The counterculture of the 1960s both drove social change and fed off of it.
Social change had clearly been in the air before the counterculture truly arose. The Civil Rights Movement started before the counterculture. So did the women’s movement. So did the Beat movement. All of these movements caused social changes which helped to create a climate in which the counterculture could arise.
But the counterculture also drove the change. It was the counterculture that really brought the idea of “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” into American society. It brought in anti-establishment and anti-authority ideas. By bringing these ideas firmly into American society, the counterculture also drove social changes in the 1960s.