, counseling
experience, and number of contributions made to profes-
sional and social action organizations. If attention is given to
understanding how ethical orientation and decision-making
processes of counselor and counseling psychology trainees
might relate to the assumption of social justice initiatives in
a professional context, it might encourage these students to
recognize areas that might need attention with regard to their
competence as service providers.

Lee (1997) asserted that mental health professionals should
become better trained to understand social justice issues from a
more global perspective. This point is based on the notion that
as the interconnectedness of the world becomes increasingly
acknowledged in psychology, social and economic forces will
continue to reshape the composition of societies throughout
the world and narrow the physical and social distance between
groups of people. As such, counselor and counseling psychol-
ogy training programs also should focus on worldwide social
transformation and the need for mental health intervention at
the individual, group, organizational, societal, and interna-
tional levels. Hence, counselor and counseling psychology
trainees should be encouraged and required to understand

how mental health issues may be manifested in populations
residing outside of the United States.

One mechanism that could provide counseling and counseling
psychology students with applied training in this vein would be
the opportunity to conduct a practicum or internship outside of
the United States (Lee, 1997). For example, in a collection of
narratives by feminist community psychologists (Mulvey et al.,
2000), Ingrid Huygens described how her efforts to engage Maori
women in a lesbian health promotion group forced her to reevalu-
ate her notions of relationship building, in comparison with Maori
cultural practices that initiate collaborations. Her efforts also led
her to realize that the numerical or physical representation of
people from marginalized groups within certain contexts was
not necessarily equivalent to the sharing of procedural power in
such contexts. Thus, opportunities for counselor and counseling
psychology trainees to participate in foreign exchange programs
would expose students to different cultural ecologies and racial
landscapes that could encourage them to reflect more deliberately
on their status as helpers and as cultural beings (Lee, 1997).

Finally, counselor and counseling psychology training pro-
grams might consider increasing the emphasis given to preven-
tion in their curricula and research initiatives (Conyne, 1997;
Romano & Hage, 2000). In addition to developing practicums
that give greater emphasis to applying and evaluating preven-
tion interventions, a prevention focus could be achieved either
through freestanding courses or through infusion into existing
courses. Romano and Hage suggested eight training domains
relevant to prevention that could be the content of such course
work: community and multidisciplinary collaboration, social
and political history, protective factors and risk-reduction
strategies, systemic intervention, political and social environ-
ment, psychoeducational groups for prevention, prevention
research and evaluation, and prevention ethics. These training
domains could provide students with knowledge and skills to
engage effectively in the practice of prevention.

Counselors and counseling psychologists must continue to
think creatively about how to address social justice issues
in their own work with clients and with students in training
in their fields. As leaders in the multicultural competence
movement, counselors and counseling psychologists are also
in unique and powerful positions to educate their peers about
the importance of mental health professionals achieving
appropriate levels of competence in working with diverse
cultural populations. Counselors and counseling psycholo-
gists are situated in an optimal position to help society’s in-
habitants understand the undue effects of social injustices for
the well-being of the larger society. The increasing cultural
diversity of the United States underscores the importance
and timeliness of these issues, which ultimately could have
profound implications for the well-being of individuals
around the world.

Journal of Counseling & Development ■ Winter 2007 ■ Volume 85 29

Social Justice and Multicultural Issues

American Psychological Association. (2003). Guidelines on multi-

cultural education, training, research, practice, and organizational
change for psychologists. American Psychologist, 58, 377–402.

Arredondo, P., & Perez, P. (2003). Expanding multicultural compe-
tence through social justice leadership. The Counseling Psycholo-
gist, 31, 282–289.

Arredondo, P., Toporek, R., Brown, S. P., Jones, J., Locke, D. C.,
Sanchez, J., et al. (1996). Operationalization of the Multicultural
Counseling Competencies. Journal of Multicultural Counseling
and Development, 24, 42–78.

Atkinson, D. R., Thompson, C. E., & Grant, S. K. (1993). A three-
dimensional model for counseling racial/ethnic minorities. The
Counseling Psychologist, 21, 257–277.

Blustein, D., Elman, N., & Gerstein, L. (2001, July). Executive
report: Social action groups (SAGs). Report from the National
Counseling Psychology conference presented to the executive
boards of Division 17 and the Council of Counseling Psychology
Training Programs.

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Journal of Counseling & Development ■ April 2014 ■ Volume 92 131

Special Section:
Professionalism, Ethics, and
Value-Based Conflicts in Counseling

© 2014 by the American Counseling Association. All rights reserved.

DOI: 10.1002/j.1556-6676.2014.00138.x

The primary purpose of a code of ethics, for any profession, is
to establish norms and expectations for practitioners in order
to collectively minimize the risk of harm to clients and the
general public (Welfel, 2010). In a broader sense, a code of
ethics is also a reflection of the profession’s collective values
and moral principles. Indeed, the establishment of a code of
ethics, which communicates a normative orientation to the
service of others and a commitment to protect the welfare
of clients, is considered the “hallmark of professionalism”
(Gorman & Sandefur, 2011, p. 279). Promulgation of a code
of ethics places the needs and interests of clients over and
above the personal needs or values of any individual member
of the profession (DeMitchell, Hebert, & Phan, 2013; Gor-
man & Sandefur, 2011). A code of ethics helps to ensure
the primacy of client welfare by articulating a profession’s
collective set of values and communicating standards of prac-
tice for all members of that profession. Because laws set the
minimum standards of acceptable behavior, ethical standards
often exceed the legal requirements articulated in federal and
state laws (Corey, Corey, & Callanan, 2011). Entry into and
continued association with a profession requires all of its
practitioners to make a commitment that they will abide by
the profession’s code of ethics and the profession’s collective
values as reflected in that code.

By all measures, counseling is a profession (Gorman
& Sandefur, 2011). Counseling is a vocation that requires
individuals to obtain specific, university-based training to
acquire expertise in a specialized set of knowledge and
skills; confers status and power upon its members; has an

Perry C. Francis and Suzanne M. Dugger, Department of Leadership and Counseling, Eastern Michigan University. Correspon-
dence concerning this article should be addressed to Perry C. Francis, Department of Leadership and Counseling, Eastern Michigan
University, 135 Porter Building, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 (e-mail:

Professionalism, Ethics, and
Value-Based Conflicts in Counseling:

Introduction to the Special Section

Perry C. Francis and Suzanne M. Dugger, Guest Editors

This introduction to this special section of the Journal of Counseling & Development explores the importance of a code
of ethics to the establishment and maintenance of a profession. Recognizing a code of ethics as a communication of
a profession’s collective values and expectations, the editors of this special section acknowledge the dilemmas that
arise when a counselor’s personal values do not align with the profession’s collective values. The authors of each
article address value-based conflicts in counseling.

Keywords: counselor training, ethics, litigation, religion, LGBT

established national association through which it establishes
a collective identity, communicates professional values, dis-
seminates scholarly research, and advocates for its members;
and regulates itself through licensure and a code of ethics.

Although counselors vary with regard to specializations
and/or the settings in which they practice, they are united as a
single profession through the American Counseling Associa-
tion (ACA). Through this umbrella association, counselors
of varied specializations come together for the purposes of
promoting a shared professional identity, protecting clients,
and promulgating the ACA Code of Ethics (ACA, 2005) to
which all members must adhere. In addition, many counselors
join divisions within ACA, which are focused on more spe-
cialized areas of practice (e.g., college or school counseling)
or shared goals or ideals (e.g., social justice). When these
divisions have established their own code of ethics, those
codes are designed to supplement, not supplant, the ACA
Code of Ethics. As such, their members are responsible for
adhering to those specialized ethical standards and the ACA
Code of Ethics.

Values and Expectations Communicated
by the ACA Code of Ethics

The collective values of the counseling profession are com-
municated in the ACA Code of Ethics (ACA, 2005). Included
within these values and most relevant to this special section
are the recognition of each client’s inherent worth and dignity;
a respect for each client’s uniqueness, autonomy, and right

Journal of Counseling & Development ■ April 2014 ■ Volume 92132

Francis & Dugger

to self-determination; an honoring of human growth and
development; and a respect for diversity within our clientele
and a valuing of cultural competence in counselors. Related
to the communication of these values, ACA (2005) also com-
municated expectations for professional behavior, stating “the
primary responsibility of counselors is to respect the dignity
and promote the welfare of clients” (Standard A.1.a.).

Toward this goal, professional counselors are expected
to conduct themselves in ways that demonstrate a genuine
valuing of each client as a unique individual, that honor each
client’s right to make choices in accordance with his or her
own personal beliefs and standards, and that facilitate each
client’s growth within a myriad of developmental domains
(ACA, 2005, preamble). Professional counselors are also ex-
pected to constantly strive toward increased levels of cultural
competence (Standard C.2.a.) and to avoid discriminatory
practices with respect to a wide variety of cultural dimen-
sions (Standard C.5.). Indeed, competence as a professional
counselor is contingent upon one’s ability to “embrace a
cross-cultural approach in support of the worth, dignity,
potential, and uniqueness of people within their social and
cultural contexts” (ACA, 2005, preamble). In respecting the
diversity of clients, professional counselors must be “aware
of their own values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors and avoid
imposing values” (ACA, 2005, Standard A.4.b.).

Values, Power, and Potential for Harm
In light of the prohibition against counselors imposing their
values on clients, counselors should recognize the ways in
which their personal values may be directly or indirectly
communicated to clients and be aware of how the power
differential that exists within each counseling relationship
may result in the imposition of their values. Although most
counselors understand that directly communicating their
values to clients is unacceptable, concerted effort and con-
stant vigilance are necessary to avoid communicating their
values indirectly. Without such vigilance, counselors may
inadvertently communicate their personal values through
nonverbal and extraverbal responses to client disclosures,
by which client stories they focus on and which they avoid,
by how convincingly they communicate caring and respect
for a client, by which interventions they select, by the sug-
gestions they make or the homework they assign, and by
their willingness to continue seeing a client. In such ways,
counselors may intentionally or inadvertently communicate
their personal values to their clients.

Although communication of one’s own values within an
equal, reciprocal relationship would not constitute an imposi-
tion of values, communication of one’s personal values within
an unequal relationship with a vulnerable client can result in
the imposition of values. Zinnbauer and Pargament (2000)
showed that, when a counselor’s values are communicated
during psychotherapy, clients demonstrate a tendency to

move toward adopting those values. Factors likely to contrib-
ute to such influence include the power differential present
within the counseling relationship, the counselor’s perceived
expertise, and the client’s vulnerability. Individuals who are
most vulnerable to this potential imposition of values include
clients or students in any setting where the choice of a coun-
selor may be restricted (e.g., K–12 schools, small colleges
and universities) or where professional services are limited
to a handful of potential practitioners (e.g., clients in rural
or underserved areas).

To be sure, though, the potential for an abuse of power
exists in every counseling relationship, and clients are vul-
nerable to undue influence and microaggressions that can
occur when a counselor communicates any personal values
that are contrary to those of the client (Sue, 2010; Zinnbauer
& Pargament, 2000). When clients are struggling with issues
about which they feel confused, conflicted, or ambivalent,
even the most subtle communication of personal values has
a likelihood of swaying a client to act in accordance with
the counselor’s values rather than facilitating the client’s
exploration of his or her own values. In this way, values can
be imposed. Therefore, the expectation that counselors take
special care in not imposing their values is especially impor-
tant in demonstrating respect for each client’s right to make
choices in accordance with his or her own personal beliefs
and standards and in avoiding discriminatory practices. In the
absence of such restraint, counselors place clients at risk for
harm in ways that may be blatant or subtle and rationalized
as a means to providing the best care for the client (Shiles,
2009; Sue, 2010).

Value Conflicts
Although the ACA Code of Ethics (ACA, 2005) prescribes
expectations for professional behavior, the ultimate hope is
that each individual counselor will internalize the profession’s
collective values. The preamble of the ACA Code of Ethics
delineates this:

Professional values are an important way of living out an
ethical commitment. Values inform principles. Inherently held
values that guide our behaviors or exceed prescribed behaviors
are deeply ingrained in the counselor and developed out of
personal dedication, rather than the mandatory requirement
of an external organization. (ACA, 2005, preamble)

Such internalization, however, does not always occur. This
lack of internalization is most likely when there are areas of
conflict between an individual’s personal values and the pro-
fession’s collective values as articulated by the ACA Code of
Ethics (ACA, 2005). Such value conflicts are the focus of this
special section. Specifically, this special section is designed
to address the dilemmas that occur when an individual coun-
selor’s personal values conflict with the profession’s collective

Journal of Counseling & Development ■ April 2014 ■ Volume 92 133

Introduction to the Special Section

values as communicated in its code of ethics. At the heart of
these dilemmas is the issue of how best to protect clients from
harm that may result from counselors acting in accordance
with their personal values and in violation of the collective
values of the profession.

Recent and Not-So-Recent
Value Conflicts

Recent court cases (i.e., Keeton v. Anderson-Wiley, 2010; Ward
v. Wilbanks, 2009) challenged the profession about what to do
when the personally held values of counselors are in conflict
with the ACA Code of Ethics (ACA, 2005). The aformentioned
court cases focused on a specific conflict between the personal
values of some counselors and the collective values of the
profession. Whereas the profession values diversity, prohibits
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (and many
other factors), and requires that “counselors gain knowledge,
personal awareness, sensitivity, and skills pertinent to work-
ing with a diverse client population” (ACA, 2005, Standard
C.2.a.), some counselors and counselors-in-training object to
the idea of providing counseling services to nonheterosexual
clients in any manner that could be mistaken for acceptance
of their lifestyle. They contend that any requirement for them
to do so is discriminatory against their constitutional right to
practice in accordance with their religious beliefs. In contrast,
the profession (via ACA) argued that communication of
such beliefs reflects an imposition of one’s personal values
and that a refusal to see nonheterosexual clients represents
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (Ex. at Sep.
30, 2009; see also
EMUamicusbrief ).

Central to this dilemma for some counselors is a belief
that the only ways to honor their personal and/or religious
beliefs as counselors are by directly communicating one’s
values to the client, refusing to discuss same-sex relation-
ships with clients, or implementing a policy of automatically
referring nonheterosexual clients to other counselors. We
respectfully disagree with this belief and offer a discussion
of a much less recent dilemma to illustrate another pos-
sibility. Whereas sexual orientation and gay rights are the
hot-button issues of the day that most frequently conflict
with religious beliefs, a different issue caused similar con-
troversy in the 1960s. That decade was marked by the sexual
revolution and an increasing level of societal acceptance of
sexual activity outside of marriage. This issue, too, caused
great consternation for people who held religious beliefs
against such activity.

One can easily imagine a counselor in 1965 feeling deeply
conflicted when faced with a client engaged in sexual activ-
ity outside of marriage; the counselor’s conflict would have
reflected religious beliefs that were opposed to such activity.
If counselors also believed that the only way they could honor

their religious convictions was to communicate their values to
the client, refuse to discuss extramarital sexual relationships
with clients, or implement a policy of automatically referring
those clients to other counselors, how would this action have
affected those clients? As it happens, Carl Rogers encountered
just such a client, and his session with “Gloria” was recorded
on a widely disseminated training video that is still used today
(Shostrom, 1965) and is now available on YouTube.

Although we do not know what religious beliefs Carl
Rogers held or whether he experienced any value conflict
when counseling Gloria, we do know that (a) Gloria revealed
her participation in casual sexual relationships after her re-
cent divorce and (b) her counselor could have experienced
a value conflict in this situation. In a particularly tender
point in the session, Gloria expressed feeling guilty about
engaging in these sexual relationships and guilty for lying
to her daughter about it. When Gloria directly asked Carl
Rogers what she should do, she was clearly vulnerable to
an imposition of his values. Consider how the following
possible responses—none of which were made by Carl
Rogers—could have affected Gloria:

• “This is your life and you can do as you like, but I
believe that sex outside of marriage is a sin.”

• “Your sexual relationships aren’t something I am
comfortable discussing with you. What else would
you like to talk about?”

• “I know a great counselor across town who specializes
in these issues, and I would like to refer you.”

Our hope is that the potential harm that could befall Glo-
ria as a result of such responses is clearly evident. Already
feeling guilty, Gloria was especially vulnerable to signs
of disapproval or rejection. Carl Rogers’s actual response
offered neither. Additionally, and very importantly, his
response also did not communicate acceptance. Instead, he
acknowledged hearing Gloria’s plea for advice about what
to do and communicated that, although he wished he could
tell her what she should do, this was a very personal deci-
sion that only she could make.

For counselors facing any similar dilemma involving a
conflict between their personal value system and the pro-
fession’s values, we suggest that this approach may offer
a way to resolve the conflict. This nondirective approach
does not violate the ACA Code of Ethics (ACA, 2005) and
allows a counselor to honor personal religious beliefs. It
simply does not involve communicating those beliefs to the
client via direct statements; indirect, selective attention to
topics; or referrals.

Focus of the Special Section
Each of the articles in this special section addresses the issue
of value conflicts and explores means by which they might be

Journal of Counseling & Development ■ April 2014 ■ Volume 92134

Francis & Dugger

reconciled. The section begins with three articles addressing
the recent Ward v. Wilbanks (2009) court case. In the open-
ing article, Suzanne Dugger and Perry Francis describe the
case and offer insights into the lessons learned. Next, ACA’s
chief professional officer, David Kaplan, analyzes the ethi-
cal implications of the case and describes ACA’s position on
the issues raised by this case. Then, Barbara Herlihy, Mary
Hermann, and Leigh Greden explore the legal and ethical
implications of using religious beliefs as the basis for refusing
to counsel certain clients.

The section then shifts from this narrow focus on the
Ward v. Wilbanks (2009) case to a broader exploration of
value-based conflicts within the counseling profession. In her
article, Irene Ametrano addresses ways in which counselor
educators can teach ethical decision making and help students
reconcile their personal values with the profession’s values.
Also addressing ways to prepare future counselors to deal
with values conflicts, Joy Whitman and Markus Bidell’s article
explores ways to bridge the gap between religious beliefs and
affirmative counselor education. In the next article, Markus
Bidell explores the experience of individual counselors expe-
riencing discord between their conservative religious beliefs
and the expectation that they, as professional counselors,
will not discriminate in offering positive regard to clients.
Next, Michael Kocet and Barbara Herlihy reveal their newly
developed model for ethical decision making. This model is
focused on addressing value-based conflicts that may arise
within a counseling relationship.

Finally, this special section concludes with two articles
dedicated to exploring the perspectives of various religions
pertaining to sexual orientation and value conflicts. Richard
Balkin, Richard Watts, and Saba Ali offer Jewish, Christian,
and Muslim perspectives on the intersection of faith, race,
and sexual orientation. In the final article, Devika Choudhuri

and Kurt Kraus address ways in which Buddhist perspec-
tives may be useful in reconciling value conflicts that arise
in counseling.

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