1) I had a conversation with another counsellor the other day. We had never met or spoken before, but were discussing the possibility of doing some work together.

We got talking about something that we disagreed on – namely CSJT. 

We’ve had very different experiences in life, and these have led us to different points of view about a controversial topic.

Being open involved taking a risk. But I realised soon after we talked that we weren’t all that far apart in our attitude. This was a pleasant surprise. By exploring our differences, I could see what we had in common. I also noticed that my own point of view had shifted slightly, through sharing my thoughts with her. That’s another benefit, for me.

The risk probably isn’t all that great in this case – our livelihoods aren’t at stake. It’s much harder to have these conversations at your place of work, for instance. But  information could be used against me, and there is some risk to reputation I suppose.

I don’t know if the other person agrees with me that we have something in common in our attitude. I have emailed her, saying I found it a valuable conversation, but haven’t heard back.

Working together would have involved me travelling for several hours each way, and once I looked into this, it didn’t seem very appealing. I wonder if I’d have been more enthusiastic about the travelling, if we’d been more in agreement?

Anyway, I’m glad I had the conversation with her.

2) More generally, in our Zoom meeting, one of the suggestions in Val and Steve’s list was finding out what we are for, and not only what we’re against. Something in me has hope that conversations between people who disagree, although potentially risky, are also valuable. I know CSJT is all about power and all that, but maybe there’s an opportunity here.

Posted by Thalia.

One thought

  1. Hello,

    I had a similar experience to yours. I am a graduate level student of counseling. In our very first semester we are required to take a diversity course heavily influenced by CSJT. I am a vocal dissenter and take many of the opportunities presented to point out contradictions both within CJST and between CSJT and the counseling ethos. It almost always results in an awkward pause in which the professor struggles to reconcile the contradiction I pointed out. It has sometimes resulted in the faces of students turning hard. More than once, an angry or snarky comment was directed at me over the chat. (All our classes are over Zoom this semester).

    What I have found is that many professionals who have been caught up by CSJT are well-meaning, empathetic, and humanistic individuals who, in their naivete and desire to do good, bought into CSJT without fully realizing what it was, and now feel trapped – even if only on an unconscious level. In response to a paper I wrote (which was very critical of CSJT), I was given a high grade and she commented that she “values my critical thinking, my ‘alternative perspective’*, and my dissent” and that “these things are needed in the field”.

    My professor and myself have the same goals – we just disagree on how to get there.

    * Interesting that my perspective – individualistic and humanistic – is “alternative”.


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