From the Chair
[This column was written and submitted prior to the violent acts of Sept. 11, 2001. Since that time, I issued a joint statement with Sue Stock-Ward (Chair-Elect), and Heidi Levine (Past-Chair) to our membership on our listserv and was shared with the ACPA Commission Chairs group. We extend our sentiments to those whose lives have been affected by our national tragedy.]
I hope that everyone has had a wonderful summer and that the start of the new academic year has gone well. A major thrust of our discussions during the ACPA convention in Boston was to begin to collaborate with other professional organizations and to raise the visibility of Commission VII to other groups and institutions. There have been a number of initiatives and efforts that have supported this goal and I would like to take the opportunity now to report on some of these developments.
One effort has been Heidi Levine's collaboration with the National Mental Health Association's (NMHA) Finding Hope and Help college initiative that is designed to raise awareness of depression among college students and to educate stduents about signs and symptoms of depression and where to get help. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Heidi for her involvement and efforts in this important and significant partnering initiative on behalf of our Commission. You can find Heidi's column in this issue of the newsletter and provide more details about this initiative. I encourage everyone to read it.
Another effort was a response to student events of racial harassment and prejudice on the University of Florida campus that was brought to the attention of our Commission through our listserv. In an effort to support members of the University of Florida Counseling Center and members of our Commission at UF, Commission VII sent a letter to the counseling center at UF as well as to the VP for Student Affairs and the President at UF. The letter stated the Commission's support of the counseling center's efforts to address the needs of diverse students and its efforts and commitment in multiculturalism. This letter was met favorably by a response from the director of the counseling center thanking Commission VII for its support and expression of concern. In addition, the VP for Student Affairs also responded with a letter of appreciation and support.
Another major development was the establishment of a formal liaison with Division 17 (Counseling Psychology) of the American Psychological Association. I requested that a formal liaison relationship be established between Division 17 and Commission VII and the request was openly and favorably received and confirmed at the recent Division 17 Executive Board meeting at the American Psychological Association Convention this past August. I will serve as Commission VII's liaison to Division 17 through my term as current chair and for one year after as past-chair. Subsequently, it will be important for our Commission to continue a liaison to Division 17 and to attend future Executive Board Meetings of the Division at the APA conventions.
Another development that has increased the visibility of our Commission to other organizations was the invitation for Commission VII to have a representative on the Council of the Specialty of Counseling Psychology (CSCP). CSCP was established in 1999 at the request of the Council of Specialties of APA. As part of the CSCP, Commission VII now joins with representatives from Division 17, Division 17 Student Affiliate Group, the Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors (AUCCCD), the Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs (CCPTP), the Association of Counseling Center Training Agencies (ACCTA), the Special Board of the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABBP), and the Academy of Counseling Psychology.
Also I have been able to have continuing discussions with Division 17's VP for Professional Practice, Mary O'Leary Wiley about how Commission VII and Division 17 can begin some collaborative efforts. As well, Sue Stock-Ward serves as a member of the Advisory Committee to Division 17's VP for Professional Practice and I would like to thank Sue for her ongoing efforts at representing Commission VII as a member of this committee. In addition, during the APA Convention, the Division 17 Special Interest Group on College and University Counseling Centers met to formally propose their formation to a Section within the Division. Both Stacey Pearson and I attended this meeting to begin dialogue with the Chair-elect Karen Lese, about ways that our two groups could work collaboratively while maintaining membership in either or both groups. There was a very favorable response to begin some collaborative relationships between our two groups as a result of our meetings. As a result, I have asked Stacey Pearson to serve as our liaison to the Special Interest Group to continue our relationship with them. In addition, I have invited Karen Lese to speak to our Commission during our open Commission meeting at ACPA in Long Beach and she gladly agreed.
On another note and yet another major development is Commission VII's response to mycybershrink.com. During the Convention in Boston, a response to mycybershrink.com was drafted and reviewed by the Commission during its business meeting. After a subsequent call for comments and feedback, Commission VII's response was placed on the Commission Chairs agenda during the ACPA Summer Leadership meeting this past July. In overwhelming support, the Commission Chairs met Commission VII's statement with unanimous support. A number of follow-up suggestions were made to further increase the visibility of our Commission's concerns. One suggestion that I will follow-up on is to publish our statement in the next edition of Developments. Another suggestion was to offer a program in Long Beach on the topic of on-line counseling. I would hope that our roundtable program on technology and the Internet could focus on this topic during the next Convention.
As you can tell, Commission VII has begun to make itself more visible nationally and has initiated efforts to collaborate with other professional organizations in an attempt to strengthen the viability of our Commission and to continue our commitment to our members. Within ACPA, Commission VII continues to be a strong presence in representing the needs of counseling centers and their professional staff. As we begin and continue our collaborations both within and outside ACPA, it is important that we also continue to explore collaborative relationships with other professional organizations that represent the professional diversity of our Commission's membership. I will soon be asking for your comments about pursuing liaison relationships with the American Counseling Association. Realizing the history between our two organizations, I recognize the delicacy in exploring this venture. I welcome any feedback and counsel that all of you can provide. And as always, I continue to feel proud in my association with our Commission and the strength and vitality of our members.