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Slouching Towards Empathy

 

Welcome to the TCA Blog! As the new Publications Chair, I plan to contribute to and help curate the monthly entries found here. A bit about me:  I am the program coordinator for the graduate program in counseling at the University of Tennessee at Martin. While I have been in higher education for 21 years, I also was a school counselor for 3 years, and afterward the clinical director of a residential facility for violent juvenile offenders in Memphis for 4 years. My professional life has been enriched by this mix of higher education, school counseling, and clinical work. 

What I hope to do is to encourage all of our members to feel comfortable sending in submissions.  Yes, that is a bit selfish…less work for me.  But, I also envision the blog to be a place where commentary, insight, and opinion can be shared in a safe place.  Our membership is diverse professionally and personally.  Each of us has a perspective to share, a story to tell. An example of this is Andrew Arehart’s description of attending the TCA Annual Conference for the first time. I appreciated reading his perspective and the chance to consider conference attendance from a different point of view. I was particularly moved by Derrick Shepards’ recent post. It was personal and universal, a challenging commentary that sparked introspection.  If this is also the type of blog you prefer I hope you visit this site frequently, and, of course, contribute your own thoughts.

David Dietrich, Ph.D.  
Associate Professor
Coordinator, Master's Program in Counseling


Slouching Towards Empathy 

I’m tired.  Worn out.  Like I paddled out into the tranquil Gulf for a relaxing swim and, as I turned to wave to the family on shore, had the full force of Hurricane Sally smack me in the back of the head.  But I’m not alone. The 2020 memes are everywhere, each one highlighting the stress and pain being felt across the country and the world. We can’t avoid COVID-19, rampaging fires, hurricanes, social unrest, political folly. As a result our society seems to be shredded into increasingly distinct pieces.  Us and them.  Good and bad.  Right and wrong. Choose a side.  The tension is palpable, heavy in the air. And the weight of it adds to my fatigue.

As I considered the intense emotions felt by people from every side of the political/social/community issues straining our world, it occurred to me:  where has empathy gone?

Empathy is the lifeblood of counseling. It infuses each session with the warmth, acceptance and understanding necessary to develop the counseling relationship. This is the first building block toward client change.  As a counselor educator I preach its value to my students and urge them to understand their client at a deeper level, to walk in the client’s shoes and feel what the client feels.   

I turned to my overstuffed bookcase and dusted off my copy of Carl Rogers’ “Client-Centered Therapy”.  Rogers writes: “…it is the counselor’s function to assume, in so far as he is able, the internal frame of reference to the client, to perceive the world as the client sees it, to perceive the client himself as he is seen by himself, to lay aside all perceptions from the external frame of reference while doing so, and to communicate something of this empathic understanding to the client.” 

Considering empathy’s place in our world today, here he was talking directly to me, and to you:  “…there appears to be a strong trend toward…bringing to modern man an increased peace of mind.  It would seem that our culture has grown less homogenous, it gives less support to the individual…Each man must resolve within himself issues for which his society previously took full responsibility.” Yes, that was written for then, for now, for all time.

Why does it seem that so few people are capable of empathy in the world we see in the news today? Everyone seems on alert, and quick to attack the other side. Compromise is more than an illusion, it’s a sign of weakness. The battle lines are drawn and empathy has no place in this type of war.

Should our leaders be modeling empathy for us? Could this help to set the example for us all, and blur those lines of division? Rogers gives us some guidance here as well: “One hypothesis would be that group members identify with their leader and in the process internalize some of his attitudes and behavioral patterns. This would mean that group members may gradually begin to behave toward others in the group in much the same way as the leader behaves toward them.”  It was reassuring to read that and wag a finger at the national leaders I don’t agree with, hoping that kinetic energy was felt miles away in their souls, stirring them toward guilt and change. But was this missing the point a bit? Is empathy a hammer to be used to bludgeon the other side?

I feel this tension and struggle on a personal level. I have no answers. But I also wonder about this issue from a professional level. Counselors hold an optimistic view toward mankind, rooted in the belief that change is possible.  How do counselors maintain their own empathy, while it seems to be eroding in the public and private faces of our society? What is our responsibility to step up into that leadership role and model empathy?

Recently I had an issue to resolve with two students enrolled in one of my graduate counseling courses. They were paired together in order to complete a series of counseling role plays and needed to negotiate times to meet.  There was a bit of confusion about the due date of the first assignment, a difficulty in being able to communicate with each other, one feeling pressured and rushed, the other still reeling from adjusting to graduate school and unsure how things worked.  One student panicked, completed the assignment with another person, leaving the other partner alone to figure things out on her own.  Both were angry.  Both felt disrespected. As I met with them and talked about what happened and why, I brought up the larger issue here:  the counselor disposition of empathy.  Could they understand the experience of their partner?  Here I was impacting my sliver of the world in the only way I could, modeling (hopefully) what empathy looks like and encouraging it in my students. Passing it on, not on a national level, but a professional (and personal) one.

In 1919 W.B. Yeats wrote the poem “Second Coming” as a reflection of the state of the world at that time, in the aftermath of WWI, the beginning of the Irish Revolution, and the continuing effects of the 1919 Spanish flu epidemic. The world was emerging from one catastrophic event only to be confronted with others. It was a time of uncertainty, fear, and doubt flavored by the elation of the ending of the most brutal war the world had seen. He used the phrase “slouching towards Bethlehem” to describe the crippled, labored journey of man toward a second life.  A life of renewal and hope.

We may see some similarities between that challenging time a century ago and our current one.  And here we are: a society slouching toward empathy.

David Dietrich, Ph.D.  
Associate Professor
Coordinator, Master's Program in Counseling

 

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Welcome New Leaders

 

 

 

 

Welcome 2020-2021 TCA Leadership Team

 

July 1st marks the change of our leadership team. 

We are beyond thankful to all of the leaders that served in this past year, especially given the uniquely challenging one that it was!  Their solid work has created a path for our new leadership team to keep pushing forward on the quality work they began. 

We will kick off our work, together, at our annual Leadership Development Institute on July 17th and July 18th, occurring virtually this year.  

 

 

 

TCA Executive Council

 

Janet Hicks

President

Nicole Cobb

President Elect

Steve Zanskas

Past President

Terry Sharp

Secretary

Anna Millard

Treasurer

Cherrie Holden

Membership Secretary

Kat Coy

Executive Director

TCA Governing Council

 

Yvette Carter

Awards

Jay Tift

Bylaws, 2020-2021

Mary Mayorga

Ethics, 2020-2022

Layla Bonner

Human Rights

Kevin Doyle

Membership Chair

Chris LaFever

NBCC Liaison

Lisa Henderson

Public Policy and Legislation, Co-Chair

Jordan Tatom

Public Policy and Legislation, Co-Chair

David Dietrich

Publications

Derrick Shepard

Strategic Planning

Lisa Henderson

TCA Foundation

Open - Elections in July

Graduate Student Representative

Ad Hoc Committees

 

Claire Dempsey

Archives

Tracy Cagle

Parliamentarian

Patrick Murphy

Research Co-Chair

Elizabeth O-Brien

Research Co-Chair

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Pleasantries are not enough anymore...

 

 

"Pleasantries are not enough anymore..." - Derrick Shepard, TCA Human Rights Chair

Dear colleagues,

It is with great anger and numbness I write to you today.  The recent killings of African Americans and civil unrest is just that recent.  But these incidents are not atypical for African Americans living in the unjust and structurally racist society, known as america.  I also come to you today not only as the Human Rights Chair for the Tennessee Counseling Association but as a Black Man from Birmingham, AL living in america.

To understand my positionality better, I am a Black Man from Birmingham, AL.  I remember stories my Grandmother would tell of living in Alabama under “Bull” Connor and George Wallace.  She told stories of times, where those that were charged with upholding justice saw African Americans as less than and would let you know with certainty how they felt with sayings such as, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” “greeted with the most vicious dogs.”  For me, learning to live in america was taught as a means of survival.  I was taught to understand that I’m Black, I’m poor, and society does not value me.  Those lessons have not left me and I use the lessons as a means of surviving in america.

In understanding my positionality and place in society, I see visuals in media that are all too familiar of past stories of racial injustices that are common for Blacks, those fighting for social equity, and other marginalized populations.  Other impressionable events for me include the 1961 riot at the University of Georgia over the suspension of two admitted Black students, the 1962 bombing and burning of Black churches in Sasser, GA, the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Riders murders, the 1965 Watts riots, the 1966 Chicago riots over Black children wanted to use fire hydrants, the 1969 assassination of Martin Luther King, the 1970 Kent State massacre, and the 1970 murder of two Black youths by local police.  These incidents remind me of the old saying, “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

            The same pleasantries are not enough anymore.  The listening and town hall meetings, and putting out statements only serve to placate the unrest, while the systemic injustices remain.  Without strategic actions these endeavors, as well-meaning as their intentions, will only perpetuate the failures of america.  I am only one Black man and can only provide, from my vantage points, thoughts start to change the process.

            First, vote with meaning in federal and state elections.  Voting is a way to make your voice heard.  Too many have paid the price for all of america to have this right.  However, a uniformed vote is a meaningless vote and will not help us navigate out of this cycle of social injustice.  Here are listing of resources to make an informed decision on the federal and state level:

  •  https://www.followthemoney.org/The nonpartisan, nonprofit National Institute on Money in Politics promotes an accountable democracy by compiling comprehensive campaign-donor, lobbyist, and other information from government disclosure agencies nationwide and making it freely available at FollowTheMoney.org.
  • https://www.opensecrets.org/: Nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit, the Center for Responsive Politics is the nation's premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. 
  • https://www.lwv.org/: Since 1920, an activist, grassroots organization whose leaders believed that voters should play a critical role in democracy. 
  • https://votesmart.org/: Vote Smart's mission is to provide free, factual, unbiased information on candidates and elected officials to ALL Americans.

Next, vote with meaning in county and city elections.  The recent deaths of African Americans transpired on the local level.  The Ahmaud Arbery crime happened with the knowledge and possible consent of local officials.  It was only until the video was leaked that the State of Georgia felt the need to step in and address the crime.  The need for active participation at the local is required because we live in systems and the first political system is your local municipality. 

What I write here is not without reflection.  I reflect on my life as a Black man in a Counselor Educator and Supervision doctoral program.  The challenges of navigating an unfamiliar system with fear and convention because what I’ve encountered does not hold water to those that made it possible for me to be on this journey.  I also reflect on my life as a Black man living in a city where my life was threatened late last year in the parking lot of local eatery for only being Black-think about the recent Central Park incident. 

If you are angry…good.  Because I am angry also.  But I want you to know that TCA is angry too and stand in solidarity with counselors who serve those impacted by recent and historical injustices.  TCA encourages its members to engage action, be it political action, community outreach, advocacy, research, and education to advance human rights in america.

Derrick Shepard

The University of Tennessee - Counselor Education Doctoral Candidate

Tennessee Counseling Association - Human Rights Chair



 

More Resources

  • School Counseling Resources: https://www.tcacounselors.org/tnsca
  • ACA Statement on Undue Police Violence - posted on 5/18/20 - here
  • Counselors for Social Justice: Virtual Town Hall (6/3/20 at 7pm EST) - more information here
  • Counselors for Social Justice: (6/8/20 at 6:30 EST) "I Need A Minute: A Time for Collective Mourning" for ACA members to be together and share their feelings and experiences regarding recent and continued violence.  More information here.
  • Anti-Racism Resources: This document is intended to serve as a resource to white people and parents to deepen our anti-racism work - here
  • TED Talk - Racism Has a Cost for Everyone - here
  • "The Psychology of Rioting: The Language of the Unheard" Denouncing symptoms of disease without treating the root cause is bad medicine.  By Joe Pierre M.D. - here
  • NAMI - African American Mental Health Resources - here
  • Being Antiracist - here
  • "How to talk to kids about race" resources here

 

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Covid-19 Helpful Resources and Member Spotlight

 

Covid-19 Helpful Resources

Are you a student or counselor educator and looking for updates from CACREP? Click here to read CACREP’s statement regarding COVID-19, get information about practicum and internship accommodations, read about accreditation extensions and dues, and more!

Are you a school counselor looking for some guidance? ASCA has put together a great update on their website which provides suggestions, online training, and other free materials to assist you in supporting your students. Click here to access webinars, position statements, and other virtual school counseling resources.

Are you a mental health or professional counselorClick here to access the resources put together by ACA including telebehavioral health information, insight on how to work with clients in light of difficult public health conditions, and how to take care of your own emotional health. 

NAMI has put together a great resource and information guide that can be found here. The guide provides resources for a lot of common questions such as: where to find support if you have lost a loved one to COVID-19, how to handle increases in anxiety or feelings of isolation, and much more!

Finally, SimplePractice has put together a resource to assist in providing continuity of care in the face of COVID-19. Click here to gain access to some great resources for private practitioners such as webinars to increase your knowledge about telehealth, templates for letters to your clients, and a telehealth resources directory.  



 

Member Spotlight: Sandra Terneus



Bio:  Sandra Terneus is a Professor in the Department of Counseling and Psychology at Tennessee Tech University.  She has been a member of TCA for approximately 20 years. Originally, she was a member of Cumberland Chapter, but when membership waned, she transferred to MTCA, while holdings memberships in TACES and TASGW.  She holds licensures as a LMFT, LPC, and LCPC. Lastly, she is on the editorial boards for the Journal for Specialists in Group Work and the Tennessee Counseling Association.

Hello everyone.  A most important message that I can share with the TCA Membership pertains to my recent experiences with the recent tornado relief:    As you may know, survivors most likely will be disoriented from a surreal experience. After the immediate concerns of receiving health care and finding loved ones, it is natural that survivors want to return to their homes.  

In their efforts to be helpful, most volunteers usually throw away the apparent debris in efforts to clean up for future renovation.  However, this action of throwing everything away does not allow the survivor(s) to think and process their property. The survivors are not only left with literally nothing, but their guilt escalates for “not being able to think” in order to evaluate whether a muddied broken belt buckle from Great Grandad was worth keeping.  

 

It may be helpful for communities to provide portable storage pods to allow the survivors to temporarily house their mementos; this allows the mementos to be saved from potentially more bad weather, and it allows survivors to review the mementos when they are ready to do so.  

For the first day, it may be more helpful if each survivor has a small group of volunteers as their personal assistants, and the volunteers may take different roles as needed.  One volunteer could be more attentive to the survivors while they process the destruction and rebuilding before them, normalizing their feelings of surrealism, and listening to their life stories.  Other volunteers can scan a section of the debris and look closely for items. It would be helpful for volunteers to point to an object and ask the survivor if this is an object they would like to save and place in storage for the time being.  BE AWARE OF WEAPONS! Ask the survivor if guns were in the home and, if so, how they were stored/loaded. Depending on the force of the tornado, weapons from neighboring homes could have landed in your area. Share any information with police/first responder teams about lost weapons as well as keep a record of lost items for insurance purposes.

How else can you help?  Register with the American Red Cross to be a Technician II to provide services to the volunteers should they need to process and debrief.

How has TCA influenced our career or practice?  TCA is the most wonderful resource of professionals and colleagues who work in a variety of counseling and counseling-related roles from one end of Tennessee to the other.  It is the most inclusive body of great folks that I have encountered while I have been in Tennessee. I have learned so much about what professionals in other fields were facing, colleagues at other universities, faces who became familiar friends.  When I first attended TCA decades ago, I had the mindset of simply presenting at a conference. During the evening, I walked by Mary Brignole’s room. “Come on in,” said Mary. “You’re new. Tell me about yourself.” Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting Mary knows that her room provides an evening of loud meaty political discussions, wild humor and good-natured jokes, creative ideas for future TCA leadership, and warm wishes and support for personal goals, and, of course, mixed with the staples of wine and snacks.  “Everyone is so nice,” was my first impression of TCA and that impression has stayed with me.  

Share a little bit about your background and your journey to becoming a counselor.   Well, I grew up being a big fan of Smoky the Bear, so I always wanted to be a park ranger.  My early college years were somewhat floundering; my interests were in occupational areas which were already full, and career advisors were suggesting other programs.  I was taking classes just to take classes, but I really didn’t know “what was I going to be when I grew up.” I was the first in my family to go to college, and the familial guidance I had received was simply to get a college degree so I could help provide for the family.

Then, a friend commented that I should try the Counseling Program because I was a natural helper.  I submitted my application and was shocked (and scared) that I was actually called for an interview with the faculty.  Luckily, my friend’s observation of my being a natural helper must have been true because I passed the “role play” and was accepted into the program.  

My faculty were current officers in either ACA Divisions or on the ACA Executive Council.  My cohort and I would timidly and gently walk among “The Giants”, and our mouths would drop open, flabbergasted, when we would see them departing from the hallway restrooms.  (OMG! They are like us!” Yes, we were that nerdy.). My faculty critiqued our skills (“Do it again.”), and poked at our self-awareness (“What does this mean to you?”) as we evolved personally and professionally.  As students, we understood the growth process. Some of the connections that we, students, had developed with each other have maintained; I still exchange an annual Christmas card with my first group co-facilitator, Dean Duncan.  After graduation, I moved and worked at the University of Nevada – Las Vegas. It was phenomenal; everything the textbooks described became alive, and I continued to grow professionally as a counselor educator, supervisor, and practitioner.

What is your current work setting(s)?  My second career led me to my current position at TTU.  A typical day would be similar to other faculty such as providing course instructions, committee meetings, research, etc.  My particular area of interest includes: career and group development, crisis/suicide interventions, relationships, and abnormal psychology/psychopathology.

Do you have any career or practice aspirations moving forward?  You bet!  When I think about my third career path, a smile brightens my face.  As I approach retirement from TTU, I am, again, that young college student looking at all the different paths, except now I am full of excitement rather than the stress of ambiguity.  I am calm and hopeful in letting Life unfold the path before me. Yea.

What advice would you give a counselor-in-training entering the field?  It’s ok not to know everything.  I think the one comment I hear most often from students is that by the time they graduate, they realize how little they know.  But having that self-awareness and knowing what to do with it is instrumental. We are all teachers and we are all students. Don’t hesitate to ask a colleague or supervisor for help.

Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you would like to share with your fellow TCA Members?   TCA is family.  Thank you. Several of my friends/colleagues have already retired, and I am following in those footsteps soon.  But while I am here, I will enjoy TCA and my TCA family. If I can be of help, just holler. 



Do you know a TCA member who is engaged in leadership, research, innovation, or service? If so, we would like to feature them in an upcoming blog post! Fill out the link below to nominate someone to be featured in the Member Spotlight section today!


Member Spotlight Nomination Form: https://forms.gle/uciVkHwEDpYhTbg96 



 

Publications Committee

Do you have content you would like to contribute to the TCA Blog? Email [email protected] with your ideas, submissions, or suggestions for improvement!

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In the Wake of Middle TN Tornadoes

 

 

Message from the Executive Director: Kat Coy

Having spent the majority of my life in Middle Tennessee, I was quite horrified to hear on our morning news that tornadoes had struck North Nashville, in the dark of night.  I frantically reached out to my parents, to confirm their safety.  An hour later, they let me know they were safe, and the day has continued checking in on many of my family and friends.

We want to also check-in on you TCA!  We hope that all of our members are safe. If you were in an area affected by the storm, we know that you are probably still coming to terms with what you experienced last night.  

Known as the Volunteer State, I know that if our community needs help, we will provide it.  Therefore, we wanted to reach out to you all and share some resources in the wake of this natural disaster.    


How can you help?

We all awoke today with news of a natural disaster occurring overnight in middle Tennessee.  Tornadoes, property damage, power outages, and the loss of life have occurred for many residents of Tennessee.   

If you would like to help, we recommend these organizations: 

Volunteer with the American Red Cross - Nashville
(Phone: 615-250-4300)

Volunteer with the Salvation Army Nashville - (Phone: 615-242-0411)

Volunteer with the Second Harvest Food Bank  - (Phone: 615-329-3491)

Volunteer and/or donate to the Community Foundation of Middle TN  - (Phone: 888-540-5200)

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee is the primary charitable repository for cash and would maintain ultimate authority and control over the Metro Disaster Response Fund, a program designed to meet the needs of our community during a disaster. The agency would convene the Metro Disaster Response Fund Advisory Committee to evaluate requests for cash assistance and make distributions from the fund to tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations assisting with efforts to rebuild the lives of individuals and families affected by a local disaster - both immediately and long-term. The committee is comprised of a designated representative from the Mayor's Office, The Office of Emergency Management, Interdenominational Ministerial Fellowship, United Way of Metropolitan Nashville, Middle Tennessee Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (MD TN VOAD), the business community, and representatives with the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

Call the Crisis Center/2-1-1 (Phone: 211)

Hands On Nashville -  (Phone: 615-298-1108)

Often, during a community crisis, people are eager to volunteer their time and energy to help communities recover. During a disaster, the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management would rely on Hands on Nashville to connect volunteers with people and agencies that need help. Hands on Nashville links volunteers with available volunteer opportunities and helps coordinate large-scale volunteer efforts.

Donate Blood - Visit www.redcrossblood.org and enter your zip code to find a blood drive near you.



Do you have a need?

If you have a need in your counseling community that you think that TCA can help with, please reach out to Executive Director, Kat Coy, at [email protected]. This could be a need for counseling support, resources, etc.  



Do you need resources? 

Here are some great resources on counseling and natural disasters: 
American Counseling Association - Trauma and Disaster Mental Health

Disaster Distress Helpline - SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.

American Psychological Association - Managing traumatic stress after a tornado.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network - Tornado resources for child trauma. 

 

 

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Member Spotlight and National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

 

Member Spotlight


What is your name?

Chris LaFever, MS, LPCC-S(KY), LCADC(KY), NCC

 

What TCA Chapter/Division are you a member of?

SMCATACES

 

How long have you been a member of TCA?

1.5 years

 

How has TCA influenced your career or practice?

TCA has really become a professional home for me since I have moved back to Tennessee. 

 

Share a little bit about your background and your journey to becoming a counselor. 

I added psychology as a major while doing my undergrad. At Freed-Hardeman, the small university I attended, the counseling professors taught most of the undergrad psychology classes as well. Learning from them and the work of a counselor drew me to the profession. As I developed in the field I resonated with the strength-based and wellness-oriented approach that is infused into counseling. Prior to being a counselor education student at UTK, I worked with Four Rivers Behavioral Health, a community mental health center, in Paducah, KY for four and a half years.  I really appreciated having supervisors and directors who had teaching hearts and helped me to grow in so many ways. I worked in a variety of roles while working with Four Rivers, including residential substance use treatment, school-based counseling, and even leading our primary care integration program for a time.  

 

What is your current work setting?

In the fall of 2018, I returned to school. It has been a big adjustment, but I have learned so much and am grateful for the opportunities that the faculty of UTK have offered me. I am also grateful for the opportunity to work with the Center for Career Development. As a career counselor at the career center, I predominately work with many exploratory students helping them learn about themselves and explore careers and majors. This has been a place for me to learn more about the world of career counseling and still have the opportunity to work directly with clients/students.

 

Do you have a specialty or a particular area of interest? 

I have spent a lot of time seeking a variety of experiences because I enjoy learning about new things and working with a variety of people. I have, however, worked a lot with people who have experienced trauma, substance use disorders, and depression. In research, I have begun exploring professional identity development, multicultural concerns, and treatment specific approaches. 

 

Take us through a typical day for you in your current setting/position.

At the Center for Career Development, I teach a class which is sort of a group processing for exploratory students where we provide psychoeducation and try to help them reflect on how their interests, personality, skills, and values relate to different careers and majors. I also provide individual appointments for students and help with the development and implementation of programming and resources for students.

 

Do you have any career or practice aspirations moving forward?

I have really enjoyed working with students/clients but my goal of pursuing a counselor educator degree is that I want to give back to the profession by helping train the next generation of counselors. The work of counselors is so important and whatever ways I can do to contribute to the further work of the profession that is what I want to do.

 

What advice would you give a counselor-in-training entering the field?

Use your support network, take care of yourself, and push yourself out of your comfort zone.

Graduate school can be overwhelming. Whether full-time, part-time, or one class at a time, trying to balance personal and school is hard. In the program, you are asked to dig deeper and critically reflect on yourself, so it’s important to use your support network (e.g. family, classmates, friends, Chi Sigma Iota). These are the same relationships you will need in your professional life.

Similarly, self-care is an important habit to integrate into your lifestyle. When you are working with clients/students it can be emotionally taxing. However, you can’t be there for others if you are entirely drained. Give yourself the space and the grace so that you can be the best you can be.

Finally, push yourself. You have the opportunity to learn, explore, and grow while having the support of your program. Learn about new things, challenge your biases, and lean into the discomfort. Being involved with professional organizations is a great example of this. Talk to a professional, go to a continuing education session on something you don’t know about, and build relationships. Being a counselor is being a lifelong learner so that you can provide the best service possible to your students/clients.

 

Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you would like to share with your fellow TCA Members? 

The relationships and experiences I have gained in a short time in TCA are ones that will have a lasting impact wherever my road may take me. February 18th, I got to meet with my legislators and talk to them about the counseling profession. It was a great experience where I got to know some colleagues better. I am excited about a great learning opportunity upcoming at SMCA’s Conference on February 29th at UTK’s student union. With Dr. Steve Zanskas, President of TCA and Associate Professor at the University of Memphis, and Jordan Tatom, 2018-2019 Tennessee School Counselor of the Year and School Counselor at Liberty School, will be presenting on the strength of collaboration along with 24 break out sessions. I am so excited for all the knowledge and ideas that will be exchanged!

 


 

Do you know a TCA member who is engaged in leadership, research, innovation, or service? If so, we would like to feature them in an upcoming blog post! Fill out the link below to nominate someone to be featured in the Member Spotlight section today!


Member Spotlight Nomination Form: https://forms.gle/uciVkHwEDpYhTbg96 




Awareness Highlight: 

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Did you know at least 30 million individuals have an eating disorder in the United States? Additionally, eating disorders have been found to have the highest mortality rate of any mental health diagnosis. 
 
This year National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is from February 24th to March 1st! The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), which is the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders, has a great website that includes resources, events, and other ways to support those affected: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/get-involved/nedawareness 

Click the link to view more Eating Disorder Statistics or go on social media and search the hashtag #NEDAwareness to learn more! 




Publications Committee

Do you have content you would like to contribute to the TCA Blog? Email [email protected] with your ideas, submissions, or suggestions for improvement!

 
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Day on the Hill and Membership Spotlight

 

 

 

Tennessee Counseling Association Visits the Hill! 

By Lisa Henderson, Legislation and Public Policy Committee Chair

February 18, 2020 Counselors across Tennessee will visit Capitol Hill to meet with our elected officials in the Tennessee General Assembly.

No matter what kind of counseling you do and no matter what your work setting, the laws of Tennessee determine how you work. The state determines standards for School Counselors. The state oversees the license of mental health counselors. Whether you work in a school, agency, university, treatment center, private practice, hospital, or any other setting your work is ultimately regulated by the Tennessee General Assembly. The Tennessee Counseling Association wants to have a voice in those decisions, so we’re going to where it all happens and we want you to join us. 

Our Day on the Hill has two goals for our attendees: 

  1. Demystify the legislative process. 

In years past when we’ve needed to rally in support of or opposition to a bill, we hear the same refrain: I don’t feel comfortable getting involved because I don’t understand how the legislative process works. The underlying message is that people are often afraid to get involved because they are afraid they’ll say or do the wrong thing to the wrong person or at the wrong time. We’re here to help eliminate that fear. We’ll have a legislative overview in the morning of our Day on the Hill to go over the legislative process in Tennessee and give you talking points for your conversations with your elected officials. We elect our members of the Tennessee House and Senate to work in our best interests. You have a right to understand how things work and get involved when you see fit. 

2.     Connect with your elected officials. 

Our elected officials can’t represent us if they don’t know what we do and what’s important to us. Counseling is a broad term and means different things to different people. We want our elected officials to hear it straight from us. We want you to tell your stories about the work you do, why certain issues are important to your ability to practice, and how the decisions they make impact your ability to do your job. We need our elected officials to understand the education and training that is required to be a counselor. We want them to understand counselors as small business owners, see the value of counselors with students and the developing workforce, and counselors’ role in reducing the total cost of care for Tennesseans enrolled in TennCare. 

Counselors in all settings provide immeasurable value to the people we work with. We need to let our elected officials know what we do and the impact we have. This gives us a stronger voice when issues arise in which we need to have a voice. 

You don’t need any previous experience as a legislative advocate. You don’t need to be an expert on the legislative process. All you need to do is attend. We’ll make sure you can forge an actual relationship with your elected members of the Tennessee House of Representatives and Tennessee State Senator. If you already know your elected officials, then how lovely to visit them at work! 

Learn more and Register at https://www.tcacounselors.org/advocacy. 


 


 

Member Spotlight

What is your name

LaTraci Aldridge

What TCA Chapter/Division are you a member of? 

West TN Counseling Association and TN School Counseling Association (TnSCA)

How long have you been a member of TCA? 

On and off since 2010

How has TCA influenced your career or practice? 

TCA has encouraged me to be more vocal about the counseling profession and what I do.  I worked as a virtual school counselor for 5 years and through TCA I learned that there were not a lot of people familiar with virtual school counseling or that it was even a thing.  I have used presentations and conferences as a way to promote the profession and educate others. 

Additionally, TCA has influenced me to make sure I stay on top of what’s going on in the field so I can be informed as well as be the best counselor I can be through professional development opportunities.  

Share a little bit about your background and your journey to becoming a counselor. 

A journey it has been.  I always knew I wanted to work with kids, but I didn’t want to teach. I graduated with my Bachelor's in Psychology in 2005.  Initially, I worked at Sears selling TVs. J Even with that job I saw how having a psych background was beneficial in working with customers. My 1st job in the field came in 2006 at Youth Villages as an Overnight Teacher Counselor at juvenile sex offender facility.  This was a job that literally smacked you in the face when it came it the issues the kids were faced with and what led them there.  However, it was also rewarding and allowed me to gain experience that I don’t think I could’ve gotten anywhere else and has helped to shape the professional I am today.  From there, I went to work at a juvenile detention center as a counselor while I worked on my Masters in Counseling. When that facility closed, I worked as a Foster Care Worker until I graduated with my Masters in 2010 with a concentration in School Counseling.   I struggled to find work in the education system after graduation, somewhat due to my graduating when the local district was going through major changes and mergers. I landed at a Career College as a student counselor and GED Program coordinator. This job tested my limits and showed just how much I was capable of doing.  At one point, I was the only person in a department that usually had 4 or 5 people. In 2013, I left the career college and started working at a virtual school. My initial role wasn’t a school counselor, but over the 5 years I was there and my role transitioned that is what I ended up doing in the end. This job taught me that even with distance and not seeing kids face-to-face every day that relationships could still be built.  I was able to be a counselor without a lot of the extra unnecessary tasks that some of my counterparts may have dealt with such us bus duty, lunch duty, administration tasks, etc. I was able to really flex my counselor's muscle. Eventually, I wanted to work in high school and I started working at my high school alma mater in 2018 as the 12th-grade counselor. I have loved working with my students and they are a mess, in a good way.  They push me to do better because I want them to do the best they can do. I see what they can achieve, even when they can’t and I work to help them see their full potential.  I push them because I know there is a greatness in them. 

Currently, I am working on my Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision at The University of Memphis.  I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as I am in the dissertation phase **Send help!!** My research focus is Virtual School Counseling.  

What is your current work setting? 

I currently work at Cordova High School as the 12th-grade counselor 

Do you have a specialty or a particular area of interest? 

My specialty is School Counseling.  I enjoy working with teens, especially those who may be disenfranchised.  My favorite clientele to work with is juvenile delinquency. It’s something about working with them that makes me root for them.  I think for me it is that in a lot of cases everyone else has said that they won’t ever do any better, but I see past their actions. One thing I felt that helped when I have worked with this population is that regardless of what they did, I still treated them like kids.  They need that. 

Take us through a typical day for you in your current setting.  

As a school counselor, a typical day isn’t really a thing.  My day starts with not opening my door until 7:15 AM. I am not a morning person at all working in a high school. So I need my 15 minutes of quiet to come out refreshed and ready to deal with my children.  Throughout the day I work with students on their academic concerns such as missing classes/credits and how they will complete them. Some days involve dealing with crisis situations such as a suicidal child or having to make a DCS referral.  And some days have all of this in 1 day. I also talk with students about plans after high school. I don’t push solely for college because I don’t think that is the best option for every child. I teach my kids to have a plan, whether that is to go to college or go to work.  Just have a plan. 

Do you have any career or practice aspirations moving forward? 

First and foremost, finish this dissertation.  Even with my Ph.D., I don’t have a desire to leave my current role.  I love working with my kids. I do want to increase my speaking engagements and training of other counselors in the field.  

What advice would you give a counselor-in-training entering the field? 

Be open.  Sometimes that job that you don’t really want may be the job you really need. Be ready to stand up for what you believe in and what you know is right in this field. Be an advocate for this profession. Be you.  Find what works for you and your practice and run with it.  

Tell us a little bit about your recent poster presentation about virtual school counseling. 

My poster presentation was based on my pilot study on virtual school counseling.  I surveyed virtual school counselors about their day-to-date activities as it aligned with the ASCA National Model.  Some of the big takeaways from that study was that although virtual school counselors are able to be counselors more than the brick-and-mortar counterparts, their caseload is well beyond that of traditional counselors.  One of the participants had 3000 students on her caseload. Another takeaway was that for the most part, they felt they had great relationships and rapport with their students. I know on the outside some feel that isn’t possible but speaking from personal experience that is completely not true.  I can recall when I worked at the virtual school and we had field trips and students would be searching for me or one of the teachers just to give them a hug. 

 



 

Who should we highlight? 

Do you know a TCA member who is engaged in leadership, research, innovation, or service? If so, we would like to feature them in an upcoming blog post! Fill out the link below to nominate someone to be featured in the Member Spotlight section today!


Member Spotlight Nomination Form: https://forms.gle/uciVkHwEDpYhTbg96 




Publications Committee


Do you have content you would like to contribute to the TCA Blog? Email [email protected] with your ideas, submissions, or suggestions for improvement!


 

 
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Member Spotlight

 

 

Member Spotlight


What is your name?
Jonathan (Jon) Buffington

What TCA Chapter/Division are you a member of?
South Tennessee Counseling Association and TAAOC

How long have you been a member of TCA?
About 1.5 years.

How has TCA influenced your career or practice?
TCA is allowing me to network with different providers with a different background in practice. This allows for diversity of thought and consideration with the populations we work with as well as better collaboration in advocacy for the clients I (we) serve in this rural area.

Share a little bit about your background and your journey to becoming a counselor.
Counseling is a 2nd(or 3rd?) career for me. In my 20’s I was in hospitality management and also a chef. Working nights, weekends and holidays along with 60-70hr work weeks left me very unfulfilled. I wanted to do something meaningful and after a long period of soul searching and consulting with family and friends, I decided to pursue social work. I knew I wanted to work in addictions primarily however I have had the opportunity to work with severe and persistently mentally ill homeless persons in Nashville, I have worked in collaborative recovery courts, inpatient/detox centers as well as in outpatient settings as both a primary therapist and a family therapist. I am an alumnus from MTSU with both a bachelors and a masters in social work, a licensed clinical social worker and also a licensed alcohol and drug abuse counselor.

What is your current work setting?
I am currently the program director at Bradford Health Services in Manchester.

Do you have a specialty or a particular area of interest?
I love working with addictions as well as with families and family systems.

Take us through a typical day for you in your current position.
My day varies depending on the current needs but generally managing the clinical operations of an outpatient substance abuse facility. I provide supervision, training, hiring, develop and maintain programming, ensure compliance with state and regulatory requirements as well as with MCO requirements and often fill in as needed for group therapy. I love direct care and family systems work with the family members of our clients weekly and also facilitate an alumni support group weekly.

Do you have any career or practice aspirations moving forward?
Yes! My current schedule has me working a 4 day work week (4 10hr shifts) so I am in the process of beginning a part-time private practice which I hope to launch in February. I would also like to continue to offer my experience in diverse workplaces with consulting as well as continue to deliver educational presentations at conferences.

What advice would you give a counselor-in-training entering the field?
Make self-care your top priority. I have seen fantastic counselors leave this career due to the inability to maintain proper self-care. This is a tragedy. Understand this is a job and it cannot be your life. Have things in your personal life that bring you joy, meaning and value.

Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you would like to share with your fellow TCA Members? Understand that we work in an underappreciated, underpaid and overworked career. I want to validate that you provide a most needed and valuable service and are doing noble work. I am honored to be amongst you all in this profession of serving others.


 

Do you know a TCA member who is engaged in leadership, research, innovation, or service? If so, we would like to feature them in an upcoming blog post! Fill out the link below to nominate someone to be featured in the Member Spotlight section today!

Member Spotlight Nomination Form: https://forms.gle/uciVkHwEDpYhTbg96


 

Publications Committee

Do you have content you would like to contribute to the TCA Blog? Email [email protected] with your ideas, submissions, or suggestions for improvement!

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Member Spotlight and Holiday Self-Care

 

 

Member Spotlight

What is your name?
Lindsey Blevins, LPC-MHSP

What TCA Chapter/Division are you a member of?
West TN (WTCA)

Tennessee Mental Health Counseling Association (TMHCA)

How long have you been a member of TCA?
A member for about 6 months, but have attended meetings for the past couple of years.

How has TCA influenced your career or practice?
I learn a lot from other members and enjoy the continuing education it provides along with networking.

Share a little bit about your background and your journey to becoming a counselor.
I grew up in Wisconsin and when I was in high school was really impacted by my school counselor (she helped me graduate early!). It was at that point that I wanted to work with adolescents/children. I went to college for my undergrad at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. My major started out as education, but I quickly realized that I was not cut out to be a teacher, so I changed to Psychology and Human Development. Upon graduation, I went to work for a non-profit that worked with adolescents in the juvenile justice system who were out in the community awaiting their court date (24-hour supervision) as a case manager. I then returned to graduate school at Concordia University-Wisconsin to become a school counselor. I took classes in both school and professional counseling. Upon graduation in 2009 (and wanting to get out of cold Wisconsin) I took a job at Youth Villages in Memphis working with children in foster care. My tenure was 8 years and during that time I was a counselor in foster care and residential, then provided crisis assessments, and ultimately for about 4 years managed the specialized crisis program for West TN. In the summer of 2017, I transitioned to a role with Lakeside in Business Development. My role was to be a clinical liaison for schools in the greater Memphis area (Lakeside serves 60+ kids on a daily basis both inpatient and outpatient on our campus). In this position, I would provide training to school staff, help with referrals for treatment, answer questions for parents/families seeking treatment with us, present to students on mental health/substance abuse topics, and ensure that there was active communication between Lakeside’s school (Brunswick Day School) and the child’s home school. I am now the Director for the entire Business Development Department at Lakeside and am responsible for all units and not just child and adolescent. When I first got into the field, I never expected to be a counselor in a “marketing” role, but I find my clinical experience to be invaluable in this position. I can really be an asset to the people who are calling me as I have experience working directly with the patients they are calling to refer. I can also help them to navigate the process and provide referrals to people in the community when needed.

What is your current work setting?
I am currently the Director of Business Development for Lakeside Behavioral Health System in Memphis. Our department works as the liaison between the patients and the professionals who work with them. We also provide a lot of outreach and education for the community.

Do you have a specialty or a particular area of interest?
I spent all of my professional career working with children and adolescents up until I started at Lakeside in 2017. I spent a lot of time working with children who experienced trauma and were in crisis. I am particularly passionate about children. I feel as though if we intervene and provide the support needed as a child we truly can make a lifetime of a difference.

Take us through a typical day for you in your current setting/position.
Currently, I spent about half of my time at Lakeside managing the department. The other half of my time I spend out in the community. A typical day can include an in-service in which I am providing some mental health or substance abuse education to school staff, parents, community members, law enforcement. My phone will ring with a professional on the other end of the line requesting assistance in getting their patient some treatment. I also have patients who call in to me to access services. I really want to be seen as someone anyone can call if they are looking for help for mental health or substance treatment, even if it is help finding a referral for an outpatient provider.

Do you have any career or practice aspirations moving forward?
I really enjoy my current role. I feel like I get to interact and connect with many different professionals who work a variety of patients.

What advice would you give a counselor-in-training entering the field?
Spend time working with many different populations which will help give some insight as to a path to follow. There is so much that someone can do with a counseling degree! And, find a mentor…someone who can give you advice, teach you things, and you can ask questions of who has been around for a while.

Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you would like to share with your fellow TCA Members?
I have a real passion for helping people. I tell people all the time that I spent a long time working with individuals and their families and feel as though I reached a lot of people. But now, I train people in mental health who go out and work with others. I can feel the ripple effect of how many lives I am touching!

I am involved in the TN Suicide Prevention Network (TSPN) and it is through this involvement that I provide suicide prevention training to the community. QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) is one of those trainings in which someone can learn life-saving skills without the need to be a trained counselor. It looks at how laypeople can recognize warning signs of suicide, encourage them to get help, and then educate on the resources available in the area to serve that individual. This past year, I won the Ken and Madge Tullis Suicide Prevention Award. I felt honored to be recognized for the work that I am doing in the community for suicide prevention.

My goal is to reduce the stigma of mental health in hopes that more people reach out for help and get the treatment they need BEFORE they are in crisis.

For more information, contact Lindsey at [email protected]


 Do you know a TCA member who is engaged in leadership, research, innovation, or service? If so, we would like to feature them in an upcoming blog post! Fill out the link below to nominate someone to be featured in the Member Spotlight section today!

Member Spotlight Nomination Form: https://forms.gle/uciVkHwEDpYhTbg96


Self-Care During the Holiday Season

The holiday season can be a stressful time of year, even for mental health professionals! Here are five tips on how to handle holiday-related stress, create some time for yourself, and engage in self-care over the next couple of weeks.

  1. Set aside a few minutes for yourself. Try to engage in some of the self-care activities that you already do on a regular basis such as exercise, mindfulness, or medication.
  2. Take a break from the family. Family gatherings can come with stress and tension. Engage in prevention planning and have a plan of action if conversations take a turn for the worse. 
  3. Schedule some time to unplug. Consider turning off your electronics or sign out of your email to truly have some time away from work and maintain healthy boundaries.
  4. Check-in with yourself. Pay attention to the warning signs that indicate you are becoming stressed. Do you feel overwhelmed or notice a change in your sleep/diet? If so, problem-solve to find ways to decrease your stress. 
  5. Focus on the present. The holiday season can be a good time to reflect on the past year, but can also bring worry or fear for the future. Instead, give yourself the gift of the present and immerse yourself in the present moment.

Happy holidays TCA members, I hope the next few weeks are filled with cheer and joy!



Publications Committee

Do you have content you would like to contribute to the TCA Blog? Email [email protected] with your ideas, submissions, or suggestions for improvement!



 

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Member Spotlight and Human Rights Day

 

 

Member Spotlight

What is your name? 

Trent Hughes 

What TCA Chapter/Division are you a member of?

Middle Tennessee (MTCA)TN Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (TACES)

How long have you been a member of TCA?

Approximately 6 months

How has TCA influenced your career or practice?

TCA has provided me opportunities to learn from other clinicians and has provided invaluable resources to advance my work in counseling with my clients. I have also recently been provided the opportunity to present at the TCA conference in October 2019, which influences my passion to continue sharing about counseling in our field.

Share a little bit about your background and your journey to becoming a counselor. 

I began my journey to become a counselor at age 18. I have always been intrigued to understand human behavior and have always been interested in being a therapist. I entered college to begin my undergraduate degree in psychology and just before my senior year, I left and returned home because of family issues, causing me to pursue other opportunities. While I was in my hometown, I began traveling the country and playing music. During my time traveling, I remained unhappy because I had stepped away from my passion for psychology. During my last year of traveling, I returned to school and finished my undergraduate degree in psychology. Immediately after completion, I entered Trevecca to pursue my master’s degree in counseling.  After completion, I immediately enrolled to pursue my Ph.D., which I am about to complete in clinical mental health counseling, teaching, and supervision.

What is your current work setting?

I currently work at Cedar Recovery as the Chief Clinical Officer. In this role, I oversee operations of our offices, an internship program, support lead therapists in each of our offices, implement counseling programs to enhance opportunities for success in recovery, and I also have some opportunities to provide therapy to patients within Cedar.

Do you have a specialty or a particular area of interest? 

Currently, I specialize in trauma and addiction work. Although these are two of my particular areas of interest, I remain interested in finding new counseling strategies to help those in addiction, specifically Medication Assisted Treatment. 

Take us through a typical day for you in your current setting/position.

A typical day begins with chart review with therapists and physicians, for patients who will be coming into our offices for the day. Throughout the day, I provide therapy for patients when possible because I enjoy keeping a small caseload throughout the week. I also provide support to our lead therapists, interns, and office staff, as needed throughout the day. As often as I can, I finish the day with seeing clients of my own in a private practice setting.

Do you have any career or practice aspirations moving forward? 

I am currently working to complete my Ph.D. in clinical mental health counseling, teaching, and supervision.  I also teach Chemical Use and Abuse at Trevecca Nazarene University and I would like to always teach in some capacity. As a very specific aspiration, I am also interested to train in psychoanalysis. Most importantly, I would like to continue becoming an effective therapist to help provide the best clinical care for those I treat in a therapeutic setting.

What advice would you give a counselor-in-training entering the field?

For those entering the field, I highly recommend participating in any event TCA provides, and/or other education/training opportunities. While we learn invaluable knowledge in graduate school, we really learn application when we begin working in the field. The most important piece of advice I maintain for self is, never stop being teachable!

Can you tell us a little bit about the innovation you are providing in the field of Medication Assisted Treatment and counseling? 

I initially gained training in the addiction field by working in an abstinence-based program. The program where I trained and worked remains an excellent abstinence program and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work as a “tech,” an intern, and a therapist. During the time I was there, however, I was also trained that MAT was “bad” and there was no place for it in treating addiction. I feel this has been a standard belief in the treatment community for quite some time, until recently. While working in abstinence-based treatment and after much reflection, I determined there must be additional approaches to helping people with MAT. Since beginning Cedar Recovery, I realized that with evidence-based counseling approaches parallel to the model(s) that abstinence-based programs developed, recovery is possible for those who use MAT. MAT can be an extremely vital part of helping those suffering with opiates. With a comprehensive counseling program, the work in MAT has proven to have efficacy for those struggling with addiction. Since beginning the comprehensive treatment program at Cedar Recovery, we have seen people struggling with addiction in our communities begin to feel better, get better, and stay better. 


Do you know a TCA member who is engaged in leadership, research, innovation, or service? If so, we would like to feature them in an upcoming blog post! Fill out the link below to nominate someone to be featured in the Member Spotlight section today!

Member Spotlight Nomination Form: https://forms.gle/uciVkHwEDpYhTbg96 


 

Awareness Highlight: Human Rights Day

This year, Human Rights Day is on Tuesday, December 10th. Human Rights Day is observed every year on December 10th, which is the day the United Nations Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1984. The UDHR states the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinions, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. 

With this date coming up, it is important for us to remember that promoting social justice is one of the core professional values of the counseling profession. Currently, ACA has approved three statements on social justice and human rights which can be found here. These statements contain links to helpful articles, publications, webinars, and other educational resources. 

Why is taking a moment to acknowledge Human Rights Day important?

  1. It is a time for reflection. Take some time to reflect on how you treat others and the impact it has made.

  2. It serves as a reminder of our values. Promoting social justice is our third professional value in the ACA Code of Ethics and is defined as the promotion of equity for all people and groups for the purpose of ending oppression and injustice affecting clients, students, counselors, families, communities, schools, workplaces, governments, and other social and institutional systems.

  3. It empowers us. To advocate for our own rights and our profession, as well as the rights of our clients and our communities. 


Publications Committee

Do you have content you would like to contribute to the TCA Blog? Email [email protected] with your ideas, submissions, or suggestions for improvement!

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Introducing TnSCA: Tennessee School Counseling Association

 

 

Introducing TnSCA: Tennessee School Counseling Association 

Tennessee Counseling Association Members,

The TCA Presidential Board, along with the Executive Director, were notified on 11/12/19 that "on Oct. 29, 2019, the TSCA Executive Board voted to no longer be a division of TCA and instead become an independent organization effective Dec.1, 2019."

The TCA Leadership stands hurt, saddened, and blindsided by this decision from TSCA leadership to disaffiliate from the state branch.  We have always believed in the importance of the unity of the counseling profession.

Regrettably, the TSCA Executive Board did not have a dialogue with the TCA Leadership before they made their decision on October 29th. It was not a collaborative decision. In other states where disaffiliation has occurred, they have put the question out to their membership to vote.  In this case, there was no vote, no open forum for membership, and no collaboration with TCA Leadership.  

As it has become clear that the TSCA Executive Board was willing to disregard the policies and rules we have all agreed to abide by, our Governing Council realized that this group is better off being independent and we wish them well. However, we also want to reiterate TCA’s decades-long commitment to our state’s professional school counselors.  

We bring all of this to you to state that we are and will remain what we always have been – the home for all counselors.  Our services will not change.  Your membership will remain with the Tennessee Counseling Association unless you decide to not renew. 

We look forward to continuing to serve our school counselor members, as we always have, in the same fashion as before.  Therefore, nothing will change on our end except that we will change the name of our current school counselor division:

Previous Name: Tennessee School Counselor Association (TSCA)

New Name: Tennessee School Counseling Association (TnSCA)

Our mission remains the same:

The mission of the Tennessee Counseling Association is to promote the development of all counseling professionals, advance the counseling profession under a unified association, and to use the profession of counseling to promote the well-being, respect for diversity, and human dignity of all Tennesseans. 

Our TCA goals and division goals remain unchanged.  Our focus will be on looking forward to the future and leverage the best of TCA and Tennessee School Counseling Association to meet and exceed the needs of our members. The leadership of TCA is in the process of structuring our new division and we welcome your input in this process. We will focus on developing a set of goals for the renamed Tennessee School Counseling Association Division, objectives, and commitments to strengthen our Association as we continue in our commitment to serving school counselors.

We believe that we are better and stronger as a unified voice and have no plans for school counselors to lose that opportunity within our organization.  If a member’s needs are not being met, we have numerous avenues and opportunities for changes to be made. We remain dedicated to all counselors who serve in any setting, especially as the value of partnerships across divisions increases often.  LPCs and School Counselors can certainly work collaboratively to serve the needs of the whole child. TCA will continue to focus on this goal in the future. 

We welcome your thoughts, comments, and/or questions as a comment below.  Your feedback is important to us!  

Dr. Steve Zanskas - TCA President 

Dr. Janet Hicks - TCA President-Elect

Dr. Nicole Cobb-  TCA President Elect-Elect

Dr. Eva Gibson - TCA Past-President

Kat Coy - TCA Executive Director
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My First Rodeo

 

 

My First Rodeo: A Reflection from A First-Time TCA Conference Attendee

I'm Andrew Arehart, a graduate student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling track at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I'll be starting practicum in January with a local thirty-day substance abuse rehab facility here in Chattanooga and expect to graduate this time next year. I'm looking forward to the transition from the classroom to the clients in the coming months and decided to attend the TCA conference in order to learn from and connect with my colleagues throughout the state.

Two of the most memorable breakout sessions I attended were on grief in the substance abuse recovery process and on applying Maslow's hierarchy of needs to recovery work. Interestingly, in that second one the projector failed and so instead of being read to from a powerpoint, we had a much more personal presentation and discussion. Something my advisor told me some time back was that if addiction isn't part of your client's own problem, chances are it's a problem for someone in the satellite of their lives, be it a spouse, child, friend or neighbor. As such I was so pleased to have a chance to learn from the experiences of others working in this critical field.

I was also struck by the tidbits...little things veteran counselors mentioned that encapsulated lessons learned over the years. Things like, "get 'why' out of your vocabulary as a counselor. It puts your client on the defensive. And watch out for "but" it sets you up as an adversary." I feel that in learning complex skills, such as counseling work, we move from simplicity, through complexity and back to simplicity. I believe that as we mature in our capacity to do something, we come to recognize essential patterns behind the procedures that illuminate and guide our practices. Comments such as those felt like insight into such patterns.

I would have enjoyed spending more time at the poster presentations, where recent research is most accessible, the presenters being in the thick of their masters and doctoral work. Unfortunately, I was distracted by lunch, which is also dear to my heart. There being a presentation going on over the top of all this kept me from giving this aspect of the program the attention it deserves, so I will watch out for ways to make more time for this at future conferences.

Thank you so much to all of the organizers, presenters and hotel staff who coordinated to make this event possible. I’ll look forward to seeing you again down the road.

Andrew Arehart
[email protected]


 

Member Spotlight

Do you know a TCA member who is engaged in leadership, research, innovation, or service? If so, we would like to feature them in an upcoming blog post! Fill out the link below to nominate someone to be featured in the Member Spotlight section today!

Member Spotlight Nomination Form: https://forms.gle/uciVkHwEDpYhTbg96


Publications Committee

Hi there! My name is Erin MacInerney and I am the 2019-2020 TCA Publications Chair. I am currently a M.Ed. Candidate in Human Development Counseling at Vanderbilt University finishing up my final year of graduate school. I am excited to take the TCA publication in a new direction this year by transitioning from a quarterly newsletter to a blog post format.


I am always looking for members to spotlight, recently published articles, and interest pieces. Do you have content you would like to contribute to the TCA Blog? Email me at [email protected] with your ideas, submissions, or suggestions for improvement!

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2019 Grad Student Poster Session Winners

Congratulations Graduate Students: 

Dr. Eva Gibson, Poster Session Chair, honored 1st and 2nd place winners from the TACES 2019 Graduate Student Poster Sessions at the TCA Conference. 

1st Place Doctoral - Natae Jones Fenstra (University of the Cumberlands): “Running Therapy: A Revival of Theory & Technique

1st Place Master’s – Lisa Buchanan (Milligan College): “Measuring Psychotherapy Outcomes in a Small College Counseling Center

 

2nd Doctoral – Jeffery Bass (Tennessee State University): “You Are Only As Strong As Your Program

2nd Master’s – Charlene Sanderson (Austin Peay State University): “Art Therapy in Schools: Drawing Self-Portraits to Understand Self-Concepts

    

 

 

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Welcome to the TCA blog

Welcome to the TCA blog!

 

The TCA Leadership team is busy developing great plans for the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year and we want you to know all about it.  This year, we plan to update our blog with Chapter insights, Division highlights, membership spotlights, updates on relevant research, and more!

If you have something that you think is blog-worthy, please email our TCA Publications Chair, Erin MacInereny.