VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.
Counselor Education Beyond Our Borders: Promoting Mental Health Counseling in Romania Through a Service Learning Project
Troyann Gentile, Laura Schmuldt, and Barry Stephens
The purpose of this article is to provide readers an account of the challenges and opportunities presented in a multi-faceted service-learning program in Romania. Developed in 2010, this endeavor involved an exploratory visit to assess the needs of social service agencies in Romania, and partnership with an American non-profit agency providing services to at-risk children. The mission of this program was to expose students to counseling as an emerging field in a developing post-communist community. In collaboration with the National Board of Certified Counselors-International (NBCC-I) Mental Health Facilitator (MHF) program, the authors were trained as Master Trainers in order to better prepare themselves to interact with social service personnel in Romania. This paper will present our journey as counselor educators towards the development of a service-learning program in Romania over four stages: 1) pre-planning; 2) early implementation; 3) on the journey; and 4) findings and lessons learned. The authors describe an international service-learning project experience, share lessons learned for counselor educators who want to establish a similar program, and present an example of a student's reflection on the experience.