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  • December 14, 2020 2:20 PM | Esther McCartney (Administrator)

    As we wrap up the year, Galaxina Wright, Graduate Student Representative (GSR), and Shelby Gonzalez, Graduate Student Representative (GSR-Designee) provide brief updates on what to expect in the Spring semester. Click here for this brief update!

  • November 08, 2020 1:36 PM | Leo Balseiro (Administrator)


    The doctoral comprehensive exam is broadly interpreted as a rite of passage (Tinker & Jackson, 2004). In 2012, doctoral comprehensive exams were required in 94% of all counseling programs (Schweiger, Henderson, McCaskill, Clawson, & Collins, 2012), and varied in format; across the board, various forms of both traditional and non-traditional exam formats warrant the use of citations, can comprise of open and closed questions, and prompt written or oral tasks (Kostohryz, 2016; Schweiger et al, 2007). Unfortunately, available resources to prepare for success are somewhat limited, which largely explains how we might hear horror stories surrounding this rite of passage (Kostohryz, 2016; McAdams & Robertson, 2012). 

    With these critical ideas in mind, the purpose of this blog is to provide helpful ideas inspired by both the literature and conventional experience. These casual ideas may pose as helpful to consider when approaching the preparation process, and can be used at the readers discretion. 

    Build a Personal Foundation; Mission, Vision, and a Guiding Lens

    A requisite to building a foundation for studying for the doctoral comprehensive exam is familiarizing oneself with the structured format of the exam at-task. Parameters, such as available time in your schedule, your exam date, your prioritized objectives and content areas-of-growth, and level of study engagement, are vital to identify when creating a sound and cogent strategy. For instance, as a foundation to build objectives from vague expectations, CACREP’s doctoral standards provide a broad scope of content areas. Students may learn that their assessment is either time-sensitive or take-home. In addition, students may be expected to provide written, essay-form responses or oral arguments, and are prompted to “go beyond ‘parroting’” their answers from textbooks.

    As a conventional position of the author, a key foundation for strategy is solidified when the student embraces a guiding lens. A lens, perhaps the most advantageous, is Blooms Taxonomy (Bloom, Madaus, & Hastings, 1981). According to Kostohryz (2016), the highest priority for faculty referees is assessing cognitive complexity. Reflective of cognitive complexity, examinees should demonstrate both the ability to synthesize and integrate content sufficiently. The ability to compare, contrast, and critique information used on the exam should also be readily observed within the works of the examinee (Kostohryz, 2016). Comprehensive examinations, let alone doctoral counselor education programs, are created with Bloom's Taxonomy in mind as a facilitator for cognitive complexity (Granello, 2010). 

    With these ideas in mind, what do you envision when the referee reads your submission: Do you envision an exposure to cognitive complexity as a factor for success? Do you envision a demonstration of your aptitude to take what you’ve learned and utilize it at a higher level of complexity? Do you envision being able to do so with proper logic, fluidity, structure, or prose? Or do you just want to pass? The perspective of the author suggests that each vision implies a different mission, or a series of actions, to ensure the vision comes to fruition. This vision and mission should become your personalized, guiding motivation. 

    Read, Reflect, and Remember Articles, but Memorize Authors as Linchpins. 

    Revisit course content to reflect on key cornerstones of philosophy behind theories, models, and applications. As students may consider various angles of reflection, they should also consider how they are directing their reflections. The recommendation is for students to actively parallel their reflections of content alongside an intentional taxonomy of learning. Specifically, examinees should utilize their learnings with the processes identified by Bloom's Taxonomy (Bloom, 1956). For instance, when thinking about the use of phenomenology as a qualitative form of inquiry, you might think about what the philosophical foundations are (recall), how these foundations differ across methodological contexts (contrast), how specialized forms of phenomenology might both be similar and different from each other (compare), critique a specific application of phenomenological inquiry from an accessible study (analyze), or conceptualize your own phenomenological study based on a recent media event (synthesize). 

    You should also archive your learnings with an author of interest who is directly tied with broad content areas. Read and reflect on the works of the authors directly, rather than from the textbook, and be prepared to rote-memorize authors (e.x.Moustakas, 1994); this idea comes full circle when you’re able to recall the author citation during the exam, opening the door to revisit memorized information and recall content reflections at your disposal. 

    Prepare for a Dry-Run

    The overarching goal behind the dry-run should be to strengthen the ability to recall content from a self-authorized perspective. With this in mind, students should approach this strategy with a “come-as-you-are” attitude; to casually verbalize content areas, and bridge competencies that reflect cognitive complexity, are the goals. There are multiple advantages to the dry-run approach, although the process can be fatiguing. Each session can be customized to assess and direct attention to areas of growth such as content areas, sentence structures, logical flow of arguments, or time-horizon adaptation. Furthermore, each session may either be applied to a case study or can simply be a canvas for students to flex their knowledge. 

    Following each run, students should assess their own performance and scaffold their strategy accordingly. In addition, students are encouraged to revisit their work to supplement with more helpful content, restructure arguments with more cogency, cataloguing cited works based on content areas, or re-conceptualize the approach overall. Dry-runs are most successful when revisiting each session with the recall of new content, expansive structure, or rigorous citations that strengthen the work from its former state.

    If the exam possesses an oral component, try to say the content aloud in a comfortable location. Record yourself, and revisit your recordings with memos and concrete materials at your disposal; use the memos as ideas to bolster your arguments. Listen to your recordings frequently during your morning commute or a tedious activity. Nag your partners, family members, and friends about the wonderful world of counseling. The opportunity to voice thoughts is critical; without much practice, you risk compromising your prose in a way that might sound distinctly off-line from its intended objective. 

    Remember – “You’ve been studying this the whole time!”

    A Comprehensive Exam is exactly what it implies – an exam where all of the content you learned is fair game. You might’ve been notified of your exam date months in advance, or you have finally found a structure within your schedule where you can fully commit to your studies but with only weeks to prepare. Before deciding that riding anxiety is the only available option for success, a reframe is offered. All examinees have been doctoral students for some time, studying and engaging in courses and other scholarly activities. Examinees completed assignments, projects, reflections, presentations, and publications that satisfy all course requirements. This also means examinees should have access to textbooks and past assignment submissions. Taking this trip down memory lane is most helpful when the examinee recognizes that she or he is not approaching this exam tabula rasa, but from an approach that is quite familiar. Thus, the reframe is offered: “I am tasked to complete my doctoral exam that covers content I’ve already been exposed to and have applied throughout my doctoral career.”

    Concluding Thoughts

    If you are reading this and are broaching your exam date, this suggests high regard toward your performance which is a marker of successful outcomes. My request is that you recognize learnings that you possess, the strengths that brought you to this moment, and consider how the identified ideas might be tailored to your preferred model of success. If certain areas of this exam still seem vague, I highly encourage you to engage with mentor relationships. Best of luck, and I can’t wait to read your future dissertation!


    Leo Balseiro, MS, LMHC, NCC

    Doctoral Candidate

    Adjunct Professor - ADSOE Department of Counseling

    Barry University

    11300 NE 2nd Ave.

    Miami, FL 33161

    leo.balseiro@mymail.barry.edu



    References

    Bloom, B. S., Madaus, G. F., & Hastings, J. T. (1981). Evaluation to improve learning. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

    Granello, D. H. (2010). Cognitive complexity among practicing counselors: How thinking changes with experience. Journal of Counseling and Development, 88(1), 92-100. 

    Kostohryz, K. (2016). The Doctoral Comprehensive Examination in Counselor Education: Faculty Members’ Perception of its Purposes. The Journal of Counselor Preparation and Supervision, 8(3). http://dx.doi.org/10.7729/83.1068

    McAdams, C. R., & Robertson, D. L (2012) An informed look at doctoral vivas (oral examinations) in the preparation of counselor educators. Counselor Education & Supervision, 51, 176-188. doi: 10.1002/j.1556-6978.2012.00013.x 

    Schweiger, W. K., Henderson, D. D., McCaskill, K., Clawson, T. W., & Collins, D. R.
    (Eds.). (2012). Counselor preparation: Programs, faculty, trends (13th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge. 

    Tinker, P., & Jackson, C. (2004). The doctoral examination process: A handbook for students, examiners and supervisors. Glasgow, Scotland: Bell & Bell Ltd. 


  • October 17, 2020 10:40 AM | Esther McCartney (Administrator)

    The Graduate Student Committee continues to promote high-quality interviews with various roles among counselor education, in order to provide you with insight into what is involved within these positions. We had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Carl Sheperis from Texas A&M University. Click here to enjoy this video!

  • April 10, 2020 1:53 PM | Dr. Kristy Christopher-Holloway (Administrator)

    Greetings SACES Graduate Students and New Professionals:

    Given the recent evolving situation of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), as mental health professionals we have been left with the heavy task of being sure that clients will continue to be cared for in a safe and effective manner.  Additionally, as counselor educators and counselor educators in training, we may have to evaluate alternative methods of instruction for our students.

    If our regular format for providing counseling is face-to-face, what protocols are in place to ensure that clients continue to get proper mental health care?  Also, given the recent shift in many colleges and universities to an online asynchronous format to accommodate students and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, we may have to transition our courses quickly.

    Although some agencies are equipped to engage with clients via telehealth, what options are available for those that are not?  This question has quickly risen to the surface over the past week, as we have watched the COVID-19 risks create anxiety and uncertainty in how mental health professionals across domains will provide client services.  Colleges and universities are also preparing online formats for courses midway through the semester, which can cause stress for both instructors and students alike.

    Various professional organizations have stepped up to provide potential resources for mental health providers, but it is not a one size fits all approach.  Please take into consideration that your specific mental health sites will need to be considered before determining whether the following resources could be helpful.  This includes reviewing your agency’s protocol and procedures for providing telehealth services.  Additionally, state regulations should be considered. We hope these links are helpful in at least beginning to explore your possibilities to provide continuity of care to your clients.

    Regarding counselor education, we encourage you to seek guidance from your respective college or university.  Each location should have a protocol in place to assist you in transitioning your content into an online format.  Depending on how specific your college or university is on transferring a face-to-face course into an online format, you may be responsible for identifying engaging concepts to assist your students in being successful during the next few weeks.

    As counselors and counselor educators, we must continue to be a source of consistency for our clients and students.  I hope these resources assist you in these roles.

    Resource 1: HEMHA Guide to Counseling from a Distance
    Resource 2: Distance Counseling: Best Practices in Higher Education Webinar
    Resource 3: National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Providers

    Be well!!

    Hannah M. Coyt, LPCC-S, NCC, CCMHC
    Lindsey Wilson College
    Clinical Associate Faculty
    CES Doctoral Candidate
    DSO Past President
    SACES Graduate Student Representative (2019-2020)
    KMHCA President Elect


  • March 03, 2020 1:51 PM | Dr. Kristy Christopher-Holloway (Administrator)

    The Graduate Student Committee conducted our first faculty interview to promote high quality interviews with various roles among counselor education, in order to provide you with insight into what is involved within these positions. Our first interview was conducted by Jennifer Perry, a doctoral student at The University of North Carolina Charlotte. She interviewed Dr. Sejal P. Fox from UNC Charlotte. Click here to enjoy this video! 


  • February 21, 2020 1:47 PM | Dr. Kristy Christopher-Holloway (Administrator)

    Self-care

    By Keshia Ross-Williams, LPC, LSATP, CAADC, CCS, CPCS

    With February, the month of love, coming to a close, I can imagine many of you have spent countless days focusing on loved ones and may be overdue for some self-care. Self-care is something that I teach, preach, and live by daily.  Self-care is the foundational premise that governs my life. However, I have not always been as diligent about focusing on my well-being as I am now.  I am what many refer to as a “Type A” personality. Such a description has led to me staying busy every second of the day and avoiding down-time like the plague! Now, I long for down-time and not having anything to do but relax and have fun. Because, contrary to popular belief, doing “nothing” is critical to the way I approach much of the “somethings” in my life. 

    The most important components of any self-care plan is making sure that we eat right (properly balanced meals throughout the day), exercise, and get adequate rest.  These three things are at the core of any good self-care plan, treatment plan, or medical health plan. Specific to counselor educators and students, self-compassion and mindfulness help to prevent burnout, vicarious trauma, and a lack of school-life balance (Dye, Burke, & Wolf, 2019; Nelson, Hall, Anderson, Birtles, & Hemming, 2018). Such practices follow the guidelines set forth by the American Counseling Associations’ (2014) and the National Board for Certified Counselors’ (2016) Code of Ethics.  If we do not manage our nutrition, sleep, and activity, many often find themselves in a disadvantaged state, which affects our overall mental health. A well-respected author Prockyk (2018), stated there is no separation from mind and body, for they are forever connected and affect one another, meaning not taking care of the mind affects the body and losing sight of the body will most certainly affect the mind. For many, self-care is the key to maintaining work-life and school-life schedules, and as counselors and counselor educators, self-care prepares us to present our best selves in the work we do.

    When most people hear the term self-care, they may think of activities that cost money like getting a massage or going on vacation.  Though I like engaging in those types of activities as well, there are many no-cost activities that we all can do to practice self-care. In addition to those mentioned above, taking time to ourselves to self-reflect, engaging in a good book, making sure we take our breaks at work, and spending time with loved ones are just some of the ways to practice mindfulness and self-compassion.

    During my search online for self-care inventories, I came across two good ones that helped me examine other aspects of my self-care that I generally do not consider.  The inventory published by the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI; 2008) separated self-care into five different categories, including physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and workplace/ professional self-care categories. Using this tool may help you see how you are currently practicing healthy boundaries in various areas of your life. 

    The second tool is a self-care assessment developed by Irvine (2016). The Self-Care Inventory by Irvine (2016) includes an additional component focusing on supporting relationships, which often play a role in how we perceive and engage in self-care. Moreover, this self-care tool includes a care plan to address deficits uncovered after taking the assessment. Completing this tool helped me to confirm some of the adjustments that I was putting in place to address insufficiencies in the area of supportive relationships and other deficits.

    Overall, I would say that my self-care grade is a solid “A,” and I take pride in that now because before, I am convinced I was failing. I want to challenge you to evaluate your self-care score and take some time to make some adjustments. As helpers, counselors, supervisors, and educators, we must take care of ourselves to be effective and prepared to help our supervisees, clients, and students.  We must also lead by example and teach the importance of self-care so that we all can be around for a long time to witness the fruit of our labor.

    References:

    Dye, L., Burke, M. G., & Wolf, C. (2019). Teaching mindfulness for the self-care and well-being of counselors-in-training. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 1-14. doi:10.1080/15401383.2019.1642171

    National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI). (2008). Self-care inventory. Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/getattachment/Extranet/Education,-Training-and-Outreach-Programs/Signature-Classes/NAMI-Homefront/HF-Additional-Resources/HF15AR6SelfCare.pdf

    Nelson, J. R., Hall, B. S., Anderson, J. L., Birtles, C., & Hemming, L. (2018). Self–compassion as self-care: A simple and effective tool for counselor educators and counseling students. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health13(1), 121-133.

    Prockyk, A. (2018). Nutritional treatment to improve mental health disorders: Non-Pharmaceutical interventions for depression, anxiety, bipolar & ADHD. Eau Claire, WI: PESI Publishing & Media.

    Irvine, D. (2016). Self-Care inventory. Retrieved from https://www.davidirvine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/selfcareassessment2016.pdf


  • January 30, 2020 1:49 PM | Dr. Kristy Christopher-Holloway (Administrator)

    Crafting a Conference Proposal

    By Leo Balseiro

    Conference Presentations as a Scholarly Contribution
    Have you ever attended a conference and considered applying for a presentation on your own? One of the ideas I conceived as a direct result of attending conferences answered this question and generated a lot of intrigue toward the specific definition of conference presentations: in other words, what do conference presentations mean for the advancement of our profession? Seemingly, there are a handful of professional events throughout the year, with dozens of presenters at each and hundreds more in applications. To consider the value and, perhaps, why you should consider presenting at a conference is critical to your direction as a leader in the counseling profession.  

    What is a conference contribution?
    A conference contribution is a scholarly activity, where professionals apply their prose and content to the masses to share and discuss a diverse array of ideas. The idea behind conference contributions, whether it be papers, presentations, or panel discussions alike, is that they are intentional in advancing the dialogue of discussion and stimulating to the broader significance of the profession. With this in mind, seeking to contribute in the form of a conference presentation for the sole means of “just doing it” warrants further consideration behind the intentionality of the contribution (Ali, 2009). 

    Application Process
    All persons applying for a conference presentation should adhere to the evaluation rubrics used by evaluators. Hundreds of presentation applications are evaluated similarly to an academic assignment, and the rubric is specific to the information included, the relevance of the information, and how the delivery of the information. For instance, evaluators use the rubric provided by the American Counseling Association to assess numerous areas. Such areas include the content relevance with the needs of the counseling profession, organization of ideas in the literature review, clearly stated learning objectives, qualification and expertise of the presenter, and a well-developed presentation woven with a clear pedagogical approach (ACA, 2020). Thus, to consider one’s position and goal-directedness in these areas will significantly increase the chances of becoming accepted!

    Finally, ensuring that your topic coincides with the themes of the conference you are applying for is also optimal for your chances of getting accepted. For example, scholarly contributions toward the advancement of multicultural counseling competencies may suit either conferences and seminars structured around multicultural competencies or for a general counseling conference. Or, for scholarly contributions toward the advancement of multicultural sensitivity within pedagogical applications, potential presenters may explore counselor education and supervision conferences.

    Presentation Format
    No matter the person, at some point throughout their academic career, everyone has developed a hand for creating presentations. Presentations alike have various designs, with unique backgrounds, bullet points, pictures, videos, and the like that which presenters implement to stand out against the masses. However, as you prepare a presentation recalling the intention behind your scholarly activity is key. Thus there are several evidence-based considerations to designing your presentation in a manner that optimizes the conference experience. 

    For example, presenters strongly recommend the rule of six in devising your presentation outline. The rule of six is as follows: your presentation must have an image every six slides, each slide must have at most six bullet points and have a minimum of six words per bullet. Potential presenters should pay additional consideration to diversification and instructional methods, curtailing them to address each learning objective. Finally, another consideration lends itself to the legibility of each slide. For instance, you should test the readability of your slides through the use of a projector or a large monitor. Such practices are not only for your audience but also to guide you in expecting the unexpected (Garner & Alley, 2016; Tapia-Fuselier, 2019). Also, consider the format of what you would like to contribute as well. Presenters who are not interested in presenting at a conference for the first time and feel like the task of presenting for the duration of a 60 to 90-minute presentation is daunting, might consider a poster presentation to get their feet wet. Also, presenters who do not want to venture into this endeavor for their first time alone are welcome to collaborate with other professionals for one presentation!

    Conclusion
    These are general ideas to consider for those who are interested in presenting at a conference. Hopefully, these ideas will jump-start you in the direction of fruitful scholarly contributions down the road! When in doubt, always seek the consultation of your academic mentor for more advanced critiques and ideas, and also check out ACA’s and ACES’ available resources. Finally, of course, please feel free to add on to these ideas through your academic work. Best of luck to you in your academic endeavors!

    References

    Ali, K. (2009). Writing a successful annual meeting paper proposal. Retrieved from: https://www.aarweb.org/annual-meeting/writing-successful-annual-meeting-paper-proposal

    American Counseling Association (2020). Call for Proposals: ACA 2020 Conference & Expo. Retrieved from https://www.counseling.org/conference/about/call-for-proposals.

    Garner, J. K., & Alley, M. P. (2016). Slide structure can influence the presenter’s understanding of the presentation’s content. International Journal of Engineering Education, 32(1a), 39-54.

    Tapia-Fuselier, J. (2019). Want to present at a conference? Here are some tips and tricks! Retrieved from: https://www.counseling.org/news/aca-blogs/aca-member-blogs/aca-member-blogs/2019/05/28/want-to-present-at-a-conference-here-are-some-tips-and-tricks


  • December 31, 2019 1:32 PM | Dr. Kristy Christopher-Holloway (Administrator)

    Lethal Means Restriction and Advocacy: How Counselors and Counselor Educators  Can Save Lives

    By Rebecca Mathews, MA, LPC-S

    This holiday season, friends and families gather to experience warmth, tradition, and renewal.  It is not a joyous experience for all, as many consider or attempt suicide. As counselors, we are trained to assess and treat individuals who have suicidal ideation or behavior.  This season, let us consider how we can use our role as counselors and counselor educators to advocate in our communities for lethal means restriction.

    Lethal means restriction (LMR) is the intentional securing of potentially lethal items to prevent or delay a suicide attempt (Harvard, 2018).  LMR creates a barrier to items that can be used for suicide, thereby creating delay between a suicidal thought and action. In a study wherein 153 survivors of near-fatal suicide attempts were asked about their experience, 48% of the participants indicated that the time between the thought of suicide and the attempt was 10 minutes or less (Simon, 2005).  71% reported less than an hour between thought and action. By securing potentially lethal items, community and family members can support those who struggle with suicidal thoughts.

    Lethal means restriction is one of only a handful of suicide prevention interventions supported by research (Betz et al, 2013).  LMR is backed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), and Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) to name a few.  Parents of children and teens who have suicidal ideation can feel empowered to know that there is something they can do to help their child be safe. The same is true for relatives, neighbors, and community members whose homes are visited by this vulnerable population.

    Potentially lethal items that could be secured behind a lock include: firearms and other weapons, “sharps” (including knives, scissors, razor blades, box cutters), medication (including over the counter and prescribed), household cleaners, and other items (e.g., scarves, ropes, extension cords, belts, plastic bags).

    As counselors and educators, we have knowledge that can help to save lives.  We already use this knowledge with clients and in training future counselors.  But how can we better advocate for lethal means restriction within our communities and towns?  Below are several links that you can use with schools, community members, and local and state governments to provide education to the public and members of the profession about the importance of lethal means restriction as a suicide prevention strategy.  Harvard has a comprehensive site dedicated to education about suicide and lethal means restriction filled with resources, presentation and brochure material, and trainings for free! (see https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/means-matter/

    “While some suicidal crises last a long time, others are short-lived. Reducing access to lethal means during periods of crisis can make it more likely that the person will delay or survive a suicide attempt.  In either case, the person’s odds of long-term survival are improved” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012).  This holiday season, let us give the gift of life through advocacy and education about this important issue.  

    Resources:

    www.sprc.org/resources-programs/calm-counseling-access-lethal-means

    https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/means-matter/means-matter/duration/

    http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/index.html

    References

    Betz, M. E., Miller, M., Barber, C., Miller, I., Sullivan, A. F., Camargo, C. A., Boudreaux, E. D., ED-SAFE Investigators (2013). Lethal means restriction for suicide prevention: beliefs and behaviors of emergency department providers. Depression and anxiety, 30(10), 1013-20. 

    Harvard Injury Control Research Center. (2018). Means matter. Retrieved fromwww.meansmatter.org.

    Simon, T.R., Swann, A.C., Powell, K.E., Potter, L.B., Kresnow, M., and O’Carroll, P.W.  (2001). Characteristics of impulsive suicide attempts and attempters. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 32, 49-59.

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General, & National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. (2012). 2012 National strategy for suicide prevention: Goals and objectives for action. Washington, DC: Author.


  • December 31, 2019 1:31 PM | Dr. Kristy Christopher-Holloway (Administrator)

    This past month myself and other SACES Grad committee members had the pleasure of attending the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) conference in Seattle, WA. If you have never been to the conference, I would highly recommend you attend. It was packed full of CES celebrities from the current president, Dr. Kristopher Goodrich to our very own past SACES Grad Student Rep., Joey Tapia-Fuselier! For those of you that do not know, the ACES conference is the bi-annual gathering of former, present, and future counselor educators from across the nation and even those from around the world. The conference is designed to honor those who have enhanced the field of counselor education, as well as provide a forum for up and coming approaches to counseling, education, and supervision. Additionally, future counselor educators get the opportunity to meet and network with employers and colleagues.

    One of the most rewarding experiences for me as an online doctoral student was meeting my colleagues and professors face-to-face. Moreover, I seized each opportunity to meet new people and share my interests in counselor education, as well as the work I do in the field. After taking some time to reflect on my experiences at my first ACES conference, I have discovered three significant decisions that made my experience productive and enjoyable. I would like to offer them as suggestions to first-time conference attendees for the future.

    The first is to consider signing-up as a volunteer. I thought about this decision long and hard because I had heard stories about the exhaustion of volunteering at conferences as large as the ACES conference. However, because I was traveling alone, I wanted to set myself up for peer engagement and networking. I must say, my decision paid off in an amazingly unexpected way. I spent hours working the registration floor, directing people to and from classes and getting to know my fellow volunteers. On my first day of volunteering and engaging in conversation about my work and my interests I was offered a teaching position for the Spring term! While I recognize this may not happen to everyone, if you have never attended the conference, are traveling alone, and want to get connected, VOLUNTEER!

    The second piece of advice is to remember CES celebrities are people too, so be prepared to engage. I remember attending my first Southern Association of Counselor Education and Supervision (SACES) conference in New Orleans, LA. I ran into Dr. Courtland Lee and was basically speechless! Mind you, I had spent the entire past quarter writing about him, but I was not prepared for him to be so friendly, inviting, and, so, REAL!  I wished, in that moment, I had prepared myself to run into CES celebs, because, I realized later, many of the seasoned CES educators and authors get their inspiration from talking with new and future CES educators. If approached, the leaders in the field will gladly engage in scholarly and sometimes casual conversations with you. With that said, this year, I had a similar encounter with Dr. Kristopher Goodrich. I happened to be volunteering on the floor where his room was located and he sat next to me and we began chatting. I was prepared this time and it turned out to be an experience of a lifetime!

    Finally, put your best foot forward. First impressions are everything and genuine friendliness goes a long way. Because I made a conscious decision to be courteous and offer a smile to everyone I encountered, the universe rewarded me with interactions and experiences that will change my life forever. Also remember, if you are not yet a counselor educator, these conferences are informal job interviews and it is important to remember that in your presentation of yourself to others. On that note, I’d like to give special recognition to my colleague and fellow blog committee member, Leo Balseiro who wore a suit each day of the conference! It is those types of efforts that let employers, professors, and other colleagues know that you not only take pride in presenting your best self but you respect the work and the prestige of counseling, education, and supervision.

    I am looking forward to the next ACES conference in Atlanta, GA in 2021. Whether this will be your first conference or your 12th I hope you consider the three takeaways presented here. Happy holidays to everyone!

    Marcella Rolle


  • October 31, 2019 1:28 PM | Dr. Kristy Christopher-Holloway (Administrator)

    What Counselors Need to Know about Immigration

    For the September blog, Raven and Marcella interviewed Jose “Joey” Tapia-Fuselier, Jr., about the issue of immigration and how it may show up in therapy for clients. Joey is a licensed professional counselor and current ACES Graduate Student Representative.

    Question: What are some potential barriers that folks may experience as a result of the country’s current immigration policies and practices?

    Joey:In considering the impact and results of our country’s immigration policies and practices, we must consider children and their role in the immigration system. As we have seen, many families have been separated, which results in traumatic experiences for children and the families. Additionally, many children are too young to understand what’s happening and are unaware of when (or if) they will be reunited with their loved ones. For families dealing with the immigration system, we must be mindful of feelings of amplified fear as a result of recent events. Further,  the clinician’s own understanding of immigration policies may present another barrier for clients. As clinicians, it is our duty to do our part and research how our clients may be impacted by their legal status. From a mental health standpoint, symptoms of increased anxiety, depression, and fears of leaving their home, are important to put into context. Without an understanding of the client’s experience, we can create more barriers to treatment when their symptomology may reflect their daily experience of not having a legal status or being in a mixed status family.

    Question: What can counselors do to better understand the lived experiences of folks who may be impacted by the country’s immigration policies?

    Joey:As mentioned above, we must do our homework! Even if you don’t identify with the cultural identity of the clients you serve, this does not excuse you from doing your research. Many of us hold privileges as folks who were born in this country, which requires further thought and critical reflection. It is imperative that counselors explore the impact of our own privileged identities, especially when in the room with an undocumented client. As clinicians, we must consider exploring these issues within the therapeutic relationship, as we may provide the only space where clients feel safe enough to explore these issues. Broaching conversations about diversity further allows clients to explore themselves and their fears.

    Question: What can counselor educators do to better equip counselors-in-training to deal with these important issues?

    Joey:Love this question! Educate, educate, and educate! Counselor educators hold the unique privilege of being able to help shape the minds of counselors-in-training, in viewing political issues as a human issue for clients. Counselor educators can create experiences in the classroom to explore students’ beliefs and attitudes towards undocumented people, people of Color, and linguistically diverse clients. Creating these intentional experiences provides students with multiple methods to reflect and explore their own understanding of how policies can impact the clients we will serve. Counselor educators should also be knowledgeable about organizations and other advocacy efforts (e.g., RAICES; Undocumedia; ACLU), to encourage students to challenge the systems that oppress clients. Building these conversations and activities in every classroom further enriches students’ abilities to explore with a felt confidence that they CAN do this work. Lastly, hosting workshops or specific sessions for students with community members to learn about the immigration system and barriers faced by individuals trying to navigate a complex system and what services may benefit the clients they may serve.

    We sincerely appreciate Joey sharing his knowledge with us related to this very important issue in our society.

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