Counselor education professor featured in journal's special issue on Black male experience

Contact: Chris Hybels

Dr. Carla Adkison-Johnson

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Dr. Carla Adkison-Johnson, professor of counselor education, recently authored the introduction to the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development's special issue on the Black male experience. The special issue showcased the work of African American scholars who examine the experiences of African American males in relation to their educational attainment, mental health treatment and the roles they play in the lives of African American youth.

The Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development is concerned with research, theory and program applications pertinent to multicultural and ethnic minority interests in all areas of counseling and human development. It is also the official journal of the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development, a division of the American Counseling Association. Adkison-Johnson has been the editor-in-chief for the journal since 2020.

According to Adkison-Johnson, despite numerous position statements, journal articles, and conference presentations denouncing anti-Black racism, Black men and boys continue to face surveillance, profiling and violence at the hands of police and civilians. Their educational, mental and physical health needs, wants and desires are largely ignored by mental health and education professionals.

"How we think about Black men is how we respond to them," says Adkison-Johnson. "Research has primarily focused on the 'absence' instead of the 'presence' of African American fathers, 'deficits' verses the 'achievements' of Black male youth, and 'criminality' instead of the 'strengths and overall wellness' of Black men. Educators and helping professionals need to look beyond clinical symptoms and behavioral concerns to truly value and support the inner lives of African American males."

about Dr. carla adkison-johnson

Adkison-Johnson has been a licensed professional clinical counselor for over 25 years and is committed to meeting the counseling needs of adults, families and children. She has published extensively in the areas of culturally competent mental health counseling, preparing counselors for the professorate, and African American child rearing practices. Her research has garnered attention in the legal, child welfare and counselor education literature.


The mission of the counselor education program is to develop competent, ethical and culturally sensitive professionals through graduate education and scholarship. To learn more about the counselor education programs offered at WMU, visit the academic programs webpage.

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