Counseling Today, From the CEO

Let’s Share Our Good News

Richard Yep February 17, 2007

Richard Yep

I am constantly amazed at the juxtaposition of events in our world. Recently, on Page 1 of the Washington Post, there was an article about the resignation of the head of the Smithsonian Institution due in part to personal spending habits, while another story talked about the former director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget being indicted for allegedly misleading stockholders about the financial health of the company over which he presided.

When I read story after story of those who use their position, power and authority to the exclusive benefit of themselves or a select group that holds power with them, my heart sinks. These people are in a position to do good things, but for some reason do not. When I realize that so many others stand to lose their jobs, their self-esteem, their homes or their dignity because of the irresponsible actions of others, I am disheartened.

I am overjoyed, however, when I observe events such as the American Counseling Association Annual Convention that took place in Detroit March 21-25. What an amazing convocation of some of the world’s greatest people — caring, compassionate and willing to take time away from their jobs and families to gain greater skills in better understanding the human condition.

While the ACA staff had hoped for at least 2,600 attendees in Detroit, you can imagine our pleasant surprise as more than 3,100 professional counselors showed up to learn,network and just “be” with each other. When I see packed Education Sessions for those who want to learn more about counseling breast cancer survivors,working with children in foster care, breaking the cycle of addiction or bringing an end to bullying in cyberspace (to name but a few of the more than 400 sessions), I am reenergized in terms of what we, here on the ACA staff, strive to do for our members. We’ll share pictorial coverage of the convention in next month’s issue of Counseling Today.

Professional counselors do wonderful things for millions of families, adults, adolescents,couples and children. In addition, you all do so much to improve those systems in our society designed to help people. Your advocacy and commitment is exemplary, which is why, this month, we celebrate Counseling Awareness Month. This is the month when we make an extra effort to talk about the good work you all do. I encourage all of you to visit the ACA website at www.counseling.org to learn about the resources we have for you to share with your communities. Shine a light on what you and your colleagues do so that those who are out there seeking help can find you!

I am old enough and realistic enough to know that every news story will not leave me smiling and feeling good. I also know that when we try to tell the story of the wonderful work that professional counselors do, not every news organization believes that information will help sell its publication. Let’s try to prove them wrong.

I happen to think readers and viewers of news will appreciate knowing what professional counselors are doing in their communities. ACA and the ACA Foundation have collaborated on a project that sends weekly columns to more than 200 newspapers across the country. Known as the “Counseling Corner,” the columns are written so that laypeople can get a better sense of the good work that counselors do. These 200-plus news organizations represent millions of readers! So if you happen to know of a newspaper that might be interested in the “Counseling Corner,” let me know. The staff members working on this project will follow up.

Last, but not least, I owe a big thank you to the ACA staff for all the work they put in relative to the ACA Annual Convention in Detroit. There is so much that needs to be done prior to, during and even after the event. I hope our attendees enjoyed a smooth and enriching experience, which is our measure of how we did. I can honestly say that many of the staff went way above and beyond what their jobs called for in launching and implementing convention efforts, so again, my personal thanks to all of them.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or suggestions by e-mailing ryep@counseling.org or calling 800.347.6647 ext.231. Thanks and be well.