Conference Dates: 11/12/21 - 11/13/21

Our speakers are for YOU! 

We have purposefully designed a conference with multiple keynote speakers to reach all specialties within our diverse organization.  We have found nationally known, leaders in their fields, heroes, and practitioners who are ready to inspire you, share the most current research or provide you with new tools to use in your own setting.  Here are some highlights: 


Keynote Speaker:  Michele Kerulis - “Self, Strength, Success

Counselors dedicate their careers to developing the emotional wellness of others and sometimes forget to take time for themselves. The events of the previous few years resulted in extreme stress and counselors were challenged to help clients address increased crisis, grief, and uncertainty, all while dealing with these issues, too.

With stress comes growth and a re-evaluation of our meaning in life. People begin to think about the impact they make in the world and the impact they feel from others. The human connection provides us with the strength and bonds to make real change in the world and counselors are especially talented at helping people highlight how they can enhance their wellness and grow from within to see outward results.

Wellness is a multidimensional concept and counselors interact with these dimensions on a regular basis as they try to promote health across all systems. To do this, counselors must ensure that they practice self-care and model these behaviors for others.

Developing commitment to self-care can be difficult and learning how to examine our own personal strengths can help us decide how to balance our energies as we encourage others to do the same. With this intentional reflection, counselors can take a deeper look at their own perspectives related to their meaning in life.

In this interactive keynote address, counselors will learn how making time for themselves can strengthen individual and collective success. Counselors will learn their individualized ingredients for wellness, learn ways to overcome existing and unanticipated roadblocks, and learn existential reflection exercises to help them explore their ideas about making meaning during different stages of life. Counselors will leave this session with their own realistic self-care and reflection plans that can be implemented immediately. Their renewed sense of wellness will have a domino effect, resulting on ripples of wellness among individuals and systems.



Breakout 1
Presenter: John Burnett, Ed.S. aka "Counselor John B"
Session: How to Prevent Burnout with Program Planning
Breakout 2
Presenter: Megan Gaylord-Cole, LPC-MHSP
Session: Covid is Still Happening, So What Now?: The impact of Covid-19 on Suicide and Mental Health Systems

Breakout 3
Presenter: Eva Gibson, Ed.D.,  Constance Certion, Ed.D., & LaTraci Aldridge, Ph.D.
Session: Contemporary Considerations for School Counselors
Breakout 4
Presenter: Martha Burke, Ph.D. and Mary Neal, LPC-MHSP
Session: Perinatal Mental Health: The Importance of Screening and Advocacy
Breakout 5
Presenter: Jay Tift, LPC-MHSP, CCMHC
Session: Ethics and Diagnosis in Clinical Mental Health Counseling


See the Full Conference Schedule Here

Conference Registration is Open.  Click here



Michele Kerulis, EdD, LCPC

Keynote session: “Self, Strength, Success

Dr. Michele Kerulis is a professor of counseling with [email protected] She is certified through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, a member of the United States Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Registry, and a content expert in counseling ethics and sport and exercise psychology. She is a Past President of the Illinois Counseling Association and holds leadership within the American Counseling Association.

Dr. Kerulis is an active public speaker, private practice clinical therapist, and blogger for [email protected], American Counseling Association, Association for Applied Sport Psychology, and Psychology Today. Her work with the [email protected] blog was recognized as one of the Top Counseling Blogs of 2017.

Dr. Kerulis has received recognition for her work including the Illinois Mental Health Counseling Association Distinguished Service Award and the Illinois Counselor Educators & Supervisors Innovative Counselor Educator of the Year award.

Dr. Kerulis clinical areas of expertise include general mental health, sport & exercise psychology, and lifestyle & wellness. Her years of experience as an athlete, fitness professional, and therapist have created the foundation for her belief that the skills necessary to achieve success in sport and performance are the same skills necessary to achieve excellence in life.




Speaker: John Burnett, Ed.S aka "Counselor John B"

Breakout session: “How to Prevent Burnout with Program Planning” 

John Burnett, a middle school counselor, has 11 years of experience in education and mental health counseling. He has served in multiple roles in the school setting including elementary school counselor, middle school counselor, Spanish teacher, and assistant principal. He received a Bachelors in Spanish from the University of Memphis, Masters in School Counseling from Cambridge College, and an Ed.S. in School Administration from Freed Hardeman University. In his spare time, Mr. Burnett enjoys building bridges and making connections with students, families, and teachers and I hope to continue to make a positive impact in the community and world. He specializes in coping skills, mindfulness, grounding, and helping students work through trauma, anxiety, and stress. 


Speaker: Megan Gaylord-Cole, LPC-MHSP 

Breakout session: "Covid is Still Happening, So What Now?: The impact of Covid-19 on Suicide and Mental Health Systems"

Megan Gaylord, LPC-MHSP has worked with children and youth who are experiencing emotional and behavioral problems for 19 years. She is very active with The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network and speaks to groups about suicide prevention. Megan has a Bachelor's Degree from Rhodes College in International Studies and a Master's Degree in Community Agency Counseling from The University of Memphis. Megan currently works for the Youth Villages Specialized Crisis Services program, supervising a team of mental health crisis response staff evaluating emotional and behavioral crises in Rural West Tennessee. Megan has experience in crisis intervention for suicidal youth in a variety of clinical settings.  Megan has specialized training in Collaborative Problem Solving, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach.  She guest lectures at The University of Memphis on Crisis and Duty to Warn Ethics.  Megan’s research interests are the cross section between maternal mental health and suicide risk, the Estranged Violent Juvenile Offender/Community Violence, Crisis Ethics, and building relationships with children to foster positive online activity and growth. Megan is a trained facilitator for Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) Suicide Intervention, SAFEtalk, and The Tennessee Health Brains Initiative/Adverse Childhood Experiences.  

Speakers: Dr. Eva M. Gibson, Dr. Constance Certion, Dr. LaTraci Aldridge

Brekout session: "Contemporary Considerations for School Counselors"

Dr. Eva M. Gibson is currently an Assistant Professor at Austin Peay State University. Prior to becoming a counselor educator, she served eleven years in the public school system as a licensed school counselor. Gibson was named the American School Counselor Association’s “2017 Tennessee School Counselor of the Year” and currently serves on the American School Counselor Association Board of Directors as well as the editorial board for the Professional School Counseling journal. Additionally, she previously served as the President of the Tennessee Counseling Association as well as the Tennessee School Counseling Association. Dr. Gibson has led numerous workshops and trainings on advocacy and culturally-affirming practices. Her research areas include school counseling, social justice, and advocacy. Dr. Gibson has numerous publications to include magazine articles, journal articles, and book chapters. For more information, feel free to visit her website:  


Dr. Constance Certion is the High School Counseling Services Manager for Shelby County Schools. She graduated from Rhodes College with a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies, and she later furthered her education at the University of Memphis earning a Master of Science in Counseling with a concentration in School Counseling, Liberty University earning an Educational Specialist degree in Educational Leadership, and Carson-Newman University earning a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership. Dr. Certion served as a school counselor for fifteen years prior to moving into a counseling leadership role at the district level in Arlington Community Schools. Additionally, she is a licensed trainer for restorative practices and has facilitated workshops and trainings on topics including self-care for teens and educators, adverse childhood experiences, and suicide prevention for teens and adolescents. Her areas of focus for research include school counseling, job satisfaction, and professional burnout. She is the Past President of the WTCA and President-Elect of the Tennessee Counseling Association. 


Dr. LaTraci D. Aldridge is a native Memphian with a passion for working with children of all backgrounds. She started her collegiate career at Tennessee State University in 2001. She transferred to the University of Memphis in 2004 and graduated with her Bachelors in Psychology in 2005. In 2010, she obtained her Masters' degree in Counseling with a concentration in School Counseling. She obtained her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision in 2021 from The University of Memphis. She has worked in various positions in social services and has been in the field of education since 2010. She currently serves as a High School Counselor.  Her research focus is school counseling and virtual school counseling. She has been married to Robert Aldridge for 14 years and they have 2 boys, Brandon and Tristan and dog, Charlee.  



Speakers: Martha Burke, Ph.D. and Mary Neal, LPC-MHSP   

Breakout session: "Perinatal Mental Health:  The Importance of Screening and Advocacy"

Dr. Martha Burke holds a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from the University of Memphis. She is a Nationally Certified Counselor working towards becoming a licensed professional counselor, mental health service provider. Martha works in private practice serving children, adolescents, and adults. She is passionate about mental health and wellness and reducing the stigma associated with mental health. Martha worked as a school counselor for ten years in Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee prior to shifting into private practice. She is currently serving as the Secretary of the West Tennessee Counseling Association. She is the mom of two girls, enjoys yoga, walks with friends and dancing in the kitchen!

Mary Neal is a licensed professional counselor, mental health service provider and board approved clinical supervisor in Tennessee. Mary works in private practice with perinatal clients and their families. She has a passion for helping Moms improve their well-being and get back to themselves. Mary worked for ten years at a behavioral health hospital in Memphis. She is currently working on her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision at the University of Memphis and is a part of two research projects, including Mothering during COVID-19 and the Pregnant Moms Empowerment Program, providing treatment for Moms who have suffered from domestic violence. Mary is currently serving as the President Elect-Elect of the West Tennessee Counseling Association, the President Elect of the Chi Sigma Iota Professional Honor Society, and the Vice Chair of the Region 7 Planning and Policy Council representing Shelby County for the TDMHSAS.





Speakers: Jay Tift, LPC-MHSP, CCMHC    

Breakout Session: "Ethics and Diagnosis in Clinical Mental Health Counseling"

Jay Tift is a passionate counselor, educator, and consultant with nine years of experience in professional counseling and 20 in organizational leadership and development. As an LPC-MHSP, Jay is part owner of Brentwood Counseling Associates, LLC where he works with adults and adolescents struggling with a range of mental health and wellness concerns. Jay is also an adjunct instructor in clinical mental health counseling at Vanderbilt University where he teaches coursework in the CACREP accredited master’s program. He engages in multiple environments as a speaker and consultant where he delivers talks, lectures, and workshops on topics such as stress and anxiety, group dynamics and communication, mental health, professional ethics, and leadership. Jay is currently the ethics committee chair for TCA.



Conference Registration is Open.  Click here



The Tennessee Counseling Association has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 2043. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. The Tennessee Counseling Association is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.