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Idaho State University Counseling Students To Visit Thailand During Holidays to Study, Serve
Posted: Sunday, December 21, 2014 2:36 am
POCATELLO – While many Idaho State University students and personnel were finishing up and readying for the holidays with their families, ISU Department of Counseling Professor and Chair David Kleist was packing his bags, preparing to leave for a three-week trip to Thailand on the last day of fall semester. Kleist will be leading a group of eight, including four master’s and two doctoral Department of Counseling students, during a series of activities in Thailand including visits to an orphanage, a domestic violence shelter, a university and a Buddhist meditation center. The ISU students, who will earn two credits for the trip, will join him in Thailand on Dec. 27.
“One of the main reasons we offer opportunities like this, is from a counseling perspective, our students need to have a cross-cultural perspective,” Kleist said. “We are challenged in Southeast Idaho to provide students with rich experiences with cultural diversity and how different people from different cultures view mental health problems and the receipt of care.”
Studying and experiencing mindfulness is a significant part of the group’s itinerary. Mindfulness, defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.”
“Mindfulness is something we work a lot on in mental health counseling,” said Hillary Merkley, ISU counseling master’s student and ISU assistant track coach, who is going on trip. “It is a concept that is used in the Buddhist religion. We will be staying in a Buddhist temple a couple of nights to visit with monks and we will be learning about this topic from people who study it. It is a big part of their religion, lives and culture.”
The students will have the opportunity to learn and possibly serve at the domestic violence shelter and at an orphanage.
“We won’t be able to make a profound impact at either the shelter or orphanage during a few-day visit, but we’ll do whatever we can that is useful to them,” said Anna Elliott, a third-year doctoral student in the ISU counselor education program.
The ISU contingent will also meet with the counseling faculty at a university, getting exposed to what is similar and what if different in the Thai people’s approach to mental health counseling and education.
This is the ISU Department of Counseling’s first trip to Thailand for international studies. In previous years the department has taken students and faculty to a variety of other countries. Part of the agenda for this trip is to make and develop contacts for future potential collaborations.
“My ultimate hope is to develop a relationship with some universities and agencies in Thailand so our students can return and provide and receive training for mental health counseling,” Kleist said.
The trip promises to be an adventure and a learning experience for the ISU students.
“I love the opportunity to do some service, which we may get at the domestic violence shelter or the orphanage,” Merkley said. “I hope to learn a little bit about how they do counseling in Thailand and how that is different than how we do it in the United States.
“I’m also excited,” she added, “to see an elephant.”
Animal Attraction: How animal-assisted therapy might improve your family’s health
By Rebecca Long Pyper
For the Journal
Published Idaho State Journal, Wednesday, November 5, 2014
No matter what struggles you and yours face, animal-assisted
therapy might be the key to turning things around.
What used to be considered nonsense or “fluff” at best,
animal-assisted therapy is growing in application and
credibility, said Dr. Leslie Stewart of Idaho State
University’s Department of Counseling, who specializes in
This therapy is more than animal-assisted activities like
reading-assistance dog programs in schools or therapy animal
visits in hospitals and nursing homes, designed to boost
mood and improve quality of life.
Animal-assisted therapy is goal-directed and professional
counselors are professionally trained. While relying on
animal assistance in counseling, specially trained and
evaluated pets act as therapeutic agents in the counseling
process to reach goals.
Some of the most common conditions treated by the therapy
include anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and trauma,
and developmental disorders such as autism and learning
disabilities. Even those with more profound conditions like
schizophrenia can benefit from animal-assisted therapy
because “learning to care for the animals can help them
learn to care for themselves,” Stewart said.
One reason this therapy works is that humans and animals
have a need for each other - a bond that’s biological.
According to Stewart, in order for humans to invest in the
biological energy necessary for brain development, they had
to surrender the acuteness of the senses that animals have.
It’s the reason higher primates still hang out next to prey
species like deer - they watch the deer and have a heads-up
when danger is nearby.
There’s a hormonal matter at play too. Animals and their
owners both demonstrate elevated levels of oxytocin, or the
“cuddle” hormone, since its production is boosted by
affectionate touch, and aids in bonding.
And with animal-assisted therapy, “when people are having
positive interactions with animals, you see that elevated
level of oxytocin in the animal and the client,” Stewart
That’s a good thing because many therapy-seeking clients
need some feel-good in their lives. Animal-assisted therapy
can be used by any health- or human-service professional –
counselors, therapists, nurse practitioners, physical
therapists and occupation therapists, for instance.
For emotional, behavioral or physical difficulties,
professionals can set goals with clients and incorporate
animals into the treatment.
“As long as an appropriately qualified handler facilitates
the intervention, it’s very widely applicable to a whole,
wide range of concerns,” Stewart said.
When selecting a therapist who works with animals, make sure
to do your homework. Health professionals should be able to
tell you which organization they are registered through. Pet
Partners and Therapy Dogs Inc. are common, reputable ones.
This will ensure that the services are safe and high
quality, Stewart said.
For more information, Stewart recommends Dr. Rise Van
Fleet’s Facebook group “Animal Assisted Play Therapy” and
Temple Grandin’s book “Animals in Translation.”
2014 Aces Research Grant Awards
ACES Research Grant Award has been
awarded to two Department of Counseling doctoral students.
Kirsten LaMantia has been awarded a $1,300 grant for her
dissertation titled, Voices of Minority Students
within Counseling. Jennifer Gess, along with
Assistant Professor Dr. Chad Yates, received an award of
$1,500 for their research titled, Exploring the
Process of Broaching the Topic of LGBTQ Competencies: A
Qualitative Investigation in Counselor Training. The
awards were announced at the 2014 ACES Regional
Jennifer Gess Selected as NBCC MFP Fellow
The NBCC Foundation, an affiliate of the
National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), recently
selected Jennifer Gess
of Boise, ID, for the National Board for Certified
Counselors Minority Fellowship Program (NBCC MFP). As an
NBCC MFP Fellow, Ms. Gess will receive funding and training
to support her education and facilitate her service to
underserved minority populations.
The NBCC MFP is made possible by a grant awarded to NBCC by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in August 2012. The Foundation is contracted by NBCC to administer the NBCC MFP, as well as training and collaboration activities, such as webinars, that are open to all National Certified Counselors. The goal of the program is to strengthen the infrastructure that engages diverse individuals in counseling and increases the number of professional counselors providing effective, culturally competent services to underserved populations.
The NBCC MFP will distribute $20,000 education awards to Ms. Gess and the 21 other doctoral-level counseling students selected to receive the fellowship award. Jennifer Gess is a graduate of Seattle University and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in counselor education at Idaho State University in Meridian, Idaho. Ms. Gess's professional and volunteer experiences include counseling at a mental health agency for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) population, teaching in south India, working at homeless shelters in Seattle, and cofounding an LGBTQ youth program in Seattle for a community mental health clinic. Her private practice specializes in counseling LGBTQ youth and families and consulting with organizations looking to incorporate equality into the school or workplace. As an NBCC MFP Fellow, Ms. Gess plans to expand her expertise in providing best practices on behalf of LGBTQ clients. She aspires to become a counselor educator while actively continuing to research, teach, consult, and advocate on behalf of LGBTQ communities and those interested in supporting equality.
Greensboro, NC (PRWEB) July 15, 2014
Article is taken from the PRWeb Online Visibility from Vocus website
Beronica Salazar Awarded Fellowship from NBCC and Affiliates
The NBCC Foundation, an affiliate of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), recently selected Beronica Salazar of Middleton, ID for the National Board for Certified Counselors Minority Fellowship Program (NBCC MFP). As an NBCC MFP Fellow, Ms. Salazar will receive funding and training to support her education and facilitate her service to underserved minority populations.
The NBCC MFP is made possible by a grant awarded to NBCC by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in August 2012. The Foundation is contracted by NBCC to administer the NBCC MFP, as well as training and collaboration activities such as webinars that are open to all National Certified Counselors. The goal of the program is to strengthen the infrastructure that engages diverse individuals in counseling and increases the number of professional counselors providing effective, culturally competent services to underserved populations.
The NBCC MFP will distribute $20,000 education awards to Ms. Salazar and the 21 other doctoral-level counseling students selected to receive the fellowship award. Beronica Salazar is a doctoral candidate in counselor education and counseling at Idaho State University in Meridian and a graduate of Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho. She is a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and a licensed clinical professional counselor in Idaho. She has experience working in community agency settings, counselor education, clinical supervision, and substance abuse treatment. Ms. Salazar works as a clinician with underserved clients who are mentally ill at the Department of Health and Welfare behavioral health program. As an NBCC MFP Fellow, she plans to continue her dissertation research and conduct professional presentations to enhance understanding of underserved minority populations.
Greensboro, NC (PRWEB) August 07, 2014
Article is taken from the PRWeb Online Visibility from Vocus website
Congratulations Dr. Elizabeth Horn
In January of 2014 the Idaho Counseling Association honored Dr. Elizabeth Horn with the “Pass it on Baton” award for her work in the counseling profession. The award honors an individual who is willing to serve, teaches advocacy, and creates new paths in the counseling profession. This person’s advocacy of counseling services has a positive impact for counselors on a local, state or national level.
Outstanding Supervisor of the Year 2014
The Department of Counseling is delighted to announce our ISU Outstanding Supervisor of the Year. Receiving this recognition from ISU-Pocatello is ZAK WARREN, M.Coun. from Pearl Health Clinic in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Please join us in congratulating him for his commitment to nurturing the counselors of tomorrow in such a holistic and empowering manner. The Department of Counseling's annual recognition of Supervisor of the Year is a student driven process.
Congratulations to Lynn Bohecker
Lynn Bohecker, a doctoral student in the Department of Counseling, Division of Health Sciences, in the Kasiska School of Health Professions, was selected as a 2013-14 Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) Presidential Fellow. The ACES Presidential Fellows is an initiative developed by Dr. Nicole R. Hill, Professor in the Department of Counseling, during her tenure as ACES President, to support emergent leaders and educators in the counseling profession. Dr. Robin Lee, the current 2013-14 ACES President and Professor at Middle Tennessee State University, explains that "ACES has five regions, one of which is the Rocky Mountain Region. Each region was asked to nominate two graduate students who evidence a high level of professional commitment, potentiality, and excellence. The Rocky Mountain region nominated Lynn based on her potential for future leadership in the counseling profession."