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.
From Awareness to Action: Becoming a LGBT Advocate in a Conservative Rural Community
Gregory R. Sandman, Marissa A. Fye, David D. Hof, and Julie A. Dinsmore
Graduate students training to be mental health counselors are taught the importance of developing the skills to advocate for clients, especially those from underrepresented groups. This article chronicles one student’s journey from growing awareness of the struggles of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) population in a rural community to making a personal and professional commitment to advocacy by establishing a chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). Personal reflections and a case study are included that demonstrate both the emotional and practical steps needed to implement advocacy initiatives.