Millions of words will be written as the world acknowledges the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, tragedies that occurred in New York, Pennsylvania and northern Virginia. Many of you will work with clients and students for whom the anniversary of that infamous day will bring back sad and powerful memories. As trite as it may sound, that day was one of those life-changing moments, both here in the United States and around the world. Since that day, the United States has stepped up its “war on terror”; countless numbers of men, women and children have lost their lives; and many aspects of everyday life now fall under the scrutiny of enhanced security measures.
As professional counselors, you can be proud of your efforts immediately after the 9/11 attacks. The response by the counseling profession to assist at Ground Zero in New York City, as well as throughout the world, is something I found to be both gratifying and amazing. In one of society’s darkest moments, professional counselors were there to guide, advise, listen and support those who were affected so profoundly. ACA was proud to be a professional partner in assisting our members both then and now, whether those members were serving as caregivers to others or in need of help themselves.
Resources and services emerged after 9/11 that continue to help professional counselors working with those who are victimized by trauma. For example, the ACA Foundation book Terrorism, Trauma and Tragedies, which went to press only a few months after 9/11, is now in its third edition. And this past month, ACA helped support the Connecticut Counseling Association, which presented a specialized training for counselors in anticipation of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
As I look back on that point in time 10 years ago and also consider what has transpired during the past decade, I am reminded that regardless of the personal pain and sheer shock of world events, counselors continue to care. That is what makes your role in society so special. As a new generation of counselors prepares for full-time work in a post-9/11 world, they can be inspired by those of you who went into high gear 10 years ago to provide the best of what the counseling profession had to offer. (For additional reflections on how the counseling profession responded to and evolved as a result of 9/11, read “A day that changed a nation and a profession” on page 36.)
My goal as your executive director is to work with members and the ACA leadership to facilitate obtainment of the resources you need to succeed in your work as professional counselors and counselor educators. The staff and I want your input and feedback. I think ACA’s growth throughout the past several months, which has taken us beyond 46,000 members, is due in part to our desire to be flexible and to show we are able to meet the needs of members and potential members. We are committed to caring, because all of you deserve that commitment.
As I said in my August column, I know that counselors care. So I wanted to remind you that the ACA Foundation will continue to honor anyone making a donation this month of at least $25 by providing a “Counselors Care” T-shirt as a thank you. I hope you will go to acafoundation.org, make a donation of $25 (or maybe more) and then wear your Counselors Care T-shirt with pride.
Be proud of your profession and the outstanding (and, hopefully, gratifying) work that all of you do.
Please contact me with any comments, questions or suggestions that you might have via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 800.347.6647 ext. 231.
Thanks and be well.