You work hard, and the collective efforts of the counseling profession benefit millions of children, adolescents, adults, couples, families and communities each and every day. Although your work may not get reported on CNN or in The New York Times, the impact of professional counseling cannot be denied. You make the world a better place, and that is not hyperbole; it is fact.
Because of the amazing work of professional counselors, ACA set out many years ago to find a way to raise public awareness of what you do. From that desire was born Counseling Awareness Month. Please note that it is not a day or a week but an entire month! Given all there is to tell about the importance of counseling and the work of our members, we wanted a full month. We know you are busy and that you give 100 percent to your clients and students, so asking you to share your story or to support efforts to increase the public’s knowledge about counseling may at first seem to be asking too much. Our hope is that you will recognize the benefit of celebrating Counseling Awareness Month, but rather than doing it alone, that groups can come together at local, state and regional levels to let the public know of your great work.
To make it easier, ACA has developed information, suggestions and tips for how you can participate in Counseling Awareness Month. Simply go to counseling.org/about-us/counseling-awareness-month-2016 to find the special resources we have developed just for you. Over the years, many of you have established your own events to celebrate Counseling Awareness Month, and I hope even more groups of counselors will do that this year. Let’s make the 2016 Counseling Awareness Month the best ever.
I realize professional counselors do not typically seek the limelight for the work they do, but please know that the ACA staff and volunteer leadership deeply appreciate the work of our members. I hope that being a member of the ACA family will come to mean more to you than just receiving Counseling Today, buying books that we publish, attending our conference or knowing that we advocate for the profession at the state and federal levels of government. Yes, we provide all of those things (and more), but we want ACA to be your professional home because you feel that we look out for you as a practicing professional. We provide a way for you to network and interact with your peers. We provide consultation about your career, ethics and practice issues. Our mission is to be your professional partner and a supporter of the good work you do.
We also want to be the place you turn to when communicating with your peers. You may have noticed that our online community, ACA Connect, underwent some extensive changes and was recently relaunched based on the input and comments you shared with us. Although the previous version was good and did serve as a community place where members could interact, your suggestions helped us to make some substantial improvements. This is yet another way we are trying to improve ACA as your professional home.
So, as we kick off Counseling Awareness Month, I want to personally congratulate all of you for the service you provide to so many people. When I hear stories of your work, I am in awe of what you do, and I am humbled by your efforts to advocate for and serve your clients and students.
Job well done.