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ODU Counseling Professors Connect with Counseling Profession Leaders in Ireland

Garrett McAuliffe and Ted Remley, faculty members in the Darden College of Education's Department of Counseling and Human Services at Old Dominion University, invited two leaders of the counseling profession in Ireland to speak to students recently in their second annual Diversity and Counseling Institute at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.

Twenty-one students are enrolled in this year's institute, which runs from Aug. 8-19 and offers three graduate credits. Included are seven ODU students - two doctoral students and two master's students in counseling, an M.B.A. student and two human services undergraduate majors from the university's Richmond and Chester Teletechnet sites. The remaining 14 participants are counseling program faculty members, doctoral students and master's students from universities across the United States.

Naoise Kelly, national director of the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP), and Shane Kelly (no relation), the association's professional services manager, addressed the group on Aug. 12. IACP is the professional association that represents counseling professionals in Ireland and is the Irish equivalent of the American Counseling Association, the organization for professional counselors in the United States. IACP provides professional development for its counselor members, represents the counseling profession to the government of Ireland and promotes the profession of counseling in Ireland.

Kelly and Kelly described the current pressing problems for which clients in Ireland seek counseling. Based on the association's recent survey of its 3,300 members, Irish counselors reported that the most pressing personal issues clients bring to counseling sessions are anxiety, depression, stress and partner abuse. Almost 80 percent of the counselors surveyed said that the recession in Ireland is having a negative impact on the mental health of current clients.

The IACP leaders summarized the Irish counseling profession's attempts to become recognized by its government to be a licensed profession, similar to psychology and social work. The goal of the Irish counseling association is to protect the citizens of Ireland from the harm that could be inflicted by ill-prepared counselors. IACP is attempting to demonstrate to the government of Ireland that counselors must be adequately educated before being allowed to practice counseling. The association is asking the government to establish positions within social service agencies for credentialed counselors and to establish a process that would require counselors in private practice to be licensed by the government.

McAuliffe and Remley anticipate that a continuing relationship will be established between ODU and counselors in Ireland through annual counselor institutes, which will be held in Dublin, and continuing interaction with Irish leaders in the counseling profession.

Pictured are (l-r): Garrett McAuliffe, Naoise Kelly, Shane Kelly and Ted Remley

This article was posted on: August 17, 2010

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