This interview is the fourth 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 Liliana Sznaidman, a professional counselor in North Carolina. Ms. Sznaidman is the second practitioner to be interviewed for this annual series. Ms. Sznaidman is a licensed professional counselor and licensed professional counselor supervisor with over 20 years of clinical experience. She is currently the principal owner of a private practice where she provides counseling, clinical supervision, and consultation services. Joshua Smith and Dr. Neal Gray graciously accepted the assignment to interview Ms. Sznaidman. What follows are Ms. Sznaidman’s reflections on her counseling career and its impact on her clients. —J. Scott Hinkle, Editor
Explanations of compassion fatigue generally consider the client–counselor relationship as the primary source of challenges to wellness. Because of the nature of the current sociopolitical climate and the increased exposure through media, the counseling profession should consider expanding the influences on compassion fatigue related to current events. This article introduces the concept of global compassion fatigue (GCF), a phenomenon that provides an opportunity for counselor self-awareness. Implications for adopting GCF into the counselor impairment literature include understanding how global events impact counselor development and clinical practice as well as the importance of maintaining a wellness lifestyle to protect against its effects. Counselors’ involvement in advocacy and social justice are also explored as contributors to GCF.
Scholars have described compassion fatigue as the result of chronic exposure to clients’ suffering and traumatic stories. Counselors can struggle when they experience compassion fatigue because of various reasons. As such, an exploration of factors predictive of compassion fatigue may help counselors and supervisors buffer adverse effects. Utilizing a hierarchical linear regression analysis, we examined the association between wellness, resilience, supervisory working alliance, empathy, and compassion fatigue among 86 counselors-in-training (CITs). The research findings revealed that resilience and wellness were significant predictors of compassion fatigue among CITs, whereas empathy and supervisory working alliance were not. Based on our findings, counselor educators might consider enhancing their current training programs by including discussion topics about wellness and resilience, while supervisors consider practicing wellness and resilience strategies in supervision and developing interventions designed to prevent compassion fatigue.
Conceptualizing doctoral training programs as research training environments (RTEs) allows for the exploration of theory to help counselor educators facilitate doctoral students’ development from practitioners toward counseling researchers. Researchers have proposed self-concept theory as a way to understand identity development. In this article, the authors applied self-concept theory to understand how researcher identity may develop in a counseling RTE. Organizational theory also is described, as it provides insight for how doctoral students are socialized to the profession. Suggestions are made for how counselor education programs can utilize self-concept theory and organizational theory to create positive RTEs designed to facilitate researcher development.
This interpretative phenomenological analysis explored licensed professional counselors’ experiences of turning away Medicare beneficiaries because of the current Medicare mental health policy. Researchers used semi-structured interviews to explore the client-level barriers created by federal legislation that determines professional counselors as Medicare-ineligible providers. An in-depth presentation of one superordinate theme, ineffectual policy, along with the emergent themes confounding regulations, programmatic inconsistencies, and impediment to care, illustrates the proximal barriers Medicare beneficiaries experience when actively seeking out licensed professional counselors for mental health care. Licensed professional counselors’ experiences indicate that current Medicare provider regulations interfere with mental health care accessibility and availability for Medicare-insured populations. Implications for advocacy are discussed.
The global burden of disease related to mental health is astronomical and growing, with underprivileged countries being disproportionately affected. The Mental Health Facilitator (MHF) program was designed by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) to address the need for greater mental health support within international communities lacking adequate mental health practitioners to provide services. The MHF program trains individuals within communities to provide support and necessary referrals for those struggling with mental health challenges. This study assesses the effectiveness of MHF trainings conducted in a diverse subset of countries and communities. Initial findings from the analyses found significant gains in participants’ knowledge of mental health and mental health facilitation skills across training populations.
The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the relationship between vicarious trauma (VT) symptoms and subthreshold post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms among practicing counselors. The researchers determined the frequency of VT symptoms and subthreshold PTSD symptoms experienced among practicing counselors and common contributing factors that participants felt contributed to the development of VT symptoms. Implications are presented for counselor educators to determine how they best can prepare students.
Based on archival data from an urban school district, this retrospective correlational study examined the extent to which certain types of student–school counselor contacts, based on a student-report high school exit survey, could predict high school students’ postsecondary enrollment in 2- and 4-year colleges within 5 years of graduating from high school. In addition to these variables, information such as ethnicity, grade point average, and free and reduced lunch status were used to identify other trends in the data. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that counselor contact regarding college planning and attendance and demographic information regarding free and reduced lunch status were significant predictors of postsecondary enrollment. Counselor contact regarding goal setting, concerns about grades, and needing more college information did not significantly predict postsecondary college enrollment. Findings suggest some school counselor duties can serve as sources of social capital, which can help increase student social capital.
The purpose of this paper is to explain how humanistic learning theory is applicable to current counselor education practices. A review of humanistic learning theory and the rationale for the application of the learning theory to counselor education provide a framework for application of these concepts to counselor education classrooms. Specifically, a person-centered framework is applied to the seeming incompatibility of external accreditation standards and humanistic learning theory. I propose suggestions for implementing humanistic, person-centered learning theory within counselor education programs and courses, focusing special attention on the attitudes and values of the counselor educator as these principles are applied.
In recent decades, professional counselors have increasingly focused on neuroscience to inform their case conceptualization and treatment planning with clients. With the additional lens of neuroscience, both the counselor and client can gain new understandings of the client’s issues and improve the quality of the therapeutic relationship. The benefits of integrating neuroscience into the profession of counseling (i.e., neuroscience-informed counseling) are being documented in the scholarly literature; however, information on integrating neuroscience-informed counseling into the counselor education curriculum is sparse. This article describes one teaching approach for a neuroscience-informed counseling course. The structure of the course, methods for effective instruction, and ethical and cultural considerations are discussed.
The following study assessed the utility of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services’ definition of mental health among participants in the rural Southeastern United States. Using deductive coding, qualitative results revealed that participants do not conceptualize mental health in comprehensive terms. Rather, they tend to describe mental health with a focus on cognition. The sample articulated “well-being” to describe mental health; however, they most often connected it to cognition. The findings suggest that rural communities could benefit from mental health education with a holistic approach and that the use of the term well-being provides a pathway for clinical connections. Future research should consider interviewing rural participants to gather more detail on their definitions and understanding of mental health.
This study examined whether attitudes based on labels and counselor demographics predicted empathy and rape myth acceptance in counselors. A difference in attitudes based on the labels of either “prostitute” or “sex trafficking” was found. Attitudes based on labels and counselor demographics additionally predicted scores of empathy and rape myth acceptance. The importance of obtaining training on human sex trafficking was identified. The implications of these findings are discussed within the areas of counseling, counselor education, and counselor supervision, including challenging stigmatizing beliefs about individuals who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation, incorporating discussions about human sex trafficking into counselor education courses, and learning about resources and trauma-informed techniques that empower trafficked clients and support counseling supervisees.