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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

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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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