Christine Suniti Bhat Begins Term as President of American Counseling Association

Jun 27, 2024

The scholar and professional counselor hopes to draw attention to mental health among children and adolescents 

Alexandria, Va. (June 27, 2024) — Christine Suniti Bhat, PhD, an Ohio University professor and an expert on cyberbullying prevention, begins her term as 2024-2025 president of the American Counseling Association on July 1. 

Christine Suniti Bhat

Bhat, professor and chair of the Department of Counseling and Higher Education in the Patton College at Ohio University, is 73rd president of ACA. The organization is dedicated to the advancement of mental health and well-being through the growth and enhancement of the counseling profession.

Bhat takes over the role held by Edil Torres Rivera, PhD, who will now serve as ACA immediate past president through June 2025.

Bhat said her priorities for ACA in the coming year include: 

  • focusing on the mental health and wellness of children and adolescents,
  • encouraging research that supports counselors’ work, and
  • promoting the value that counselors bring to those they serve. 

“I am proud of the work that we counselors do and of our identity as professional counselors,” Bhat said. “With our training at the master's level and above, counselors serve clients across the lifespan. We are an integral part of the behavioral health workforce.” 

At Ohio University, Bhat teaches students in the master’s programs in school, clinical mental health and clinical rehabilitation counseling and in the doctoral program in counselor education and supervision. She trains school counselors and parents on strategies to proactively address the issue of cyberbullying among children and adolescents. Her research is focused on the prevalence of cyberbullying and what school personnel and parents can do to prevent it and empower youth who are targets or bystanders of it.  

In addition to experience in academia, Bhat is a licensed professional counselor and school counselor. She has extensive international experience as an educator, counselor and psychologist in Australia and India. Her recent leadership positions include serving as treasurer of Chi Sigma Iota Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society, president of the Association for Specialists in Group Work and president of the Ohio Counseling Association.

Founded in 1952, the American Counseling Association (ACA) is a not-for-profit, professional and educational organization that is dedicated to the growth and enhancement of the counseling profession. ACA represents nearly 60,000 members and is the world’s largest association exclusively representing professional counselors in various practice settings. Driven by the belief that all people can benefit from the power of counseling, ACA’s mission is to promote the professional development of counselors, advocate for counselors, and ensure that ethical, culturally inclusive practices protect our members’ clients and all people who seek counseling services.