The 2014-2015 year as the 63rd president of the American Counseling Association has moved at a rapid pace. It has been an honor to serve as your president during this fantastic year, highlighted by the ACA Conference & Expo in Orlando, Florida. Special for me are the relationships established during this time. My interactions with you have been both meaningful and humbling in the most positive sense. Memories of the dedicated professionals who are passionate about empowering others and the profession of counseling will be forever etched in my mind. Thank you!
Intentional collaboration both within and outside of the ACA community has been a theme during the past 12 months. It has been characterized by openness and honesty, yet tempered with the salient relationship conditions of respect, genuineness, congruence, caring, concreteness and understanding that we teach our students and that our mentors taught us. Collaborative experiences within and outside of ACA affirm that:
- The American Counseling Association is the home for individuals in the helping professions. ACA’s exemplary CEO, Richard Yep, is at the top of those serving in this position. And the ACA staff is the best — unbelievably competent and caring.
- Equifinality is alive and well, proving that we can find many options to the challenges facing individual members of ACA and its divisions, regions and branches. The creativity demonstrated by ACA members and leaders adds to the credibility of this concept.
- We have more in common than we have differences. We are dedicated to advocacy in its broadest sense for the fair and equitable treatment of all humans. We advocate for what is best for students, new professionals, practicing counselors, counselor training programs and the future of the counseling profession.
My recommendations pertaining to the future of the counseling profession include:
- Continued collaborative advocacy on behalf of all counselors with TRICARE (see p. 10), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and licensure board rules and policies
- Continued collaborative advocacy for licensure portability
- Support and advocacy for the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, the accreditation body in counseling that is nationally and internationally recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, the Institute of Medicine, the VA and a number of state licensure boards
- Support and advocacy for extensive grandparenting provisions for counselors to meet any changes brought about by federal and state agencies (again, see p. 10) and support for similar grandparenting provisions for counselor preparation programs to meet accreditation standards
It is important for all parties affected by the changes that are, and will continue, taking place in the counseling profession to look within and proceed prudently with those activities that will best benefit counseling and the future of our profession.
I close this column by welcoming Thelma Duffey as the 64th president of ACA. She will serve ACA very well because she is a leader, an innovator, a caring professional and a friend and colleague to us all.
Peace and happiness,
Robert L. Smith, Ph.D., NCC
Counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education and career goals.