Counseling Today, From the President

Creativity: A central component of counseling

By Thelma Duffey August 25, 2015

Resourcefulness. Innovation. Activity. Action. These are just some of the words that come to mind when I think about creativity and how to apply it to my life as a counselor. What do you think of when you hear the word creativity, and in what ways could you see the presence (or lack) of creativity

Thelma Duffey, ACA's 64th president

Thelma Duffey, ACA’s 64th president

having an impact on your life? Do you feel energized, hopeful and invested in life, in your profession and in the people around you? Moreover, do you feel the life energy that propels you to create, connect and make a difference? I hope so!

How wonderful it is — in all stages of life — to feel the kind of energy that inspires gratitude, a sense of accomplishment and kinship. It is the kind of connection that helps us know that what we do matters and that the people around us are better for the experience. This is truly one of the most wonderful benefits of being a counselor. We have opportunities to make an impact, and our shared creativity helps us to do just that.

I was delighted to learn that this month’s Counseling Today cover story would highlight the role of creativity in counseling. Like many of you, I know the value that creativity provides us as counselors. And when I think about some of the challenges within our profession and our society — as well as the opportunities before us — I feel confident that our collective creativity will help us reach our goals.

In July, nearly 140 counseling leaders met on Capitol Hill to advocate on behalf of our profession as part of the American Counseling Association’s annual Institute for Leadership Training. I was inspired by the great energy, deep commitment and much appreciated camaraderie that we shared as we worked together. Furthermore, I was excited to see the various ways that our collective creativity stimulated new ideas and motivated new collaborations for moving forward.

As we closed out the week, I shared two initiatives that inspire my own creativity and passion. One initiative relates to professional advocacy, and the second involves a social action project that addresses an anti-bullying/interpersonal violence campaign. Both initiatives create opportunities for counselors to come together and collectively make a real difference.

We can make a significant contribution to our communities and to the profession of counseling at this critical point in its development. By working together productively and cohesively, we can:

  • Educate the public, legislators and other mental health professionals about who counselors are and what we do
  • Serve our communities and widely address interpersonal violence and bullying issues

I believe creativity is central to the work of counseling. We help clients create new possibilities, reconsider unproductive messages and capitalize on our shared resourcefulness every day. We use our creativity when we conduct research and explore interventions grounded in the principles of professional counseling. Our creativity helps us discover innovative ways of providing counseling in all the settings in which we work. Innovation is at the heart of change, and because we are in the business of transformational change, we can make the world a better place by inspiring and supporting constructive change within our communities.

We can use this same creative spirit and sense of community to strengthen the counseling profession by advocating for ourselves, appreciating our good work and sharing our tremendous value with the public. This is wonderful work! It is ours to do. This is the work I invite you to invest in this year.



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