ACAeNews | Volume XIII | Number 2

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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.

The Washington Post Story...

College Freshmen Report Record Lows of Emotional Health

CensusThe 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.

Chronicle of Higher Education Story...

Relevant Research: Test-Taking Has Positive Effect on Retention of Knowledge

Test-Taking Has Positive Effect on Retention of KnowledgeTwo 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.

Purdue University Press Release...

University of Chicago Research News...

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.

Mental Health Professions Report...

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:

ACCA Website Link to CNN Segment...

All in the Family: More than 4 in 10 Have a Step Relative

All in the FamilyA 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:

  • At least one step relative - 42%
  • A step or half sibling - 30%
  • A living step parent - 18%
  • A step child – 13%

Pew Portrait of Step Families...

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.

MPR News Story...

Fast Facts: Dramatic Rise in Degree Attainment by Adults 25 and Older

Dramatic Rise in Degree Attainment by Adults 25 and OlderIn 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.

Census Bureau Map of Degree Holders...

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 on our webpage.

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:

  • Part 1 - Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
  • Part 2 – Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Part 3 – Issues of Women Returning from Combat

From your browser, click here and follow these directions:

Step 1: Click on New Users tab at the top of the screen.
Step 2: Create a personal user account following the instructions on the screen. In order to activate the course for an interested individual or group, utilize the course access code denoted below. NOTE: Be sure to enter your Army OneSource referral code of AOSWATRA in the space provided.
Step 3: Login to the system using your new id and password.
Step 4: Click on Courses tab at the top of the screen.
Step 5: Select a course you wish to complete.
Step 6: Click on Register.

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

SAMHSA LogoWork 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.

SAMHSA Grant Eligibility Information and Grant Guidelines...


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 here and search away.

Calendar: Branch Conferences Coming in Late Winter/Spring

Branch: North Carolina Counseling Association
Theme: Professional Counselors - Fit To Serve
Dates: February 16-18, 2011
Location: Embassy Suites, Concord, NC

Branch: Oklahoma Counseling Association
Theme: Mid-Winter Conference
Dates: March 4-5, 2011
Location: National Center for Employee Development, Norman, OK

Branch: Kansas Counseling Association
Theme: Picture Yourself...Attending the 2011 KCA Convention
Dates: March 9-11, 2011
Location: Wichita Marriott Hotel, Wichita, KS

Branch: Colorado Counseling Association
Theme: Community and Collaboration ~ Promoting Personal & Professional Development
Dates: March 11-12, 2011
Location: Doubletree Hotel Denver North, Denver, CO

Branch: American Counseling Association of Missouri
Theme: Annual Education Conference
Dates: April 7-9, 2011
Location: Capitol Plaza Hotel, Jefferson City, MO

Branch: Maine Counseling Association
Dates: April 11-12, 2011
Location: Samoset Resort, Rockport, ME

Branch: Connecticut Counseling Association
Theme: Counseling Connections 2011 ~ Wellness Across the Lifespan
Dates: April 28-30, 2011
Location: Westside Campus of Western Connecticut State University, Danbury, CT

Branch: South Dakota Counseling Association
Theme: 50 Years of Counseling Excellence
Dates: April 28-30, 2011
Location: Sioux Falls Conference Center, Sioux Falls, SD

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 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.

About ACAeNews

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.

Direct comments, questions, and submissions to All submissions will be subject to review by ACA for accuracy, timeliness and relevance to the readership and may be edited to meet space parameters.

Marcheta P. Evans, Ph.D., President

Richard Yep, CAE, Executive Director

Debra Bass, Director of Marketing and Communications

Frank Burtnett, NCC, NCCC, ACAeNews Editor

Don Kenneally, Internet Development / Production

ACA Web site:

Copyright 2011, American Counseling Association, 5999 Stevenson Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304. Telephone: 703/823-9800. Email: 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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