Sujata Ives, PhD, GCDFI

Sujata Ives, PhD, GCDFI

Employment Counselor and Global Workplace Consultant

Washington, DC

Member Since 2016

ACA is a community of diverse, vibrant counselors and educators who are changing lives and the world at large. Sujata Ives is an employment counselor who aims to help her clients achieve career success. Ives also chairs the association’s International Committee, and is an advocate for diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. 

What is the biggest challenge facing the mental health field today?   

As an employment counselor and a global workforce consultant, my goal is to activate success for people. However, there is a major challenge facing the mental health field today and it is stigma. There are many independent variables that contribute to the formation of stigma at the individual and systemic levels. They include (but are not limited to) schema, culture, geography, SES, caste system, patriarchal and matriarchal societies, and bureaucracy.  

A strong challenge stems from cultural schemas, where the mere mention of mental health, in many cultures, is taboo. Attributing mental health disorders to personality or hiding an individual at home is not a viable solution for any nation.  

Mental health is a humanitarian issue that affects this whole world. I am doing my part to showcase mental health discussions for my birth nation of India, where I inspire and empower international audiences to embrace mental health. 

What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about counseling? 

One of the biggest misconceptions about counseling is that it is reserved for people who have pervasive disorders, when this is absolutely untrue. There are severe cases that are emphasized in movies because it makes for good ratings, but most of the population is not suffering from pervasiveness.  

What do you do to take care of yourself and rejuvenate?   

Prevention, meditation, and mindfulness! Self-care is akin to taking a breath of oxygen first, while scuba diving, before you offer it to your buddy. Taking breaks during the month to pivot, reset and recharge is imperative. To me, mental health means mental strength.  

What outside of counseling brings you joy? Tell us about your hobbies or outside interests.  

There are many things that put joy in my heart. Having dinner and playing games with family and friends; playing the piano, swimming, walking in nature, hula-hooping, cooking, reading, writing, listening to music, dancing, watching good movies, crocheting, cooking, cleaning, gardening. I view the world as abundant. There is no lack. There is enough to go around for everyone. My worldview sees the glass as half full.  

If you’d like to share how ACA membership or participation has helped you along your career journey, please do! 

I have a genetic condition where my vocal cords do not close, and this causes my voice to wiggle and jiggle. When I was ready to pursue my PhD, I felt that, out of any niche, the counseling community would best embrace me and my condition without any judgment.  

ACA has given me a safe space to speak my truth, wonderful colleagues and friends, and professional development opportunities. I am in love with association leadership, and have found that I am embraced and not passed over (discriminated against) despite this condition.