Tag Archives: Counselors Audience

Counselors Audience

Using neurofeedback to treat ADHD

By Heather Rudow February 21, 2013

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Lori A. Russell-Chapin

Attendees of next month’s 2013 American Counseling Association Conference & Expo in Cincinnati will be treated to a new series of conference sessions aimed at shedding light on research by ACA members on topics that uniquely benefit clients. 

Called the Client-Focused Research Series, these 30-minute presentations aim to increase awareness of research that focuses on improving the services that professional counselors provide to clients.

In the weeks leading up to the conference, Counseling Today is speaking with some of the presenters about their research and why they believe it is important to the enhancement of the profession. Next up is Lori A. Russell-Chapin, professor of counselor education and associate dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences at Bradley University. Russell-Chapin, who is also co-director of the Center for Collaborative Brain Research and a member of the Association for Creativity in Counseling and the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, will be presenting with Theodore J. Chapin on “A Pilot Study of Neurofeedback, fMRI and the Default Mode Network: Implications for the Treatment of ADHD.”

What would you like attendees to take away from your session?

Counselors need to better understand that there is another noninvasive method for the treatment of psychological and behavioral symptoms. Neurofeedback (NFB) is that other option, in addition to counseling and medication. Neurofeedback, a type of neuromodulation, helps to regulate the brain and helps it to perform in a more efficient and effective manner. NFB works with computerized software, an electroencephalograph (EEG) instrument and the principles of operant and classical conditioning to help normalize and strengthen dysregulated brainwaves.

Counselors also need to better understand the importance and role that neuroscience must play in our everyday counseling lives. What we now know about the brain enhances and changes how we conduct counseling. I have been telling our graduate students for years that understanding the brain will change how we do counseling. That knowledge has arrived, and we counselors must understand and utilize those fascinating results. It only makes us more competent in our trade.

How did you first get involved with studying attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

Whenever I would go into the school system to help our student counselors, there always seemed to be so many young children who had symptoms of ADHD. In our private practice it is also a prevalent concern. ADHD is the most common childhood psychiatric disorder, with a cumulative incidence reaching 7.5 percent by age 19 (Barbaresi, Katusic, Colligan, Weaver, Pankratz & Mrazek, 2004). 

Why did you decide to perform this study?

According to Konrad and Eickhoff (2010), there has been a shift of focus from regional brain pathology in children with ADHD to dysfunction in distributed network organization. Because of that belief, I took the opportunity to write a proposal for monies through our Center for Collaborative Brain Research. Our team of researchers did pre- and post-tests with fMRIs to test the ADHD hypothesis of the dysfunctional distributed network. Neuroimaging provides researchers much more advanced methods of understanding the brain and its functions and structures.

What surprised you most as you compiled your results?

Our research team certainly wanted to validate and replicate the efficacy of NFB in the treatment of ADHD, which we were able to state. However, in our pilot study, finding that the Default Mode Network (DMN) was consolidated and, even more importantly, normalized to some extent after 40 sessions of NFB was exciting and remarkable. Many researchers believe that the DMN is essential to our everyday functioning especially in the world of subjective, internal functioning of the environment around us. Often children with ADHD have great difficulty activating the DMN during a resting state or quiet time. The post-fMRIs showed that activation during the resting state after 40 NFB sessions.

Why do you feel this kind of ADHD research is important?

Further advancing knowledge is always an important reason to conduct research. Taking that knowledge and being able to offer those results to children and parents as another type of treatment for ADHD that is intrinsic, noninvasive and long-lasting is a “breath of fresh air” compared to the many side effects of stimulant medications.

Who do you feel is the best audience for this session?

Our workshop would be appropriate for any counselor who wants to know more about additional treatments for children with ADHD. It is just fascinating to see the brain results that the advancements in neuroscience offer. 

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I have been providing individual counseling for several decades. I know counseling works and helps people change their lives. My neurotherapy and neurofeedback training has changed how I conduct counseling and my view of the counseling world. It has strengthened my skills and helped me have better outcomes for my clients.

 

 

Managing stress for the millennial generation

Heather Rudow February 20, 2013

(Photo:Flickr/LordKhan)

(Photo:Flickr/LordKhan)

Authors William Strauss and Neil Howe are widely credited with coining the term “millennial,” a name they give to those born from 1982 to 2004. The idea of the millennial has been picking up steam as of late — in the past year, it has become part of modern nomenclature and the subject of myriad media critiques and television shows.

And, fittingly, this generation is the focus of a newly released study by the American Psychological Association (APA) that revealed that millennials are more stressed than ever before and more stressed than their older counterparts.

An online survey of 2,020 U.S. adults 18 and older found that 39 percent of millennials reported that they were more stressed this year than the previous year. That’s compared with 36 percent of those in Generation X, ages 34 to 47; 33 percent of baby boomers, ages 48 to 66; and 29 percent of matures, 67 and older.

On a 10-point scale, where 1 means “little or no stress” and 10 means “a great deal of stress,” the 2012 average between all generations is 4.9. Millennials reported a 5.4 on the scale.

Managing stress is also harder for millennials compared with other generations. Sixty-two percent of millennials reported making efforts to reduce stress, yet 25 percent say they are not doing enough to manage it, compared with 15 percent of boomers and 7 percent of matures.

In addition, only 29 percent of millennials say they are doing an excellent or very good job of managing their stress, compared with 50 percent of matures, 35 percent of Generation Xers and 38 percent of boomers. In fact, since 2010, the percentage of millennials who reported doing a good job managing stress has decreased: in 2010, the APA reported the number at 33 percent, and in 2011, it was 32 percent.

However, Brian Van Brunt, a past president of the American College Counseling Association, a division of the American Counseling Association, and senior vice president of professional program development for the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management Group, says he is not too concerned by the findings.

“These kinds of studies tend to attract national attention because we like to see the newest generation struggling with their adjustment to the world,” Van Brunt explains. “This isn’t all that different from my generation, Generation X, being labeled as ‘slackers’ and ‘adrift.’”

To Van Brunt, the statistics actually portray a generation with fairly average stress levels.

“When you look more closely, you discover that [the study is] on a 10-point scale, where 1 means ‘little or no stress’ and 10 means ‘a great deal of stress’ [and] the 2012 average is 4.9,” Van Brunt says. “The article goes onto to state that millennials are stressed at a 5.4. I’m not convinced that this is cause for alarm. While these students certainly have a host of problems in front of them, keep in mind what it would be like to rate your stress one a 10-point scale. This study is saying that the average amount of stress millennials are putting down on the keyboard is just slightly over the halfway point. To me, that seems right on par for college students struggling with today’s challenges of increased tuition, [balancing] work, life and academic pursuits, and working in a country that appears to be struggling a bit as we come out of a recession.”

Jane Rheineck, an associate professor in the Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education at Northern Illinois University and a member of ACA, says developmentally speaking, millennials are often at a crossroads in their lives, which contributes to heightened feelings of stress.

“They are at the beginning of their careers, which inherently creates stress, and the unpredictability of the job market adds another level of stress,” says Rheineck, who is president elect-elect of the Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues in Counseling, a division of ACA.

Rising costs in education has lead to an increased burden on students, “[making them] wonder, ‘How am I going to pay for my education?’ or, ‘How will I be able to afford to pay back student loans?’”

Through his work with students in this age group, Van Brunt has found the main causes of stress to be the same as when he was a college student 20 years ago.

“I would agree with the survey’s findings that things like work, worrying about student load debt, academic demands [are causing stress],” says Van Brunt, who was previously director of counseling at Western Kentucky University. “During my time in college counseling working with stressed, anxious and depressed millennials, I would often hear them trying to figure out their place in the world ­— looking for a job or sense of purpose — upset about friendships or relationships that didn’t work out, overwhelmed by balancing their academic coursework and trying to have enough money to live on while at school.”

Rheineck, who is also a past president of the Association for Adult Development and Aging, a division of ACA, offers the perspective of millennials as graduate students.

As an educator, she has seen the stress of going to graduate school, working and family obligations, as well as the increased cost of going to school increase stress levels for students.

“In most cases, I think the image of being a ‘care-free’ graduate student is long gone,” Rheineck says.  She has found that those competing obligations can certainly contribute to stress.

The study found the top stressors of millennials are money, work and the economy: “All are direct ties to finances,” Rheineck says.

Van Brunt believes that if there is aspect in which millennials worry more than previous generations, it is in “the struggle of trying to find their place in the world, given the changes going on in the college and workplace.”

Thinking back to his time in college, Van Brunt says, “the old saying went, ‘It used to take a high school diploma to get a good job, but now you need a bachelor’s.’ Now, I hear students saying they need a master’s to be successful, and even then, there are no guarantees that the effort they put in will pay off in the end.”

“I think millennials worry about the investment in college and wonder how this investment matches up with their dreams,” Van Brunt continues. “Entering college is kind of like getting on a train that goes faster and faster as the years pass. It’s very hard for an 18-year-old to have a sense of their career and life goals when they get on the train. It becomes almost impossible to get off once they have invested so much money and time into their college years. I’ve seen that create panic and anxiety in the students I counsel.”

In terms of the significance for counselors, Van Brunt says they need to “remain on those front lines to help out students who might feel lost or pressured by their college choices. I’m reminded of the film Dead Poet’s Society, where the main character commits suicide over the pressure to become something he ultimately was not. Counselors help these students better manage their stress, expectations and help them develop conflict-resolution skills to bring these discussions around [so they can talk about] where their life is ultimately heading.”

Rheineck thinks counselors need to be aware of the unique, cultural changes facing each generation.

“Being 18 in 2013 is very different than being 18 in 1983, or even 2003,” she says. “That being said, every generation has had unique historical, sociological challenges that have impacted adult development and, as a result, stress.”

As a way to help the millennials he counsels, Van Brunt finds he is “leaning more heavily on Irvin Yalom’s existential therapy work as well as some of Michael White’s narrative therapy to help clients better understand their sense of story and place within the world. These approaches help them wrestle more directly with the problems that are causing the anxiety and worry in their lives. While there are no easy solutions here, the broadening of perspective can be helpful to relieve some of the stress.”

Additionally, he recommends counselors utilize cognitive behavior therapy, which he says “offers some tried and true technical approaches to help students better organize their lives and look more closely at where their goals fall out of step with their actions. I also find James Prochaska and Carlo DiCliemente’s work in this area extremely helpful to assist students build a more realistic frustration tolerance when they don’t perform perfectly right out of the gate.”

Rheineck stresses the need to for counselors to pay attention to any minorities or subgroups within the millennial generation.

“For example,” she says, “LGBT persons face a tremendous amount of stress from being oppressed. This population, for example, is two to three times more likely to attempt suicide and face addiction issues; couple that with the universal stressors that effect all millennials, the recipe for disaster can be enormous.”

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Contact her at hrudow@counseling.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The impact of community on postnatal depression

Heather Rudow February 13, 2013

CCU_MeAttendees of next month’s 2013 American Counseling Association Conference & Expo in Cincinnati will be treated to a new series of conference sessions aimed at shedding light on research gathered by ACA members on topics that uniquely benefit clients. 

Called the Client-Focused Research Series, these 30-minute presentations aim to increase awareness of research that focuses on improving the services that professional counselors provide to clients. 

In the weeks leading up to the conference, Counseling Today is speaking with some of the presenters about their research and why they believe it enhances the work of the profession. Next up is counseling student and public health advocate David Jones, who will be presenting on “Advocacy Outside the Box: A Multilevel Spatial Analysis of First-Time Mothers With Postpartum Depression.”

What would you like attendees to take away from your session? 

A greater knowledge of individual and community risk factors associated with postnatal depression (PND). Additionally, they will have an expanded conceptualization and tools for working with their clients and community.

Why is it important for counselors to learn the difference between community and individual risk factors associated with postpartum depression?

From an ecological perspective or other social models, there is a conjugal dance between individual and community risk factors. To effect lasting change, the counselor needs to see within but also beyond the individual risk factors toward the context: community. This context is a powerful influence on the individual’s affect, mood, cognition and behavior. Further, the individual’s choices have collateral. This collateral affects the family, which impacts neighborhood, which influences the community and vice versa.

How did you get involved with this subject?

My career is in public health, but I am also a counseling student. Through my work at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center and my studies emerged a passion around improving the outcomes of children.

Further, counseling and public health have a natural marriage: prevention. Therefore, through the lens of life course theory, the best approach is to intervene before the birth of the child to change the trajectory of lifelong outcomes for the child. Hence, a counselor seeks interventions before womb, secondarily when the child is in the womb and, tertiary, postpartum.

What inspired you to present this session at the conference?

It is a desire to bring about awareness and advancing the field of counseling. I believe that research is imperative for improving the health of our clients and their communities. Furthermore, there is a call for the counseling profession to get more serious about research. By doing so, it will advance our identity as counselors. 

Did anything surprise you as you were compiling information for your session?

The sample was drawn from a home visiting program for first-time mothers. The program contracts with seven agencies within Hamilton County, Ohio, to conduct their services. Each agency provides services in a specific catchment based on ZIP code. What was of particular interest was the severity of these rates and that the majority had rates higher than the national averages [of] 10 to 15 percent. Yet, conversely, the Hamilton County rate was high as well.

When looking at the individual risk factors, several became salient. For example, race and ethnicity were significantly different between those at risk for PND  (EPDS score < 10) than those not at risk. Another risk factor associated with the risk of PND was years of education.

Besides these finding above, what was remarkable was the many risk factors that were not found to be significant. This study linked the home visitation client record data with hospital discharge data, Ohio birth certificate data and 2010 Census tract data. After the linkage, there were over 300 variables associated with each case. Through analysis, no significant association was found for preterm birth and infant loss among others.

When examining the area level (Census tract) variables, it was a surprise that median home value was not significant. Yet, other area level variables did have an association such as percent of vacant housing units, percent on SNAP and GINI Index score.

This is the initial step in our investigation. Our study group plans on digging deeper into the data and looks forward to seeing what we will find.

Who do you feel is the best audience for this session?

This is important for a variety of audiences. One is the counselor who works with this specific population. Others that become prominent are counselors who take prevention and community outreach to heart, such as those who are passionate about social justice. It is relevant for counselors-in-training to expand their conceptualization of their profession. Finally, based on ACA’s call, it is imperative for all counselors [to take part] in a concerted effort to advance the counseling profession’s presence in research.

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Contact her at hrudow@counseling.org.

Exploring the connection between mindfulness and differentiation of self

Heather Rudow February 11, 2013

AppelAttendees of next month’s 2013 American Counseling Association Conference & Expo in Cincinnati will be treated to a new series of conference sessions aimed at shedding light on research that uniquely benefits clients. 

Called the Client-Focused Research Series, these 30-minute presentations aim to increase awareness of research that focuses on improving the services that professional counselors provide to clients.

In the weeks leading up to the conference, Counseling Today is speaking with some of the presenters about their research and why they believe it is particularly beneficial. Next up are Dohee Kim-Appel and Jonathan Appel, a married couple who will be presenting on “The Relationship Between Bowen’s Concept of Differentiation of Self and Measurements of Mindfulness.” Dohee is an associate professor of art therapy and counseling at Ursuline College and Jonathan is an associate professor of psychology and criminal justice at Tiffin University.

What would you like attendees to take away from your session?

The quality of our family relationships colors much of our mental and emotional development, our ability to balance reactive emotions with constructive thinking and our ability to be mindful of ourselves and others. Our hope is for attendees to view the connection between some mindfulness constructs and other therapeutic conceptual models; in this case, a construct well known in the family counseling literature — “Bowen’s Model of Differentiation of Self.” We hope one walks away with the knowledge of how central family relationships are to our mental health.

Why is it important for counselors to understand mindfulness and Bowen’s Concept of Differentiation of Self?

The skill of mindfulness suggests that one would be accurately aware of the present moment in the surrounding environment: one’s emotions, relationships [and] self-motivations. Educational and counseling techniques that induce mindfulness are increasingly being employed in psychotherapy and counseling and in self-help programs to understand and alleviate a variety of mental and even physical conditions. Our current research found mindfulness is very connected to the concept of “differentiation of self,” or the ability to relate with others without losing one’s healthy sense of self or becoming too emotionally overwhelmed by others. 

How did you first get interested in this topic?

It seemed to naturally develop from past and present interests. Dohee’s dissertation studied Bowen’s Differentiation of Self, [but as it relates to] the elderly. She also had an article on this topic published.

Then, on our last trip to Korea, we had a chance to spend time at a Buddhist monastery in the mountains, which sparked a newer research interest — mindfulness, a concept rooted in Buddhism. We were interested in how this Eastern concept had exceedingly been applied in the West — through psychotherapy and counseling. We ended up having a long conversation with a monk at the temple. A natural outgrowth was the development of a connection between past interests and ideas with new thoughts. It was a natural progression to join the two topics: differentiation of self and mindfulness.

What inspired you to present this session at the conference?

Experience has taught us that the real joy of learning comes as a result of expressing and dialoguing ideas with others. The ACA Conference is the ideal setting in which to do this. Ursuline College has been very supportive in this work and has encouraged involvement with ACA and the counseling profession.

Did anything surprise you as you were compiling information for your session?

Two things surprised us. There are different ways in which mindfulness is being defined and measured in the literature, and being able to work with each other on this — and other projects — is still truly a joy after 14 years of marriage. Our relationship brings the material alive for us. 

Who do you feel is the best audience for this session?

We hope everyone is able to get something out of it, from students to teachers to counselors to researchers. Those are all roles we have had. In many ways we are still students learning and thinking out loud when we present.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

The entire world is our classroom, in which we are constantly learning. We both feel it is a privilege we are able to do what we do.

 Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Contact her at hrudow@counseling.org.

The importance of career counseling with undocumented Latino students: A sneak peek into ACA’s Client-Focused Research Series

Heather Rudow February 8, 2013

casncacesAttendees of next month’s 2013 American Counseling Association Conference & Expo in Cincinnati will be treated to a new series of conference sessions aimed at shedding light on research that ACA members are doing on topics that uniquely benefit clients. 

Called the Client-Focused Research Series, these 30-minute presentations aim to increase awareness of research that focuses on improving the services that professional counselors provide to clients.

In the weeks leading up to the conference, Counseling Today will speak with presenters about their research and why they believe it is important to the enhancement of the profession. First up is Cassandra Storlie, who will be presenting the session “Career Counseling with Undocumented Latino Youth: A Qualitative Analysis of School Counselors.”

What would you like attendees to take away from your session?

The cultural worldview of undocumented Latino youth often points to an environment of few career options. As counselors and social justice advocates, we are charged with the responsibility to cultivate the career development of all students. From this session, attendees will learn about the challenges school counselors encounter when working with the unique career development needs of undocumented Latino students. Attendees will be able to evaluate their own model of career counseling in the K-12 classroom and will be provided [with] suggestions on how they can improve their counseling approaches to meet the needs of undocumented Latino youth.

Why is it important for school counselors to learn about counseling undocumented Latino youth?

Of the 11.2 million undocumented immigrants, between 1.8 and 2 million are school-aged Latino students (Passel, 2006; Passel & Cohn, 2011). Many undocumented Latino youth entered this country as children, having no choice but to follow their parents’ direction in crossing the U.S. border. As these youth assimilate, they begin to recognize that their lack of citizenship affirms they do not have the same opportunities as their American counterparts (Gildersleeve, Rumman & Mondragon, 2010). Furthermore, undocumented Latino students experience an unconventional career development trajectory, which is often recognized first by school counselors and student affairs professionals (Ortiz & Hinojosa, 2010). There is a lack of counseling literature that addresses the unique issues of undocumented Latino youth in school settings, particularly on the issues of career development. School counseling approaches need modification to assist undocumented Latino youth in academic, social/emotional and career domains beyond the current multicultural framework to address the unique challenges faced by this population.

What experience do you have with this group of students?

I have had a strong interest for this population because I have had family members who have struggled with their own career choices because of having an undocumented status. By witnessing their challenges in obtaining citizenship, I developed a passion in researching how the counseling profession can help ease the obstacles that face undocumented Latino students. I have also had the opportunity to work with undocumented Latino students at an elementary level during my doctoral internship.

What inspired you to host this session at the conference?

I think research on this topic is very much needed in the counseling profession. There are literally millions of Latino students that are undocumented, and school counselors need the support and resources on how to best work with this population. The ACA Conference is a fantastic place to be able to reach counseling professionals about this important topic.

How did you first get involved with the subject?

Throughout my doctoral program, I have focused my research on the developmental issues of marginalized populations in order to provide a voice to those who, so often, are not heard. For me, this topic is about social justice and advocacy for individuals that are oppressed. In observing the obstacles my family members have had in their own quest in gaining citizenship, I became interested in researching the emotional, social and multicultural challenges of undocumented Latino immigrants. Just recently, a colleague and I published an article on how school counselors and student affairs professionals can use a collaborative social justice model that can enhance the opportunities for undocumented Latino youth.

Did anything surprise you as you were compiling information for your session?

As I finished the data collection on this topic, it was surprising to me that the participants did not identify any multicultural career counseling theories that they used when working with this population. Most participants stated that they provide career counseling/guidance the same way to all students, documented or not. Yet they all identified the need to take a different approach with this population because of their unique needs. 

Who do you feel is the best audience for this session?

School counselors, school counselor site supervisors, career counselors, counselor educators and counselors-in-training.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

The laws on immigration are changing, and it is our duty to stay up to date on how that impacts the clients and/or students we work with!

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Contact her at hrudow@counseling.org.