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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: 


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:

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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