Counseling Today, From the Executive Director

Today’s action, tomorrow’s impact

Richard Yep May 1, 2010

Richard Yep

Have you ever wondered how what you do today will impact someone else two weeks down the road? How about two years from now? Or for that matter, what about 20 years from today? Although the impact of some things we do is very easy to measure, there are other actions for which we will never know the ultimate outcome. Life is like that. We can travel a path, make decisions and take various actions that may not impact anyone today. But who knows what effect these things will have years or even decades later?

Your work as professional counselors and counselor educators consists of various actions, teachings and activities that truly touch people’s lives. I know the good hearts possessed by American Counseling Association members, and I am confident of the countless positive outcomes resulting from the work you do with millions of students, families, couples and individuals each and every day.

In your role as partner, friend, parent, spouse, child, mentor, sibling and volunteer, you impact many individuals. Through the years, it has been my good fortune to interact and work with many good people, both on the ACA staff and within the membership. Many of these people have impacted my work, and some have blazed a trail for others to follow. Dr. Chuck Lewis is one such person. Chuck served as ACA’s executive director from 1971-1983.

During his tenure, Chuck oversaw a great deal of change, both within ACA as an organization and within the profession. Among the issues Chuck either witnessed or was involved with: the beginning of the state-by-state counselor licensure movement, the creation of community mental health centers and the emergence of mental health counselors working in private practice, to name just a few. Organizationally, Chuck was here when ACA began the most massive change ever to its governance structure. He was also here for the building of ACA headquarters in Alexandria, Va. In some ways, you could say that where we work now really is “the house that Chuck built.”

In addition, Chuck had a role in bringing a number of ACA staff members on board. He was also responsible for hiring a number of professional counselors, giving them an opportunity to come to the Washington area to start new careers in public policy and as association professionals.

Although I did not work at ACA when Chuck was executive director, through the years I came to value his guidance and advice. He had clarity and wisdom to share concerning many issues. And he had a kind heart when it came to supporting the association and its staff.

When I heard from Chuck’s wife, Jane, that he had passed away after a very brief illness, I was saddened. He had survived more serious illnesses and the replacement of a knee, so the news came as something of a shock. Reflecting on my interactions with Chuck through the years, I am thankful that I had the opportunity to benefit from his knowledge and support.
Chuck made an impact on the profession and the entire ACA staff family. In fact, there are still some here at ACA who were brought on board when Chuck was executive director. I think that means he made some good hires because they have proved to be loyal, dedicated and hardworking staff who continue to carry on ACA’s mission to serve our members and advance the profession.
On behalf of the entire ACA community, I have shared our condolences with Jane. I hope that she, as well as their children and grandchildren, know how much Chuck meant to our association. Next month, Counseling Today will feature an article about Chuck and his many contributions to ACA and the profession.

So remember that the actions or advice you provide today could have a far-reaching impact on someone, not just now, but into the future. Continue to do the good work you do.

As always, I hope you will contact me with any comments, questions or suggestions that you might have. Please contact me via e-mail at ryep@counseling.org or by phone at 800.347.6647 ext. 231.

Thanks and be well.