American Counseling Association 2016 Conference – Breakout Session Recap

The American Counseling Association (ACA), the world’s largest association representing professional counselors in multiple practice settings, held its annual conference from March 31-April 3 in Montreal, Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Counseling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA).

More than 2,500 professional counselors, graduate students, and others attended this year’s conference. The conference offered attendees hundreds of sessions and poster presentations to choose from in more than 30 topics related to all aspects of the counseling field.

Read our recap of the sessions we attended while in Montreal. 

Breakout Session: Counseling Men on Health Related Concerns

Ed Neukrug, EdD, LPC
Bruce Britton, MD
Mike Kalkbrenner, MS, NCC
Sandy Griffith, MA, NCC

Dr. Ed Neukrug and Dr. Bruce Britton led a session looking at the reasons why men attend counseling and seek health care services at significantly lower rates than women. Due to this, men die five years younger than women, with their early demise being attributable to stress, mental health concerns, and disease. Dr. Neukrug and Dr. Britton looked at 10 common health-related concerns of men, their counseling concerns, and how to attract more men to counseling. In addition, the team presented strategies for cross-collaboration between medical and mental health providers to increase care for men.

“50% of men that just had a heart attack will have depression afterwards.” Dr. Britton #ACAMontreal2016

— Counseling@NU (@CounselingatNU) April 1, 2016

“Men are less likely to seek counseling and medical services. They’re more likely to drop out early and ignore advice from medical professionals.” – Dr. Ed Neukrug

“Fifty percent of men that just had a heart attack will have depression afterwards.” – Dr. Bruce Britton

Developing hope and meaning (such as through stress reduction) can increase longevity for most cancers/dire situations #ACAMontreal2016

— Counseling@NU (@CounselingatNU) April 1, 2016

Breakout Session: Becoming a Professional Counselor

Jamie Bludworth, PhD
Gerald Corey, EdD

Colleagues, friends, and counselors Dr. Gerald Corey and Dr. Jamie Bludworth discussed a variety of topics related to becoming a professional counselor with graduate students and new professionals. Discussions centered on creating a meaningful professional life, managing your personal values, and common concerns of beginning counselors; managing personal and professional boundaries; and the importance of self-care.

“Don’t let your professors/trainers remove who you are from your counseling style.” Dr. Jamie Bludworth #ACAMontreal2016

— Wesley Jackson Wade (@wes_wade) April 2, 2016

“Self-care” the word itself implies that we are responsible for it. Don’t expect others to help you with it (ie employers) #ACAMontreal2016

— Counseling@NU (@CounselingatNU) April 2, 2016

Breakout Session: Emotional Behavior and the Therapeutic Alliance

Paul R. Peluso
Robert R. Freund
Ashley J. Luedke
Patricia M. Diaz

The therapeutic relationship is the cornerstone of any effective therapeutic encounter. However, little is known about the effects of specific emotional behaviors of therapists and clients on this important therapeutic factor, or how they can be modified to improve the quality of the relationship. Fifty percent of people who seek counseling never return after the first session — because clients aren’t able to connect with their counselor on a basic human level. Applying John Gottman’s Specific Affect (SPAFF) coding system to the therapeutic relationship, the speakers looked at whether or not they could evaluate the success of a therapeutic alliance based on emotional cues to improve the therapeutic relationship.

#ACAMontreal2016 exciting to see an emerging science starting to make predictions about the quality and development of therapeutic alliance

— James Reddin (@JamesReddin) April 2, 2016

12% of the relationship that you build with clients is crucial to successful outcomes #ACAMontreal2016

— Counseling@NU (@CounselingatNU) April 2, 2016