Editor’s note: Information for each candidate, including biographical information, qualifications and reasons for seeking office is published below and in the December issue of Counseling Today. Online voting for all ACA, division and region elections will begin Dec. 1. The following answers are published as the candidates submitted them. They have not been edited.
ALGBTIC DIVISION CANDIDATES
I am a Counselor Educator and Program Coordinator of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Southern Connecticut State University, as well as an LPC in private practice. LGBTQI+ issues in counseling have been a major focus for me, both personally and professionally. As a biracial (Cherokee and Caucasian), two-spirited person who also identifies as bisexual, I experienced my own journey of coming out and honoring my identity as a strength. I also witnessed my brother, as a gay male, go on his difficult journey; both of us were influenced by counselors on our own paths. Professionally, I have been dedicated to learning, researching, and teaching counseling strategies for working with LGBTQI+ clients in an intersectional way through numerous publications and presentations, both state and national. I am a co-editor on the book Affirmative Counseling with LGBTQI+ People through ACA. I have in both state and national LGBTQI+-focused committees. I have been a member of ALGBTIC since 2009, and have been committed to supporting each president and their vision for our organization. I was asked to consider this leadership role and feel blessed to have been considered. I believe that we are in a time of challenge and of opportunity in our field and in our country. Bringing people together for social justice and moving our community forward is something we must do as counselors and change agents. As a two-spirited person, I believe that all persons under the LGBTQI+ umbrella are blessed with an ability to have deep empathy for others, understand how to challenge and heal that which is broken, and have a significant and valued role in bettering our society. Our allies are with us on this journey, with an empathy and willingness to challenge the world to be a better place and to value all differences.
I currently serve as a counselor, counselor educator, supervisor, and administrator. My roles have been historically immersed within a personal drive to help grow and advance the field of counseling and counselor education, particularly when serving individuals who have experienced marginalization and oppression based on their affectual orientations. My committee involvement in higher education has focused on the retention of our sexual and gender minority students as well as the development and implementation of staff/faculty training which has focused on LGBTQ+ affirmative education. My counseling work has centered on LGBTQ+ individuals struggling with minority stress, concealment, and heteronormativity in their workplace/educational contexts. These experiences, along with my strong focus on social justice and advocacy, underpin my desire to lead and promote education and equality as the President-Elect of ALGBTIC. As an educator, I often emphasize our responsibility to serve as a voice, and to educate others on serving as the voice of those who would not otherwise have one. My vision for the next ALGBTIC strategic plan focuses on LGBTQ+ affirmative education and giving voice to the continued minority stressors experienced within our community. As an NBCC Minority Fellowship recipient, I recognize the importance of educating and addressing the unique and systemic struggles of our LGBTQ+ community from a counseling, counselor education, supervision, and consultation perspective. Additionally, my research agenda has focused on the intersectionality of affectual orientation and counselor identity as a correlate of burnout. My passion lies within a desire to address and remove those barriers which have served as obstacles for our LGBTQ+ community, including our counselors, educators, and supervisors. In closing, I hope that you will find my research interests, personal desire, and drive to align with the philosophy and mission of ALGBTIC and that you would trust me with the leadership role as President-Elect.
Governing Council Representative
Michael P. Chaney
My reason for running for Governing Council Representative (GCR) is simple: I am at the stage of my career where it is time to give back to my profession and those around me. This is not about my goals; it is about our profession and the goals of ALGBTIC and ACA. Since joining ALGBTIC in 1998, my service to the association and ACA has prepared me to be a competent and influential GCR, who will represent ALGBTIC as an exemplary division grounded in professional and social advocacy.
Presently, I am an associate professor in the Department of Counseling at Oakland University. My involvement in ALGBTIC has included serving as current Editor of the Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling (JLGBTIC), Chair, Past-President’s Council (2014-2015); President (2010-2011); Secretary (2007-2009); Editorial Board Member, JLGBTIC (2005-2015); and Newsletter Editor (2007-2009). In other divisions, I served as a CSJ Board Member (2012-2013); ACES Social Justice and Human Rights Committee Member (2008-2011); IAAOC Process Addictions Committee Member (2003-2008); and Editorial Board Member, Journal of Addiction and Offender Counseling (2005-present). Within ACA, I am an appointed member of the Human Rights Committees (2016-2019).
Due to these experiences, I have established enduring relationships within ACA, and am committed to establish new connections with members and leaders. A principle to which I adhere is that all LGBTQ+ voices are not just tolerated, but equally represented and celebrated. Because I am mindful of the responsibility that comes with this position to represent ALGBTIC’s Executive Board and membership, I am committed to demonstrate transparency via consistent and timely communication. I will use my knowledge of ACA governance and policies to honorably represent ALGBTIC and its members, paying particular attention to voices often erased from discussions and decision-making including LGBTQ+ women and people of color, non-binary individuals, and clinicians.
Hello! I’m Jane Rheineck, and I am a Counselor Educator at Northern Illinois University. I received my Master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas in 2004 in Counselor Education. I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Illinois as well as an NCC.
As ALGBTIC Past-President (2014-15), I have watched ALGBTIC gain relevance and meet the needs of the LGBTQ community. As I continue to serve our profession, my past leadership informs skills to assist in governing the American Counseling Association as your Governing Council representative.
Additional professional leadership: serving three years on ACA Human Rights Committee; and Treasurer and President of AADA (2010-11). In 2010, the theme for AADA’s annual conference in NYC, which I coordinated, was Developmental Issues of Sexual Orientation, Race, Gender, and Age, the first such theme that embraced inclusion of the LGBTQ community. As ALGBTIC President, I created ALGBTIC’s Inaugural Conference in New Orleans, attended by over 300, in 2014.
This past year, I had the honor of serving ACA as national Treasurer. That office entailed serving on the ACA Executive Committee, Financial Affairs Committee, and ACA Investment Committee. My financial knowledge and experience as Treasurer of both AADA and ACA has taught me a significant amount about national and divisional structure, management, and service to the profession.
As a founding member of the ACA Presidential Targeted Task group focusing on the intersectionality of LGBTQ adult development, I participated in creating the Illuminate Symposium in June 2017, and the LGBTQ Guide focused on serving the mental health needs of the LGBTQ community. The gathering in DC was absolutely amazing!
The work done by ACA’s Governing Council carries a tremendous amount of influence and responsibility that requires time, wisdom and dedication. I am fully prepared, if chosen, to give this position 100%.
Dr. Cyndi Matthews is a Counselor Educator, Researcher, Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor (LPC-S), and Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) working with diversity, multicultural, and social justice issues in the areas of couples and family relationships and personal/individual counseling. She is the Past President of the Texas Association for Marriage and Family Counselors and past Senator for Texas Counselors for Social Justice. She has served on two committees on ASERVIC and ALGBTIC over the past year exploring spirituality/religiosity and the intersectionality of religiosity/spirituality and affectional orientation. Cyndi is a Counseling Lecturer at the University of North Texas at Dallas. She has taught various courses in counseling including couples and family therapy, multicultural counseling, career counseling, developmental processes through the lifetime, professional ethics, crisis intervention, human sexuality, along with clinical courses such as practicum, beginning skills, advanced skills, and internship. Cyndi’s private practice specializes in Religious Abuse & Cult Recovery, LGBT Issues/Gender Identity, Depression/Anxiety/Stress, Addiction, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Sexual, Emotional, and Physical Abuse, Anger Management, Domestic Violence, Sex Therapy, Premarital Counseling, Communication Skills, and Relationship Effectiveness. Cyndi’s research agenda describes the intersectionality of gender, affectional orientation, ethnicity, and social class, spirituality, religiosity along with other forms of diversity in the lives of clients, in marriage/couples, family, and individual settings.
Laura Boyd Farmer
I am pleased to be nominated for the ALGBTIC Professional Trustee position. ALGBTIC has been formative in my development as a professional counselor and counselor educator over the past decade. As a scholar, I strive to contribute empirical research and publications focused on LGBTQ+ advocacy and affirmative counselor training. My involvement with ALGBTIC through professional service over the past few years has been especially rewarding. It has been my pleasure to serve on the ALGBTIC Research committee. Through this committee, we established a review process to select outstanding research proposals to be funded by ALGBTIC. It has been gratifying to facilitate the grant review process and learn about the excellent scholarship that ALGBTIC members are pursuing in an effort to forward the mission of our division. In 2016, I was honored to serve on a joint taskforce between ALGBTIC and AARC to establish standards of care for research and assessment with LGBTGEQ individuals. It is through such cross-divisional collaborations that we can create meaningful change in the counseling profession on behalf of the individuals we serve – those representing the vast spectrum of sexual/affectional orientation and gender diversity. Among my hopes as Professional Trustee, if elected, I would like to focus on increasing membership engagement in the variety of projects and endeavors ALGBTIC initiates. Supporting LGBTQ+ youth and young adults is a vital part of the work I do in my community in Roanoke, Virginia. I facilitate a bi-monthly, peer-based support group for LGBTQ+ youth and I volunteer as a counselor for an annual “Diversity Camp” that serves LGBTQ+ youth and families in Virginia. While there is still much work to be done, I am proud to be an active member of the ALGBTIC division, and I would be deeply honored to continue serving ALGBTIC as a Professional Trustee.
I am a candidate for the Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in Counseling (ALGBTIC) Professional Trustee position. Membership in ALGBTIC has been integral to my development, and I have seen ALGBTIC leaders develop initiatives to benefit many. If elected, I will share about this along with ALGBTIC’s message of awareness, advocacy, and equity. This message is extremely important - now more than ever - in a world where minority stress remains. Keeping this in mind, I would rely on thoughtful democratic exchange to support our leaders and members to advance ALGBTIC’s mission and strong counseling leadership. I made a commitment to advance the profession of counseling and to support LGBTQ+ communities many years ago and have already held several positions in ALGBTIC. From 2011 to 2013, I was a research team member on the Affirmative Counseling and Social Justice Committee and Safe Schools Taskforce, and I now coordinate the ALGBTIC School Counseling and LGBT Issues Writing Group. I have also served on the editorial board of the Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling for several years. As an openly gay scholar with expertise in school counseling and LGBTQ+ issues, my passion is to educate current and future counselors to affirm and celebrate the lives of all LGBTQ+ people. My membership in ALGBTIC has set the stage for this, and I have come to truly value the bonds that I have made with others in ALGBTIC. Thus, it is an honor to be nominated for this position. If elected, I am confident - having already been involved in ALGBTIC - that I possess the necessary skills to work effectively with leadership and members. By becoming a Professional Trustee, I would utilize these skills while continuing to contribute to the ever-widening impact of our organization.
Gregory R. Sandman
As the father of a son who identifies as gay, I have sought to understand and work with the LGBTQ community in a number of ways, including as an advocate, counselor, and scholar. I began my advocacy work by starting the Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) chapter in Kearney, NE while completing my Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health. I also founded the Nebraska Association for LGBT Issues in counseling (NALGBTIC), a division of the Nebraska Counseling Association (NCA) while completing my Master’s degree. For this work, I received the Visionary Counselor award from NCA.
As a counselor, I completed my internship at an LGBTQ community mental health clinic in Florida. I have continued to work with individuals who identify as members of the LGBTQ community in my counseling career. My research has been focused on LGBTQ issues including my dissertation, Silent Voices in Session: A Narrative Inquiry where I addressed the question: What are the lived experiences of men who identify as gay who receive counseling from male counselors who identify as straight? I have also written and presented on a variety of issues related to same-sex domestic violence and other issues related to the LGBTQ community.
I hope to bring my experience as an advocate, counselor, and scholar to ALGBTIC as a Professional Trustee.
Having more than 9 years of LGBTGEQ+ involvement, 7 years of related work experience, and 4 years of leadership service, my education, experiences, and skills would be a great fit for the Research and Assessment Professional Trustee position. As a NBCCF Minority Mental Health Fellow, I am committed to serve the LGBTGEQ+ population and our allies, and this leadership role will just be one way to give back to the community. This role requires the Trustee to oversee the research grant initiative, manage article award submissions and selections, and review and award CE credit for members that answered the journal article questions. One of my responsibilities at Oklahoma State University is to develop and maintain grant funding for the Minority Mental Health Association, which another NBCCF Fellow established. As a research consumer, I identify articles that are expansive with their research areas, creative with their methodology, and innovative with best practices in assessment, counseling, and research. Rewarding CE credits through journal articles is no easy task; however, I intend to select journal articles that are critically relevant to trending issues that affect the LGBTGEQ+ population. After learning about the responsibilities of the Professional Trustee, I am very eager to expand and promote research and assessment with the LGBTGEQ+ community, particularly having LGBTGEQ+ researchers defining our own narratives and experiences. Envisioning additional professional development opportunities through ALGBTIC, I hope to coordinate webinars that will build off the standards of care in assessment for clients and participants that identify as LGBTGEQ+. Should you choose me as your Professional Trustee, know that I will not only honor your vote but also I will uphold it through accountability and integrity. With values of solidarity, advocacy, and professionalism, a vote for me is a vote for ALGBTIC
Whitney P. Akers
In my journey, the personal is political is professional. As a queer counselor educator, supervisor, and counselor, I have consistently devoted my energy, passion, and heart to serving LGBTQ+ populations and communities through service, advocacy, and activism. From consulting with probation officers in rural Louisiana to create trans-affirming detention center policies, to offering trainings to clinical professionals and students working to create honoring practices, I have worked interpersonally and systemically to build bridges between our profession and LGBTQ+ communities. I have also served on a collaborative ALGBTIC and AARC joint task-force to establish standards of care for research and assessment with LGBTQ+ populations to increase awareness of LGBTQ+ specific considerations in assessment and research and elevate the standards of our profession. Through my teaching, scholarship, clinical practice, and service, I am actively involved in transforming quality of and access to services for LGBTQ+ people. Relatedly, I am committed to interrogating and challenging systems of power and oppression by enacting the foundations of social justice and shared-power to promote wellness, wholeness, and healing through counseling. I would feel incredibly honored to be selected to serve ALGBTIC, the counseling community, and intersectional LGBTQ+ communities through the role of the ALGBTIC Professional Trustee. My past experience in multiple roles within the counseling profession and queer communities, paired with my aim to elevate and validate diverse voices and perspectives, enables me to serve in a compassionate, motivated, and socially-conscious manner. The work of building bridges is never finished, and through this role, I hope to facilitate connections between the ALGBTIC board and students, clinicians, educators, supervisors, and clients to grow our community, organization, and reach. Thank you for considering me for this position. I believe that united, we can transform our world in infinite ways through a mission of dialogue, collaboration, and heartful action.
I have been nominated for the position of ALGBTIC Professional Trustee. I hope to briefly outline my reasons and qualifications for seeking this role. Thank you for your consideration! My work in community mental health with families, adults, and groups has solidified my commitment to professional service and advocacy. Counselors have a critical role to play in the lives of our clients as, at minimum, we are gatekeepers to resources and quality clinical care. Queer clients experience a particular scarcity in accessing these resources and competent clinical care. As our profession grows, I envision ALGBTIC playing a larger role in the lives of counselors working with LGBTQIA+ clients. To accomplish this ALGBTIC requires collaborative leadership that is proactive in advancing the counseling profession’s promotion of respect of human dignity, diversity, and social justice. Professionally, I have presented at the local, state, and national level on queer mental health and clinical mental health issues. I enjoy teaching/supervising counselors-in-training in the Counseling@Northwestern program. Currently, I serve as the Chair of the Alumni Advisory Board of the Family Institute at Northwestern University and as a Board Member on the Valparaiso University Alumni Association. I also serve as President-Elect of the Illinois Association for LGBT Issues in Counseling (IALGBTIC). During my involvement with IALGBTIC, the Board created a Statewide listserv and website, increased frequency and clarity of communication from the Board to membership, administered a membership feedback survey, and reorganized the bylaws to be ALGBTIC-compliant. I hope to continue this meaningful professional service work at the national level as a Professional Trustee. I invite you to further review my qualifications here: linkedin.com/in/litherland
I am currently a graduate student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. I am very interested in the LGBTQ+ community, as I belong in this community as well as I am focusing all my course work on this topic. I have been researching and working with the LGBTQ+ community for many year. This would be a great next step for me for my career as a gender/LGBTQ+ counselor.
I attended and co-presented at ACA in March of 2017 on experiences of LGB individuals who were raised in highly religious organizations. I am currently a PhD student at Texas A&M Commerce in Counselor Education. My passion for research and counseling is aimed at helping my communities navigate through the negative messages sent from religions that support oppressive and dangerous methods towards the LGBTQ+ community. I am seeking the position of student trustee for ALGBTIC in order to promote more awareness of the tremendous work that has been done and the work we still need to do in our unpredictable political and social climate. I believe in the leadership of ALGBTIC. Each individual represents a passionate motivation for moving forward by advocating for the multicultural diversities within the LGBTQ+ population. I aim to continue working towards building stronger alliances with the counseling community by adding my contributions of research and listening to the needs of my community; extrapolating additional areas that still need to be addressed in understanding by guiding clients and counselors towards a deeper understanding of what it means to be LGBTQ+ in today’s society. At ACA this year, I was able to attend presentations and meet members of ALGBTIC, both in leadership and members who support the mission by fueling ALGBTIC’s steady aim towards securing equal treatment of LGBTQ+ clients and to expand standards throughout the counseling profession. I am seeking this position as part of my personal mission of advancing equality, not just with the LGBTQ+ community, but also continuing to maintain and improve standards of gatekeeping among counselors who desire to provide unbiased services for clients from every segment of our beautiful and culturally diverse population.
Rachel Kristin Henesy
I am honored to be considered for the ALGBTIC Student Trustee position. I am currently a third-year doctoral student at the University of Florida. My dissertation research and specialty area are on the topic of LGBTQ+ affirmative counseling and intersectionality, with a specific focus on counselor education and training in this area. I have been dedicated for several years to research that can help advance and improve the counseling experiences of LGBTQ+ clients. I completed a qualitative study for my master’s thesis about the strengths and resiliencies of bisexual and lesbian women who experienced dating violence, and I am currently finishing a qualitative content analysis of articles related to LGBTQ+ counseling from a historical perspective. I have been a member of ALGBTIC since 2013, and I have served as a member of the Social Justice and Affirmative Counseling Committee and the Graduate Student Committee. I am currently serving my second year as the Graduate Student Representative for Florida ALGBTIC (FALGBTIC) and I am a member of the FALGBTIC legislative committee. To further my knowledge, I am also working on two graduate certificates: one in Gender Studies from the University of Florida, and one in LGBT Health Policy & Practice from George Washington University. The knowledge and skills I have gained from these experiences have helped me to engage in intersectional analyses and social justice advocacy. Thank you for considering me for this position. I look forward to serving ALGBTIC throughout my career, and I would be honored to serve as Student Trustee.
Through my work as a student and in my career my interactions with both colleagues and clients have been a mixture of diverse experiences. Many of these conversations have provided me the opportunity to expand my understanding of the world around me and the people in it. Other times these conversations have allowed me to influence the understanding of another. I have found that these experiences bring me a great sense of purpose. The topics I find myself most passionate about are LGBTQIA and sexuality. These passions have led me to be a member of the LGBTQIA committee at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, where I am currently employed. I have also had the privilege to present to colleagues on polyamory and counseling both in school and at work to professionals. My hope is that through this position I will have the opportunity to reach a wider audience and inspire change, instill hope, and expand my understanding of LGBTQIA issues. I have the privilege to be able to apply for this platform to reach people in a way that some do not have the ability to do. My hope is to provide a safe environment and space that will facilitate learning, growth, and change.