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  • 01 Nov 2017 10:10 PM | ORCA Editor (Administrator)

    All Perpetrators, All Victims: Some Reflections on Intersectionality

    by Victor Chang, PhD, LPC

    Intersectionality allows us to understand our various social identities, which are often associated with both privilege and oppression. Understanding this dynamic is crucial to informing our clinical and social justice work. We can start by acknowledging our own experience.

    As a boy, I experienced the privilege that comes from being a straight, cisgender male. Growing up in the 1970s as a son of Korean immigrants, however, I also experienced both overt prejudice and, more frequently, microaggressions. The classic began with “Where are you from?” and continued towards the inevitable insinuation that I couldn’t be “from here” or “American.” Sometimes, to get along, I would appear to shrug off slights aimed at immigrants who others perceived as “fresh off the boat.” I quietly demonstrated that my English was flawless – I was one of them. I remember feeling ashamed when clerks “struggled” to understand my mother’s non-native English. The pride I felt in passing as an all-American kid with my Little League games, “American” friends and other “non-Korean” interests would be intermittently shattered when someone else treated me as “other” or a “foreigner.” It was my privilege alongside my oppressions, arising from my intersecting identities that got me through those difficult times.

    In school, I experienced the positive stereotypes associated with being the “the model minority.” At the same time, I wondered what part of my success or personality was me and what was due to other influences. Was my dislike of math or science, my party animal persona really me or just my reaction against the stereotype? In college, I began to grasp my complex

    multicultural upbringing and the number it had done on me... and I grew from shame towards self- acceptance. Simultaneously, I began to glimpse how removed my social identities were from the “enlightened liberal” stance I’d assimilated. There’s nothing wrong with my stances, except that my critical consciousness was not yet involved. My overlapping identities and my role as a counselor were not yet integrated.

    As a mental health counselor on the Navajo reservation in Arizona, I thought I had a good biopsychosocial perspective on the traumas affecting my clients. I thought I understood Navajo culture and the historical effects of oppression on the Navajo. I also was participating in protests against the Black Mesa coal mine on tribal lands. Although the coalition was tribal members and (mostly white) environmentalists... I never connected my clinical work with my protesting. I must have had as clients some families whose lands were impacted. My clinical and social justice efforts could have been integrated and genuinely client- centered as my protesting would have been “work with” and not just “work on behalf of.”

    With an intersectional lens, I can integrate my multiple social identities, their associated privileges and oppressions, and how they ebb and flow over time and contexts. In college, I wrestled incompletely with the words of Juan Moreno who said “when it comes to oppression, we’re all perpetrators and we’re all victims,” but now I understand more deeply and can act more consciously. Society has changed, even as it remains stagnant. I no longer hide my love of kimchi - now I get to relish Korean food’s momentary hipness!

    Victor Chang, Ph.D, LPC is an assistant professor of psychology and clinical mental health counseling at Southern Oregon University. His clinical and research interests include: the therapeutic alliance (common factors), integrative approaches to psychotherapy, and trauma treatment. He can be reached at: changv@sou.edu

  • 24 Jun 2017 1:39 PM | Support Coordinator (Administrator)

    The special election period has ended, and the results are in.  Gianna Russo-Mitma will be ORCA's next President Elect!

    Thank you all for voting and we wish the best to Gianna in her new role. She's been an amazing member of ORCA's board for the past few years and so I'd like to think of it as not losing a Communications Chair, but gaining a President Elect.

    The swearing in will happen on our July 22nd board meeting.


  • 03 Apr 2017 7:05 PM | Support Coordinator (Administrator)

    We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 Oregon Counseling Association (ORCA) Elections!

    Drum roll please…..

    President Elect: Chad Ernest

    Chad Ernest in an LPC in Oregon and owner and main counselor for Sunny Sky Counseling, LLC. He is a member of Counselors for Social Justice (CSJ) and the American Counselors Association (ACA). Before this position, Chad was on the board of Oregon Counseling Association (ORCA) as the Policy and Advocacy Chair and President of the Coalition of Oregon Professional Associations for Counseling and Therapy (COPACT). He holds a B.S. in Psychology and Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, received in 2000, an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling, and a Graduate Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy from Capella University received in March 2011. Chad believes in a client/family centered approach with collaboration in treatment between the counselor and client/family. His goal of counseling overall is wellness and/or reconciliation with one’s self, family and the community, and he believes in incorporating various theories into his practice to suit the needs of clients. 

    Personally, Chad would like to add: I am married to a wonderful woman who is my main support in all my ventures. We have a ten-year-old son and have fostered other children.  I have two dogs (Sunny and Sky) (ah! the name of my practice), two cats (Madison and Sherlock).  I love to snowboard, read, write, camp, hike play video games, go for walks, watch anime, spend time with family and friends, and ride my motorcycle.

    And….

    Secretary: Mitch Elovitz

    Mitch Elovitz has been an LPC in Oregon since 2004. He has been an outpatient therapist since 2001, post Masters degree, and he has a specialty in DBT and CBT. Mitch also has experience in administrative work and supervisory work. Mitch has served on two other boards as secretary and soon as president. 

    Personally from Mitch: I really enjoy being involved in organizations and working with people on projects. I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling, watching baseball, walking my dogs, running, camping, eating, reading, getting massage, socializing, and just being involved and an active participant in life!

    Please welcome them to their new positions and we look forward to having them serve! 


  • 02 Jan 2017 2:54 PM | Support Coordinator (Administrator)

    Dear Counseling Community, we drafted this letter to offer you our support and solidarity in our new political climate, no matter your viewpoint.  We respect, value, and support all clients and practitioners in Oregon.

    Letter of Support and Solidarity for download

    Post-Election Press Release for download


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