20/20 Definition of Counseling– “Counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education and career goals.”
April is Counseling Awareness Month- an opportunity to educate the public about the counseling profession, as well as its positive impact on society, both locally and globally.
Just last month, I had the opportunity to attend the ACA 2015 Conference & Expo in Orlando, Florida; a transformative experience, with many new lessons learned, and old ones reaffirmed.
Counselors are incredible individuals who; hold and honor the stories of their clients in an empathic and respectful way. They help prompt/promote change and healing for their clients that lasts a lifetime (Kottler & Balkin -Keynote Speakers- ACA 2015 Conference & Expo). Counselors do good and very important work every day, and contribute to communities nationwide. Mariel Hemingway (Keynote Speaker @ACAOrlando2015) said it best, when she said, “What you do, is so important.”
To kick start this month properly, here are 12 Things that you should know about Professional Counselors- by Morgan Spurlock- Keynote Speaker, 2014 ACA Conference & Expo:
- Counselors have a graduate degree or higher in counseling.
- Counselors emphasize multicultural competence and respect for diverse worldviews.
- Counselors focus on wellness, career development, and client empowerment as opposed to psychopathology- a proactive approach to mental health.
- Counselors encourage people to be genuine and to work to find their own authentic self, even if the authentic self is somewhat different from dominant culture norms.
- Counselors assist issues caused by typical life stressors, such as grief and loss, relationship problems, and developmental challenges throughout the lifespan.
- Counselors diagnose/or treat mental disorders.
- Counselors are often trained in reacting to disasters- those created by individuals and nature.
- Counselors serve as a front line resource in schools, as the eyes and ears for early signs of emotional distress caused by bullying, harassment, and other forms of abuse and trauma.
- Counselors play an important role on college campuses, as the number of students visiting counseling centers is steadily increasing.
- Counselors work with military veterans to help them with depression, PTSD, the transition back into civilian life, and more.
- Counselors abide by ACA’s Code of Ethics. aca-code-of-ethics– The 2014 ACA Code of Ethics replaces the 2005 edition. It’s the First code that speaks to the ethics of using social media with clients.
- Counselors are passionate, diverse, and committed to helping people from all walks of life and all depts. of despair to survive as thrive in today’s world.
I have also shared a copy of the Professional Counseling Fact Sheet– in an effort to educate the public about the differences between health care professionals –http://www.counseling.org/docs/default-source/counseling-awareness-month/2015cam-counseling-factsheet.pdf?sfvrsn=2
I have been a professional counselor for 15 years, and remain very committed to spreading the word about professional counseling, and the awesome work counselors around the nation do every day.
Keep an eye on this site throughout the month of April, as I share with you all, the extraordinary work counselors have done, and continue to do, today.
Also, please feel free to share with us some of the wonderful work you are doing as professional counselors.
All the best,
Chioma Anah, EdD, ATR, LCPC, NCC, ACS