What’s In A Word: Affirming

What's In A Word: Affirming | Association for Mental Health Professionals

The word "affirming" is being used a lot these days particularly in the phrase, "affirming care". Before we consider what type of care we are affirming, or unpack the word itself, we need to consider some ethical basics.

What is the main role of a counselor? Should it come from a "Do no harm" mindset?, or from something or somewhere else? Is it to help a client think through their issues and come to a resolution based on accepted cultural, professional, and medical norms?, or from somewhere or something else? I think a great many counselors would agree that we should come from a "do no harm" mindset. Once that is established then everything else would seem to be a logical progression of care.

What's in a Word: Affirming Care

According to Websters, the word "affirm" means to validate or confirm something.

My position is that affirming something in a client has its' place but categorically does not belong before a clinically proper assessment has been made and client assumptions have been challenged.

The Current State of Counseling

Counselors coming out of academia today (not all, but most) are being trained to run their practices and approach their clients using a "rent-a-friend" model. The foundational tenets of Judeo-Christian belief systems and rational, reasonable thought have been destroyed at the school level (secondary and university levels) which paves the way for a radically altered way of thinking.

The SJW's that academia is graduating are allowing the client to come through their front doors with a self-diagnosis (because you can "be" anything/anyone you want to be and who am I, your counselor, to tell you how to think? Chew on that for a minute). Rather than professionally confront them about their issues and foster discussion about it they are provided with a counseling experience that "affirms" their view of themselves. So much for "do no harm".

I was taught that's un-ethical, un-professional, and downright dangerous. That's not counseling, you're providing "professional friend" services. My bartender does that. So the inmates are running the asylum now, that's Strike 1.

Word Play Mechanics

Notice how the language they use to achieve their goal to normalize their objectives is presented: "Affirming care". Affirming is such a positive word. It implies support, validation, strength, compassion...a lot of warm, fuzzy connotations. And who's not for "care"? Everyone needs care and there's never enough care-givers so who would ever be opposed to care? Because we're degreed professionals the public assumes that whatever we're affirming through the care provided surely must be a good thing. And just like that, they got us.

So Why the Trend in "Affirming Care"?

If you have an agenda and you can't get your wishes accomplished through established approval protocols (the front door) then you take another approach and go directly to the public (the back door). And you stay in the shadows when you do it.

This question is the crux of it: As a professional counselor, why would you not challenge that person's self-diagnosis? (I implore you right now to make a list of circumstances, within the confines of your counseling chamber, under which you would decline to challenge a client's cognitive assumptions.) Short list?

They see us because they need help sorting through their thoughts. If we skip that process and affirm their self-diagnosis then we're doing so for some other reason than helping the client. Is that even ethical? Looks to be an attempt to "normalize" an illness or condition that shouldn't be considered normal until a proper professional protocol by authorized peers has been employed.

Affirmation to validate/normalize a social agenda is very bad. That's Strike 2.

BTW, this is the driving force behind our Board's recent expansion of the Cultural Diversity renewal hours requirement and its definition. Allows the "legitimate teaching" of all manner of sexual deviancy to be taught and credited as CE hours under the banner of "Diversity", and magnify their sick message. Need proof? Check out your favorite professional associations' conference agendas and see what percentage of their offerings have to do with cultural diversity, then look deeper and see how many of those have to do with sex-based, gender identity (not dysphoria) topics. Then you tell me what they're promoting. Numbers don't lie.

When Does This End?

Strike 3 will be when the public reaches its tipping point with this nonsense. The lawsuits have already begun. The resulting financial devastation and career destruction coming to these Woke counselors and the medical community parties that promoted this will be terminal. Make no mistake about it, when people have been wronged and are beyond angry they will name anyone in the suit that was involved, especially those that have two nickels to take, and they will name their counselor! I don't wish this upon anyone, but it doesn't take a financial genius to connect those dots and see where this is going.

Affirming Your Position

"Affirming care" is the professional position that the client calls the diagnosis and the counselor validates it especially, especially, if the client's self-diagnosis has anything to do with a "gender identity" issue.

I want no part of that. I'm in charge of my client sessions and I will not abdicate that responsibility to some social agenda. The client is typically in a dark place and in need of someone to help them address their issues via talk therapy or other established modalities. I will give them options and hold them accountable but there's no way I let them call the shots outside of the ethical counseling framework they pay me to provide them. No affirming care from me and especially not for the deviant behavior behind this movement.

We're not required to be a part of it or give into the social pressure. Just stand your ground and be a good counselor while it's still legal and ethical to do so.

We got this.

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These posts are based on the beliefs and personal experience of the post's author. Please feel free to leave your civil, constructive comments below. We try very hard to back up our statements with fact-based data and we ask you to do the same in your comments. You do not need to be logged in to leave a comment.

About the Author

What's In A Word: Affirming | Association for Mental Health ProfessionalsKathleen Mills is a fire-breathing, 32+ year veteran of the counseling world. People react in one of two ways when evil touches their lives: some retreat in fear, and some advance without pause to engage it. Kathleen falls firmly in the latter group. She owns and operates Life Tree Counseling in Frisco, TX, possesses a tireless work-ethic, and eagerly awaits your arrival into her growing army of warriors.

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