Reflections of the Annual American Counseling Association Conference

Dear Students,

I recently had the pleasure to attend the annual American Counseling Association’s (ACA) Conference held this year in Pittsburgh. What really caught my interest was the number of students in attendance. As a long time instructor at both the community college and university, it is always wonderful to be in the company of students at a conference. Their wonder, delight, and deep interest in learning rekindle my own passion for learning and practice in our field. Needless to say, I had a fantastic time!

One of the highlights of the conference was the opportunity to listen to the keynote speech of Gerald Corey, PhD, a well-known author, individual, family and group counselor, and professor emeritus. He recently published his latest book, “Creating Your Professional Path: Lessons from My Journey.” During his keynote address, he discussed some of the ways his personal journey impacted his professional journey. From that session, I wish to share just a few important suggestions to those endeavoring to enter the helping profession:

  • Look honestly at yourself — you need to address your strengths as well as the areas where you need growth.
  • Understand that your values and beliefs affect what you do professionally — be sure your beliefs and values do not prevent you from acting in the best interest of your client.
  • Develop and maintain cultural sensitivity – you cannot know everything about particular cultures but you can be open and sensitive to the client’s unique experience.
  • Recognize the challenge of balancing life’s roles — are you spending enough time with your family, at leisure, in spiritual pursuits?
  • Assess what it is in life that makes you feel vital and alive and maintain those practices — don’t lose sight that these are part of your essence and what makes you a good counselor.
  • Self-care is critical — your wellness benefits both you and your client!

These suggestions may seem obvious to some, but I will say that in my experiences in the helping profession over the last 20 years, I have been challenged in each and every area.

Because there were so many wonderful sessions on so many aspects of psychology, I’m hesitant to share my reflections on just one. But I hope this at least piqued your interest. In 2011, the ACA Conference will be held in New Orleans from March 23-27. I encourage all who are able to attend. It’s an unforgettable experience. And the conference features reduced rates for student

Wishing you continued academic success and wonderful summer adventures!

Sheri Chejlyk, Ph.D.

Psi Beta National Council

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