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MCA's Annual Conference - Celebrating the Unbreakable Profession

Keynote Speaker - Dr. Michele Kerulis

Session: Counseling Excellence: Celebrating the Unbreakable Profession

Counselors dedicate their careers to developing the emotional wellness of others and sometimes forget to take time for themselves. The events of the previous year resulted in extreme stress across multiple systems and counselors were challenged to help clients address increased crisis, grief, and uncertainty, all while dealing with these issues, too. What we know is that counselors can develop laser sharp focus and deliver excellent counseling to their clients. We also know that counselors have an ethical obligation to practice their own wellness rituals to help them maintain this level of excellence. I have noticed that the same skills that I teach athletes about getting into the zone on demand can also help counselors get into the zone when working with clients.

Part of getting into the zone is understanding wellness. It is a multidimensional concept and counselors interact with these dimensions on a regular basis as they promote health across all systems. I believe that counselors can interrupt negativity and highlight wellness that exists among the unhealthy systems in our lives. To do this, we must ensure that we practice self-care and model these behaviors for others.

Developing commitment to self-care can be difficult and learning how to examine our own personal strengths can help us decide how to balance our energies as we encourage others to do the same. In this keynote address, counselors will learn the three steps to getting into the zone, identify their individualized ingredients for wellness, and learn ways to overcome existing and unanticipated roadblocks. Counselors will leave this session with their own realistic self-care plans that can be implemented immediately.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Counselors will be able to identify ethics codes related to counselor wellness (ACA, 2014; AMHCA; 2020). 
  2. Counselors will be able to explain the zone of optimal functioning (Hanin, 2000) 
  3. Counselors will be able to identify ingredients for wellness (Kerulis, 2011)

    NBCC Content Area: Wellness and Prevention

    Presenter Information:

    Dr. Kerulis is certified through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, a member of the United States Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Registry, and a content expert in counseling ethics and sport and exercise. She served as a board member for Illinois Mental Health Counselors Association for four years. She is a Past President of Illinois Counseling Association, Past Midwest Region Governing Council Representative, 2019-2021 Midwest Region Representative for the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development, and current Chair of the Midwest Region of American Counseling Association.

    Dr. Kerulis is an active public speaker, private practice clinical therapist, and blogger for Counseling@Northwestern, American Counseling Association, Association for Applied Sport Psychology, and Psychology Today. Her work with the Counseling@Northwestern blog was recognized as one of the Top Counseling Blogs of 2017.

    Dr. Kerulis has received recognition for her work including the Wendell S. Dysinger Award for Outstanding Professional Counseling Publication, Mental Health Counselors Association Distinguished Service Award and Illinois Counselor Educators & Supervisors Innovative Counselor Educator of the Year award.

    Dr. Kerulis’ clinical areas of expertise include general mental health, sport & exercise, and lifestyle & wellness. Her years of experience as an athlete, fitness professional, and therapist have created the foundation for her belief that the skills necessary to achieve success in sport and performance are the same skills necessary to achieve excellence in life.

    Dr. Kerulis Counseling Excellence Celebrating the Unbreakable Profession.pdf

    Dr. Kerulis Worksheets.pdf

    Keynote Speaker - Dr. Charmayne Adams

    Session: Putting the Fish Back In the Water: Working with Clients within the Context of their Intergenerational Trauma and Cultural Resilience

    Client’s come to counseling asking for coping skills, and often don’t recognize that their body and brain have already created a host of ways of coping. All coping skills are the creative ways that clients use to manage discomfort. They are a collection of individual and community level efforts that we use to regulate our emotions, cognitions, behavior, physiology, and environment in response to stress—they make perfect sense when they are viewed within the context of the client’s life. One of our biggest challenges as counselors is to help our clients understand that they have a myriad of coping skills embedded in their various identities. We help the client understand that we swim in response to the water around us. This session will talk about how intergenerational trauma and cultural resilience shape how we respond to stressful situations, and address what our role is as counselors in collaborating with clients in an empowering and client-centered way. We can’t work with our clients outside of the water. Let’s learn together how to get in and swim with them to normalize that the coping behavior makes sense in the context of the water it was created to help them swim in.

    NBCC Content Area: Counseling Theory/Practice and the Counseling Relationship 

    Presenter Information:

    Dr. Adams is an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and an independently licensed professional counselor. Her clinical background focuses on working with individuals with a history of trauma or in crisis. Her research focuses on teaching about trauma, systemic and emotion focused clinical interventions, and the application of attachment theory in clinical and academic settings. Both clinically and academically Dr. Adams is focused on social justice counseling and empowering clients to examine barriers and use their strengths to overcome life’s challenges.

    Michigan Counseling Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. 

    Address: P.O. Box 930422 | Wixom, MI 48393

    Email: michigancounselingassociation@gmail.com

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