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Keywords:

  • women;
  • depression;
  • poverty;
  • students as advocates;
  • trauma;
  • authenticity;
  • relationship-centered advocacy

This study describes a qualitative study of student advocates’ experiences of their work with low-income women struggling with symptoms of depression. Using an advocacy model called Relationship-Centered Advocacy, these 1st-year counseling psychology graduate students worked intensively with their “partners” for 9 months. Advocate–partner teams met together each week, developing collaborative relationships and addressing the women’s emotional and material needs in integrated ways. Using qualitative content analysis of participant interviews and journal entries, this study describes emergent themes involving negotiating the advocacy relationship, insider–outsider dynamics, responding to perceptions of privilege and disparity, and gaining professional and personal insights. It concludes with a discussion of the practice and research implications, highlighting the possibilities of Relationship-Centered Advocacy as a new training tool.