This interview is the second in the Lifetime Achievement in Counseling Series at TPC that presents an annual interview with a seminal figure who has attained outstanding achievement in counseling over a career. I am honored to present the interview of Amy King, a school counselor in Mississippi and the first practitioner to be interviewed for this series. I was fortunate to attend Ms. King’s presentation at a national conference and was inspired by her years of work with children, in school systems, and mentoring graduate students. Her contributions to the counseling profession, from classroom guidance and counseling to advocating for school counselors, are noteworthy, and set the bar for other clinicians. Joshua Smith and Dr. Neal Gray graciously accepted the assignment to interview Ms. King. What follows are Ms. King’s reflections on her school counseling career and its impact on her students over two generations.
—J. Scott Hinkle, Editor
Professional identity development is crucial for counselors-in-training, as it provides a frame of reference for understanding their chosen field and contributes to a sense of belonging within the professional community. This qualitative study examined the impact of mindfulness on professional identity development among counselors-in-training. Participants reported that mindfulness, along with experiential learning and mentoring, served as a facilitator in completing the transformational tasks in the process of professional identity development. The preliminary results from this qualitative study warrant further research to examine and validate the impact of mindfulness on professional identity development among counselors-in-training.
Counselors-in-training may struggle in working with addictions populations for various reasons, including limited training, pre-existing stigma toward the population, and low self-efficacy treating substance use disorders. This is concerning because professional counselors have the highest proportion of clients with a primary substance abuse diagnosis. The authors explored the experiential learning approach of an abstinence project within an addictions course in an attempt to give students a genuine experience that parallels what an individual with an addiction may experience. The authors utilized generic qualitative analysis to explore the experience of 17 counseling students completing the abstinence assignment. The emergent themes of (1) concrete experiences, (2) dealing with cravings, (3) student’s self-reflection of learning, and (4) empathetic understanding and challenging attitudes are presented. Finally, future areas of research and implications for counselor educators are discussed.
Refugees report several mental health challenges associated with pre-, peri-, and post-flight conditions. Some of these challenges include fear, anxiety, hypervigilance, hyperarousal, and nightmares—symptoms that could meet the diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Despite these challenges, some refugees also report psychological growth with nomenclature like post-traumatic growth, resilience, and benefit-finding. This study examined the directional relationship among war-related events, optimism, PTSD, religious commitment, and growth. Prior studies in traumatized samples have demonstrated that PTSD and growth can occur concurrently, while optimism and religiousness may enhance growth. The hypotheses undergirding this study posited that participants in this non-Western population could demonstrate concurrent PTSD and growth, while those with higher levels of optimism and religiousness would exhibit increased levels of growth compared to those with lower levels. For a sample of 444 former refugees, hypotheses were theoretically modeled to identify whether the data fit the model. Inspection of fit indices provided support for the hypothesized model. Implications for professional counselors are included and recommendations for future research are provided.
Latinx first-generation college students (FGCS) are a growing population faced with unique challenges for college retention and graduation. Because their parents did not attend postsecondary education, this group of college students has not inherited the social or cultural capital common to many traditional college freshmen. Both high school and college counselors are in positions to support the psychosocial and emotional needs of Latinx FGCS, which may increase successful college completion rates. This article provides high school and college counselors with (a) an overview of FGCS’ characteristics, (b) information specific to Latinx culture, (c) an understanding of the college experiences of Latinx FGCS, and (d) a discussion of counseling implications for addressing the psychosocial and emotional needs of this population.
The United States has recently seen a significant increase in the number of unaccompanied minors from the Northern Triangle of Central America (i.e., El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala). These children and youth are refugees fleeing extreme poverty and gang violence. This study examined the narratives of 16 refugees from the Northern Triangle who arrived in the United States as unaccompanied minors. In particular, the purpose of this study was to gain awareness of the journey experienced by unaccompanied refugee minors from their countries of origin to the United States. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the participants’ narratives, and three primary themes emerged: (a) reasons for leaving Central America, (b) journey to the United States, and (c) life in the United States. Implications for counselors and areas for future research are discussed.
Athletes represent a unique population with a legitimate need for counseling services; yet, counselors have done little to define and promote sport counseling. This paper represents a call to counselors, educators, and researchers to advocate for a rigorous sport counseling specialization and clarified professional identity. Counselors need to identify required competencies, teaching guidelines, and ethical codes to provide optimal mental health services to athletes and effectively co-exist among other professionals in sport. The current state of mental health services for athletes, the potential for counselors to provide unique contributions to mental health in sport, and actionable steps regarding advocacy and research are discussed.