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  • December 31, 2019 1:32 PM | Deleted user

    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

    “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.  



    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

    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 | Deleted user

    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 | Deleted user

    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.

  • October 30, 2019 1:43 PM | Deleted user

    Meet the Team!

    Marcella Rolle, M.Ed., LAPC, NCC
    Counselor and Doctoral Student
    Walden University, Ashburn, Georgia

    Research/Clinical Focus: Trauma-informed care and communities in the rural Southern United States; Microaggressions among Women of Color in Online CES Programs; Trauma-focused counseling; Family Systems Counseling.

    Fun Fact: “I played the clarinet from 6th through 12th grade and loved every minute!”

    Ashlei Rabess, MA, APC, NCC
    Associate Counselor and Doctoral Student
    Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA

    Research/Clinical Focus: Multiculturalism and Social Justice in Counseling; Intergenerational Trauma in African American Women; Gender and Sexual Minorities; Couple and Family counseling; group work.

    Fun Fact: “I jumped out of a plane at 15,000 feet in the air. (I’ve gone skydiving!)”

    Keshia D. Ross-Williams, LPC, LSATP, CAADC, CCS
    Sr. Therapist and Doctoral Student
    egent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia

    Research/Clinical Focus: Clinical Supervision: Effective versus Ineffective Supervision; Trauma: “What characteristics or traits aids in someone’s ability to be resilient to trauma, specifically sexual trauma?”

    Fun Fact: “I played the violin 6th through 10th grade and artistic abilities run in my family so I can draw a little bit.”

    Leo Balseiro, MS, LMHC, NCC
    Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Doctoral Student
    Barry University, Miami Shores, FL

    Research/Clinical Focus: Depressive Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Trauma, Family Therapy, Resilience Theory, Leadership, Social Justice and Advocacy.

    Fun Fact: “My favorite avenues for self-care involves strength training, playing the guitar, video games, and going for a run while playing Pokemon GO. I also achieved 1st place in a bowling tournament when I was 12 years old (in the 6th division).”

    Tameeka Hunter, M.S., LPC, CRC, NCC
    Licensed Professional Counselor and Doctoral Student
    Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA

    Research/Clinical Focus: Resiliency, Social Justice, Advocacy, and Multicultural Issues, with a focus on persons with disabilities, LGBTQI+ populations, people of color, and multiple marginalized populations.

    Fun Fact: “I am an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and a self-proclaimed foodie”

    V. Paige Zeiger, M.S., NCC, LPC, BC-TMH, CCFP, CCTP
    icensed Professional Counselor and Doctoral Student
    Walden University, Trussville, Alabama

    Research/Clinical Focus: Compassion Fatigue, Trauma and Crisis, Trauma-Informed Care, Forward-Facing Therapy, Resiliency, Military Families and Culture, Online/Distance Counselor Education, Counselor Professional Development, Clinical Supervision, Authentic Leadership, Constructivism, and Existentialism.

    Fun Fact: “I am a US Navy Veteran with a love for my boxer dog, Shayla (7-years-old), and my 5-year-old daughter named Lilly who is my love and my life and the reason that I push myself to overcome adversity and persevere. I enjoy traveling, going on cruises, playing games, and cooking with my daughter.”

    Rebecca Mathews, M.A., LPC-Supervisor, LPA, CBGT
    Clinical Therapist and Doctoral Student
    Texas A&M University - Commerce, Dallas, Texas

    Research/Clinical Focus: Helping counselors to resolve value-based conflicts, the therapeutic relationship, child & adolescent suicidality, strengthening family bonds for LGBTQ+ youth

    Fun Fact: “I hope to graduate next year (YAY!) and once auditioned to be an entertainer on a Disney cruise ship. (SPOILER: I didn’t get it.) :)"

    Research/Clinical Focus: Experiences of giftedness among Black girls and women; the social, emotional, and academic concerns of high-achieving Black girls and women; learning and achievement within a Ghanaian learning environment; the role of counselors and counselor educators in the Movement for Black Lives; and experiences of Black first-generation doctoral students. Clinically, I identify most as a group counselor and enjoy providing culturally-responsive group services to girls and women of Color.

    Fun Fact: “In December 2017, I studied abroad in Ghana, West Africa, and I returned to collect data for my dissertation in Summer 2019!”

    We welcome and encourage entries from Counselors, Counseling Students, Counselor Educators, and Supervisors! If you would like to feature your work on the SACES Blogs, please refer to the online form for submissions! All you need is:

    ● A catchy title!
    ● 500-800 word blog entry
    ● Minimum 3 references to support ideas
    ● Your Name, Credentials, and professional bio (150 words), and
    ● A professional photo

    Here are our upcoming topics to help you get started!

    August 2019 “A Day in the Life of…”
    1. Counselor Educators
    2. Counselors
    3. Researchers
    4. Supervisors

    September 2019 Preparing for Conferences
    1. Finding funding options for conferences
    2. Crafting a catchy proposal
    3. Poster Presentation Development
    4. Experiential Ideas for Conferences

    October 2019 Where to find licensure information by state

    November 2019 Employment

    December 2019 Resources for graduate students with the career search

    January 2020 “Recently graduated... Now what?”

    February 2020 Taking on the role of advocate as counseling student

    March 2020 Networking Experiences and Strategies

    April 2020 The ‘hidden curriculum’ for graduate students

    May 2020 Mental Health Awareness/Suicide Prevention

    June 2020 Turning passion into purpose (in research)

    Please be sure to submit all blog ideas by the second week of the previous month. For instance, if you want to submit a blog entry for the month of August, you will need to submit proposed entry by the end of the second week of July. Once received, you will get an email from our team letting you know your entry has been received. If your post is accepted or declined, we will contact you within one week of the entry deadline.

    Thank you for reading and contributing to our blog. The advancement of graduate students into the field of Counselor Education and Supervision is our utmost priority, and your contribution and time toward our blog is invaluable! 

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