Nope, this month’s title isn’t something I pulled from a Craigslist personal or a Match.com listing. In this case, the 63-year-old is ACA, and as we continue to find how best to maintain our relationship with 55,600 members, your professional society is also looking to reach across the globe. Evidence of this is our upcoming first conference in Singapore, being held June 18-19, at which we hope to connect with counseling colleagues throughout the Asia Pacific region.
Rather than going in with an “us telling them” mentality, your ACA Governing Council was very deliberate in thinking about how to connect with partners outside of the United States and how to do so in a culturally respectful manner. The ACA-Asia Pacific Counseling Conference is an inaugural effort at encouraging a fruitful connection and exchange among those who are interested in mental health issues and exemplary practice in counseling. For more information, read the related article in the May issue of Counseling Today and visit the website at aca-apcc2015.org.
As trite as it sounds, we do live in a global village. Our efforts to connect with colleagues in Singapore, our holding the 2016 ACA Conference & Expo in Montréal (co-sponsored by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association) and the European Branch of ACA holding a conference in Milan next fall are just a few examples of how our world continues to “get smaller.” When one considers that the International Association for Counselling (formerly the International Round Table for the Advancement of Counselling) first came together almost 50 years ago, it is evident that “going global” is really not an idea in its infancy. Rather, it has matured and is something from which all professional counselors can benefit.
Although I encourage our members to consider attending the Singapore conference, I know that isn’t feasible for many of you. Instead, I hope that as you look at how to connect in an increasingly multicultural and cross-cultural environment, you will consider various ACA resources to help you in this journey. I also encourage you to let us now what else ACA can develop on your behalf.
As the world changes, so does the profession of counseling. This month, we welcome a number of graduates who will transition from students to professional counselors and counselor educators. Congratulations from the ACA staff! We are aware of the challenges you may encounter after you cross the stage at graduation, and our “gift” to you acknowledges the potential financial challenges. For your first year out of graduate school, we created the New Professional 1 membership category. This classification allows you to be recognized as a professional member of ACA, but you continue to pay only the student dues rate this first year.
Lastly, I want to express my appreciation to those of you who have helped this “digital immigrant” with his journey into social media. There are a number of ACA members who have chosen to communicate with me on Twitter (@Richyep). Frankly, this is a new experience for me, and my hope is to go beyond simply tweeting about eating a crunchy arugula salad. I enjoy the 140-character exchanges, and I hope you will join me in this adventure. The ability to communicate in such a way with individuals around the world is yet another example of this incredible shrinking globe on which we live.