As the youngest of 10 children, I learned the importance of being a member of a team very early on in life. Whether it was getting a seat at the kitchen table for dinner or getting a point across, it always helped to have an ally. The importance of partnership and community has been reinforced throughout my life, my counseling career, and in my role as the former Connecticut Counseling Association Executive Director; it is a key reason that the CCA was honored during the American Counseling Association Annual Conference in San Francisco last month.
I was reminded of Margaret Mead’s quote: “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” as I listened to Don Locke, ACA President as he honored CCA for its collaborative effort with ACA in organizing Counselors Remembering 9-11: A Shared Journey, a workshop developed in anticipation of the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks which intimately impacted counselors in the tri-state area. He noted that the innovative collaboration between CCA and ACA allowed counselors to take a lead role in educating our peers and the community about anniversary grief reactions, traumatic grief and the importance of commemoration for healing.
There were several partnerships that developed as the result of the workshop planning. Karla Troesser, CCA Acting President and myself had the great fortune of meeting and foster a relationship with Mary Fetchet, founder of VOICES of September 11, a foundation she created following the loss of her son Brad in the World Trade Center collapse. She taught us the importance of commemoration of lost loved ones as well as being a role model of courage, presence and strength.
Everyone in attendance benefited from the teaching of Barry Mascari, Ed.D and Jane M. Webber, Ph.D, who focused on compassion fatigue, vicarious traumatization, unresolved grief, and the process of moving forward. Skills for psychological recovery, using new strategies for trauma treatment and completing the trauma narrative were practiced. We were thrilled to have them seated with us during the presentation.
We also partnered with the media resulting in local newspaper and television coverage featuring CCA leaders. This coverage resulted in counselors taking the lead as mental health experts in addressing the needs of all affected thereby bring awareness of the role of professional counselors in the mental health field.
The partnership between CCA and ACA in presenting this workshop was key to it’s success. ACA provided much needed marketing support; material support and emotional support.. This type of niche partnering and promotion is a model that could easily be replicated by other branches to support specialized training.
I am grateful to Karla Troesser, CCA Acting President for acting as the co-planner of this workshop.
Deb Del Vecchio-Scully is a counselor and writer who focuses on healing the mind, body and spirit. She specializes in PTSD, Chronic pain and mood disorders. For more information: www.anschealthandwellness.com