Join the Conversation!

We are delighted that you are interested in attending Let the Voices Be Heard! An International Conversation on Counselling, Psychotherapy and Social Justice, a conference jointly planned by the American Counseling Association (ACA), the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP).

You should find all of the information you need to register for the conference or submit a proposal on this page. Please do check back for updates regarding keynote speakers, programme details, and any special announcements.

Read on to learn more about the conference and what to expect in October 2019.

Registration and pricing

Registration for the conference is being handled by BACP. Conference fees are quoted in pounds sterling, but you can check conversion rates here. Click below to learn more and register at BACP's site.


Three Counselling Organisations United

ACA logo      BACP logo  IACP lgo

How did ACA, BACP and IACP decide to plan a joint conference on social justice?

Each of our three nations has its own unique history which informs counsellors’ and psychotherapists’ understanding of, and approach to, social justice. There is much we can learn from sharing our different histories and experiences, and this is why we have titled our conference an international conversation.

How did it all come about? Well, it all began with a conversation! Back in May 2016, several leaders from ACA, BACP, and IACP met at the BACP research conference. They discussed working on a joint project with the hope that they could accomplish something none of the three organisations had done individually, together. Ideas flew thick and fast, and a theme emerged: social justice concerns were rising in prominence in each country and each organisation recognized the relationship between clients’ mental health and clients’ experiences with oppression, poverty and/or discrimination.

The idea for an international conference on counselling, psychotherapy and social justice was born.

We know counsellors across the US, the UK and Ireland are already doing spectacular work with their clients and within their communities, and that they’re often intimately involved with social justice concerns, but we felt there was merit in an international event because of the potential to learn from each other’s experiences. More specifically, we are curious about how our different cultural approaches to, and understandings of, social justice might be applied in new environments.

It is our hope that the dialogue established by ACA, BACP and IACP as part of the planning process will grow and strengthen in Belfast and continue long after the conference’s conclusion.

To facilitate the continuation of our conversation, we will develop a training programme at the conference which will incorporate key findings. More information on the training programme will follow.

Contribute to the conversation by registering to attend the conference.

Meet our first keynote speaker, Dr. Manivong J. Ratts

Dr RattsManivong J. Ratts is professor of counselling at Seattle University and  chair of the Department of Leadership and Professional Studies (AEDT,   Counselling, EDLR, SDA, and TESOL). Dr. Ratts received his Ph.D. in Counselling from Oregon State University (OSU). He holds an associate’s degree from Yakima Valley Community College, a bachelor's degree in psychology from Western Washington University, and a master's degree in counselling from OSU. In 2018, he was awarded a Doctorate of  Humane Letters, Honors Causa from Lewis and Clark College for his work in advancing multiculturalism and social justice in the counselling profession and was the graduate commencement keynote, Advocating for Social Change in a Toxic Political Climate.

Dr. Ratts is a licensed mental health counsellor (L.M.H.C.) and past President of Counselors for Social Justice, a division of ACA. His research is in the area of multiculturalism and social justice. He is one of the nation’s leading scholars in the area of social justice counselling. He coined the term “social justice counseling” and argued that social justice is a “fifth force” among counselling paradigms, following the psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, and multicultural traditions.

Dr. Ratts chaired a committee which developed Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies (MSJCC) for the counselling profession with Drs. Anneliese Singh, Sylvia Nassar-McMillan, Kent Butler, and Rafe McCullough. The MSJCC serve as a guide to help counselling professionals develop multicultural and social justice competence. The competencies have been adopted by ACA and are used in counsellor training programmes across the US.

Dr. Ratts has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Counseling and Development and the Journal for Social Action in Counseling and Psychology. He has published in various peer-reviewed journals on social justice counseling and is lead author of the following books Counseling for Multiculturalism and Social Justice: Integration, Theory, and Application (2014) with Dr. Paul B. Pedersen and ACA Advocacy Competencies: A Social Justice Framework for Counselors (2010) with Dr. Judy Lewis and Dr. Rebecca Toporek. He has produced two video series through Alexander Street Press titled Four Approaches to Counseling One Client: Medical, Intrapsychic, Multicultural, and Social Justice Counseling Paradigms (2011) and Five Forces of Counseling and Psychotherapy: Psychoanalytic, Cognitive-Behavioral, Existential-Humanistic, Multicultural, and Social Justice (2013).

While visiting Belfast

Besides attending the conference, we want everyone who visits Belfast to experience something of the city and local culture. Conference organisers have planned a number of cultural activities including a walking tour of the city and an evening of traditional Irish food and music. Details will be provided as the conference approaches.



Anyone wishing to book a room at the conference venue, the Europa Hotel, can call the reservation team on 02890271066 (from the US dial 011 then 44 for the UK) or email res@eur.hastingshotels.com and quote booking ID 133868.


Elements of the Let the Voices be Heard! conference will be available to watch as a webcast. Details will follow in 2019. Please check back here for updates.


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