The Social Justice Backlash: Protecting Faith in Counseling

Show Notes

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Dawn Irons, a counselor educator with over 15 years of experience in private practice. She shared some eye-opening insights into the rising influence of social justice ideology in counseling programs and how it can negatively impact religious clients. Dawn explained how today’s counseling students receive very biased training that pits protected classes against each other. Many programs aggressively push LGBTQ causes while dismissing religious beliefs as something to “correct.” This prevents therapeutic self-exploration and infringes on clients’ cultural rights. We discussed the importance of informed consent so people can choose counselors who respect their worldview. Dawn also offered practical tips for religious counselors to stand up professionally while avoiding legal trouble. Overall, it was an enlightening discussion about protecting diversity of thought in counseling. Dawn wants to equip therapists to serve people of faith well, not treat them as problems to fix. Let me know what intrigued or surprised you most! And stay tuned – we talked about Dawn’s upcoming book that dives deeper into these topics from a clinical perspective.

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Dawn’s Links:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dawn-irons-m-a-lpc-18673b39/

Website: http://www.hopeharbortx.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HopeHarborDC

Book: IndoctriNation: How Woke Ideology Hijacked the Counseling Profession

#SocialJusticeInCounseling
#CulturalDynamicsInCounseling
#FaithBasedCounseling
#ReligiousBeliefsInTherapy
#NavigatingSocialJusticeIssues
#CounselorEthics
#InformedConsentInCounseling
#DiversityInCounseling
#ProfessionalValuesInCounseling
#CounselingBookRelease

TIMESTAMPS:

00:00:09 – Supporting Parents of Gender Confused Children

00:03:15 – Changes in Counseling Training

00:07:05 – Importance of Religious Identity

00:12:16 – Informed Consent in Counseling

00:16:26 – Building Trust and Respect

00:16:46 – Importance of Informed Consent

00:17:41 – Mutual Respect in Counseling

00:19:23 – Addressing Ethical Complaints

00:24:52 – Power of ACA and State Legislative Codes

00:29:55 – Writing a Book for Awareness

00:33:50 – Importance of AMHP and CEU Training

00:34:51 – Addressing Power Plays and Voicing Concerns

00:36:59 – Redefining Social Justice and Advocacy

00:39:22 – Unity Around Trans Issues

00:42:19 – Socially Constructed Problems

TRANSCRIPT:


00:00:00 – Johnny Sanders
Do you have a child that is gender confused? Are you the parent of somebody who is either identified as transgender using different pronouns or some other type of gender confused, just propaganda being shoved down your kids’ throats? Well, I created the biblically parenting gender-confused children support group for parents just like you. The support group is completely free. We meet monthly, and you are able to connect with other like-minded Christian parents who are struggling with how to parent children who are gender-confused. They’re getting all sorts of nonsense brought to them by the world, and I want to help connect parents who are going through similar struggles and be able to tackle this issue through a biblical worldview. If you are interested in joining this group or know somebody who might be interested in this group, head on over to faithfullyengaged.com. and there’s more information about the support group there. I have a link down in the description below. Right. Well, everyone, welcome back to another episode of Faithfully Engaged. As many of you know who’ve been listening to the show for a while, I really like having authors on that are, that are writing books or have written a book already. I just find it so intriguing getting to know their mind through the writing process and why their book is so interesting. So got another new author here. Her name is Dawn Irons. So, Dawn, it’s great to have you on, and why don’t you tell the audience just a little bit about yourself?

00:01:45 – Dawn Irons
Well, thank you for the invitation. I’m a counselor educator at Liberty and I’ve been in private practice for about 14 years and just really have had a passion for pouring into and raising up the next generation of counselors. Counselors, because they’re on the front line of things we were never trained or even could have imagined that we’re seeing. But it’s front and center now. And so there’s a great opportunity to be working with these interns and associates now.

00:02:21 – Johnny Sanders
Well, Dawn, many in the audience have heard me talk about this before, and I’ve had so add on before, and also, Pamela, on that are kind of in our, I kind of caught our little underground conservative counselor group online that’s just our own, to kind of use the vernacular, our safe space that’s kind of more in a joking manner in that way, but just of conservative counselors because that’s not a very common thing in our field. So tell us a little bit about it, like you said, your training was different than how new counselors training up in the field are now. So those that maybe aren’t aware of some of the dynamics and counseling training. What’s so different from your training to maybe people in college right now?

00:03:14 – Dawn Irons
And I was a late bloomer. I mean, I. I didn’t even start my master’s until I was in my forties and my doctorate. I was 49 going into 50. But, I mean, just the difference in those two time spans when I was doing my master’s work,  issues in the lgbt community, and training that was just a natural part of all multicultural because we’re going to encounter these clients. But the difference of when I first started, I mean, multicultural covered truly all areas. Races, ethnicities, religions, the LGBT. It was a broad spectrum. And when I went back from my doctorate, it was like everything was reduced down to LGBT. I mean, that and racial issues. Everything that was across the board of multicultural training was reduced down to two issues. And it wasn’t even just the reduction of it. It was how rabid it was. And, you know, and then we saw the rise of critical race theory, which, I mean, from the get-go, if you were what you are, bigot, period. And, you know, where do you go from there? You know, I mean, then you start getting into issues of ACA code of ethics, where, you know, part of multicultural competence is knowledge of self and others. And they have. In their definitions, embedded in their definitions, you know, are a political identity, a religious identity, and that there are protections for those groups as well, or equal to those of the lgbt community. But that’s been some of the starkest differences that I’ve seen, is just how militant and, gosh, fill in the blanks of the words that would describe all that goes with that and just how they’re. I guess what is most disturbing to me is how they have taken two federally protected classes of people and almost pit them against each other, and there is just a solid war, it seems like, between the lgbt community and religious and spiritual communities.

00:05:53 – Johnny Sanders
Hmm. No, that. That’s. That’s a very good point. And that let’s kind of get on more on the. The religious side of things. Yeah. How. How do you see that being an issue, especially for, let’s say, a Christian client? So somebody that says Christian beliefs don’t have to just be Christian, but we’ll stick with that. And maybe they’re going to a counselor, and that counselor is, like, super staunchly lgbt stuff. Maybe has the gay pride flag in their office or whatever. Why is that an issue? Why would that be such a big deal for somebody who upholds kind of those traditional beliefs? Why might that be so detrimental to them?

00:06:40 – Dawn Irons
I mean, at the core. When you look at the research of what are the most important ideological factors in terms of identity for people, the vast majority of people had said that their religious beliefs were the most important or salient in their personal lives in terms of identity. Even when you broke it down into racial groups, African Americans said that their race was not nearly as important to them as their religious beliefs. And so among a community of believers, we Don’t break it down into, you’re black, I’m white. I mean, it really is that common faith that holds them together. And, I mean, yes, we see color differences because it’s part of a beautiful tapestry, cultural differences, but it’s the thing that unites us in Christ that makes the difference. And, I mean, I’ve actually started to tell people because, you know, if I’m personal friends with somebody, I can’t counsel them. But when I tell them and they’re asking me for referrals of where they could go, I mean, I’m pretty hard lines like, you’ve got to do your research because I know where you’re coming from, and I know that if you just roll the dice on psychology today, 99% of the time you’re going to get somebody that will absolutely abhor who you are at your core, and so do your research. And there’s tons of research out there that Christians in general will forego getting therapy at all if they cannot find a counselor that will understand their cultural viewpoint from a religious standpoint. And that makes a whole lot of sense. So in some ways, they already intuitively know that counseling can be a dangerous thing if it’s not with the right person. But, I mean, with everything that I’ve seen, I mean, I now feel the need to warn people because they really don’t know what we’re seeing on the academic side of this ideology that is coming in. And even when I get student interns or associates that are working on their hours for their license, I feel like, I mean, I have to spend pretty much the first six months untraining what they learned in school because it’s that bad? It’s just that bad.

00:09:20 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah, it kind of leads in on a, I mean, it’s negative but positive on my end that one of my favorite things in my counseling practice is giving referrals. I get it all the time. People that find me, my counseling website, they’re like, man, we’ve been searching for somebody that has Christian beliefs or, you know, does, just isn’t, like, outwardly leftist. And some of their ideals, especially when it comes to some of the, you know, trans issues with kids and things of that nature. And even though I don’t even see them as a client, like, the fact that I, you know, you know, in our. In our group and everything, and just connecting with others to find counselors that would be a good fit for them in a different state or whatever, I love doing that. I love providing that service for people. But on the same token, I wish it wasn’t really needed that much. I wish it wasn’t so difficult for that to happen.

00:10:16 – Dawn Irons
That’s a big transition. Like I said, from 2011, when I finished my masters, I mean, there was a much more even-keeled group. I mean, you could find a secular counselor who would still respect your cultural identity. Somewhere in these 15 years, there’s been a rise of social justice that comes in through the counseling training programs. Now, as much as I’m an advocate, I mean, I’m born that way. I am wired that way. There’s something antithetical about that when it comes to counseling, in my mind, in that, yes, we do stand for things, but when you get a client walking in the door, you don’t know what their issues are, what their beliefs are. And there’s got to be, if I am already set in my mind that I will correct you if you’re wrong, I mean, that defeats the whole counseling relationship because it’s not about what it has become. And it. I mean, I’m trying to be very careful with words here. I just think there’s a huge problem when you have activists who are working with clients because if that client doesn’t have a similar view, there is an attempt in the name of social justice to correct or train, or redirect them, which is just not therapeutic.

00:12:03 – Johnny Sanders
Absolutely. I think that’s another big piece of this, too, especially for those of you who aren’t really knowledgeable about the counseling field or haven’t been in counseling yourself. There’s a. There’s a difference. In fact, in my own counseling practice, I go above and beyond when I’m coming from a Christian counseling perspective, that is that informed consent. I take that extremely seriously. I have things lined out. I even have, like, a statement of faith in there and line it out of, hey, you don’t even have to agree with this. I’m not asking you to agree with it, but I want you to understand this is what you’re getting yourself into. And if you don’t want that, that’s okay. We’ll find you something else. Or maybe we can tailor the counseling to be a little bit different, maybe a little less faith-based, but that informed consent is massive. The client has to be seeking that out and want that. And the big thing is that a lot of these activist types of counselors out there, that people aren’t signing up for it. They’re just. They’re just getting it, whether they want it or not, and are being directed in a certain way. And that, as I said, is extremely antithetical to the whole nature of counseling, that it doesn’t serve a purpose at that point.

00:13:24 – Dawn Irons
I mean, it’s a lot of time and money to spend to be insulted.

00:13:29 – Johnny Sanders
Absolutely. Absolutely.

00:13:32 – Dawn Irons
I agree. I think informed consent really is the answer to the whole problem. We didn’t pit ourselves against an lgbt community. They didn’t pit themselves against us, but our training programs have. And I think if given the opportunity, with true informed consent. I mean, like you, I have a statement of faith on my website. The ACA code of ethics says that our clients have a right to know certain things about us. And I think this is something you’ve got a right to know before you make a decision on whether I’m a good fit. I don’t have to make the choice of whether you’re a good fit for me. I need to give you the information so you can make that choice. And, I mean, I’ve had tons of lgbt clients, but not one of them, in 15 years has ever come to me for an lgbt issue. And if that’s not their presenting issue, I’m not going to go there. I keep in mind that is a cultural factor with them, but if they’re coming to me for depression or anxiety, I’m not going to make their sex life a point of the process because I wouldn’t do that with a straight person. And. But I think there are layers of protection in that. You know, you put your statement of faith out there. I have an informed consent that, you know, do you want to discuss religious or worldview issues in your counseling that are important to you? Yes or no? I know before I walk in that room if they’re open. And I. I’ve only ever that I can really recall had one person that said, no, thank you. And I honored that. But, you know, I’ve never had to quote Exodus chapter 20 to tell a couple that the affair is not going to help their marriage. You know, principles are principles, and I don’t have to quote a chapter and a verse to put that on the table. And I remember one time, I had a very staunch atheist, and he really wanted no part, you know, and so I’m curious. I’m like, “So just curious, why did you choose me?” He says “We’re in rural America. You were my only choice.” And I’m like, “That’s fair.” That is fair, you know, and we worked for almost a year, and at the end of it, you know, he’s like, “I got to tell you, you’re not at all what I thought I would get with a Christian counselor.” And I’m like, “Well, tell me about that.” And he says, “At no point did I ever feel like you judged me.” I said “I did my job. My job is to love you, to go where you need to go and to help you live a safe and healthy life.” He goes, “But I just wasn’t expecting that.”  And, you know, he goes, “So why do you believe what you believe?” And I’m like, well, okay. After a year, you know, he’s gained my trust. Now he’s asking me why I believe what I believe, and I can give him my five-minute elevator speech of why. But at no point did I say, now, would you like to accept Christ as your, you know, no, I know who I’m talking to. But he wanted to know more. So it was a neat moment. But I think, truly, when you give people true informed consent, I mean, if the relationship isn’t started with honesty, it’s not going to go anywhere good anyway. And, yeah, so I’m a huge fan of that, informed consent and letting people make their choices. And by that same token, I’ve never had a couple, a gay couple, come to me because I think, too, it’s respect to give them the information. They’re probably saying, you know, that’s probably not the best fit for us. But they made that choice. I didn’t. And I would be uncomfortable if they chose to go forward because it’s not my specialty. But I think it is mutual respect with informed consent because a lot of people would not invest the time or money into something that they know is going to be a conflict. But I think instead of putting that burden on the counselors, you give that respect to the client to say, here’s the information you need to know about us.

00:18:09 – Johnny Sanders
And so, yeah, and as you say, that’s. It’s respect. We, as most counselors, we respect our clients. We think well, of them. We don’t think they’re stupid and they can’t figure things out on their own. Yeah. If a gay couple or whoever wants to get help on their marriage, then somebody that has a statement of faith of things that are very biblical in nature.

00:18:37 – Dawn Irons
Yeah.

00:18:38 – Johnny Sanders
It’s not gonna be a good fit for them. And as I said, that’s respect. That’s showing to them. Hey, this isn’t gonna be the best fit, but there’s gonna be plenty of other people that are. And for those that are more left-leaning, that are. That are counselors, those that are more upfront with it, and, again, are more informed consent with that. I may still really disagree with you, um, but at least you’re giving that client, again, that respect of what they’re getting into. What I have a problem with is when somebody does come in for depression. Um, I actually had some. Some recent clients that, um, complain about older clients that are older counselors, that, yeah, we’re just digging into their faith of why it was wrong or whatever. Um, they didn’t sign up for that. They didn’t sign up to have their faith deconstructed on-site or whatever it may be they had. They signed up to deal with their depression, and that’s. That’s a huge problem and something that absolutely needs to be addressed.

00:19:38 – Dawn Irons
Yeah. And I do, I think the research, when it shows the top reasons that clients file border ethics complaints against counselors, it’s a cultural issue, and so, you know, religious clients that are experiencing that social justice backlash based on their faith, it’s like those counselors need to understand, you know, this isn’t always about a racial issue. It’s about a cultural issue. And until you can embrace that a religious or spiritual belief is a cultural identity, then you probably ought not to try to recorrect and social justice them into whatever worldview you think they need to have, because those are the number one reasons for board and ethical complaints get filed.

00:20:27 – Johnny Sanders
Absolutely. Which, like you said, that’s a massive part I’m thinking of in my life. If I have a family member or somebody who’s requesting counseling and I’m giving a referral. Yeah, that’s something we look at. We don’t want their faith to be downtrodden just because they’re dealing with a difficult life circumstance. And, yeah, ethical complaints, they should be levied in those situations.

00:20:55 – Dawn Irons
It always interested me during our. Well, I was at a Christian college in my master’s program, and my doctoral program, 99% of it was in a secular college. Because of the religious discrimination against my dissertation, I transferred after my first year of the dissertation to another school to be able to finish because they decided to put me through two rounds of student development for re-education about why my topic was not acceptable. And I’m like, I’m out. But at the secular school, I mean, there was, from the get-go, religion was a bad thing. It was just, I remember our first assignment in our ethics class. We had to all post our resumes. Well, normally that probably would not be a big deal for most people, but I was very intentional about my education choices. My bachelor’s and my master’s were both at small Christian colleges. My clinical rotation was at a faith-based hospital. I did my internship at a private practice Christian counseling center. And so I just. That pit of my stomach when I knew I was going to have to put that out there for an entire class to comment on, was a moment. And, I mean, within a few weeks of that, it was right when the Supreme Court had upheld the Colorado Cake Baker case. And I. And it was a class discussion. And I had said, you know, in the long term, this may have implications for the counseling profession, because the court upheld that you could not force a person to violate their faith, even in a work situation. And one of my classmates called the ACA ethics board on me because I expressed that opinion in class. And, you know, first of all, that was the assignment, to share your thoughts and beliefs on this current event. And so I remember contacting the professor, and it’s like, you need to address this issue, or I will, because I did the assignment I should never have had for completing a course assignment, to have an ethics board called on me. But the amazing thing is, and this is where you learn, the ACA has zero power if you’re not a member. And I have not been nor ever will be a member of the ACA. And I am fortunate to live in a very red state. In Texas, we don’t even adhere to the ACA code of ethics. We have our own state legislative counseling code. And, you know, ACA tries to flex a big muscle, but, you know, and even at the school level, they required that all counseling students be a member of the ACA. And I remember contacting my professor, like, you know, I’m having some financial concerns right now. This is not something I feel that I can do right now. He’s like, no problem. Just do it at some point. And I’m like, okay. Didn’t have the heart to tell him my financial concern was, that I could not give that organization money. They don’t represent me. And so when she made her complaint, probably assuming I was a member, you know, yeah, the ACA is powerless, you know? And truly, when you think about how they flex that muscle to show that they’re the national organization. Well, between the 50 continental states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. So at 52 jurisdictions, only 19 states adhere to the ACA code of ethics. 33 states have opted out completely, and the majority of those 33 states have upheld religious freedom, and reformation acts to protect counselors. And so the ACA, when you really start stacking it up to the facts, I mean, they’re not the Goliath. They’re presenting themselves to be, for sure.

00:25:37 – Johnny Sanders
And you bring up a good point here, too, of like, yes, there’s bad stuff going on in the counseling profession. There’s bad stuff going on in other professions as well. But Christians, conservatives, sometimes we back ourselves into a corner of the kind of the woe is me, like, things are just horrible, terrible. Again, there’s an extent of that that we don’t need to live in, you know, sunshine and roses and unicorn land or whatever, that everything’s perfect. No, there are issues, but they’re not all the big, bad people out there. Like, there’s sometimes some finessing, some strategy, some ways that this part of why I like kind of our conservative counselor group to kind of be hand in hand together and have realized that we’re not alone. Like, there are ways to navigate. It’s just you have to be, you have to be wise of how you, how you step. Um, and that kind of leads me into of, again, these are all fantastic things that, that we’re talking about, but you’ve taken some of this to the next step of not just being upfront talking and maybe in your classes about it or with colleagues, but also writing about some of these issues, writing a book. So kind of just tell us a little bit about what your book is about and why you decided to put pen to paper there.

00:26:59 – Dawn Irons
Okay. So I had been doing the conference rounds, being invited to speak at some different conferences. And I was always amazed when I was Dawne how many people would come up and say they had no idea this was going on in the profession. And I get it. I’m on the academic side of it. I see what’s going on through the training programs, and I’ve had the opportunity to see it at a secular school and the world difference at a faith-based school. And I mean, but when you think about it, your average clinician, I mean, their focus is their client. They’re in there doing research on client issues, outcomes, you know, strategies for success in the client. And so really, they’re not paying attention. They’re not looking back to what’s going on in the training program. And so the more I became unaware that the average counselor didn’t know what was going on. And if they don’t go into becoming a supervisor, they’re not even going to see it in the next generation of counselors because they’re client-focused, which we should be. But realizing just how many people didn’t know, I thought, you know, we need to have a wake-up call or we’re going to wake up 6ft under in terms of being able to fight for a religious and spiritual population in the midst of the social justice war that has clearly called that population the enemy. So it really became at that point it felt like a moral imperative. It’s that first of all, they wanted to know. They just didn’t know. And you know, where can I get my hands on this information? Well, I mean, I had five years of putting a dissertation together. This was the air I breathed for five years. And I mean, it just, it comes out of me as natural as breathing. And unless they’re going to go do the research I did for five years, they’re not going to just know where to find it. I mean I had to go look for it in over 20 years of research. But I thought this is one way to make it very practical, hands-on. Here’s the big picture and here’s the research. And we need to wake up as a profession of religious and spiritual counselors, of what’s going on around us. We need to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But we do need to be aware. We have to walk in wisdom and discernment to know the surroundings of the field that we’re in because it’s not just friendly territory.

00:29:55 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah, no, I, I really appreciate the courage and, and practical nature there, of hey, let’s not wait for somebody else to do this. I’ve, I’ve done this work. I know what this is. I’m not gonna wait for somebody else to do it like I’m gonna put it out there. And as you’ve been doing this research, as you’ve been doing this writing, certainly Don’t expect you to, you know, to write or to tell us everything that that’s in the book. But especially for somebody that’s in a, either a counselor that is religious, you know, Christian based, like, like I am, or just somebody that’s really passionate about kind of the cause that you’re talking about. What are some of those wise steps that a counselor could take to protect themselves while still standing, for religious rights?

00:30:51 – Dawn Irons
My big thing is layers of protection like I say, put that statement of faith out there and let clients have informed consent. So you’re not creating a surprise shock factor. Well, if I’d have known that, I wouldn’t have come here, put it out there, make it known. I think being involved in Christian organizations because there’s only so much we can do at an individual level, but organizations like the American Association of Christian Counselors, faith-based organizations, and they have connections with legal defense issues such as the Alliance Defending Freedom. They’ve taken several counseling cases up to the Supreme Court level. So when you’ve got organizations like that working together, it’s easier to partner with them and get the education of what’s going on. The legal protection, if you need it, is there. And then there’s another organization, the Association of Mental Health Professionals. They’re also a faith-based organization and they provide CEU training, again, for a faith-based person. I mean, I will never attend an ACA conference because I’m not going to spend that much money for the conference, plus the travel and a rental car to be insulted and humiliated. I’m just not going to do it. But the AMHP, their CEUs are coming from a non-woke perspective and addressing, I mean, you’re going to get lgbt training, you’re going to get trans issues that are going on. But from a clinical standpoint, that is not saying, let’s go mutilate our children. You’re going to hear the other side of that coin. I think the best thing that has ever happened recently is the leak of the debut path files on the transgender issues. Because, I mean, that was a gift. I mean, when you’ve got the mental health psychiatrist counselors and the medical doctors creating the standards of care for gender medicine, admitting and vocally saying that they know these people do not have informed consent, they do not understand the long-term effects and that they’re going ahead and doing it anyway. And then when they start to get caught being sued by those who are detransitioning their response, I mean, and that they, we’re openly talking about, well, you know, clients just need to own their choices. But you just said they don’t understand the implications of what you’re doing. And so, I mean, that was a gift. But the AMHP and their CEU training are, they’re addressing those, and that’s just not something you’re going to find in your average CE training. And so really connecting with faith-based organizations for your professional memberships, I think is essential.

00:34:21 – Johnny Sanders
Absolutely. And I think that that mindset is applicable outside of counseling, maybe you’re in some other profession, like, I don’t know if this relates to me. It does. This is there. Things like this are happening in professions all across the country, all across the world, and you need to one, be wise to kind of the dynamics, kind of the power plays that are going on that, yeah, you are some. There are some bad people out there, bad organizations that are trying to railroad you and make you out to be the bad guy based on your values, and you need to be aware that that’s happening. But don’t. Don’t go off and live in a bunker. I think that’s something that those more on the right Christian side of things sometimes. We sometimes go ahead.

00:35:14 – Dawn Irons
And that’s the thing. We live in a country where 75% of our population claim some form of Christian belief, another twelve to 13%, another world religion. So if you’re looking at 85% of. Of a population in the country, you’re going to have eight or nine people walking in your door out of ten that are going to have a religious and spiritual worldview. And if you’re not trained in how to deal with that or that, you are counter-trained to correct that belief system or to address it. I mean, come on. And so there are more of us than there are of them. And I think we do have to find our voice in that because right now there is such a backlash against conservative thinking or religious thinking within the field, but there’s still more of us than there are of them. And we’ve got to quit being that silent majority and start standing up because, at the end of the day, it really is about client care. And, I mean, even in my faith-based training, I was taught how to work with an lgbt client. Respectfully. I mean, you are never going to look in the eyes of somebody that God does not love. And it’s easy to start there, but I think that’s where we need to find our voice. As a group of faith-based counselors, there’s still more of us than there are of them. They’re just more vocal. They’re more politically active. They’re, you know, and we’ve got to redefine social justice because, I mean, just as much as they can go to a pride parade. I mean, I lobbied the Texas legislature in 2011 over the fetal pain bill because, you know, the unborn need people fighting for them, too. And social justice. We just have to define what that looks like in a conservative realm, because the vast majority of my clients are in there, not 100% but 90 plus and, you know, advocating and getting involved at the public level, at the institutional level, I mean, it can’t just be individual anymore because there really are more of us and we’ve got to begin to use that voice. Yes, there is power in.

00:38:05 – Johnny Sanders
And I think this is why on, like, on the positive end, like you say some of these files being leaked and everything, the trans issue has been a backfire, I believe, on more of the, the leftist type of worldview. It’s almost like they got a little too greedy on it because there are plenty of other issues out there that go beyond it. But it’s just so basic. I mean, my, my four-year-old, she’s on a four-year-old girls soccer team, and they scrimmaged against some of the boys just for, for practice. She knew the difference. She knows what a girl is, and what a boy is. It’s like, it’s, it’s super, super easy. We don’t have to think that deeply about it. And it’s almost like they try to shove truth out the window a little too hard there that even people that aren’t on the right to, like, wait a second, that this might be going a little too far.

00:39:10 – Dawn Irons
And I think that’s the beautiful thing, is that who would have thought that the trans issue would be the one thing that united liberals and conservatives? Because so many of the liberals are like, wait, no. Once they saw the leak of the truth coming out, I mean, from the people who are creating the standards of care saying, yeah, they don’t understand, I mean, come on. Any professional in the world who deals with people has to understand the point of informed consent because otherwise, I mean, this is our modern-day Tuskegee experiment. You don’t get to experiment on humans without their consent and full knowledge of what’s happening to them. But here we are. And it has been the one issue that across the board, one of my friends had sent me a podcast and said, you really need to listen to this. Now. It’s a very liberal podcaster, but hear him out. And I’m like, I’m game. Let’s go. And I’m like, who would have thought this would be the issue that would unite us? Because we’re all having the same talking points on this.

00:40:22 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah. Yeah. And it’s just because it’s so basic to human nature. We know this as a child. Goodness, I have three babies yet change their diapers. It’s pretty easy to tell which one’s the boy, and which one’s the girl. It doesn’t matter if you’re conservative or liberal. Like, we know that. We know that difference. And that is very. It is encouraging in that sense. Not that we’re having this problem, but that we’re getting more united on it. And what I’ll add to this is whether you’re faith-based or not. And again, whether you’re a counselor or not, when you stick with your values, you know your values well, and you stick with them and put them above being comfortable, put them above yours. Your profession, things work out a whole lot nicer because, you know, these things coming out, there’s all sorts of lawsuits coming down the pike that are going to be really bad for a lot of people. And I do feel bad for some that maybe were a little late, that thought they were doing the right thing and realized now that they’re not. But, you know, when you stick with your values and you know it, I would much rather be fired from a job than to have the guilt of, like, oh, my goodness, I pushed people into this horrible, terrible thing. And you’re able to sleep a whole lot easier if you just stick with your values than being worried about. Yeah. Being comfortable and kind of going along with what your profession says.

00:41:59 – Dawn Irons
Absolutely. You know, and so much of this is becoming a socially constructed problem as opposed to an organic problem. When you look at, I mean, Erickson psychosocial stages, that eleven to 18-year-old span is where they’re having confusion versus identity. I mean, this is as old as time that has been in our psychological training. And yet what we’re finding with trans issues and lgbt issues, is that they are absolutely targeting that age group where they’re already confusion versus identity. And so we are socially constructing a problem that wasn’t there before. Now, do people organically start exploring and identifying gender issues? Well, of course, they do. But now that, I mean, I’ve had a client come in wondering if she was gay because her YouTube channel was starting to gear up towards pride month, and there was an are you gay? And so she clicked on it, and now she’s wondering if she’s gay. And then every video, because of the algorithm, is now telling her she is gay, and she’s so confused. Years ago, I had a client, with the same kind of issue he was spending, I mean, every day and evening watching RuPaul makeup artist tip shows and started thinking he was trans. And my first is, okay, where are you getting your information? What’s making you think this? And he starts telling me about his steady diet of these videos and watching, and I’m like, okay, so normally, teenagers very much don’t like people telling them what to do. Would you fit in that? He goes, oh, yeah, I don’t like people telling me what to do. I said, were you confused about who you were before you started watching all of this? And he’s like, no. I said, tell you what, I’m concerned. Maybe they’re telling you who you are and what you need to do and be and you’ve stopped being able to think for yourself. What would you say if you took a 30-day fast of all your viewing materials, started to really think for yourself again, and figured out who you are, and what you are? But that’s a conversation you have with yourself. And he’s like, I’ll take that challenge. 30 days later. He’s like, wow, you know, I didn’t even think about it. And I was like, so what did you do with that time that you used to watch that? He goes, I actually started doing my homework again. You know, so, I mean, truly socially constructed, they are creating a problem in targeting an age group that is vulnerable to that to begin with. And I mean, we’ve all had training on working with vulnerable populations. You don’t go for their Achilles tendon, you know, and that’s exactly what we’re doing as a profession. We are targeting vulnerable populations with an agenda that was not an issue for them. And so that’s pretty disturbing.

00:45:35 – Johnny Sanders
Hey, I think that these issues are all obviously incredibly important and are just problems that, again, a good chunk of the counseling population they may know about, but maybe not know quite the severity, maybe not know quite the issues at play here. So I would love for the audience that is listening to this to be able to know more about your book and know how to be in contact with you after the show. So, yeah, how can people find out more, about your book and, yeah, be able to contact you later?

00:46:12 – Dawn Irons
I actually need to get a website for that book, but in the meantime, I can give you an email address. We’re hoping to have the launch date, give or take, around May 6. We’re in the final editing and book art right now with the COVID work. We’re getting all that together. So it should be available on Amazon. And I can let you know the release date because I think for the first 24 to 48 hours we’ll have it on sale. And I will definitely, once we get the website up and going, get that to you because right now I just have my business website. But yeah, we’ll get one specific for the book.

00:47:03 – Johnny Sanders
Great. Well, I’ll say this, too. These, when we air these, they generally, there’s a little bit of a buffer between when it actually goes live. So I’ll get with Dawn as well. If anything has changed from when this has, like maybe the websites up by the time that this is live, if that’s the case, I’ll have that down in the show notes. But I also have, you know, contact information for Dawn down there so that you guys can be in contact with her. And, yeah, it sounds like this book is going to be important to read. So thank you again, Dawn, for being on and just sharing all, this great information with us.

00:47:41 – Dawn Irons
Thank you for the invite.00:47:44 – Johnny Sanders
Absolutely. And thank you, yes. Thank you to everybody who joined in with us today. And we’ll catch you on the next episode.