Working or studying in an environment engulfed by Critical Social Justice (CSJ) can be a profoundly alienating experience. Increasingly, employees and students are finding themselves pressured to accept and endorse a particular worldview due to the threat of being dismissed from their job, receiving failing grades, or being socially ostracised. So, it’s not surprising that many people with concerns about the tenets of CSJ are reluctant to speak out. For some this presents a moral dilemma. Should they feign agreement with ideas they find objectionable in order to protect their employment and get along with peers or stand up for their principles and risk potential job loss and being labeled a racist? This near impossible situation often results in a crisis of conscience.
The Counterweight peer support program grew out of a realization that as well as needing resources and strategies to successfully navigate a new moral landscape, Counterweight clients need emotional support to help manage distress and to reduce isolation. Many of our clients report anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, impaired work performance and depression. For clients with a history of trauma related to abuse, the bullying tactics with which CSJ is often imposed have sometimes resulted in a reemergence of PTSD symptoms. As the mental health field begins to conform to CSJ ideology, clients may have difficulty locating a therapist who is able to provide them with the treatment that they need.
Counterweight one on one listening sessions provide an opportunity for clients to express themselves freely without fear of repercussions or judgment. Most clients express overwhelming relief at simply knowing they are not alone and that they are not going crazy. Counterweight listeners offer clients an opportunity to process their feelings and clarify their thoughts. For many Counterweight clients this is the first time they have been able to speak openly about their experience and concerns and find that this helps them to understand themselves and their situations more clearly. Listening sessions also present an opportunity to grieve the losses associated with the imposition of CSJ. Many clients have lost their jobs, important relationships and social status.
Counterweight group listening sessions afford participants an opportunity to meet other people who have been negatively impacted by CSJ and to form communities of support and friendship.The groups offer a sense of belonging and healing for those of us who have lost our place in professional or personal circles due to CSJ. For many people Counterweight listening groups are a unique opportunity to rebuild a social network with people who share common values and who respect diversity of opinion.
For all those who have been led to believe they are alone, be it from the reluctance of others to speak up or from the advocates of an ideology that would have them denounced and excluded for their wrongthink, the counterweight peer support programme is here to tell them they are supported, they are not alone and they are heard.
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