Founded in 1991 | A division of the American Counseling Association

2019 Annual Conference Poster Presentations


Session Title: Fostering Queer Counselor Identity Development Through the Use of a Queer Psychology Reading Group


Blake Bettis - Illinois School of Professional Psychology

Artemis Allen - University of West Georgia Counseling Center, Carrollton, GA

Abstract: The literature on professional and counselor identity development indicates that the development of a coherent and secure professional identity is related to effective performance in the field (Prosek & Hurt, 2014; Woo, Storlie, & Baltrinic, 2016; Dong, Campbell, & Vance, 2017). Further, Gibson, Dollarhid, & Moss (2010) indicate that an element that contributes significantly to the development of a professional identity in students of counseling and early career counselors is the literature to which they are exposed, including peer-reviewed work and textbooks. Given this, it is reasonable to assume that the inclusion of queer literature in counseling courses would be beneficial to the development of professional identities for students who identify within the queer umbrella. However, this literature is still significantly underrepresented in training programs in counseling psychology (Alessi, Dillon, & Kim, 2015). This presentation discusses the potential of peer-led reading groups as one method of increasing student exposure to the counseling literature on queer populations and fostering the development of a professional identity that integrates students' queer identities. The co-presenters' experiences in designing such a group, and reflections on the challenges involved in group conceptualization and design are presented to illustrate this approach's potential application in college counseling settings.

Learning Objectives:

  • ·         Attendees will be able to describe factors contributing to professional identity development in queer counseling students.
  • ·         Attendees will be able to apply and/or modify the peer-led reading group model to encourage identity development among queer-identified counseling students.


Session Title: Barriers to Success: The Counselor's Role in Confronting Weight Stigma


Meredith Blackwell - University of Arkansas

Abstract: Weight bias is one of the last socially acceptable forms of discrimination, and something that has an effect on the physical, mental, and economic health of individuals in larger bodies. As we commit to increasing social justice competency and advocacy within our profession, we need to recognize weight bias as an important social justice issue. It is our responsibility as counselors to examine our own assumptions and beliefs surrounding higher weight individuals and to challenge those beliefs. Further, counselors have an ethical responsibility to learn and advocate for weight inclusive treatment approaches that champion body liberation and size acceptance.


Session Title: International Students in the United States and University Counseling Services


Ahmet Can - Northern State University

Yegan Pillay - Ohio University

Abstract: According to Open Doors Report, there were over 1.2 million international students officially entered at colleges and universities in U.S. and the number of international students in U.S. increased 3.4% in 2016-2017 academic term (Open Doors Report, 2018). International students are a heterogeneous group in terms of their national and cultural backgrounds. Nilsson and Anderson (2004) stated that the degree of difficulty experienced by international students tends to be associated with the degree of dissimilarity between the students' native culture and the U.S. culture. Having stating all these differences, it is obvious that understanding the barriers and needs of such diverse populations in reaching quality counseling services will improve the efforts of mental health and counseling centers in terms of providing efficient support for making such enculturation is less painful and productive to them. Thus, the poster session will provide overview regarding research-based synthesis about the common challenges, difficulties, and barriers that international students face while pursuing their education in U.S. higher education institutions. In addition to focusing on the students, the poster session will provide attendees to consider counseling theories and empirically supported therapy techniques utilized with international students attending college in the United States.

Learning Objectives:

  • ·         Attendees will describe the common challenges or problems experienced by graduate and undergraduate international students and the areas in which these might be experienced (e.g., social, cultural, academic).
  • ·         Attendees will recognize the barriers to help-seeking behavior for international students and specific strategies that might enhance the usage of counseling centers by international students.
  • ·         Attendees will utilize effective prevention and intervention treatment modalities for common problems experienced by international students (e.g., depression, anxiety).


Session Title: An exploration of current trends, attitudes, and implementation climate towards evidence-based practice among college counselors


Sean Newhart - William & Mary

Patrick Mullen - William & Mary

Abstract: University and college counseling centers (UCC) play a significant role in promoting optimal functioning for students at risk of experiencing numerous mental health difficulties. UCCs provide a range of services to students, including individual counseling, collaboration with campus departments, suicide prevention, crisis services, and outreach programming. Researchers have supported that college counseling services are as effective as treatment in clinical trials (e.g., CBT). As with other mental health settings, college counseling centers do not have a universal approach that is used across clients; that is, college counselors utilize multiple interventions for a wide range of presenting problems. However, there is an increased emphasis on college counselors to integrate evidence-based practices (EBP) into their clinical work. Although researchers have explored general trends in college counseling centers, there has been little research to date that explores specific theoretical approaches utilized by college counselors, counselors' attitudes towards EBPs, and institutional supports for EBPs. We present a study that examined the theoretical orientation of practicing college counselors, along with attitudes and implementation climate towards EBP and career satisfaction. Rich demographic information of the sample is also presented.

Learning Objectives:

  • ·         Attendees will be able to describe the current demographic landscape of college counselors, including degree earned, professional background, primary theoretical orientation, and other factors related to college counseling centers.
  • ·         Attendees will be able discuss, assess, and critique current attitudes of college counselors towards evidence-based practice, as well as perceived implementation climate of UCCs regarding evidence-based practice.
  • ·         Attendees will be able to analyze how characteristics of college counselors and their respective counseling centers predict attitudes and implementation climate regarding EBPs.                                                                                                                                             -

Session Title: Implementing Clinical Biofeedback Services at a University Substance Use Disorders Clinic


Collier Shepard - University of Central Florida

Abstract: This presentation details the structure for implementing clinical biofeedback services at a substance use disorders clinic in a university setting. Highlighted information includes candidate selection, EEG and resonant frequency assessment, treatment planning, goals and objectives for neurofeedback training and heart rate variability training, and anticipated outcomes. The presenter will explain the structure and benefit of implementing biofeedback services at a substance use disorders clinician in a university setting to provide adjunct therapy to students with substance use disorders, who represent a group of marginalized students on many campuses.

Learning Objectives:

  • ·         Two biofeedback training modalities that can be used as adjunct therapy to students with substance use disorders will be described to the learners.
  • ·         Three benefits of developing self-regulation skills through biofeedback training to more effectively cope with stressors and reduce substance use will be explained to learners.
  • ·         Learners will be able to use information from the presentation for setting up adjunct biofeedback services in university substance use disorders clinic.                                                                                                                                        -

Session Title: First Generation College Students: Looking Back to Move Forward


Kevin Tate - State University of New York, College at Brockport

Abstract: There has been a significant focus in both research and practice on the experience of first generation college students. This poster will provide a grand summary of what we know from past research and scholarship, including a focus on the nuance of the many intersecting identities that fist generation college students also possess (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender identity). A particular spotlight will be shown on applied practices, interventions, and structures that have been created to empower this population toward personal, career, and educational success during their time as a college student. Flowing from these foundations, this poster will outline what college counselors and student affairs professionals can do to "dream big" as they collaborate across offices and functional areas to best support first generation college students to realize their full potential during and beyond the college experience.

Learning Objectives:

  • ·         Describe and discuss what is currently known about factors and practices that support success for first generation college students
  • ·         Apply past research and practice about first generation college students to the unique college ecosystems they work withing
  • ·         Design the initial structure for structures and/or programming that will support first generation college students in their unique contexts
  • ·         Identify collaborators outside of their counseling center (or unit they work within) to create cross-functions supports and structures to support this population of students

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ACCA Annual Conference
Washington, DC
February 27 - March 1, 2020


Through a collaboration of the PAPA Committee and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee a new paper on the Increased Need for Counseling Services has been added to the Resources Page

The HEMHA Distance Counseling Guide has been added to the resources page.

2018-2019 Research Grant Applications are now being accepted.  Follow the link to learn more about ACCA Research Grant Awards

Please note the addition of the College Counseling & Psychological Services Knowledge Base to the resources page.

ACCA Members in the News

Janelle Johnson comments on the state of mental services at community colleges.

Janelle Johnson on College Counseling” Interview. Follow the link to read the full interview.

Janelle Johnson is quoted in the Inside Higher Ed article Colleges Use Technology to Help Students Manage Mental Health, October 5, 2018.

Lisa Adams is quoted in the Washington Post article College Students are forming mental-health clubs - and they're making a difference.
June 28, 2018

Lisa Adams is quoted in the Inside Higher Ed article Flawed Judgement in Use of Force Against Students.
April 19, 2018

Lisa Adams is quoted in the Inside Higher Ed article A World Without Depression.
April 3, 2018

Lisa Adams is quoted in the Time article Record Numbers of College Students Are Seeking Treatment for Depression and Anxiety - But Schools Can't Keep Up.
March 19, 2018

Lisa Adams is quoted in the Inside Higher Ed article Moving Away from Charging for Counseling
February 7, 2018

Lisa Adams is quoted in the Inside Higher Ed article Suicide Data
January 11, 2018

Lisa Adams is quoted in the Inside Higher Ed article All by Myself
October 26, 2017

Lisa Adams is quoted in the Inside Higher Ed article Suicide Victims as Art Subjects
October 10, 2017

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