10 surviving 12 inside 18 aacc intensive courses
Winter Newsletter | Vol. 1 Issue 1 | 2013
2 | Department of Counseling and Family Studies
Surviving a Graduate Intensive
The Column: Multicultural Issues with Dr. Moitinho Self Care with Dr. Sosin Spiritual Integration with Dr. Garzon Ethical Issues by Dr. Daniel
Professional Development AACC Conference
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MORE SPECIFICALLY, WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO LIBERTY’S PROGRAM? When considering grad school, I was looking for a Christian environment. I went to a state school for my undergraduate degree and did not share the values of many of my professors and classmates. I was honestly tired of hearing my professors cuss in class! I started looking at seminaries first, but ultimately chose Liberty’s program so that I could study to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). My grandfather was a supporter of Liberty University and Jerry Falwell, Sr., so I had heard him talk about the school a lot. WHAT HAS YOUR INTERNSHIP BEEN LIKE? WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THE FUTURE? I hope to work with both families and couples as a LMFT. In my internship, I have met with individuals, couples, and families; I really enjoy the atmosphere of working with spouses together and with parents and their children. I recently had the opportunity to be trained in the Prepare/Enrich Model, an online inventory that helps couples identify areas of strength and growth.
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I am excited to begin to use this tool, and its associated therapeutic interventions, to help couples examine and strengthen their relationship. I’m not sure yet whether I will work in a church setting, in private practice, community mental health or some combination therein! WHAT IS THE BIGGEST THING YOU HAVE LEARNED FROM LIBERTY’S PROGRAM THUS FAR? I’ve learned how important it is to take care of myself. I can easily stress out over little things and put too much pressure on myself, but I’m learning to balance my life and not find my identity solely in my schoolwork. Through grad school, I’ve also developed the habit of processing my thoughts and feelings by journaling out prayers to God. Sometimes it is a huge weight lifted just to “get it out” and talk to God about it as I write. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR INCOMING STUDENTS? In grad school, many students make it their goal to get a 4.0 and graduate with all A’s. However, I encourage you to focus on something more — developing yourself as a person — academically, yes, but also emotionally, spiritually, and relationally. Learn how to take care of yourself now and become the healthiest person you can be. It may be seeing a counselor in the Student Care Office, finding a mentor in your local church, talking to a trusted friend, or just processing your thoughts on paper. Grad school is hard work. There will be times when you are so stressed out and can’t imagine how you will get everything done. Just take it one day at a time. Work out a schedule for each class so you can get your work done on time. Don’t do it alone — get to know your classmates — because you’ll need support and accountability for this journey.
And don’t give up when it gets hard! As I’m in my internship now and actually meeting with clients, I can tell you, it will be worth it!
Don’t give up when it get’s hard! I’m in my internship now and actually meeting with clients, and I can tell you, it will be worth it!
WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE COUNSELING? One reason I chose counseling as my career is because of how important my family is to me. My parents really helped me through middle school and high school. My mom especially was there for me, giving me someone to talk to and help me grow spiritually. Over the years, I watched extended family and friends struggle a lot in their marriage relationships. As a result, I developed an interest in working with couples and families. Divorce affects Christian and nonChristian couples alike, and I want to help families by providing a safe place to explore challenges, work through conflict, strengthen communication, and cultivate honesty instead of secrets.
WHAT HAS HELPED YOU STAY BALANCED? WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN? One way that I try to stay balanced is by running and exercising regularly. This helps me manage my stress and maintain a positive attitude. Though I’m not able to run as much as I would like because of work and school, I try to make exercise a priority and also sign up for races in my area when I can. I have to add here that I did get married while in grad school. If you are in the same spot, take heart! It can be done! My husband Blake and I adjust our schedules to prioritize time for each other while not overcommitting ourselves. We also go out with our Sunday school class sometimes, and I really enjoy getting to spend time with other couples. In what little free time we have, Blake and I have been to several NASCAR races at the Martinsville Speedway. This is a fun way for us to connect and do something non-school related. We both have favorite drivers, so it can get pretty competitive!
Kristen Edmondson M.A., Marriage and Family Therapy (2013)
Through grad school, I’ve also developed the habit of processing my thoughts and feelings by journaling out prayers to God.
Kristen Edmondson Winter Newsletter | 5
66| Department | DepartmentofofCounseling Counselingand andFamily FamilyStudies Studies
Dr. Hinson I visited a much different Liberty University than what you see when you drive through campus today. My wife and I, then parents of teenage sons, were very anxious about this transition in our lives, but knew that it was a change that God was directing. It was the assurance of His will that kept us moving forward. When we first moved to Lynchburg, all four of us lived in our camper for a month. Let me tell you, our journey was filled with excitement and new adventures! The Cinemark Movies 10, where we could see a movie for a dollar, was a wonderful blessing as well. What influenced us most in coming to Liberty was none other than the Holy Spirit. The counseling program and department were much smaller when I was student, but the professors were a loving group of men and women who really desired to invest in students’ lives, much like what you see today. God blessed me with a GSA position during my first semester, and my main role was to assist the department chair.
Our counseling program continues to grow, change, and develop as we equip students to offer professional counseling in a variety of settings. Liberty now offers both a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy licensure track within our master’s program. For those who desire to serve others apart from licensure, we offer a degree in human services with seven different specializations, including business, communication studies, and health & wellness. Our LPC, LMFT, and human services degrees are available both online and residentially to fit each student’s unique life situation and career goals. For clinicians who desire to develop their skills to the highest level, we provide doctoral training through a Ph.D. in Counseling with two specializations. As we move forward, I think it’s important to remember where we have come from and to express our gratitude to those who have worked so hard to establish the Center for Counseling and Family Studies as we know it today. As founders of this program, Dr. Ron Hawkins and Dr. Ed Hindson have invested years of prayer, energy, and planning to make success a reality. In addition, many excellent professors have contributed to the program and the lives of countless students — mine included. I am so thankful to the professors I had and how they each enriched my life. It is my prayer that your time here with
us in the counseling department will be a season of encouragement, enrichment, and spiritual growth. In the coming years, I look forward to getting to know our students even more, and investing in their lives for the kingdom of heaven. It is my desire to celebrate with each of you in your accomplishments both throughout and beyond your time here as a student. May we always strive to make this a program that values integrity, excellence, research, and the integration of our faith in order to train up competent Christian counselors.
influenced “ What us most in coming to Liberty was none other than the Holy Spirit.
In 1994, I moved my family to Lynchburg, Virginia to attend Liberty University and pursue my master’s degree in professional counseling. Much research and prayer fueled this decision, as I had pastored a church for many years. I was open to attend any university that offered an opportunity for licensure along with a integrative and sound, Christian approach to counseling. This mix was not easy to find, as you may well know. The morning after I resigned from my church, my wife and I packed our bags to visit Liberty University.
Victor Hinson, Ph.D., serves as the professor of counseling in the Center for Counseling and Family Studies at Liberty University. He has over 16 years of experience as the senior pastor of churches, mentoring individuals, teaching groups, and facilitating small group therapy in churches and the community. His research interests include clinical mental health counseling, group counseling, marriage and family therapy, and adult children of alcoholics.
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The Experience: Past, Present, and Future
8 | Department of Counseling and Family Studies 8 | Department of Counseling and Family Studies
CURRENT OCCUPATION Professional christian counselor for Light Counseling, Inc. in Lynchburg, Va. and a private practice in Greensboro, N.C.
I have taught both middle school and high school, and served as an athletic coach, a musician, and a pastor. I even experienced unemployment for a while. It’s been quite a journey of faith!
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO? First of all, I love what I do! Oftentimes when you’re in the throes of grad school, it’s easy to wonder if it will be worth it. From the other side, let me tell you … it is! Currently, I am a Christian counselor for Light Counseling, Inc. in Lynchburg, Va. In addition to working in private practice, I teach as an adjunct professor for Mt. Olive College in North Carolina and for Liberty University Online. I also work parttime for the AACC in the professional development department. Prior to coming to Lynchburg, I was a Christian counselor near Ft. Bragg, N.C. assisting our military personnel and their families. I also served as a counselor in a church setting, an ordained minister, and a Licensed Professional Counselor.
While pastoring, I began to develop a passion for “practical theology” as a more viable way to help searching and hurting people. Noticing that people felt very at ease with me and would seek me out for advice, my wife encouraged me to focus my ministry on the counseling arena. I began to meet with premarital couples in my church…and found counseling very rewarding.
WHAT SURPRISED YOU ONCE YOU STARTED WORKING IN THE FIELD? After pouring over countless counseling textbooks in school, I was surprised at how many of my clients have had negative experiences in past counseling sessions and received little help. Through this, I’ve realized that people can usually tell if a counselor genuinely cares and is passionate about what they do, or just views their session as another appointment on the schedule. If you don’t believe in counseling, don’t expect your clients to buy into it. I was also surprised by the long process (including forms, wait times, etc.) that is involved in being accepted onto insurance panels. Patience and trust in the Lord is needed throughout the process! HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR NICHE IN TERMS OF THE CLIENTS YOU WORK WITH NOW? I have to admit, I am a late bloomer. Can anyone else relate? I have had a lot of vocational experience in multiple careers, including insurance underwriting, customer service and sales, and retail management.
I was in my 40s when I decided to complete Liberty’s M.A. in Professional Counseling program. Because I was working full time and we were raising a family of five children, Liberty’s online degree program gave me the flexibility and freedom to take my time. I crept my way through the program, taking one class at a time, but I got it done. If you are trying to balance working, raising a family, and going to school, don’t get discouraged…it’s definitely possible. Just pace yourself and celebrate each assignment and class you complete. When I started meeting with clients, I found that because of my diverse vocational experiences, I was able to relate to just about anyone. What a blessing! As an LPC and a “generalist,” I have seen several specialties emerge over the years. I counsel many couples, individuals with anxiety, depression, and addictions (especially pornography), military personnel, and sexual abuse victims. I have counseled both adults and adolescents, and really enjoy the variety that comes with being an LPC. WHAT WAS THE PROCESS LIKE FOR YOU BETWEEN GRADUATION AND LICENSURE? To be honest, it was a stressful process. I was working full time in ministry, so carving out time for counseling hours was not easy. Also, in North Carolina, I only had two years to complete my needed hours. However, my residency proved to be a huge opportunity to trust God and just stay the course one counseling hour at a time.
Philippians 4:6 really came alive for me: “Do not be anxious about anything [even counseling licensure!], but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God…” With about seven weeks to spare, I completed every single one of my 3,000 hours of supervised professional practice, and submitted my paperwork to the state board. Thanks be to God! WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR RECENT GRADUATES? The first thing I would recommend is to secure professional supervision and start job hunting as soon as possible — even before you sign up for your internship. Network with other professionals in your area and contact your state’s licensing board to get a list of potential supervisors. Also, it’s critical to work within your passion; otherwise, you are at high risk for burnout. There are many distinctions in counseling, and none of us can be effective in all of them. Try to meet with a variety of clients early on and see what areas/populations you most enjoy working with. Then, get further training in your niche areas. Finally, know what you don’t know; and be willing to keep learning. Counseling is not just a process for the client, it is a process for the counselor as well. Graduate studies provide a good foundation, but I learned that I gained the most through supervision, various continuing education (CE’s) courses, and simply by doing (and messing up sometimes, too!). A new graduate may feel like a “deer in the headlights” when they begin their residency hours, but be patient with yourself, seek out experienced counselors for support, and take advantage of CE classes that are offered in your area.
Dr. Robert B. Shaw M.A., Professional Counseling, Liberty University (2004) D.Min., Formational Counseling, Ashland Theological Seminary (2010) Dually licensed in N.C. (LPCS) and Va. (LPC), and a licensed supervisor
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SURVIVING A GRADUATE What comes to your mind when you hear the word “intensive”? Endless hours of boring lectures? A sore back from sitting too long? All-nighters? Countless cups of coffee? Think again. One Liberty grad shares, looking back,
“My 512 intensive is by far my favorite course in the entire program. I really enjoyed the class interaction and the ability to participate in process groups.” “Tough, but totally worth it,” another student remembers. “I loved meeting my classmates, literally from all around the country, and building new friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime.” An intensive course is just that … intense! However, with preparation, time management, self-care, and the support of family and friends, an intensive can be one of the most fun and rewarding experiences of your graduate program. All Liberty intensive classes are one week in length and are held at our residential campus in Lynchburg, Va.
AT LEAST THREE INTENSIVES ARE REQUIRED FOR THE M.A. IN PROFESSIONAL COUNSELING AND MARRIAGE & FAMILY THERAPY PROGRAMS. SEVERAL OTHERS ARE AVAILABLE AS ELECTIVES COUN 505: Counseling Techniques and the Helping Relationship
COUN 667: Clinical Diagnosis and Treatment Planning
COUN 512: Group Process
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STEPS TO SUCCESS
START YOUR INTENSIVES EARLY AND SPACE THEM OUT Don’t wait until your last semester, or you might run the risk of delayed graduation! And nobody wants that kind of stress on top of grad school itself. Take a look at your Degree Completion Plan (DCP) and schedule your intensives over several semesters. This gives you the opportunity to meet and network with other classmates throughout your program. Also, due to the intensity of the class format, it’s a good idea to avoid taking intensives two weeks in a row.
CLEAR YOUR SCHEDULE AHEAD OF TIME AND ASK OFF FROM WORK Think it through. Before you sign up for an intensive, make sure you are free and available that week. Check with your employer ahead of time and get approval for taking time off, as some jobs have certain “black out” dates where you cannot take off. It’s also a good idea to run the class dates by your spouse and/or family to prevent scheduling conflicts. This way, you can avoid the hassle of trying to switch sections and being wait-listed.
SIGN UP FOR INTENSIVES AS SOON AS REGISTRATION OPENS Because COUN 505, 512, and 667 are required, course sections fill up very quickly. It’s a good idea to mark your calendar for the date that class registration opens. Some students even stay up until midnight the day before in order to make sure they get the classes and dates that best suit their schedule.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW by Laura Captari
SO WHAT’S THE SECRET? LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT A FEW STEPS THAT WILL MAKE YOUR INTENSIVE EXPERIENCE SUCCESSFUL, REWARDING, AND FUN!
RESERVE YOUR FLIGHT AND HOTEL THROUGH BOOKING PORTAL You’re already spending valuable money on tuition and books, so take advantage of the Liberty University Booking Portal. Here, you can book local hotel accommodations as well as any flight or car rental needs — all with Liberty University negotiated rates! If you have problems or questions, please feel free to contact the Liberty University Travel Office via email at travel@liberty. edu or phone at (434) 592-6540. And make sure to double-check your dates before booking (nothing like paying an airline change fee because you were distracted!).
READ YOUR SYLLABUS AND COURSE CHART CAREFULLY There’s no need to lose points on an assignment because you skimmed over the directions and missed something. Download your syllabus and course chart as soon as possible, and set aside time to read it in detail. If you have any questions, email your professor as soon as possible to clear up the confusion, or ask a friend who has already taken the course.
START ON PRE-INTENSIVE WORK AT LEAST A MONTH BEFOREHAND I know it may sound extreme, but there is nothing worse than pulling an all-nighter Sunday night before your first class to get it all done.You will be miserable. So, buy your textbooks as soon as you complete course registration and get started. Keep in mind that graduate intensives require significant preparation, including reading (sometimes multiple textbooks), watching DVDs, completing workbooks, and/or writing papers. Make a plan and pace yourself.
GET TO KNOW YOUR CLASSMATES BEFORE YOU COME Take advantage of technology to start getting to know the people you’ll be sitting in class with for eight hours a day. Grad school isn’t just about learning, it’s also about connecting with others and beginning to build professional relationships. Make sure to post your information on the introductory discussion board, and take time to read and respond to others. You can even connect through social media and make plans ahead of time to grab lunch or dinner as a group.
DONT RUSH — ARRIVE EARLY SO YOU CAN RELAX If possible, try to arrive on Sunday afternoon so you can settle in, grab dinner with classmates, and get rested before your first day of class. Graduate intensives typically run from 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m.–noon. Friday. After class gets out Friday, take some time to relax, grab coffee with friends, and maybe even explore campus a bit before you head home. Do not book a flight that leaves Friday before 3 p.m. (or before 5 p.m. for COUN 505). ARRANGE FOR ANY NECESSARY CHILDCARE Don’t forget about your kids in the midst of planning! Obviously, you won’t be there to meet the bus and cook dinner, so coordinate with your spouse or find a trustworthy babysitter to cover these responsibilities while you’re away. Keep in mind that you will have homework in the evenings, so bringing your children along probably isn’t the best idea. If you do, however, make sure you arrange for childcare while you are in class, as Liberty University does not provide this.
PRACTICE SELF-CARE THROUGHOUT THE WEEK To be honest, some stress is inevitable during an intensive, so how will you cope? Take advantage of all that Liberty has to offer! Liberty University has world-class facilities, where you can lift weights, rock climb, play basketball, soccer, volleyball… and so much more! Maybe you’re feeling adventurous and want to try our year-round ski slope or ice skating rink. If you’re in a more “chill” mood, pick up your favorite Starbucks drink at the Barnes and Noble on campus.
EAT HEALTHY, STAY HYDRATED, AND GET REST Intensives are often physically and emotionally draining, and the last thing you want is to get sick. Go to bed early — you will need your energy for class the next day! Also, avoid caffeinated drinks in the evening that might disrupt your sleep. And about your meals? Try to avoid eating burgers and fries all week. A healthy balanced diet, including fruits, vegetables, protein, and lots of water will improve your mood, attention span, and energy levels.
TAKE TIME TO RECHARGE AFTERWARD When Friday comes and you get ready to head home, remember that you’ve worked hard and deserve a break! So cut yourself some slack. Rather than being overwhelmed by the post-intensive assignments looming ahead, take a few days to recover. Celebrate what you’ve already completed! Take a nap. Watch your favorite TV show. Spend time with your family. After a rejuvenating weekend, make a plan to complete the remaining assignments. Pace yourself, and then take it one step at a time.
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Inside Internships EXCLUSIVE Interview With Sylvia Lantz, LPC Sylvia Lantz, LPC
serves as Coordinator of Centra Psychiatric Program Services at Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital. Currently, six Liberty students (both master’s and Ph.D. level) are interning at this site. Sylvia was gracious enough to share a little about the internship program, and she allowed us to pick her brain about what she looks for in an potential intern. Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital provides comprehensive acute inpatient psychiatric treatment for children, adolescents, adults, and seniors who are in crisis and in need of immediate stabilization. In addition, the on-site Pathways Treatment Center provides both outpatient and residential programs for the treatment of chemical dependency.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT THE INTERNSHIP PROGRAM YOU OFFER TO GRADUATE COUNSELING STUDENTS? Our internship program is intended to expose students to a wide variety of clinical populations. Graduate interns rotate between five different inpatient psychiatric units — child and adolescent, adult, geriatric, dual diagnosis, and chemical dependency. Interns assist the treatment team in assessment, diagnosis, treatment conceptualization, and charting, as well as having the opportunity to conduct individual or family and group sessions under supervision. By the completion of our one-year internship program, students have interacted with individuals with a variety of mental illnesses. This broad exposure often helps interns discover their niche area and what populations they most enjoy working with.
WHAT’S A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR ONE OF YOUR INTERNS? Interns participate in regular treatment team planning meetings with psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors, and nursing/support staff. Here, case notes are reviewed and individualized treatment plans are created for patients based on their diagnoses. Our interns also observe and gain experience in leading and co-leading therapy groups, including psycho-education, grief and loss, addiction, art therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, positive action, and more. As new patients are admitted, interns conduct psychosocial assessments, as well as facilitating individual and family counseling sessions. For each of these diverse therapeutic settings, our interns assist with charting and record-keeping.
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WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR MOST IN INTERNS YOU SELECT? When I interview potential interns, I’m looking for open-mindedness, humility, and the willingness to learn. Throughout their graduate studies, students often gain a lot of “head knowledge,” but not much hands-on experience. Our internship program is designed to bridge that gap. I’d much rather select an intern who asks good questions and is eager to learn, as opposed to someone who thinks he/she is an expert. Also, working in an acute inpatient setting, interns will interact with patients with schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, personality disorder, head trauma, chemical addiction, and co-occuring disorder, to name a few. This is a wonderful learning opportunity — it brings the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to life, but interns need both confidence and compassion to interact and engage with patients who are in many ways very different from them. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR STUDENTS PREPARING FOR THEIR INTERNSHIP? Whatever setting you’re considering for your internship, start the process of researching and contacting the site at least a semester in advance. We only have a limited number of internship spots, and they fill up quickly. This is true for many other agencies as well. I’d also encourage graduate students to take every opportunity to grow personally and professionally. This might mean getting personal counseling, attending trainings outside of your school curriculum, volunteering at a hospital or mental health clinic, and getting to know other professionals in the field. Self-awareness and interpersonal skills are important strengths to build that cannot be learned in class lectures. Learn about the counseling options in your area and begin to network even while you’re still in school.
Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital Lynchburg, va.
EXCLUSIVE Interview With Dorin Captari, M.A. (‘13) Dorin Captari, M.A. (’13) is just finishing up his hours at Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital, where he has been interning since last summer. Dorin gave us the “inside scoop” about how he found his internship and what his experience has been like. HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR INTERNSHIP? I first heard about this internship during Graduate Orientation at Liberty University before even taking my first graduate course. Each of the faculty were introducing themselves, and Dr. Gary Sibcy shared that, in addition to teaching, he was also a psychologist at Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital. Growing up my mom was a nurse, so I had a lot of exposure to hospitals from an early age and was always fascinated by this treatment setting. In that moment, listening to Dr. Sibcy share about his job, I remember thinking, I hope to become an intern at Virginia Baptist Hospital one day. Later on in my program, I talked to Dr. Sibcy in person and began to pursue this dream. WHAT HAVE YOU MOST ENJOYED ABOUT YOUR INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE HERE? HAS ANYTHING SURPRISED YOU? It has been wonderful to interact with so many different populations within one internship setting. Rotating between all five psychiatric units, I’ve worked with patients from early childhood to later life — across the gamut of mental illness. I am very grateful to the staff for giving me the opportunity to try out a wide range of approaches and interventions in individual, group, and family counseling sessions. What has surprised me the most is honestly how much I’ve learned on the job…in real time. Not to say that my educational experience didn’t teach me anything, but when push comes to shove, and I’m sitting across from a client, I’ve gained the confidence to try out new techniques, failing at some and succeeding in others. Under Sylvia’s supervision and feedback, I’ve significantly broadened my skill set. My internship experience has helped me to identify my passion for working with those struggling with chemical dependency, and I hope to pursue a career in this area. an internship can be tough, and many struggle with “ Finding where to start. We’re excited to feature an interview with an
internship site in each issue to give you the “inside scoop” and help you get prepared. - Dorin Captari
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU HAVE LEARNED THROUGH YOUR HANDS-ON COUNSELING EXPERIENCE THUS FAR? When I feel “stuck” in a session and am not sure where to go, I’ve learned that I can always fall back on the basic counseling skills of empathy, active listening, reflecting, and summarizing/paraphrasing. These skills that I first learned in COUN 505 have taken me a long way in both individual and group counseling sessions, and proven very powerful in leading to insight and change. Secondly, I’ve also learned how much I still have to learn! In order to be able to provide the best possible care to my patients, I’ve tried to read up on evidence-based treatments for various disorders throughout my internship. As a future counselor, I know that I will have to keep up to date with the latest research and treatment strategies, too….I can’t just rest on the classes that I took during my graduate career. I guess this field never gets boring! SPEAKING TO FUTURE INTERNS, WHAT DO THEY NEED TO KNOW AHEAD OF TIME? I would advise students to seek out personal counseling throughout graduate school, and especially before starting their internship. Even if you think that you don’t have any current concerns, I believe it is very beneficial to spend some time in the client’s chair and see things from that perspective. My own experience with counseling has enhanced my empathy for clients and I see the courage and tenacity it takes to address challenges, seek out help, and take steps toward change. Also, I’d encourage future interns to pay attention in classes, rather than “coasting” through school. When you get out there and start your internship, you will have to rely on what you have learned in your graduate courses. It’s not just a matter of your grades … it’s really people you will be meeting with who are hurting and searching for answers! It’s such a privilege, but also a tremendous responsibility.
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the Column multicultural Issues || dR. mOITINHO
Cultural Competency Lessons from Dr. Moitinho As you move along in your journey as a counselor in training, you are going to engage in multicultural counseling. Whenever you start a practicum or internship, you will begin to counsel real people who have real problems, and, chances are, many of your clients will have cultures different from yours. As you already know, the U. S. has a diverse population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2012), “the nation is moving toward becoming more racially and ethnically diverse.” As a Christian counselor, you must be culturally competent to counsel an ethnic and culturally diverse client population. In fact, the Association for Multicultural Counseling and
HOW CAN YOU
Development (1996) developed multicultural counseling competencies, which include counselor’s awareness of his or her own cultural values and biases, awareness of the client’s worldview, and the use of culturally appropriate intervention strategies. This means that you need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to understand and assist clients of diverse cultures and worldviews. In addition to the competencies above, as Christian counselors, we are commanded in Scripture to love God and love people (Matthew 22:36-40). Therefore, we must seek to view every client as created in the image of God with intrinsic worth (Genesis 1:26-27) and as someone for whom Christ died (2 Cor. 5:15). Furthermore, we must develop a biblical understanding of relating to people from different ethnic backgrounds (Acts 10:34-35).
MORE ? CULTURALLY COMPETENT
1. Be aware of stereotypes One of the major challenges in multicultural counseling is dealing with stereotypes. Being careful not to overgeneralize information learned about a particular cultural group and attribute it to every client of that group is essential. Thus, you need to be mindful of group variations due to multiple variables such as immigration, family history, acculturation, language, socio-economic status, and education, to name a few.
3. Learn to listen to cultures and contextualize biblical principles Missionaries seeking to share the Gospel in relevant and meaningful ways begin by listening, studying, and seeking to understand particular ethnic and cultural groups. Similarly, you can begin familiarizing yourself with different cultures right now. Consider how unique backgrounds may impact the counseling process. Seek to engage culture in creative ways to introduce biblical principles to your clients.
2. Seek to overcome ethnocentrism The Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines ethnocentric as a person having “the attitude that one’s own group is superior.” You overcome ethnocentrism by not judging other client’s cultures based on the norms and worldview of your own culture. Avoid viewing different norms and behaviors of other cultures as “weird,” “strange,” or worse yet, as “pathological.”
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4. Reflect on the multicultural applications of what you are learning As you go through Liberty’s counseling program, do not limit your knowledge of multicultural counseling to what you learn in COUN 504. Rather, think about how the knowledge or interventions you are learning in each course can be applied to particular cultural groups. Also, reflect on what modifications are needed in a particular technique or intervention for greater effectiveness with specific cultural groups.
Elias Moitinho, Ph.D., LPC-S, LMFT, BCPCC serves as Director of M.A. Licensure Programs in Counseling, Director of Clinical Training, and Associate Professor of Counseling at Liberty University. Dr. Moitinho has many years of pastoral ministry, counseling, and teaching experience. Having served in various roles such as pastor, counselor, seminary professor, and director of a Christian counseling center, he is interested in cross-cultural counseling, focusing specifically on the Hispanic and Latino populations. In addition to his ministry experience in his native country of Brazil, Dr. Moitinho has taught as a guest professor in seminaries in Mexico, Cuba, and Spain.
the Column Dr. sosin || self-care
RESPONSIBLE SELF-STEWARDSHIP Preface from Dr. Sosin In the last 27 years of clinical practice, I have repeatedly heard from counselees that their previous treatment was ineffective and did not contain the essential components necessary for competent practice. These include biopsycho-social-spiritual assessment, case conceptualization and written evaluation, DSM diagnosis, treatment plans, researchbased interventions, and outcome measurements. Such therapy failures are a tragedy because experience and research both indicate that good psychotherapy works (Duncan, Miller, Wampold, & Hubbold, 2009) and has outcomes equal to those found in the practice of medicine (Carr, 2009). “Good therapy, however, is highly contingent on the skill and health of the clinician” (Sperry, 2011).
Lisa S. Sosin, Ph.D., L.P.C., L.L.P. is the Associate Director of Ph.D. Programs in Counseling and Associate Professor at the Liberty University. Dr. Sosin has over 25 years of experience as a clinical psychologist and licensed counselor whose practice includes the assessment and treatment of children, adults, couples, and families. Her other responsibilities include: teaching, supervising, public speaking, and consulting to clinicians in training physicians, educators, organizations, and clergy. Dr. Sosin’s educational passion is to equip Christian counselors to provide empirically based biopsycho-social-spiritual treatment to the glory of God and the good of His creation.
In addition to excellent training, one means of insuring quality care involves wise and responsible “self-stewardship,” a term that I, like Canning (2011), prefer to “self-care.” This column will explore topics related to counselor efficacy and, in particular, how counselors can remain vital and effectual in the field via purposeful self-stewarding practices. Each issue will include an introduction to a topic, a case study, and applications for practice. This edition covers the use of process notes to help counselors recognize and responsibly manage personal reactions that could potentially interfere with successful treatment.
Case Study Stephen awoke with a start only to find himself drenched in sweat. It was that same nightmare: the burning building, encroaching darkness, desperately looking for something; or was it someone? He turned on the light and focused on his wife’s gentle and rhythmic breathing. Reaching his hand out, he lightly touched the side of her face. What was happening to him?
Stephen wiped the sweat from his neck and hands and began to reflect on this recurring phenomenon. He reached for his notebook and started writing. As he processed his thoughts and feelings, it became apparent that these nightmares had consistently occurred on the nights after he had seen Jamie, a young counselee who had been sexually abused by his father. As Stephen continued writing he also realized that in the last two sessions he had avoided helping Jamie experience the thoughts and feelings related to his abuse because it had been too painful for him to endure. He knew that in order for the trauma treatment to be effective, he needed to be ready to help Jamie not only tell, but experience, his thoughts and feelings related to the abuse (Foa, Hembree, & Rothbaum, 2007). As a result of these insights, Stephen made a decision to initiate personal counseling and discuss these issues with a supervisor as soon as possible.
Applications for Ethical and Effective Practice Like our counselees, we too have been impacted by the ravages of the Fall of Man and bear the scars of the Fall’s biopsycho-social-spiritual devastation. We have had trauma and suffering that is stored as neurobiological galaxies with the potential to be triggered in situations that elicit the carefully tucked away affective and cognitive experiences they represent (Allen, 2001, Siegel, 2012). Keeping process notes is one way to responsibly steward ourselves and help ensure optimal functioning in this all-toohuman field of counseling. It is my hope and prayer that you remain cognizant of your internal world as you work with the people God brings your way. You will soon find that it makes a significant difference in your health and the health of your counselees. Winter Newsletter | 15
the column Spiritual Integration || Dr. Garzon
When is it appropriate to discuss spiritual topics? Students often ask this question as they move toward their internship. The good news is there’s a lot you can do to explore spiritual coping and faith resources with interested clients, while staying within professional ethical guidelines and internship site rules. First, let’s take a look at concerns some internship sites have when it comes to talking about faith and why it is important not to come across as solely proselytizing. Next, we’ll consider professional ethical aspects, and finally, we’ll examine practical questions you can ask that often reveal whether the client has faith resources. Some secular internship sites are concerned about whether an intern might proselytize in therapy. You would be, too, if you were in their shoes. For example, how would you feel about a Buddhist therapist who works with Christian clients and tries to convert them to Buddhism? How about a New Age therapist seeking to convert a Christian client? Rather than being anti-Christian, secular sites worry about opening “Pandora’s box” of religion with vulnerable and impressionable clients. While this can leave the impression that clinicians should never address religion in therapy, the ethical codes for licensed professional counselors, licensed marriage and family therapists, and clinical psychologists bring balance to the situation (See, for example, 2005 American Counseling Association ethics codes B.1, C.5, E.6.c, E.8, and F.2.b.). All of these professional codes discuss the importance of cultural sensitivity, with religion being included as an aspect of such sensitivity. Thus, assessing and incorporating faith as an aspect of treatment when it is already a part of a client’s culture is very ethical. The ethical concern about therapists imposing values must be balanced with cultural sensitivity towards clients when faith is one of their coping resources. So, what sorts of questions can you ask to help clients explore faith resources that may be a part of their life? First, if your site will allow a direct question, asking “Are spiritual or religious resources important in how you handle life’s stressors?” can start the spiritual assessment process.
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how find COMFORT? what GIVES PURPOSE? do you
IN TIMES OF STRESS
art? your life? movies?
who Arole model do you consider
for how to live
how easy is it for you to
forgive yourself and others
for past hurts?
Chances are, if you ask the above questions and faith is an important part of your client’s life, the topic of spirituality will emerge without a direct question. Thus, when internship sites are cautious about bringing up religion in counseling, the skilled therapist can still ask indirect questions to reveal these aspects of a client’s life. Such conversations can help instill hope and strengthen a client’s support system.
Fernando Garzon, Psy.D. has vast experience, including: practicing as a clinical psychologist, directing the provider services department of a managed care insurance company, being an associate pastor for a Latino church, and doing pastoral care ministry. His research interests focus on investigating Christian interventions in counseling and evaluating counselor education practices in spirituality.
the Column Dr. Daniels || Ethical Issues
Emotional Health: How Am I Doing (inside)? My friend was a successful marriage therapist in a large metropolitan area, who always had a waiting list of people in crisis, hoping for an opening in his busy schedule. He was outgoing, kind, and had the gift of always making every person he met feel like they were good enough. He was married with two teenage daughters and served as an elder in a large church, providing spiritual direction to the church and its members. He was all of these things before he hung himself. I bring up this true story because, looking back, I see, as do many of the people who loved him, that my friend took care of everybody else except for himself. Ultimately, not taking care of himself was one of the biggest factors that led to his death. Self-care is an important ethical issue in the helping professions, and an area that is critical to begin developing even while you are still in school. Self-care has become such a pertinent topic that the American Counseling Association (ACA) recently appointed a special task force on counselor wellness and impairment to make recommendations on how counselors can promote their own emotional and mental health. The ACA has also included it in their code of ethics: Counselors are alert to the signs of impairment from their own physical, mental, or emotional problems and refrain from offering or providing professional services when such impairment is likely to harm a client or others (C.2.g). Referring to students working in practicum or internship settings, the ACA is equally clear:
Denise Daniel, Ph.D. is an associate professor in Liberty University’s Center for Counseling & Family Studies. She is involved in classroom instruction, course development, and student advisement. Her research interests include online support groups, online therapy, women’s issues and development.
Counselors-in-training refrain from offering or providing counseling services when their physical, mental, or emotional problems are likely to harm a client or others. They are alert to the signs of impairment, seek assistance for problems, and notify their program supervisors when they are aware that they are unable to effectively provide services. In addition, they seek appropriate professional services for themselves to remediate the problems that are interfering with their ability to provide services to others (F.8.b).
The American Counseling Association is asking that we “practice what we preach” because impaired counselors can harm both themselves and others. Elizabeth Venart, a counselor who served on the task force, points out, “Being emotionally attuned and available to clients increases our vulnerability in the work…And, yet, we cannot be effective in our work if we are not emotionally attuned and available. Within the counseling relationship and within the moment-by-moment interplay of each session, this is the ultimate balancing act…” Venart continues, “It is important for counselors to understand that there are risk factors inherent in the work and that noticing signs of stress or distress is a sign of health, not impairment. None of us is immune to the effects of the work” (Shallcross, 2011). Even more importantly, as Christian counselors, we must be willing to live within our limits. I sometimes have to remind myself that there is a God…and I am not Him! I have to remember that I do not have infinite resources that allow me to be everything to everybody. As much as I wish it were not the case, I am limited. I am human. I am not all-knowing or all-powerful. In fact, the reverse was, and is, part of Satan’s lie: “…I will make myself like the most high!” (Isaiah 14: 14). As Christians and as counselors, our attitude needs to be that of humility. We can either choose to accept the limits that God has given us, or run ourselves into the ground. Even now—as a counselor in training—I encourage you to periodically step back from your busy life and ask an honest question: “How am I doing…. inside?” Take time to evaluate your heart and mind…your relationships and emotions. Whenever the answer to that question is, “Not so good,” it is our Christian responsibility to humble ourselves and seek out the resources for our own healing and growth, which may include personal counseling, Christian community, setting boundaries, and more. Jesus invites us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened…and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28). So, how are you doing…inside?
Winter Newsletter | 17
AACC “Our Time is Now”
world conference A Special Message from Dr. Ron Hawkins, vice president for Academic Affairs & vice provost. Liberty University Learn what took place at the 2013 AACC “Our Time is Now” World Conference at the beautiful Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. Known as the world’s premier Christian counseling event, a sellout crowd of nearly 7,000 counselors and pastors represented all 50 states and 50 countries.
~ Plenary Speakers ~ Dr. James Dobson Max Lucado Ravi Zacharias John Eldredge Eric Metaxas Rick Rigsby
Congressman Randy Forbes (R-VA) Margaret Feinberg David Jeremiah Gabe Lyons Tullian Tchividjian Mark Driscoll
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~ Tim clinton ~ I can’t think of a more personally and professionally enriching event for you to attend as a graduate counseling student. Liberty University was a proud platinum sponsor of this year’s conference. We also had a large booth and display in the grand exhibition hall. Nearly all of our administration and faculty from the Center for Counseling & Family Studies were on-site at the Opryland. Many students had plenty of opportunities to meet and interact with Liberty faculty, staff and fellow students.
Tim Clinton is the president of the nearly 50,000 member American Association of Christian Counselors and executive director of the Liberty University Center for Counseling & Family Studies.
Faculty Presenters Gary Sibcy, Ph.D. Matt Staver, J.D. Edward John Kuhnley, M.D. Fernando Garzon, Psy.D. Elias Moitinho, PhD. David Jenkins, Psy.D. Victor Hinson, Ph.D. Ron Hawkins, Ed.D., D. Min. Eric Scalise, Ph.D. Ken Nichols, Psy.D. Amy Feigel, M.A. Laurel Shaler, Ph.D. Joshua Straub, Ph.D. Bob Shaw, D.Min.
“This was one of the most energizing, inspirational, and significant events in Christianity today.” - Tim Clinton 19 | Department of Counseling and Family Studies
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