Roundtable Summaries, ACPA Convention (2006)
First Generation Student
Joy Stephens Lane,
Ph.D., Morgan State University
had 1 facilitator and 4 participants. The participants included 2 graduate
students, a Counseling
Center psychologist, and
a representative from Residence Life. The exchange allowed for rich dialogue.
stressors for first generation students.
Examples included lack of information, lack of preparedness,
frustrations over representation, and lack of financial resources. Participants
also discussed coping strategies, including spiritual connection, connection to
family, encounter spaces, and relationships with faculty/staff. Finally, best
practices, such as counseling, outreach, and collaborations that take into
account multiple aspects of identity, were identified.
Career Development Roundtable
Facilitator: Jodi K.
Caldwell, Ph.D., Georgia
Six people, including representatives from several different
universities, attended this roundtable.
The first topic of discussion was defining “Mid-level.” The category of
“New Professional” seemed to span a short period of time (less than the 10
years previously considered). Therefore, some attendants had 5 years
experience, while others had more than 15 years experience.
Lack of advancement opportunities
within the Counseling
Center world were
discussed. It was noted that the main
route for advancement was to move into an administrative position. However, not
everyone has interest in administration.
Therefore, in order to advance, the professional must leave counseling
center work for private practice, etc.
The need for professional mentoring was noted. Several attendants expressed a desire to have
more mentoring available from directors.
Also, a desire for formalized training in managerial skills, budgeting
skills, etc. was noted. Although Counseling Center
administrators are often drawn from Counseling
there does not seem to be widely accessible training to obtain the necessary
business/management skills for successful directorship or administration.
Brainstorming took place for ways that professionals could
maintain their vitality and excitement despite limited upward mobility. Suggestions included rotating coordinator
positions, balancing training responsibilities with opportunities for self-growth,
and creating job exchanges (i.e., switch places with a colleague at another
university for a prescribed length of time). Another suggestion was pushing for
faculty status, which might allow for professionals to apply for sabbaticals in
order to obtain in depth training, to focus on research, etc. Faculty status might also provide for more of
a growth ladder. One attendee noted that he was currently on a sabbatical,
which had allowed him to “clear his head” professionally. As a result of time away from the center, he
had developed new programming ideas, and his passion and interest in counseling
center work had been revitalized. Prior
to the sabattical he had felt burnt out, but he
believed that at the end of his sabbatical he would be able to return to his
center enthusiastic about the new role he would hold.
Participants discussed suggestions for CCAPS for the
upcoming year. These suggestions
included having workshops targeted to mid-level professionals who are
considering transitioning to assistant director or director positions, holding
a forum for professionals to give feedback to directors as a group, expanding
the current mentoring program to include advanced mentors for mid-level folks,
and having a panel discussion on counseling center life with panel members
representing different developmental stages.
New Professionals Roundtable
Facilitators: Jocelyn Buhain,
Ph.D., University of North Carolina Wilmington;
Morgan State University; and Thomas Berry, Ph.D., Utah State University
roundtable had 3 co-facilitators and 3 participants. The participants were a
social work graduate student, a pre-doctoral psychology intern, and a new
professional. Issues addressed during the informal group discussion included
job search strategies and interviewing tips.
The roundtable also included discussion about the various ways in which
counseling centers incorporate professionals from different fields and the
strengths of multidisciplinary approaches.
Facilitators: Stacey Moore, Ph.D., John
and Thomas Berry, Ph.D., Utah State University
outreach roundtable, we discussed several major themes including the following:
innovative outreach approaches, proactive vs. reactive outreach, outreach
philosophies, staff participation in outreach, programming in different areas
of campus, use of the web and other technologies, and successful marketing
that really seemed to work included doing more large scale outreach (e.g.,
campus wide awareness weeks) vs. a single program (e.g., in the residence
halls), getting faculty members to offer
extra credit for outreach attendance, and making use of passive programming
ideas (e.g., awareness building bulleting boards, door hangers, toilet
tribune). Other helpful ideas included
advocating for outreach to be at an equal level to clinical services in terms
of emphasis and ensuring that the outreach coordinator is in an administrative
position. Participants also discussed
ways to increase staff participation, such as having outreach teams and
honoring each staff members' personality, strengths and weaknesses.
area of discussion was the development of undergraduate peer educator programs
and the integration of undergraduate peers into the center's outreach
efforts. The use of undergraduate peers
provides both face validity for persuasive messages and a valuable training
experience to undergrads interested in pursuing graduate school.
Facilitator: Phyllis Weatherly,
M.Ed., L.P.C., Southern Polytechnic State
In addition to the facilitator, 2 participants showed up for
the self-care roundtable, but 1 had to leave shortly after arrival. Although
good discussion occurred, the facilitator suggested providing a few highlights
from handouts as a summary:
“There is a saying that
those most ready to offer help to others are often the most resistant to
accepting it themselves.” (Rollins, J.
(2005). Campaign for Counselor Wellness, Counseling Today)
Counselors often fail to observe the basic guidelines for personal
health and wellness, though they will encourage their clients to.
Approximately 10% of counselors are impaired at any given time
(i.e., 5000 members of ACA are impaired at any given time) – Taskforce formed
Therapeutic impairment occurs when there is a significant negative
impact on a counselor’s professional functioning which compromises client care
or poses the potential for harm to the client.
The goal is to focus on prevention, that
is, lessening the percentage of impaired counselors.
Small College Roundtable
Facilitator: Mary Beth Javorek,
Ph.D., John Carroll University
Mental Health professionals and Student Affairs
administrators from 6 different small colleges attended the roundtable
discussion. Each participant shared
information about the types of counseling services provided on their home
campus and specific challenges that arise in this setting. The group identified several issues related
to small staff size that can be potentially problematic, including limited
availability for handling after hour emergencies or outreach, the lack of
collegial consultation, and a tendency to feel isolated from other counseling
professionals. Participants also agreed
that the lack of psychiatric services on small campuses is a growing concern,
and financial limitations require finding creative alternatives to meet student
Some of the creative ideas that were presented included
establishing collaborative relationships with psychiatrists and mental health
professionals in the local community to provide services for referred students
at a discounted rate, having the college provide health insurance for every
student to access private services, and establishing partnerships with
psychiatric residency programs at local hospitals. Several centers are expanding their use of
web-based mental health resources to supplement the services offered on
campus. The group also discussed the
importance of being connected to professional organizations, such as CCAPS, to
reduce the sense of isolation and to keep up with current trends in the field.
Assessment, Prevention and Intervention Roundtable
Facilitator: Sherry Lynch Conrad, Ph.D., LPC, Virginia
Attendees to this roundtable included Counseling Center
personnel, a person from Residence Life, and a student in our session. The discussion probably took a little bit
different twist than if it had been all Counseling Center
A key idea introduced by Counseling
staff and Residence Life staff was the need to collaborate with Residence Life
and hospital personnel before situations with suicidal students arise.
Both Counseling and Residence Life staff reported incidents of students being
allowed to return to campus without being involved in the development of the
continuity of care plan for this student. Counseling centers are
sometimes contacted by the student who expects to be seen quickly in order to
comply with the agreed upon plan developed at the hospital; however, counseling
centers are not always able to easily accommodate the student and often have no
information from the hospital about the reason the student was referred.
Residence Life staff also expressed concern because they are not sure if the
student is ready to be back in the residence hall and may not know when the
student is being released from the hospital. Concern was expressed that
students may not need to be in the hospital according to hospital standards;
however, the student may also not be ready to assume the independence afforded
by the residence hall environment.
Another focus was the competing interests of the
administrative/judicial branches of the campus and the wellness/therapeutic
branches. Residence Life has more control of the student’s situation from an
administrative/judicial perspective; however, this is not always in the best
interest of the student. Counselors want to address the student’s situation
from a therapeutic perspective, which may be more helpful in the long-term, but
does not necessarily address the short-term concern of the Residence Life staff
who may be concerned about the student’s safety on a daily basis.
In summary, the main theme of our discussion was the need
for collaboration between all involved parties. Everyone wants the
student to be safe and successful in the college environment without causing a
disruption that interferes with other students’ opportunity to learn as well.
As counselors, if we collaborate with both Residence Life and local
hospitals before these situations arise and try to develop agreements for how
suicidal student situations will be addressed, we can hopefully reduce the
anxiety of everyone involved and also provide the best continuity of care for
Jodi Caldwell, Ph.D. Georgia
The roundtable had 6 attendees from domestic universities and Takano University
in Japan. Several themes were discussed and a
great deal of time was spent answering questions from the Takano participants,
who hoped to be able to return to Japan with enough knowledge to be able to
start the first Counseling Center and training program located in Japan.
Themes included defining the role of the training program on
the university campus, the need for professional connections and mentoring for
universities which have a masters training program but not a doctoral
internship, and related questions about whether ACCTA could be open to these masters program
training directors. Administrative
problems, such as finding stipend funds for interns and Human Resources
problems with classifying interns and handling benefits issues,
were also discussed. Another theme was balancing the growth of professional
staff (e.g., being able to look at clinical issues on an increasingly deep
level) with providing developmentally appropriate training (e.g., starting over
each year with a new group of beginners).
Participants also discussed the differences between training clinical
vs. counseling graduate students, with the former group having greater strength
in assessment and treatment planning and
the latter having greater strength in relationship skills and micro-skills as
well as a tendency to build caseloads faster.
Pros and Cons of having a training program were
reviewed. Pros included having more
clinical hours available for clients, being a revitalizing experience for
staff, helping develop a reputation for the counseling center, increasing
collaboration, and the provision of supervision possibly making psychologists
better therapists. Cons included the use
of staff time and the drain from problematic trainees due to the need for extra
supervision and the emotional toll on staff.
Components of training programs were discussed. For example, some sites have practicum
students do all outreach for the center; other sites do not have trainees do
any. Some sites provide training in
outreach programming for trainees. A
question was posed about how to encourage clinical students, who have no
interest in outreach work, to participate in outreach programming. Differences in practicum placements were
discussed, e.g., placements ranged from 10 to 20 hours per week, and sites
screened practicum students in various ways: grades, interviews, resume of past
experience, or submission of videotaped role-play.
Participants discussed how counseling center
administration justifies the use of staff time for training. Rationale included an increase in
collaboration with academic affairs, an increase in the visibility of the
counseling center, providing supervision opportunities for staff who are
interested, increasing the availability of outreach programming, and (for those
with internships) an increase in the visibility of the university.