Clinical Social Workers: Advocates for Social Justice

  • Anne Marie McLaughlin University of Calgary
Keywords: Advocacy, social justice, mental health


Advocacy activities provide an avenue for all social workers to connect their practice with the profession’s aim of social justice. In fact, it is this social justice connection to the advocacy role that may distinguish social work from other professions. Yet advocacy remains a controversial practice for many clinical social workers. This study reports on one aspect of a larger study (McLaughlin, 2006), which examined how clinical social workers in mental health conceptualized social justice as part of their work. The data revealed a strong relationship exists between clinical social work practice, social justice and advocacy. The concept of advocacy that emerged from the data was multi-dimensional and included strategies that were instrumental, educational, and practical.

Author Biography

Anne Marie McLaughlin, University of Calgary
Assistant Professor, University of Calgary, Faculty of Social Work