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ACA blogs, written by counselors, for counselors:
Love is in the Air…and It Has Health Benefits
With Valentine's Day around the corner, counseling professionals may want to consider the health benefits of love and relationships. New studies point to the benefits which range from lower blood pressure to greater longevity. Among the studies reported by The Washington Post is one by Arthur Aron, a social psychologist at Stony Brook University in New York. He found that feelings of love trigger a dopamine high not unlike that experienced by those who win a lot of money. Aron's new study, reported in the 2011 issue of Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, reveals more interesting data using brain scans. A simple act like holding hands has been found to release the hormone oxytocin, which lowers the levels of stress hormones and improves tolerance for pain.
College Freshmen Report Record Lows of Emotional Health
The emotional health of college freshmen has reached the lowest point since 1985 according to the annual survey of first-year college students conducted by the Higher Education Research Institution (HERI) at UCLA. Specifically, the percentage of students reporting good or above-average emotional health dropped to 51.4% in the study that gathers student impressions at the beginning of every fall term.
The findings have college counselors and educators searching for a better understanding of the phenomenon, which they trace to self-imposed anxiety and desire to succeed to worries about how the recession is affecting their family. Concern about the student's ability to meet the financial obligations of attending college or incurring debt to do so may also be playing a part. Of added concern to counselors is a finding that suggests students reporting low levels of emotional health may not be any more likely to seek counseling assistance than those reporting higher levels. Freshmen women were found to report lower emotional health than their male counterparts.
Relevant Research: Test-Taking Has Positive Effect on Retention of Knowledge
Two pieces of research on testing and test-taking, published in the journal Science, have yielded findings of interests to counselors. A Purdue University study reveals that beyond measuring what students know, testing has a positive effect on the "cementing" of knowledge. The findings indicate that test-taking produces better results than repeated study and drawing detailed diagrams to reinforce what is being learned, two popular methods seen by educators as positively influencing retention.
The second study dealt with the anxiety and "choking" that test-taking generates in some students. Researchers at the University of Chicago found those who were allowed to write about their worries and fears for 10 minutes prior to test-taking experienced a reduction in anxiety and a significant rise in test performance. The writing experience, it seems, allows the student to unload pent up anxiety and frees the brain to function better during test taking. Improved scores are the result.
New Statistics Just Out: 120,429 Licensed Counselors in U.S.
The ACA Public Policy Department recently released its annual Mental Health Professions statistical report on the number of professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, and social workers at the highest level of licensure in each state.
The new licensure law in California is still being implemented, but the current count of professional counselors (at this highest level) in the U.S. is 120,429.
On the Air: ACCA President Brian Van Brunt on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360
Dr. Brian Van Brunt, President of the American College Counseling Association (ACCA) and Director of the Center for Counseling and Testing at Western Kentucky University, recently appeared on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 program along with mental health lawyer Charles Arnold to address the Tucson shooting. The segment focused on how counselors and counseling centers must balance serving the mental health needs of individual students while protecting the rights of the larger institution and the community. To view the 5-minute, 45 second clip, click on the link below:
All in the Family: More than 4 in 10 Have a Step Relative
A survey by the Pew Research Center has found just how prevalent step relatives have become in the American family. Attributing the rise in step relatives to the increase in divorce rates and a growing number of out-of-wedlock births, Pew reported the following statistics for American adults:
Counselors Caught in Budget Crunch: Is Minnesota Symptomatic of National Trend?
Minnesota Public Radio reported recently that the counselor positions in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system keep falling while the demand for counseling and mental health services keeps rising. State public higher education data show the number of counselors has dropped from 120 in 2001 to 100 currently and additional cuts may be coming. According to the MPR report, just a few Minnesota institutions are meeting the national and system recommendation of one counselor for every 1,000 to 1,500 student ratio.
Fast Facts: Dramatic Rise in Degree Attainment by Adults 25 and Older
In the span of 70 years (1940-2009), the percentage of Americans 25 years and older who have attained a college degree rose from 5% to 28%. Unfortunately, those five-fold gains have not been experienced by all. The most recent census found the level for degree attainment by African Americans is 17% and for Hispanic Americans, 13%, confirming that a significant achievement gap remains.
National School Counseling Week — February 7 - 11, 2011
ACA recognizes school counselors as they celebrate "National School Counseling Week." School counseling programs are an integral part of the educational process that enables all students to achieve success. Counselors help parents, teachers, and administrators focus on ways to further the educational, personal and social growth of children. School counselors are actively committed to helping prepare each student to succeed in a diverse, changing world by providing counseling support that is responsive to each student's talents, interests, and challenges.
In honor of "National School Counseling Week," the ACA Office of Public Policy and Legislation wants to remind you about the resources for school counselors
Reliable Resource: Army OneSource Adds Training Programs with CEs
Army OneSource has launched the next leg of their Behavioral Health Focus, "Treating the Invisible Wounds of War." Counselors are invited to join other professional caregivers in a series of free training opportunities designed to increase awareness and sharpen skills at working with enlisted service members, veterans, and their families.
The Treating the Invisible Wounds of War course topics now include:
From your browser,
Step 1: Click on New Users tab at the top of the screen.
Be certain to complete all of the required modules in order to receive full credit. Once you complete a course, your CE credit will be recorded, and you will have access to download and print a Certificate of Completion.
Campus Suicide Prevention Grants Available from SAMHSA
Work in suicide prevention? You may be eligible for grant monies from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The agency will make $5.5 million available in awards up to $102,000 a year for up to 3 years to 18 grantees.
Applicants will need to specifically identify in their proposals how they will serve populations identified as high-risk for suicide by the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) youth, American Indian/Alaskan Natives (AI/AN), and military family members, and veterans. FAQs, a grant writing manual, general SAMHSA grant guidelines, and a list of certificates and assurances required for a grant award can all be found on the agency’s grant page. Applications are due by March 4, 2011.
BACK ISSUES OF ACAeNews AVAILABLE ON ACA WEBSITE
Have you ever read a "blurb" on ACAeNews or one of the four special focus editions and wished later you had made note of the link or the name of a report? ACA members can access back issues of all electronic newsletters, including ACAeNews, ACAeNews for Mental Health, Private Practice, and Community Agency Counselors, ACAeNews for School Counselors, ACAeNews for Counselor Educators, and ACAeNews for Counseling Students and New Professionals. Click
Calendar: Branch Conferences Coming in Late Winter/Spring
Branch: North Carolina Counseling Association
Branch: Oklahoma Counseling Association
Branch: Kansas Counseling Association
Branch: Colorado Counseling Association
Branch: American Counseling Association of Missouri
Branch: Maine Counseling Association
Branch: Connecticut Counseling Association
Branch: South Dakota Counseling Association
ACA divisions, branches, and regions are valuable sources of learning and professional development. Information on events will be posted approximately 8-10 weeks prior. This information is made available to ACAeNews via the ACA master calendar and the various organization web sites. Send calendar items to email@example.com. Please provide the sponsor, dates, site, and contact person information. Information posted here is restricted to that sponsored by ACA divisions, branches, regions and related organizations.
ACAeNews is published 24 times annually by the American Counseling Association for the benefit of members across the counseling profession. Any reference to a product, service, activity or listing of a website in ACAeNews does not imply endorsement by ACA. Any views and opinions are those of the sponsoring organization and may or may not be shared by ACA.
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Copyright 2011, American Counseling Association, 5999 Stevenson Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304. Telephone: 703/823-9800. Email: email@example.com. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce anything contained in this newsletter as long as the American Counseling Association is identified as the original source of the information.
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