Staying focused on what really matters: Further thoughts on empowerment theory for professional school counselors

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In this article, the authors provide their reactions to the commentaries of Mitcham-Smith and Schmidt on their study. As Mitcham-Smith and Schmidt in their responses both suggest, it is evident that if professional school counselors are to be successful in facilitating the empowerment of students, they must engage in a self-reflective process that leads to their own development of critical consciousness and sense of empowerment. This is especially crucial for counselors whose racial/ethnic background, socioeconomic status, ability, or sexual orientation gives them a position of power and privilege both in the school setting and the general society. Although the authors agree with Mitcham-Smith and Schmidt that professional school counselor empowerment is crucial to facilitating the empowerment of students, it needs to be clear that school counselors are not to assume a savior role with respect to students from marginalized communities. Student empowerment must evolve from student efforts. Therefore, counselors must be seen as important, but ancillary to the movement of students for personal and community empowerment. The authors also discuss the importance of curricular change in promoting student empowerment.