Tag Archives: American Counseling Association

Counseling Today’s 20 most-read articles in 2022

Compiled by Lindsey Phillips December 28, 2022

a collection of all the 2022 covers for the Counseling Today magazine

The last few years have been filled with anxiety and stress about our physical, emotional and mental health, so it’s not surprising that the top articles for 2022 delve into those topics. Some other prominent issues in the counseling profession last year include the impact of legalized marijuana and the digital world on the profession, the need for financial change, clinical supervision and youth mental health. 

Here are 20 most-read articles in 2022 at ct.counseling.org 

#1: Stress vs. anxiety vs. burnout: What’s the difference? 

By Lindsey Phillips  

People often view stress, anxiety and burnout as three interchangeable conditions, but understanding what differentiates them can help in addressing what lies at the heart of each. Read the full article.  


#2: The emotional and social health needs of Gen Z 

By Lindsey Phillips 

Uncertainty and stress have left Generation Z feeling anxious, depressed and isolated and in desperate need of skills that counseling can provide. Read the full article. 


#3: The impact of legalized marijuana on professional counseling 

By Bethany Bray

With more states legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use, counselors are being forced to consider the potential pros and cons in their work with clients. Read the full article.


#4: Counseling a broken heart  

By Bethany Bray

Romantic breakups often come with a lot of painful feelings and loss, but when processed in counseling, they can also be an opportunity to connect with oneself and make meaning from the experience. Read the full article. 


#5: It’s time for a financial change in counseling   

By Derek J. Lee 

The fact that counselors are, by nature, helpers and are often willing to give freely of their time does not mean that they should be treated unfairly as a labor force. Read the full article. 


#6: Self-diagnosis in a digital world  

By Lindsey Phillips 

Thanks to the popularity of social media postings about mental health and the ease of searching for symptoms online, more people are being tempted to self-diagnose. This article explores if that is necessarily a troubling trend for counselors. Read the full article. 


#7: Making every moment of clinical supervision count  

By Tiffany Warner 

A three-step method can help counselor supervisors use their limited time more efficiently while building strong competency in supervisees. Read the full article. 


#8: Journeying through betrayal trauma  

By Allan J. Katz and Michele Saffier 

Individuals who discover a partner’s infidelity and deception must undertake a challenging journey to find healing for the mind, heart and soul. Read the full article. 


#9: Behind the scenes with a counselor-in-training  

By Allison Hauser 

This article provides a glimpse into what life is really like for counselors-in-training. Read the full article. 


#10: ‘Not a monster’: Destigmatizing borderline personality disorder  

By Scott Gleeson 

The stigma attached to borderline personality disorder can make both clients and counselors resistant to treatment, but by working together, they can sort through these misconceptions and help clients rediscover themselves. Read the full article. 


#11: Disarming anger  

By Bethany Bray

Viewing anger as a messenger rather than an adversary can help clients decouple it from shame, unpack its origins, explore related feelings and gain self-awareness. Read the full article. 


#12: A cognitive behavioral understanding of social anxiety disorder  

By Brad Imhoff 

Once clients understand that anxiety is not something that is going to disappear altogether, they can turn their attention to managing it and loosening the grip it has on their lives. Read the full article. 


#13: A beginner’s guide to alexithymia  

By Jerrod Brown 

People with alexithymia struggle to identify and express their emotions. This subclinical phenomenon is a known risk factor for a wide range of psychological and physical health problems, so it has significant implications for professionals working in the field of mental health. Read the full article. 


#14: Sex-positive counseling  

By Lindsey Phillips 

Counselors must increase their own comfort and knowledge around sexuality before they can help clients navigate theirs. Read the full article. 


#15: De-escalating conflict between parents and teens  

By Bethany Bray

Friction between parents and teenage children is an inevitable part of adolescent development, but often the parents need as much — if not more — work in counseling as the teen to build the skills needed to navigate conflict. Read the full article.


#16: Getting triggered as a counselor 

By Lindsey Phillips 

Counselors will inevitably be confronted by countertransference, but by learning to recognize and manage it, an experience that has sometimes been stigmatized can become a tool for professional and personal growth. Read the full article. 


#17: Building trust with reluctant clients  

By Bethany Bray

Rather than labeling hesitant clients as “resistant,” counselors should check their assumptions, work to better understand the underlying reasons and barriers these clients face, and double down on unconditional positive regard. Read the full article. 


#18: What’s new with the DSM-5-TR?  

By Aaron L. Norton 

This article answers questions counselors may have about the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Read the full article. 


#19: Responding to the youth mental health crisis in schools  

By Bethany Bray

A youth mental health crisis is rising to a crescendo in American schools, so now more than ever, school-based counselors need support and buy-in from school staff, parents and outside mental health professionals. Read the full article.


#20: Confidentiality comes first: Navigating parent involvement with minor clients 

By Bethany Bray

Counselors must strike a balance between maintaining young clients’ confidentiality and accommodating parents who want to be kept in the loop about their child’s progress in therapy. Read the full article.

 


What was your favorite article of 2022? What would you like to see Counseling Today cover in 2023? Leave a reply in the comment section below or email us at ct@counseling.org.


Miller sheds light on culture and introspection in closing keynote

By Lisa R. Rhodes October 21, 2022

Rwenshaun Miller spoke about the importance of culture and introspection during the closing keynote for the American Counseling Association’s 2022 Virtual Conference Experience. He told the audience that he has been impactful as a counseling professional because he uses his life experience as a Black man with a mental illness to guide the way he serves his clients and the way he cares for his own well-being.

“I learned how to not only to become [an] effective and efficient therapist but also someone that understands the importance of mental wellness, especially for individuals who look like me,” said Miller, a licensed clinical mental health counselor and supervisor and motivational speaker.

Rwenshaun Miller

He said he has been successful as a clinician “because of the fact that I did my own work and continue to do my own work.”

Miller is the co-founder and chief executive officer of the Good Stress Company, a group practice in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the author of Injured Reserve: A Black Man’s Playbook to Handle Being Sidelined by Mental Illness. He has been widely recognized for his work in empowering people with mental illnesses to live their best lives, and he is a recipient of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation Award for Advancing Minority Mental Health, the SXSW Community Service Award, and Omega Psi Phi’s Brother Paul Woods Bridge Builder Award.

Miller shared his journey with mental illness and explained to the audience how culture has influenced his experience as a client and as a counselor. He said his mental health problems began when he was a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill). Miller was a top student and athlete in high school, but he struggled in college to maintain an academic scholarship and excel on the university’s football and track teams.

“These particular pressures were a struggle for me,” Miller said, noting that he was having difficulty making the transition from his small, majority Black high school to a large, predominately white institution. UNC-Chapel Hill was an unfamiliar place where he encountered the belief that he was only admitted to the university because he played sports. When Miller was placed on academic probation and suffered a knee injury, he said “things started to slide” for him.

He stopped attending classes and remained in his dorm room. He couldn’t sleep, lost his appetite and rarely showered. He also began to hear voices.

“This was something that terrified me, but I was afraid to even talk about those things that were happening to me,” Miller said, adding that his ego and pride kept him from asking for help. “I was used to doing it on my own for so long.”

When Miller’s family finally learned he was in distress, they admitted him to a psychiatric hospital, but he fought and resisted being admitted and the medical professionals placed him in a straitjacket.

My family was “worried about my own mental well-being,” Miller said. “And also they didn’t know what else to do for me.”

Like other Black families, Miller said his family never discussed mental health issues.

“I was actually terrified about going to into the hospital because where I grew up, a lot of times when we heard about people going to the psychiatric ward, we just called them crazy,” he said. “Honestly, that’s not something you want to be considered.”

Miller was afraid to talk to the hospital’s clinicians. “I was terrified to even talk to anybody. Nobody in there looked like me,” he said. “That lack of representation kept me in my shell.”

Miller explained that in the Black community, medical professionals “who didn’t look like us” were not trusted. “History shows you that we were treated as subjects” he said, noting the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study. So Miller remained silent until he realized “if I don’t talk, I don’t get out.”

Eventually he was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder with psychotic features and was told that he could not return to the university because it was a stressor for him. Instead, Miller was advised to start therapy and take medication to treat his mental illness.

Miller began treatment and started working with Kendell Jasper, a Black male licensed clinical psychologist. Miller called Jasper his “saving grace.”

“When I walked into his office, he looked like me, he talked like me,” Miller said. “He created a space for me to be able to open up to him and tell him the different things I had going on.”

When Miller’s condition began to improve, he said he was convinced that he was cured and didn’t need to continue with his medication or therapy. Instead, he wanted to get back to UNC-Chapel Hill. However, when Miller returned to the university, his symptoms reappeared, and rather than reach out to his mental health providers, he began to self-medicate with alcohol, a dependence that lasted three years.

“I was mentally deteriorating,” Miller admitted. During this time, Miller said his life hit the lowest of the lows, and he attempted suicide three times.

“You get so caught up in wanting to stop the emotional pain, and you have voices in your head that are telling you ‘You shouldn’t be here,’” Miller said.

But through the adversity, Miller realized he had to take ownership of his mental illness and be intentional about his recovery. “Not only for me, but for the people who are in my life,” he explained. So he went back to therapy and started taking his medication.

Miller said experiencing the lowest time in his life gave him perspective into what mental health disorders and treatment can be like for people of color.

“I started to just notice gaps,” Miller noted. “Not only in the health care system but in society.”

Miller said although he was fortunate to find a Black male therapist, there aren’t enough Black clinicians in the mental health field. And Miller decided to help fill this gap by becoming a therapist.

Miller said he started to live by the motto “Be who you needed when you were younger.” When he was younger, he needed the support of someone “who looked like me, someone who talked like me, someone to let [me] know it’s OK to cry,” he explained.

As a Black man, Miller said he was socialized to be strong, to be a provider and not to show any emotions other than anger or happiness. He internalized this message, and when life got hard, he didn’t have the words to express his feelings, so he kept them bottled up inside.

Miller founded and currently serves as the executive director for Eustress Inc., a nonprofit organization that focuses on raising mental health awareness to break the stigma associated with mental illness in communities of color. His work with this organization allows him to help other Black men and boys.

“I put culture to the forefront of how I deliver services,” Miller said, explaining the importance of “meeting people where they are” and recognizing that therapy “looks different to every single person.”

Miller challenged his peers to think about how culture affects counseling and to tend to their own psychological wounds so they can help others heal.

“When you do your own work, you begin to understand certain practices that may work for you or certain practices that may not work,” Miller said. “You start to understand the intricacies of still being human as you deliver services.” It is this humanity that allows clients to “really heal,” he noted.

He also reminded the audience that “there’s a very thin line between illness and wellness. And if you’re not taking care of yourself as a helper, and as someone who serves, how effective can you really be to anyone else?”

 

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The the American Counseling Association’s 2022 Virtual Conference Experience started Monday and runs through today, Oct. 21.

Registration will remain open until Dec. 31, and attendees will have access to the conference sessions and other content through Jan. 9, 2023.

Find out more at counseling.org/conference/vce-conference-2022

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Lisa R. Rhodes is a senior writer for Counseling Today. Contact her at lrhodes@counseling.org.

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Opinions expressed and statements made in articles appearing on CT Online should not be assumed to represent the opinions of the editors or policies of the American Counseling Association.

Scurry’s opening keynote highlights the importance of intentional effort

By Samantha Cooper October 17, 2022

Briana Scurry

Briana Scurry, two-time Olympic gold medalist and the first Black woman to be inducted in the National Soccer Hall of Fame, regaled attendees of the American Counseling Association’s 2022 Virtual Conference Experience with her journey to becoming one of the most renown female soccer players in the country. During the introductory keynote, she discussed how “intentional effort” is the key to success.

“I think the lessons I learned [in soccer] are life lessons and are lessons that are able to help anyone and everyone that hears them to do and be successful at whatever it is they choose,” she said.

Scurry also acknowledged that there is no easy or quick way to succeed; it takes time, perseverance and intentional effort. No matter what it is you want to do, she stressed, you need to be willing to put in the work. And it helps to have a clear goal, she added.

After watching the U.S. ice hockey team compete and win against the Soviet Union during the 1980 Winter Olympics, Scurry, who was eight at the time, decided on her goal: She would be an Olympian. And as a teenager, she redefined that goal by deciding that she would compete in the 1996 Summer Olympics.

She wrote that goal down on a piece of paper and hung it in her room. That piece of paper, which read “Olympics 1996. I have a dream,” was the first thing she saw in the morning and the last thing she saw at night, she told the audience.

In middle and high school, she played several different sports, including basketball, soccer and track, but she was not sure which sport would lead her to the Olympics until the University of Massachusetts offered her a full scholarship to be the goalkeeper for the women’s soccer team.

“I knew this was a wonderful opportunity for me. And I was going to make the most of it,” Scurry said.

Throughout college, she continued to work hard and push herself to get better, which she learned is more valuable than winning. After her team lost the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship during her senior year, Scurry was invited to train at the United States Women’s National Soccer Team’s training camp alongside all-stars such as Mia Hamm.

At first, Scurry didn’t understand why she had been invited. After all, her team lost. But her coach explained to her that the results of one game didn’t matter; it was everything else that she had done up until that point.

“All the things that I could control — my work rate, my attitude, my determination, my resilience — that’s what mattered,” she said.

These same ideas, she told the audience, apply to other careers and goals, including counseling. “It’s about effort, intention,” she noted. “The way you carry yourself, the way you bring yourself every day to whatever you’re doing. And all these other things have to work for your favor, for your good, but you don’t have control over all that stuff. You have control over you and how you show up.”

She advised the audience to focus on the things they can control and work to keep getting better, and then everything else will fall into place. That’s exactly what Scurry did. She kept training, kept bringing her best self to every practice and kept focusing on her goal of becoming an Olympic medalist until she eventually made the United States Women’s National Soccer Team in 1994.

Two years later, her dream was realized when she found herself competing in the first Olympic women’s soccer competition in 1996. She played the entire game, and her team won gold.

“I found myself at the exact place I wanted to be at the exact time I wanted to be there on a team that was the best in the world,” she said.

She acknowledged that other factors such as a supportive family and competitive environments also played a role in her success.

Scurry encouraged the audience to not be afraid to put themselves in situations where they may not the best or where they may not succeed at first.

“Uber, ultra-competitive environments … are the environments that shape diamonds,” Scurry explained. “Competition is a good thing. That’s how we hone skill. That’s how you sharpen your skills on the cutting edge. That’s what I did.”

But Scurry did warn against becoming complacent in successes — something she learned firsthand. After winning the Rose Bowl in 1999, she admitted she let success get to her head. She had become a celebrity and was more into her image than becoming a better athlete. And this shift in focus caused her to lose her spot on the team during the 2000 Summer Olympics.

“I lost my spot because I took my eye off the ball,” she recalled. She was angry at everyone — except herself — until she looked at a photo and realized that she was no longer in competitive shape.

“I understood in an instant why [my] coach had replaced me,” she said.

Scurry said she had to work even harder to get back to in shape and become the “best Briana Scurry” she could be.

“I got to the mountaintop, and I didn’t understand that in order to stay there, you have to be better than you were on the way up,” she said. And her hard work paid off because she did make it back to the mountaintop and competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics, where her team won gold again.

She retired from the United States Women’s National Soccer Team in 2008, but she continued competing professionally until she suffered a concussion during a game in 2010 when one of the opponent’s knees crashed into her head. This collision not only ended her professional soccer career but also left her with a traumatic brain injury. For the next three years, she struggled with memory and cognitive issues.

“I couldn’t remember where I parked my car [or] where my keys were,” she said.

Her mental health also took a downward spiral: She had terrible headaches and began suffering from depression and anxiety. And in 2013, she said she started having suicidal thoughts.

“I felt like I was a burden, so I didn’t reach out for the help from my friends and family [and] my teammates that I needed because I was ashamed,” she said. In addition, her finances were in trouble to the point she was forced to pawn her Olympic gold medals for money.

But luckily, one of her friends realized Scurry needed help and connected Scurry with someone who could help her find the medical treatment and therapy she needed.

Scurry turned this situation into something positive. Today she shares her experience with others around the country and advocates for concussion and traumatic brain injury awareness.

Scurry told the audience that they all had the potential to succeed, but first, they had to believe in themselves and then put in the maximum amount of effort into whatever they’re doing.

She reminded counselors that their dreams are just as important and relevant as hers. “You’re helping people weave through some of the most difficult events of their lives,” she said, “In my opinion? That sounds like it’s more important to me” than soccer.

 

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The the American Counseling Association’s 2022 Virtual Conference Experience started today and runs through Friday, Oct. 21.

Registration will remain open until Dec. 31, and attendees will have access to the conference sessions and other content through Jan. 9, 2023.

Find out more at counseling.org/conference/vce-conference-2022

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Samantha Cooper is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Contact her at scooper@counseling.org.

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Opinions expressed and statements made in articles appearing on CT Online should not be assumed to represent the opinions of the editors or policies of the American Counseling Association.

Counseling Today recognized with four awards

September 6, 2022

The Counseling Today staff won a total of four awards in APEX 2022, the 34th annual awards program recognizing excellence in publishing.

Editor-in-chief Lindsey Phillips received a Grand Award in the COVID-19 media category for her March 2021 feature “How COVID-19 is affecting our fears, phobias and anxieties.” Of the 1,213 entries, only 100 Grand Awards total were presented across 14 major categories.

Senior writer Bethany Bray earned Awards of Excellence in two separate writing categories: one in feature writing for her February 2021 feature “Gone but not missed: When grief is complex” and another in health and medical writing for her August 2021 cover story “Crisis counseling: A blend of safety and compassion.”

The September 2021 issue of Counseling Today was recognized with an Award of Excellence in the category of best magazine, journal and tabloid issue over 32 pages. Among the articles featured in that issue was a cover story on suicidality in children and adolescents.

Counseling Today has been published by the American Counseling Association since 1958. CT staff have received 62 awards for writing, design and website excellence over the past 17 years.

Shawn E. Boynes: The right leader at the right time

Counseling Today August 29, 2022

ACA CEO Shawn E. Boynes

The American Counseling Association welcomed Shawn E. Boynes as the new chief executive officer on July 20. Boynes comes to ACA with more than 25 years of experience as an association executive. He spoke with Counseling Today and shared his leadership style, his vision for ACA and his excitement about the future of the counseling profession. 

 

What do you want ACA members to know about you?

I’m openly gay, approachable, easy going, authentic, transparent and a great listener who is solutions oriented. I also appreciate feedback because many years ago, I learned from a former manager that feedback is a gift. I’m open to it and I welcome it. We are embarking on creating the next life cycle for ACA, and in order to do that, I want members to fully engage in charting the course. This is your organization; I, along with staff, am a steward of it. 

What is your leadership style?

My leadership style and philosophy are best summarized as embracing innovation, creating positive change, being open to calculated risks, inspiring others to achieve the best outcomes and being transparent — all while exuding humility, sincerity and authenticity.

What skills do you bring to the CEO role?

I’ve spent over 25 years in the association management profession working for a broad variety of mission-driven organizations. Given my rich and diverse leadership experience, I’ve honed skills to identify opportunities for maximum impact. In my CEO role, that translates to listening more and using data to make informed decisions. Associations collect so much data from members, but unfortunately, they don’t often do a good job of applying that data across the organization, from the volunteer leadership to the staff levels, to help advance their goals. 

Another area I’m passionate about is amplifying the voice and great work of people who represent an industry or profession. It’s important to be bolder, louder and unrelenting in this current turbulent environment filled with noise and disruption. Why should anyone care about the work of an association and the members who belong to it if they don’t fully understand the impact both have on society. 

But the most important skill that I will bring to this role is support for the people who do the work on behalf of the members. I know how to create a collaborative environment and build teams that thrive. 

What will your first six months at ACA look like?

I plan to acknowledge the past, celebrate the present and prepare for the future. Specifically, my first six months at ACA will focus on immersion and discovery. I have already started my meet-and-greet “listening tour” to learn as much as I possibly can about ACA from Governing Council leaders, staff, stakeholders and other key partners. This also includes an organizational assessment to get up to speed on operations, financials, contracts, governance, and the overall portfolio of program and service offerings. 

What do you think is important in a successful organization?

Without question, transparency! People belong to associations because of shared interests and a strong belief in the mission. Meeting the myriad needs of people who choose to belong can be daunting but listening to and keeping your finger on the pulse of what those needs are will help the organization maintain a strong value proposition. Likewise, successful organizations must unequivocally embrace change. We all navigate change in different ways, but to remain relevant, you can’t keep doing the same things expecting different results, especially now. 

What does work-life balance look like for you?

This has taken me a really long time to figure out and I’m still a work in progress, but one of the most important lessons I’ve learned over the years is to set and maintain boundaries. I work hard and give 100% because I enjoy what I do; however, I know there’s a point of diminishing returns. Working more doesn’t necessarily give you greater output. 

People are always shocked when I tell them that I’m an introvert because I project something different professionally. I am more talkative and outgoing at work. It’s a learned behavior that I leverage for career success and maximum effectiveness as a leader. But because it isn’t my natural disposition, I retreat at the end of too much social interaction.

I’m still learning how to adequately rest. In our “hustle” culture here in the United States, I don’t think we embrace rest enough. Being busy or always on the go has become normalized. It seems odd to say but I still struggle with moments when I don’t have obligations or anything to do. But if I’m not my best, recharged self, then I can’t give my best to my work and to those I support and serve. 

Exercise and travel are two ways that I maintain a work-life balance. Physical fitness is important because it helps relieve stress and keeps me healthy. Plus, I enjoy it. I’m also intentional about taking vacation. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I would always take two weeks off during summers and travel internationally to a different country with friends. Quality time and shared experiences are unmatched when you’re with people you enjoy being around. 

What is something you learned on the job that you will take with you in this new role? 

Professional patience and empathy are both critical leadership skills that can’t be undervalued. Good leadership is knowing how to influence decisions and actions but that means meeting people where they are and sometimes it takes a while to move the needle and see progress. I’ve worked on significant projects that took years to come to fruition. The impact was still powerful; it just took longer than I wanted it to. But if I had not been patient, many of those projects would have stalled to the detriment of the organization and those who engage with it. 

Empathy became a necessary power skill for all leaders in 2020 when George Floyd was murdered and many of us were still struggling with the pandemic’s disruption to everyday life. Leaders also needed to be more vulnerable and many struggled to do so. But those who took the extra step to connect with their colleagues on a basic human level are better for it. As leaders, we need to get comfortable being uncomfortable and leading with more emotion than what we’re used to. 

What are you most excited and nervous about in this new role? 

I’m most excited about leading a mental health organization in this moment when the world desperately needs the expertise of licensed professional counselors. Unlike any other time in modern history, mental health is at the forefront of overall human wellness. That’s a powerful statement but I know that ACA is primed to rise to this monumental challenge. To do so, we must create strategies, build capacity and foster collaborative relationships with the other mental health organizations in the community. 

I’m not really nervous about anything because I firmly believe that I’m the right leader for ACA at the right time. However, I know that following a long-tenured CEO is a tall order, but I’m ready!