Counseling Today

Counseling Today Monthly magazine of the American Counseling Association. Resource for ACA's 55,000 members worldwide.

Counseling Today is the American Counseling Association's award-winning magazine. Sent to all ACA members, CT is a monthly resource of news and in-depth features about the world of counseling: effective techniques/strategies, developments in the profession, counselor wellness and counseling resources. Published since 1958. Compiled and designed at ACA headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. Find out more at http://ct.counseling.org/about-us/

"Just as counselors should assess for histories of abuse, substance use and suicidal or homicidal ideation, gathering in...
11/19/2019
Human Rights 101: Implications for counselors and the counseling profession - Counseling Today

"Just as counselors should assess for histories of abuse, substance use and suicidal or homicidal ideation, gathering information about experiences of human rights violations is essential."

As counselors, it is incumbent upon us to identify human rights concerns and their impact, to uphold individual human rights and address the negative consequences associated with violating these rights.

American Counseling Association
11/14/2019

American Counseling Association

November (aka #Movember) is Men’s Health Awareness Month. In a q+a w/ the authors of “A Counselor’s Guide to Working With Men”, we discussed how men’s issues can be misunderstood or overlooked. Over the next month, we will share insights from the discussion to help spark increased conversation around the importance of supporting #menshealth—body, mind and spirit. https://bit.ly/2PQz1bG

When tragic or troubling events occur, professional counselors are a good fit to disseminate accurate and relevant infor...
11/13/2019
Counselors, represent! - Counseling Today

When tragic or troubling events occur, professional counselors are a good fit to disseminate accurate and relevant information, writes Maryland LPC Carol Z.A. McGinnis. "As a licensed professional counselor, you have knowledge, awareness and skills that would be tremendously useful in times of strife. It is just a matter of getting that content “out there” in the public."

As a licensed professional counselor, you have knowledge, awareness and skills that would be tremendously useful in times of strife. It is just a matter of getting that content “out there” in the public.

"Members of the military-affiliated population have sacrificed and served, regardless of when, where and how they served...
11/11/2019
Suicide prevention strategies with the military-affiliated population - Counseling Today

"Members of the military-affiliated population have sacrificed and served, regardless of when, where and how they served. It is necessary — and possible — to serve them in return, providing them the life of wellness and stability that they desire and deserve."

By using the public health approach, maximizing protective factors, and minimizing risk factors, professional counselors can help prevent suicide in service members, veterans, and military families.

Seeing life as a progression of narratives encourages clients to begin thinking about two things: 1) alternative narrati...
11/08/2019
Counseling from an editor’s perspective - Counseling Today

Seeing life as a progression of narratives encourages clients to begin thinking about two things: 1) alternative narratives to the dominant one that has brought them to counseling, and 2) how to use their strengths to build a path to achieve the alternative, just as they see they have done in the past.

By using the journalism technique of three-word narratives, counselors can “elicit story” from their clients and help them pursue alternative life narratives.

#ThrowbackThursday from the Counseling Today archives: #Anger is often a “go-to” surface emotion that covers up deeper f...
11/07/2019
Angry words - Counseling Today

#ThrowbackThursday from the Counseling Today archives: #Anger is often a “go-to” surface emotion that covers up deeper fears and sadness. Counselors face the delicate challenge of helping clients view anger as a helpful symptom and tool rather than something to be avoided whenever possible. https://wp.me/p2BxKN-3ho

Counselors often face the delicate challenge of helping clients to view anger as a helpful symptom and tool rather than something to be avoided.

33% of U.S. children ages 17 and younger have gone through an adverse childhood experience (ACE) such as domestic violen...
11/05/2019
One in three American kids affected by adverse childhood experiences - Counseling Today

33% of U.S. children ages 17 and younger have gone through an adverse childhood experience (ACE) such as domestic violence or parental incarceration. Approximately 14% of children have gone through two or more ACEs, with a higher prevalence among black youths and those who live in households that are below the federal poverty level.

One-third of American children have gone through a negative experience that can have lasting implications for their physical and mental health, according to the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

When counselors partner with survivors of sexual violence, both the counselor and the client need to recognize the roles...
11/04/2019
Counseling survivors of sexual violence - Counseling Today

When counselors partner with survivors of sexual violence, both the counselor and the client need to recognize the roles that privilege and marginalization play in sexual violence and within the counseling relationship.

The Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies provide a framework to best support survivors of sexual violence not simply on the intrapersonal level but on all socio-ecological levels.

"The need for qualified, appropriately trained, and committed professional counselors is critical. Yet during this time,...
11/02/2019
CEO's Message: Be not fearful of our future - Counseling Today

"The need for qualified, appropriately trained, and committed professional counselors is critical. Yet during this time, some of the most drastic challenges faced by the profession involve your ability to diagnose and treat, your ability to provide services to all who are in need, and, of course, your ability to be reimbursed for the important roles you play in society."
CEO Richard Yep's November column: https://wp.me/p2BxKN-5Ld

ACA prides itself on taking the proverbial high road. Our leadership understands that if we are to provide for clients and students, all aspects of the helping community need to work together. Staying true to our principles reflects the foundations of the counseling profession.

"Regardless of whether you are a practicing counselor, a counseling student, a counselor educator, a retired counselor, ...
11/01/2019
From the President: Counselors embracing their roles as advocates - Counseling Today

"Regardless of whether you are a practicing counselor, a counseling student, a counselor educator, a retired counselor, a counselor supervisor, or someone else who is in invested in the work of counseling, this profession needs you."
ACA President Heather Trepal's November column: https://wp.me/p2BxKN-5L8

By definition, counselors are agents of change. We are called upon, via our ethical codes, competencies, and personal vision, to advocate for and with our clients and communities. We are a mission-based profession.

For every suicide death, it's estimated that anywhere from five to 80 or more people are survivors affected by the loss.
10/30/2019
Supporting survivors of suicide loss - Counseling Today

For every suicide death, it's estimated that anywhere from five to 80 or more people are survivors affected by the loss.

Grief journeys can be difficult enough without the additional layers that come with a suicide loss. Gaining additional expertise in counseling survivors of suicide loss through training, consultation and supervision can make all the difference in the care you provide to clients.

As we approach the time change, be listening for possible indicators of seasonal depression in clients, including feelin...
10/29/2019
A light in the darkness - Counseling Today

As we approach the time change, be listening for possible indicators of seasonal depression in clients, including feeling "grim," weighed down, irritable or unhappy: https://wp.me/p2BxKN-4V1

For those who struggle with seasonal depression, winter can seem dark and endless, but counselors can encourage coping strategies that provide hope for brighter days ahead.

"This situation was beyond counseling techniques and textbook knowledge. This was person-centered empathy at its core. I...
10/28/2019
How do you know it’s not counseling? - Counseling Today

"This situation was beyond counseling techniques and textbook knowledge. This was person-centered empathy at its core. I realized then that even when I question whether I am helping, I am."

Individuals with dementia are frequently looking for a sense of safety and security. Letting clients know that they are not alone in their fear is crucial.

Procrastination is a common issue — one that people often equate with simply being “lazy” or having poor time-management...
10/27/2019
Procrastination: An emotional struggle - Counseling Today

Procrastination is a common issue — one that people often equate with simply being “lazy” or having poor time-management skills. But there is often more to the story.
https://wp.me/p2BxKN-5Kd

Mental health professionals are increasingly beginning to recognize and treat chronic procrastination as something much deeper than a time-management or lifestyle issue.

October is National #BreastCancer Awareness Month.As counselors, we have an incredible opportunity to help support young...
10/25/2019
A counselor’s view of advanced breast cancer - Counseling Today

October is National #BreastCancer Awareness Month.
As counselors, we have an incredible opportunity to help support young women living with breast cancer -- beyond the pink ribbon.

As counselors, we have an incredible opportunity to help support young women living with advanced breast cancer.

"If you are currently a graduate student or counselor in supervision, I hope that you have a trusting relationship with ...
10/24/2019
Voice of Experience: Looking for honesty in the supervisory relationship - Counseling Today

"If you are currently a graduate student or counselor in supervision, I hope that you have a trusting relationship with your supervisor. If you don’t — if you couldn’t go to her or him and say, “I messed up,” even when knowing that your licensing process may slow down — you need to either adjust that relationship or find another supervisor."

A trusting supervision relationship means the counselor-in-training is comfortable admitting “I messed up,” even knowing that it may slow the licensing process down.

Watch your mailbox for our November magazine, coming soon! Cover story: https://wp.me/p2BxKN-5JV #depression #Counselors...
10/22/2019

Watch your mailbox for our November magazine, coming soon! Cover story: https://wp.me/p2BxKN-5JV #depression #CounselorsHelp

Because #depression manifests differently in each client, it is vitally important that counselors truly listen when the ...
10/21/2019
Going beyond sadness - Counseling Today

Because #depression manifests differently in each client, it is vitally important that counselors truly listen when the client describes what he or she is — or isn’t — feeling and experiencing.

When it comes to assessing for and treating depression in clients, counselors must be careful to steer clear of one-size-fits-all thinking.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month #DVAM2019In addition to providing a safe space to be heard and empowered, c...
10/20/2019
Addressing intimate partner violence with clients - Counseling Today

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month #DVAM2019
In addition to providing a safe space to be heard and empowered, counseling can be a place for victims of IPV to learn what a healthy relationship looks like.

Professional clinical counselors are charged with learning how to spot red flags and then carefully respond to a complicated and emotionally charged issue that is present in an uncomfortably large percentage of intimate relationships.

A look at some of the psychological impacts that military-affiliated clients can experience, and why it's important for ...
10/17/2019
From Combat to Counseling: Comprehensive mental health in the military-affiliated population - Counseling Today

A look at some of the psychological impacts that military-affiliated clients can experience, and why it's important for counselors to understand their complexity.
(Hint: It's much more than the possibility of PTSD.)

It is important to understand what we are talking about when we discuss mental health in the military-affiliated population. As mental health professionals, it is equally important to understand the potential psychological impacts that our clients have experienced.

Although many people associate depression primarily with feeling sad or “down,” the disorder can involve a range of symp...
10/16/2019
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Although many people associate depression primarily with feeling sad or “down,” the disorder can involve a range of symptoms and will manifest differently in each client. Counseling Today will take a deep dive on this in our November cover story on #depression (https://wp.me/p2BxKN-5JV) #CounselorsHelp

"But the thing is, I'm not a messy person."

Access to mental health care varies greatly depending on where you live in the U.S.In Massachusetts, there is a mental h...
10/14/2019
Maldistribution: Mental health care in America - Counseling Today

Access to mental health care varies greatly depending on where you live in the U.S.
In Massachusetts, there is a mental health provider for every 180 residents. On the other end of the spectrum is Alabama, which has the nation’s worst ratio at 1,100 residents for every provider. Texas, West Virginia, Georgia, Arizona, Tennessee, Mississippi and Iowa follow close behind with ratios of 700:1 or worse.

When it comes to mental health, how does your state stack up?

#FridayFeeling from our October cover story: https://wp.me/p2BxKN-5Hy
10/11/2019

#FridayFeeling from our October cover story: https://wp.me/p2BxKN-5Hy

#SpotlightOn👉 Counseling Today’s October cover story: “Counselors as human beings, not superheroes” #CounselorsHelp http://bit.ly/2pZcjDv

For counselors: "Counseling students with DACA/undocumented immigration status" https://wp.me/p2BxKN-4Yg
10/10/2019
PBS NewsHour

For counselors: "Counseling students with DACA/undocumented immigration status" https://wp.me/p2BxKN-4Yg

“You have this long-term goal, but it's not certain. You can't work harder and get it. You can't study harder and get it. It's just completely out of your control.”

"How we treat people who have unwittingly taken too much OxyContin and become victims of the pharmaceutical trade is unc...
10/08/2019
Healing the healers: Counselors recovering from familial addiction - Counseling Today

"How we treat people who have unwittingly taken too much OxyContin and become victims of the pharmaceutical trade is unconscionable. It is now known that a person can become addicted to OxyContin within five days. And we treat these people, human beings, worse than wild animals."
If you read one article today, make it this one:

It’s time to treat the addicted person, the family, and the loved ones with humanity and compassion —- the same way we treat others with any type of potentially deadly disease.

"This is a call to all counseling professionals working on and around college campuses: Be attentive, alert and active w...
10/07/2019
Breaking the silence - Counseling Today

"This is a call to all counseling professionals working on and around college campuses: Be attentive, alert and active when incidents of hate occur. We are not only ethically mandated to step up, but we are well trained to do so."

Counselor educators, counseling students and professional counselors in the community have meaningful roles to play in addressing acts of hate on college campuses.

Ending a therapeutic relationship requires a great deal of thought. If done ethically and competently, termination can h...
10/07/2019
Counseling termination and new beginnings - Counseling Today

Ending a therapeutic relationship requires a great deal of thought. If done ethically and competently, termination can help solidify counseling gains, empowering clients to integrate their experiences and bravely face their next chapter in life.

The end of the counseling relationship can be emotional for clients and counselors alike, but when done well, the process can serve as a tool to empower clients and prepare them for continued personal growth.

"If we are serious about ensuring that this latest generation of students succeeds, are we not obligated to provide the ...
10/01/2019
CEO's Message: College counseling centers are owed more - Counseling Today

"If we are serious about ensuring that this latest generation of students succeeds, are we not obligated to provide the resources that will give them the best possible chances of earning their degrees, securing jobs, and becoming dependable, productive and contributing members of society?"

Counseling services at postsecondary institutions are critical, and they need to be integral and fully funded endeavors.

Have you ever thought about volunteering with ACA?Volunteering can be as time-intensive or as time-limited as you desire...
10/01/2019
From the President: Calling all volunteers - Counseling Today

Have you ever thought about volunteering with ACA?
Volunteering can be as time-intensive or as time-limited as you desire, says ACA President HeatherTrepal:

Our ACA members who serve as volunteers play an essential role in the organization. I hope that you will consider submitting your application to volunteer with ACA.

Many women who experience infertility feel a sense of failure or self-blame toward their bodies, and some may withdraw s...
09/30/2019
The invisibility of infertility grief - Counseling Today

Many women who experience infertility feel a sense of failure or self-blame toward their bodies, and some may withdraw socially, isolate, or struggle with their identity and sense of self. The stigma surrounding infertility can make it difficult for women to reach out for support. As a result, they find themselves navigating the experience alone.

Although infertility is fairly common, the losses associated with it are less likely to be recognized, acknowledged, validated and supported, which often leaves women and couples to navigate the experience on their own.

The good news is that highly sensitive people can make changes so that their lives are more compatible with this trait a...
09/25/2019
Finding strength in sensitivity - Counseling Today

The good news is that highly sensitive people can make changes so that their lives are more compatible with this trait and they can more readily cope with the challenges posed by living in an often insensitive and overstimulating world.

Highly sensitive people are often misunderstood and frequently misdiagnosed, but in a supportive and validating counseling environment, they can frequently tap into their many strengths.

It's not a matter of if: Personal and professional issues *will* intertwine, and challenges will crop up throughout a co...
09/23/2019
Counselors as human beings, not superheroes - Counseling Today

It's not a matter of if: Personal and professional issues *will* intertwine, and challenges will crop up throughout a counselor’s career.
Professional community, personal therapy, boundary setting and self-care become all the more important when work begins spilling over into the personal realm.

A counseling license doesn’t inoculate practitioners against wrestling with “what if” thinking, struggling with problems in their home life and personal relationships, or experiencing some of the same hardships that they help clients walk through.

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