Each April, we celebrate Counseling Awareness Month. Rather than a single day on which elected officials pass a proclamation or make an announcement at a meeting of the city council, we feel that counseling is so special, so profound and so important to society that it really deserves more than just one day and more than one single action!
On the American Counseling Association website (counseling.org), you can find a list of tips and suggestions for celebrating Counseling Awareness Month, either as an individual or as a group of professionals (or both). This is the time of year to blow your own horn. Not because you are bragging (which is also OK), but because it is critical at this time to let our society know that the counseling community is well-educated, appropriately trained and ready to help with those obstacles and life challenges faced by individuals, couples, families, teens and others. Click on our home page link to Counseling Awareness Month, and you will be able to download “Public Awareness Ideas and Strategies for Professional Counselors.”
Here are a few ideas. Perhaps you can gather with your local group of professional counselors and plan something for April that will call attention to the good things that you do. You can volunteer to do something that demonstrates counselors’ helping nature (such as house building with Habitat for Humanity or taking a group to work at a local food bank) or perhaps provide handouts at the local mall or farmers market about how counselors can help individuals.
Some of you might choose to provide pro bono workshops at a community center or another gathering place on issues of concern to those who live in your town or city.
Also take some time to download our series of “Counseling Corner” columns that explain to laypeople what counselors can do to help their clients and students. If you are interested in these columns, go to counseling.org/Publications/CounselingCorner.aspx. Please feel free to use them in your community!
If you work in a school or community agency, let others know that your facility exists and what it is you do, even as you continue maintaining the confidentiality of your students and clients. There are many possibilities during Counseling Awareness Month for publicizing the good that counselors do. For those of you who are able to “celebrate,” please e-mail me and let me know what you did!
I want to personally thank the thousands of professional counselors who made plans to attend the ACA Annual Conference & Exposition in Pittsburgh in March. Our cosponsor, the Pennsylvania Counseling Association, has done a terrific job as our partner. From feedback heading into the event, I know that our attendees appreciate the networking, education and connections with resources that are always evident during our time at the conference. And, you know, it is never too early to start planning for next year, so I hope as many of you as possible will consider joining us at the 2011 ACA Annual Conference & Exposition that will be held March 23-27 in New Orleans!
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.