A long-standing challenge in counseling practice is the application of multicultural and social justice competencies through traditional counseling paradigms, many of which uphold systems of oppression. Although contemporary standards for the profession emphasize the need for greater attention to systemic influences on clients’ lives, enacting frameworks such as the Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies (MSJCC) proposed by Ratts et al. without a complementary theoretical framework can be challenging for mental health counselors. Relational-cultural theory (RCT) offers such a framework to support counselors’ efforts to serve marginalized clients, as well as understand their own oppressed identities in the counseling room. Following an overview of RCT, the authors describe practical guidelines for enacting the MSJCC through RCT in clinical practice. A case study is provided to illustrate a workable application for mental health counselors.

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