ACAeNews for Counseling Students and New Professionals  | Volume I | Number 2

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Introductory Note

Welcome to ACAeNews for Counseling Students and New Professionals, one in our series of Special Focus enewsletters. The other three are:

  • ACAeNews for Mental Health, Private Practice and Community Agency Counselors
  • ACAeNews for School Counselors
  • ACAeNews for Counselor Educators

This electronic newsletter is a free service for ACA members. To ensure that all members are aware of this series, we have distributed the first two issues of each enewsletter to all members for whom we have an email address. If you wish to become a regular recipient of ACAeNews for Counseling Students and New Professionals, please opt-in. If you do not wish to receive this electronic newsletter, no action is required on your part. All ACA members will continue to receive the regular biweekly ACAeNews.

We hope you find this new benefit useful and we welcome your feedback. Please email the editor at

Richard Yep, CAE
Executive Director
American Counseling Association

4 Questions 4 Lynn Linde, President-Elect of the American Counseling Association

Dr. Lynn LindeDr. Lynn Linde assumes the role of ACA President on July 1, 2009. As a counseling practitioner, counseling supervisor and counselor educator with 25+ years of service, we thought she would be an excellent resource to answer these four questions.

1. As your term as ACA President begins, what do you see as the most formidable challenges facing individual counseling students and new professionals?

The biggest problem facing many students and new graduates is finding a job that they want. Once that hurdle is passed, I think that the current economic downturn has created a situation in many workplace settings where fewer people are doing the work that was previously done by more counselors. Many new professionals may find themselves thrown into the job with fewer supports and more to do than previous graduates may have experienced. Additionally, clearly the economic situation has increased the need for counseling so there are more clients with greater needs. Finding ways to be successful in these situations will be a challenge.

2. What role would you like to see ACA play in helping students and new professionals transition into long and productive careers as counselors?

Ideally ACA would become the anchor for professionals throughout their careers. ACA needs to continue to identify those supports that new professionals need as they move through their careers. Supports may include things such as the resources and professional development counselors need to be successful in their practices. ACA could also facilitate or support a mentoring program, wherein professionals at different stages of their careers could contact veteran counselors for advice and support on a variety of issues. And new professionals might want a way to contact each other such as through a blog, which ACA could facilitate, or a session at conference.

3. How have the economic challenges of the nation translated into issues that must be addressed by counselors as they work with varied clients?

The American dream seems to have disappeared right before our eyes and most of us did not see it coming. The reality is that the current economic difficulties have had an impact on almost everyone, therefore the clients with whom counselors work in any setting have probably been affected by economic difficulties. Families have lost their jobs, houses, health insurance--and their hope for a better life. Many students are rethinking their futures and wondering if they can continue their education. The stress that has been created is clearly seen in the worries of adults and children, the increase in substance use and the potential for increased family conflict. I am sure many counselors have had to refocus their sessions with clients to address some of these problems. Counselors who work in schools are seeing an increase in students who are homeless or in need of free/reduced priced meals, clothes, and other support services.

4. What personal and/or professional advice might you offer to students and new professionals during their preparation and early career experiences?

First, find a mentor in your job. This person can provide consultation when you are not sure what to do; support when things are overwhelming, which they will be at some point; and help you figure out the culture and dynamics of your workplace. Second, find someone who can support you personally and be there for you when you just need someone with whom to talk.

President-elect Linde is an assistant professor and director of clinical programs in Loyola University of Baltimore's School Counseling Program. She earned her doctorate of education in counseling from George Washington University in Washington, DC and previously served as the branch chief for the Baltimore City Public Schools Office of Guidance Services, a counselor in the Baltimore City public secondary schools (MD), and a special education teacher in the Prince Georges County (MD) elementary schools.

Pittsburgh Conference Series "For Graduate Students and New Professionals" Finalized

Pittsburgh Conference SeriesThe "For Graduate Students and New Professionals Only" series for the ACA Conference & Exposition in Pittsburgh, PA (March 18-22, 2010) has been finalized with a slate of well known counseling professionals presenting topics of relevance to the next generation of counselors.

The Pittsburgh speakers and topics are:

  • Gerald Corey - Finding a Meaningful Life After Graduate School
  • Beverly O'Bryant - Knowing Me, Supporting Me, Marketing Me
  • Sandra Lopez-Baez - Practical Pointers for Graduate Students and New Professionals (Includes master's and doctoral student presenters)
  • Allen and Mary Ivey - What Graduate Students and New Professionals Need to Know About Neuroscience
  • Rebecca Daniel-Burke - Get a Job! Strategies for Successful Transition to and Mobility in Careers in Counseling

Register today and be in Pittsburgh to take part in this popular conference feature.

ACA Conference & Exposition...

Student Members Confront Cost of Grad School: What Did You Tell Us?

In the first edition of this eNews readers were asked to participate in a "Your Thoughts" poll examining concerns about financing studies, types of financial aid being used, and related questions. The results from 78 student respondents revealed the following findings:

  • Paying for graduate school is a challenge for nearly nine in ten students (87.2%). A significant percentage (57.7%) expressed "some" concern about having sufficient funds, while 29.5% said their concern was "major."
  • When asked how they were financing graduate school, eight in ten (82.1%) reported they were paying less than 100% of the cost.
  • The most utilized form of financial assistance was loans (requiring pay back) with 80% indicating they had turned to borrowing to pay for grad school.
  • One in three (33.3%) attends grad school full-time and works part time. An almost identical percentage (32.1%) works full-time and attends grad school full-time.

Following are the complete responses to the poll:

What concerns do you have about financing your studies?

None - I feel confident I have sufficient funds: 12.8%
Some - But it is likely that my funds will be sufficient: 57.7%
Major - I am not certain I will have sufficient funds to complete graduate school: 29.5%

How are you financing graduate school?

I am paying 100% of the costs: 17.9%
I am paying 75-99% of the costs: 7.7%
I am paying 50-74% of the costs: 3.8%
I am paying 25-49% of the costs: 10.3%
I am paying less than 25% of the costs: 60.3%

If you are not paying 100% of the costs, which of the following forms of financial assistance are you using? (Multiple selections were permitted)

Loan (requiring pay back): 80.0%
Scholarship: 16.7%
Fellowship: 5.6%
Assistantship: 29.2%
Work-study: 5.6%
Other: 19.4%

Which of the following best describes your student status and employment situation?

I do not work and attend graduate school full-time: 19.2%
I do not work and attend graduate school part-time: 0.0%
I work full-time and attend graduate school full-time: 32.1%
I work full-time and attend graduate school part-time: 11.5%
I work part-time and attend graduate school full-time: 33.3%
I work part-time and attend graduate school part-time: 3.8%

Note: ACAeNews for Counseling Students and New Professionals regularly conducts informal polls to "take the pulse" of the membership regarding relevant and timely issues. The findings are unscientific and based on an uncontrolled sample.

The ABCs of Accessing the JCD Electronically

Access JCDWhether you are a new counselor navigating the literature regarding the needs of your clients or a counseling student tackling a research paper, ACA has a great tool to use in addressing your professional questions. The ACA Library link at allows member users to search the Journal of Counseling & Development.

By following the seven steps below, you can open the JCD (2000 - present):

  1. Go to
  2. Scroll down to the bottom left of the page and click on the Library box.
  3. Login as ACA member.
  4. On the LIBRARY page, click on the JCD cover.
  5. On the WELCOME page, click again on the JCD cover. (Do not login again. As an ACA member, you are already logged. This is where most users experience problems.)
  6. On the PUBLICATION page, type your key word in the Publication/Quick Search box and click SEARCH.
  7. On the SEARCH RESULTS page, click on the title of the article to select it.
  8. On the ARTICLE page, in the Full Text Access Box, click Open Entire Document for PDF. (Or click Open Full Text for HTML.)

The electronic versions of the Journal of Counseling & Development are at your fingertips. Use them!

ACA Member Poll: How are You Using Social and Professional Networks?, Facebook, and LinkedIn represent a growing list of social networking sites that counselors and students can use to "stay in touch." Add the various listservs that counselors join to exchange professional information and post questions and one can see that electronic networking is fast becoming a vital part of the life of many counselors. ACAeNews for Counseling Students and New Professionals wants "your thoughts" on this phenomenon and the extent to which you participate. Participate in our "Your Thoughts" survey today!

Your Thoughts Survey...

It's Performance Appraisal Time: Consider These Dos and Don'ts

Your first or next performance appraisal need not be a "sweaty palms" moment, that hour in your work life you would do almost anything to avoid. Much of one's comfort in the performance appraisal experience is dependent on preparation and tact, as exemplified in the follow lists of dos and don'ts that have been prepared by, the website of the Office of State Personnel of North Carolina and reprinted here with the agency's permission. Common sense is often the best teacher in instances like these, but taking a moment to review these two lists may reduce any anxiety you are experiencing.

Performance Appraisals Do's

  1. Ask questions before the appraisal discussion to make sure you know how the performance management process works
  2. Review your work plan prior to the appraisal discussion so you will know the performance expectations your supervisor will be focusing on
  3. Document your own performance prior to the discussion, comparing what you actually achieved to the expectations defined in your work plan
  4. Prepare a list of changes and improvements you have made during the year
  5. Make a list of issues you want to cover during the appraisal discussion, such as barriers you are encountering in your work and ideas for improvements
  6. Plan to discuss the current status of issues you addressed with your supervisor during the year, including barriers to your work and your suggestions for improvement
  7. If, prior to the appraisal discussion, you are asked to give your supervisor information about your achievements, provide concise, objective information
  8. Once the appraisal discussion begins, speak up and make sure you help to make it truly a discussion, not a lecture from your supervisor
  9. Stay focused on discussing performance
  10. Express yourself clearly and concisely
  11. Ask for clarification if your supervisor brings up an area for improvement that you don't agree with or don't understand
  12. Actively engage in problem solving with your supervisor
  13. Be open to changing the way you do things and to taking on different responsibilities
  14. Ask your supervisor for ideas on how to make improvements
  15. Use the appraisal discussion to learn something new about the business and to get to know your supervisor better
  16. If your supervisor has difficulty clarifying expectations or justifying a rating, help your supervisor by providing relevant information and examples
  17. Ask questions to better understand your performance expectations and how actual performance has been evaluated this time and will be evaluated in the next cycle
  18. Get clarification, before leaving the discussion, on the key points brought out during the discussion and on any actions you or your supervisor have committed to
  19. Regard the appraisal form as an imperfect but necessary summary of your performance relative to expectations over the course of the year
  20. Sign the appraisal after the appraisal discussion has been completed - your signature provides documentation that your supervisor has held the discussion with you

Performance Appraisal Don'ts

  1. Be in the dark as to how the performance management process works
  2. Show up for the appraisal discussion with a fuzzy recollection of your past year's performance expectations
  3. Leave it up to your supervisor to document your performance over the past year
  4. Assume that your supervisor remembers or has documented the important results you have achieved during the year
  5. Assume that your supervisor knows the problems you face in your job or has no interest in helping you overcome them
  6. Save up problems concerning barriers to your work until the appraisal discussion so you will have excuses when your supervisor is critical of your performance
  7. If you are asked to give your supervisor information about your achievements, do so grudgingly while complaining about having to do your supervisor's job for him or her
  8. Be passive and unresponsive, listening, and nodding your head in agreement with everything the supervisor says
  9. Go off on tangents, change the subject or engage in gossip
  10. Try to get in as many words as you can
  11. Become defensive and emotional if your supervisor is critical of some aspect of your performance
  12. Expect your supervisor to have a solution to every problem
  13. Resist making any changes
  14. Be afraid to learn how you can improve
  15. Don't raise any questions or offer any suggestions so the discussion can be completed as quickly as possible
  16. If your supervisor has difficulty justifying ratings on your appraisal, keep quiet, and maybe your supervisor will get in trouble for poor documentation
  17. Keep yourself in the dark about what is expected of you and how your performance has been and will be appraised
  18. Avoid summarizing what has been discussed and what actions have been suggested in order to avoid having to do extra work or to change your routine
  19. Get hung up on the design of the appraisal form and how it is filled out
  20. Refuse to sign the appraisal because you disagree with it or are angry with your supervisor - your signature does not indicate agreement with the appraisal or endorsement of your supervisor

Adobe PDF Document Full List of Do's & Don'ts, including list for managers/supervisors...

Road Trip: Marymount Students Make ACA Conference Accessible, Affordable, and Enjoyable

Road TripThey made the trek to Charlotte in 2009 and they're planning to do it all over again in 2010 to Pittsburgh. Using car and van transportation and maximizing inhabitants to rooms, a group of 23 graduate students and alumni at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia have found an accessible, affordable, and enjoyable way of getting to the annual ACA Annual Conference & Exposition.

The effort was led by Chi Sigma Iota President Jordi Izzard and supported by the counselor education faculty. Dr. Lisa Jackson Cherry, chairperson of counselor education at Marymount, even helped students find some grant support to help defray conference costs. Lisa also hosted a pizza party in her Charlotte hotel room for the Marymount contingent. According to Jordi, planning must start early (right after the holidays) and involve lots of communication. The gain, however, for participating students is a professional development and networking opportunity next to none. Watch for the Marymount student caravan heading toward Pittsburgh in March 2010.

Fast Fact: GRE Applications Decline - Impact on Graduate Programs Undetermined

Bucking a trend established in previous recessions and periods of economic chaos, Americans may not be turning to graduate school as a refuge for an unstable and unpromising job market. After a number of years in which applications for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) rose to an all-time high of 633,000 in 2007, the Educational Testing Service reported early this year that applications totaled approximately 617,000 in 2008. This decline came after ETS had predicted another growth year. The impact, if any, on counselor education program applications has yet to be determined.

On a related note, Educational Testing Service announced a fee reduction in May to GRE takers who are currently unemployed. The program will allow currently unemployed workers to register for the GRE General Test for $75. The regular registration cost is $150.

Educational Testing Service...

They Said It: Quotable Quotes of Notable People

"Too often we underestimate the power of touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."

Leo Buscaglia

New Perspectives Column in Counseling Today is for Students and New Professionals

Counseling Today"New Perspectives" is a monthly Counseling Today column in which new professionals and students can submit questions or share concerns anonymously and have these questions/concerns addressed by seasoned counseling professionals. In addition, on a quarterly basis, the column publishes articles written by graduate students and new professionals about their experiences. Likewise, students and new professionals proving to be leaders in the counseling field can be nominated for the "My Life, My Story" feature. If you are interested in submitting a question, article or nomination for "My Life, My Story," e-mail column editor Donjanea Fletcher at

Looking for a Counseling Position? ACA Career Center Consults Available to Members

Searching for a first-time or new counseling position? Have questions as you prepare to interview and apply for counseling positions? Rebecca Daniel Burke of the ACA Career Center is available for private consult as you explore and apply. Contact her at It's helpful to include your name, member number, home state, and a contact phone number.

ACA Career Center...

Chopping Through Writer's Block: A Few Strategies Worth Trying

At some point counseling students and individuals new to the profession are likely to have experienced writer's block---that usually temporary psychological incapacity that prevents us from beginning or continuing a piece of writing. The following article was written by Vicki Vialle for LEO (Literacy Education Online) and the Write Place, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN, and may be copied for educational purposes only. If you copy the piece, please include the copyright notice and the name of the author. If you revise it, please add your name to the list of the authors.

Overcoming Writers' Block
By Vicki Vialle, Write Place, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN
© 1995-2002 The Write Place

Even if they manage their time and follow writing guidelines, many writers will still experience a time when the words just won't come together, when they are simply "stuck" and can't think of anything to write. This is writer's block. Fortunately, a few helpful techniques make it possible to overcome the challenge of writer's block.

  • Experiment -- Try to write in different places, at different times, and with different writing instruments.
  • Freewrite -- Choose one sentence in a paragraph and write a paragraph about it. Then choose one sentence from that paragraph and do it again.
  • Cluster -- Choose key words and ideas; then write associated ideas and words in clusters around them. This process often forms new ideas.
  • Be flexible -- Be willing to throw out sections of text that are causing problems or just don't work.
  • Follow a routine -- Follow a routine to get into the writing mood. Try activities like wearing comfortable clothing, using a certain pen, or listening to a particular CD or type of music.
  • Move -- Physically move around, stretch, or walk.
  • Take a break -- Get a snack or drink, talk to someone, or just relax for five minutes before starting to write again.
  • Concentrate -- Focus on a different section or aspect of your paper. This sometimes leads to new insights in problem areas, while allowing you to get work done on another section.
  • Re-read -- Read a print draft of the paper and jot down ideas while reading.
  • Relax! -- The more you worry, the harder it gets to think clearly.

LEO provides online handouts about a variety of writing topics. They do not offer online tutoring, answer questions about grammar or punctuation, or give feedback about your writing or papers. To ask questions or offer suggestions about these handouts, please email LEO at


About ACAeNews for Counseling Students and New Professionals

ACAeNews for Counseling Students and New Professionals is one of four new electronic newsletters that are published three times per year each by the American Counseling Association for the benefit of members working in these unique settings. It is disseminated as an opt-in subscription enewsletter and is a free benefit of ACA membership.

The other three special focus enewsletters are:

  • ACAeNews for Mental Health, Private Practice and Community Agency Counselors
  • ACAeNews for School Counselors
  • ACAeNews for Counselor Educators

Any reference to a product, service or activity or listing of a website in this publication 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 Frank Burtnett. All submissions will be subject to review by ACA for accuracy, timeliness and relevance to the readership and may be edited.

Colleen Logan, President

Richard Yep, CAE, Executive Director

Debra Bass, Director of Marketing and Communications

Frank Burtnett, ACAeNews Editor

Don Kenneally, Internet Development / Production

ACA Website:

Copyright 2009, 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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