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Visit from Zoo Idaho to Animal Assisted Intervention Best Practices Course - June 27, 2018

During the Animal Assisted Interventions Best practices course, we were excited to have guest speakers, Rachel, Ashlyn, and Mia, from Zoo Idaho. They brought several of the Zoo's education animal ambassadors to help our future AAI professional learn about animal behavior, husbandry, and advanced training principles. Even though none of the animals who visited us today represent species eligible for registration as therapy animals, the experience provided students with an opportunity to learn about how professionalized working relationships with animals are both similar and different from personal pet relationships with animals at home. We also learned much about how effective animal socialization and positive training methods may look across a wide variety of animal species.

All of Zoo Idaho's animals are native to Idaho and the northwest and come to the Zoo as injured or orphaned from Idaho Fish and Game and will no longer be able to survive in the wild. The animal ambassadors who visited our class today included:

Athena, a nine year old Red Tail Hawk. The Red Tail Hawk is one of nine species of hawks in Idaho. Because Red Tailed Hawks are not naturally social animals, her caretakers are very dedicated to providing her with the training and socialization she needs to be a happy and successful animal ambassador.

Aggie, a Desert Tortoise from Utah. He is about 40 years old and could live to 80, and his favorite food is the Prickly Pear Cactus. The Desert Tortoise is an endangered species. Aggie was injured from being hit by a car. Notice his higher ridges on his shell.

Rocky, an Eastern Box Turtle is a surrendered pet with a permanent mouth injury. Rocky is exceptionally friendly and well socialized with people, including rambunctious children.

Toothless is a four year old Tiger Salamander and native to Idaho. They can be found in the marsh/wet lands. Handlers of salamanders and other amphibians need to take extra care to avoid accidentally harming the animal with dry hands, moisturizers, perfumes, or other skin products.

Gopher Snake Pat II is two years old and is a well socialized reptile. He loves his flower pot and like to peek out to say "Hi". Although Gopher snakes are sometimes aggressive in the wild, Pat II is very comfortable around his human caretakers and enjoys being handled.

A very rambunctious Domesticated Black Footed Ferret named Bitsy also visited. She is described as energetic, sneaky, and curious. She loves attention and meeting new people. 

To see these animal ambassador and the other wonderful animals, visit Zoo Idaho in Pocatello, Idaho.

Zoo Hawk  Zoo animal  Zoo turtle  Zoo salamander

Zoo snake  Zoo animal



Congratulations to Dr. Christian Chan and Dr. Randy Astramovich!

Dr. Chan has been elected as the President for the Idaho Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in Counseling (IALGBTIC). His term as President will begin on July 1, 2018. On July 1, 2019, he will move into the role of IALGBTIC Past-President.

Dr. Astramovich has been elected as the President-Elect for IALGBTIC to begin his term on July 1, 2018 with the successive plan to move into the IALGBTIC President role on July 1, 2019 and the IALGBTIC Past-President role on July 1, 2020.

Published by Assistant Professor Dr. Christian Chan and Adrienne N. Erby

In the Journal of Homosexuality! A Critical Analysis and Applied Intersectionality Framework with Intercultural Queer Couples. Intercultural queer couples are growing at an extensive rate in the United States, exemplifying diversity across multiple dimensions (e.g., race, ethnicity, sexuality, affectional identity, gender identity) while experiencing multiple converging forms of oppression (e.g., racism, heterosexism, genderism). Given the dearth of conceptual and empirical literature that unifies both dimensions related to intercultural and queer, applied practices and research contend with a unilateral approach focusing exclusively on either intercultural or queer couples. Intersectionality theory has revolutionized critical scholarship to determine overlapping forms of oppression, decenter hegemonic structures of power relations and social contexts, and enact a social justice agenda. This article addresses the following aims: (1) an overview of the gaps eliciting unilateral approaches to intercultural queer couples; (2) an illustration of intersectionality’s theoretical underpinnings as a critical approach; and (3) applications for insights in practices and research with intercultural queer couples.

For the full article

Congratulations to Dr. Kristen Lister, Dr. Christian Chan, Dr. Randy Astramovich, and doctoral student Vincent Marasco!

They were awarded the 2018 ALGBTIC (Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues in Counseling) Professional Research Grant for their study entitled "Counselors Making Sense of Their Experiences with Ally Identity: Promoting Greater Understanding and Support of Allyship within LGBTQ+ Communities."

Presentations at National American Counseling Association by Dr. Leslie Stewart and Dr. Christian Chan

Dr. Stewart:
Education Session: Integrating Animal Assisted Interventions into Trauma-Informed Care: Animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) exist within the realm of body-oriented trauma interventions, promoting connection with oneself and others. When implemented with appropriate training, AAIs offer benefits to trauma-informed care, such as increasing rapport and offering nonverbal avenues for expression.
Education Session: Animal Assisted Interventions & Theory: Classic, Integrative, and New Generation: Intentionally incorporating the human-animal bond into counseling can be a powerful addition to the process. Counselors of all specialty areas can use animal assited interventions to promote insight and self-growth within clients.
Poster: Animal Assisted Therapy in Mental Heath Interest Network: Philosophy & Trends: Interest in implementing animal-assited interventions (AAIs) into counseling practices is growing rapidly, and ACA's Animal-Assited Therapy in Mental Health (AATMH) Interest Network now has 425 members.
Dr. Chan:
Affirming Counseling Practice with Queer People of Color: From Margins to Center: Within the diverse LGBTQ+ community, queer people of color (QPOC) represent a variety of gender, affectional and cultural identities and experiences. Intersectionality offers a unique lens for understanding multiple minority identities, cultural strengths and resilience. 
Building Community Collaboration Through External Funding: A Focus on Older Adults and Aging: Health and wellness disparities for older adults augment the paucity of research and best practices focused on counseling and wellness for older adult communities. Researchers, counselor educators and practicing counselors collaboratively engage in efforts to advocate for older adult communities, necessitating the expansion of older adult research and training. T
Operationalizing Intersectionality in Counseling: Paradigmatic Research Insights: The intersectionality paradigm has emerged as a framework to meet a paradigm shift in multiculturalism and social justice that contests unilateral perspectives of social identity. There are methodological challenges in both quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research design, which range from negotiating research questions to philosophical approaches. 
AMCD Ethnic Vice Presidents: The White Papers in Action: In February 2017, the AMCD ethnic vice presidents did a webinar on white papers written to outline pressing issues for the communities they represent and serve. One year later, those plans are in action. Join Kim Lee Hughes, Ph.D., Interim Vice President of African American Concerns, Jung (June) Hee Hyun, Ph.D., Vice President of Asian American Pacific Islander Concerns, Isaac Burt, Ph.D., Vice President of Native American Concerns and Margarita Martinez, Vice President of Latin American Concerns as they discuss their successes and challenges in the era of President Trump.

Congratulations to Brittany Garcia! 2018 Stephen S. Feit Student Award for Professional Excellence recipient.

Brittany Garcia Award

Congratulations 2018 Graduates!

Doctoral Students - Dusty Destler and Kerrie Taylor (Meridian), Melisa DeMeyer, Renee Howells, and Marisa Rapp (Pocatello)

   Dusty & Kerrie Meridian Doc GraduatesPocatello Doctoral Graduates

Master Students

Meridian - Back Row - Jacob Price, Sophia Raffetto, Krista Doubleday, Iris Hansen, Kalin Morley. 
Front Row - Paige Howard, Carmen French, Savannah Carter, Anna Krzemieniecki, Nicole Berenger, Caroline Marino-Puccinelli, Athena Scheideggar.

Meridian Master Graduates

Pocatello Back Row - Seiji Brock, Rafael Torres, Joshua Peterson, Katie Sacco, Courtney Richert, Cody Carlson, Alyson Webster, Nicole Daniels.
Front Row - Shayla Anderson, Charlie Hansen, Amber Bergquist, Melanie Stumpf, Shari Summers, Stephanie Kinder, Brittany Garcia, Hayley Johnson, Jessica Sellman, Kayla White, Cynthia Lange.

Not Pictured - Brittany Bowen and Cheri Carver

Pocatello Master Graduates


Carmen French, Meridian Master of Counseling Graduate, receives Meridian Student of Excellence award!

Carmen French


Recently published. Doctoral Student Vincent Marasco, "Addressing Hegemonic Masculinity With Adolescent Boys Within the Counseling Relationship", Journal of Child and Adolescent Counseling, DOI: 10.1080/23727810.2017.1422647.

For the full article:


Dr. Leslie Stewart enjoyed a special “behind the scenes” invitation to the Georgia Aquarium to meet some of the animals and their trainers to experience new ways to conceptualize mutually beneficial human-animal relationships.

Leslie Stewart with Otter   Leslie Stewart Shake Hands with Beluga Whale  Leslie Stewart Kiss with Beluga Whale

Leslie Stewart Kiss 2 with Beluga Whale

Congratulations to doctoral candidate Renee Howells on receiving recognition for her AMCD Writers’ Consortium Grant!

Doctoral Student Award

Congradulations Dr. Leslie Stewart

ISU Department of Counseling faculty, Leslie Stewart, has been selected to serve on the Pet Partners Human Animal Bond Advisory Board (HABAB) alongside other leaders in the field of Animal Assisted Interventions. Pet Partners is recognized as leading the industry in connecting people with the healing power of animals by providing top quality volunteer therapy animal handler teams with the highest credentials; educating the public about the importance of safety, infection control, and animal welfare; and ensure that people in need of a therapy animal receive millions of visits per year.

Dr. Steve Moody Published

Dr. Steve Moody, April D. Johnson, Aida Midgett, and Diana M. Doumas published in The Professional Counselor, "A Mixed Methods Evaluation of the “Aged-Up” STAC Bullying Bystander Intervention for High School Students"

This mixed methods study assessed the appropriateness of an “aged-up,” brief bullying bystander intervention (STAC) and explored the lived experiences of high school students trained in the program. Quantitative results included an increase in knowledge and confidence to intervene in bullying situations, awareness of bullying, and use of the STAC strategies. Utilizing the consensual qualitative research methodology, we found students spoke about (a) increased awareness of bullying situations, leading to a heightened sense of responsibility to act; (b) a sense of empowerment to take action, resulting in positive feelings; (c) fears related to intervening in bullying situations; and (d) the natural fit of the intervention strategies. Implications for counselors include the role of the school counselor in program implementation and training school staff to support student “defenders,” as well as how counselors in other settings can work with clients to learn the STAC strategies through psychoeducation and skills practice.

Congratulations to Department of Counseling Doctoral Candidates awarded DKHS Graduate of Distinction Awards:

  • KDHS Graduate of Distinction - Outstanding Leader - Dustin Destler
  • KDHS Graduate of Distinction - Outstanding Researcher - Renee Howells

Ph.D. Students

Published by Assistant Professor Dr. Christian Chan?

Families as Transformative Allies to Trans Youth of Color: Positioning Intersectionality as Analysis to Demarginalize Political Systems of Oppression, published in Journal of GLBT Family Studies, Volume 14Issue 1-2, is now available for you to access via

Dr. Chad Yates published in "Counseling Today!"
Counseling people who stutter By Assistant Professor Chad M. Yates, Karissa Colbrunn and Dan Hudock

Congratulations Master Student Dianne Piggott!

Dianne is a student in the Master of Counseling - Meridian. She received the First Place Idaho Mental Health Counseling Association scholarship. Dianne's essay was personal emphasis on Transgender and LGBQIA. "I see that so many of the issues that face LGBT people are societal. Building resilience and coping skills in clients can improve their lives, and advocacy can build societies understanding and compassion. Transgender people are increasingly coming into the public awareness, so the time for change is now".

Dr. Christian Chan has been selected to receive the 2018 'Ohana Award from Counselors for Social Justice (CSJ), a division of the American Counseling Association (ACA). This award honors individuals in counseling who affirm diversity and advocate for social justice in the spirit of nine elements of the indigenous Hawai'ian concept of "Ohana or extended family.

Congratulations Christian!

Congratulations to Assistant Professor Dr. Christian Chan!
Christian has been selected as the recipient of the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD) Professional Development Award! The award will be presented at the national AMCD Conference, April 27, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Congratulations to doctoral student Sarah Baquet.

StudentSarah has received the honor and selection into the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD) 2018 Mentoring Program!


Dr. Christian Chan receives national association awards!

Dr. Christian Chan has been selected to receive the 2018 Association for Humanistic Counseling (AHC) Humanistic Advocacy and Social Justice Award.

On behalf of the American Counseling Association (ACA) Awards Committee, Dr. Christian Chan has been selected to receive the Robert H. Rencken Emerging Professional Leader Award from the American Counseling Association.


Congratulations to Assistant Professor Dr. Christian Chan

AwardDr. Chan was the recipient of the Barbara Gazda Award for the Association for Specialists in Groupwork (ASGW) at the 2018 Conference in Savannah, Georgia.


Conference Presentations at the Idaho Counseling Association 2018 Conference

Doctoral Students Vincent Marasco, MA, LPC, Candice Elison, LPC, NCC, John Rumney, MS, LPC "The "B" is Silent".

 Yingmei Wang, Associated Professor in Psychological Well-Being Education Center, Sichuan University & Assistant Professor Steve Moody, PhD, LPC, NCC., "Dejue Theory and Skills: Applying a Chinese Indigenous Counseling Method in the United States".

Clinical Assistant Professor Kristen Lister, PhD., "Ethics in Supervision" (Sponsored by Optum).

Doctoral Students Candice Elison, LPC, NCC; Vincent Marasco, MA, LPC; & John Rumney, MS, LPC., "Beyond Labels: The Use of Individualized Descriptive Language in Working with Non-Heteronormative Clients".

Jennifer Gess, PhD, LCPC, LMHC, NCC & Assistant Professor Christian Chan, MA, NCC., "Ally Development for Trans Communities".

Doctoral Students John Rumney, MS, LPC & Dusty Destler, LPC., "Please Share! Presenting your Professional Experiences to Advocate for the Counseling Profession".

Doctoral Student Camille Frank, LPC, Brittany Garcia, ISU Graduate student, Charlie Hansen, ISU Graduate student, Kayla White, ISU Graduate student, "Wellness Interventions for Sexual Assault Survivors Counselors".

IMHCA Distinguished Presenter

Assistant Professor Leslie Stewart, PhD, "Introduction to Best Practices in Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling: Provider Competencies, Ethics, and Techniques".  

Doctoral Student Candice Elison, LPC, NCC., "Severe and Persistent: A Feminist Approach to Empowering and Advocating for Individuals Navigating Diagnoses, Symptoms, and Stereotypes".

Clinical Assistant Professor Kristen Lister, Ph.D., LPC & Doctoral Student Melisa DeMeyer, MS, LPC. "Systems-Based Advocacy: Ethical Considerations in Advocating for Couple and Family Clients".

Doctoral Students Vincent Marasco, MA, LPC, Candice Elison, LPC, NCC & John Rumney, MS, LPC., "Examining Professional Counselor's Use of Self Disclosure to "Come Out" to Clients".

Doctoral Student Kathleen Muirhead, MA, LPC & Nicole Daniels, ISU Graduate student, "Writing Right: Scholarship in the Counseling Profession".

Assistant Professor Randall Astramovich, LPC, Assistant Professor Christian Chan, MA, NCC & Doctoral Student Vincent Marasco, MA, LPC., "Advocacy Evaluation in Counseling: Process and Ethical Considerations".

Doctoral Student Kathleen Muirhead, MA, LCPC & Emily Holloway, LPC., "Redemption in Shawshank? Advocacy and Healing for Previously Incarcerated Clients Through Spirituality"

Doctoral Student Camille Frank, LPC, NCC, Jordan Wixom, LPC, NCC, Doctoral Student William Lane, LPC, NCC, Doctoral Student Trae Knox, LPC, NCC., "PEACE Discussions as a Complement to Counseling for Clients and Providers".


Congratulations to faculty and student award recipients at the 2018 Idaho Counseling Association Conference.

Legacy Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to the late Thana Singarajah, Ph.D. 
Dr. Thana had been a Clinical Assistant Professor at Idaho State University, Pocatello since 1988. He was active in adolescent counseling and in the Idaho Foster Care system since the mid 80s. He had fostered 55 sons through the Health and Welfare system as well as through the judicial system. He was born and raised in Malaysia, went to college in England and has lived in Idaho since 1980. He has received various awards including the Brightest Star of Idaho from the Governor of Idaho as well as the Eastern Idaho United Way Council’s highest award for Community Leadership. He founded two men’s shelter (The City of Refuge, The Ark) and a women’s shelter in Idaho Falls (Ruth House). He started, managed and gifted to the community a not-for-profit entity. In 2008 he founded Pearl Health Clinic and was the Executive Director until his passing on July 13, 2017.

Advocate "Pass It On Baton" Award to Leslie Stewart, Ph.D.
Dr. Leslie Stewart, a licensed professional counselor, is an assistant professor of counseling at Idaho State University. Dr. Stewart has incorporated animal assisted interventions (AAI) in mental health in college counseling and juvenile detention settings, as well as in clinical supervision and counselor education. Dr. Stewart continues to serve on advisory boards relevant to the clinical applications of the human-animal bond and is the primary author of the American Counseling Association Competencies for Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling. Her research agenda includes animal assisted therapy in counseling and supervision, trauma-informed counselor preparation, and counselor training with a variety of experiential and expressive modalities.

Community Partners, Public Policy and Legislation Award to doctoral candidate Marisa Rapp, MA, LPC, NCC.
Marisa is a doctoral candidate at Idaho State University in her last year of study. She works toward advocating on the community level with her clinical work at MK Place in
Pocatello. She strongly believes counselors-in-training should be taught how to engage in advocacy efforts on the community and institutional level as they work with clientele in their internship. Marisa actively tries to infuse advocacy education during her facilitation of supervision labs and across counseling graduate curriculum.

Volunteer Service "Wing" Award to doctoral candidate Kate Wallace LeBar, LPC, NCC, PMP. 
Kate is a doctoral student in Counselor Education and Counseling at Idaho State University. She received an M.S. in Information Systems Management from the University of San Francisco and her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from ISU. Her scholarly interests include the study of contemporary clients, couples, and families, the evolution of doctoral programs to meet the needs of the non-traditional student, and international research.

Conference Scholarship Award Recipients were Master Students Krista Doubleday, Brittany Garcia and Dianne Piggott.


Idaho State University Doctoral Program ranked 28th for affordability.


Published in the Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling

Dr. Randall L. Astramovich, Dr. Christian D. Chan and Doctoral Student Vincent M. Marasco article "Advocacy Evaluation for Counselors Serving LGBTQ Populations" has been published in the Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling. Advocacy and social justice initiatives for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) clients in counseling emphasize counselor and client collaboration in challenging discrimination and oppression and promoting LGBTQ inclusive sociopolitical changes. Although researchers have highlighted the counseling and advocacy needs of LGBTQ populations, few have yet examined processes for assessing the outcomes of advocacy efforts. Advocacy evaluation may provide counselors and counseling organizations with a framework for monitoring and assessing the outcomes of LGBTQ advocacy initiatives. The authors discuss the goals and elements of advocacy evaluation and review the LGBTQ Counseling Advocacy Evaluation Self Assessment.


Dr. Chan published in the Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling

Dr. Christian Chan and Laura Boyd Farmer published article, "Making the Case for Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis with LGBTGEQ+ Persons and Communities" The emergence of interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) in qualitative scholarship offers a means to derive in-depth meaning attending to the complexities of lived experience. IPA extends qualitative inquiry through a double hermeneutic whereby the researcher is making sense of the experiences of participants who are making sense of a phenomenon. In this article, the authors present seminal empirical studies using IPA with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender expansive, queer communities, argue a rationale for its usefulness, discuss methodological insights and strategies, and offer potential future directions.


Congratulations to Dr. Chad Yates, Alexia DeLeon, and Marisa Rapp on their recent publication!

The Professional Counselor has accepted the manuscript titled, "Exploring Experiential Learning Through an Abstinence Assignment Within an Addictions Counseling Course."


Published in the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development

Dr. Christian D. Chan, Assistant Professor Department of Counseling, Deanna N. Cor, and Monica P. Band, published article, "Privilege and Oppression in Counselor Education: An Intersectionaliy Framework." Multiculturalism and social justice are considered major forces in the counseling profession, revolutionizing the complexity of social identity, cultural identity, and diversity. Although these major forces have influenced the profession, many challenges exist with their implementation within counselor education curriculum and pedagogy. A major challenge is the complex dynamics of privilege and oppression that both counselor educators and counseling students face. This article discusses the use of intersectionaly to approach counselor education pedagogy and practice. 


ISU's own Dr. Leslie Stewart was interviewed as one of several expert contributors to the recent Counseling Today Article, "People Whisperers", which discusses Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling.


Congratulations to Dr. Christian Chan, recipient of the Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW) Barbara Gazda Scholarship!


Published by Dr. Christian Chan in the Journal Sex Education, Sexuality, Society and Learning.

Dr. Christian Chan, along with Jack. D. Simons, Matthew J. Beck, Nancy R. Asplund, and Rebekah Byrd, have a recently published article, "Advocacy for gender minority students: recommendations for school counsellors" in the Journal Sex Education, Sexuality, Society and Learning. Research shows that teachers’ and educators’ responses to gender diversity issues in schools either improves or limits the experiences of students. The school counsellor has an important role to play in this process by working closely with other stakeholders to advocate for transgender, intersex and genderqueer (TIG) students. Following a review of recent developments in the USA, recommendations are made and resources identified to assist school counsellors in validating TIG students, and improving school systems in pursuit of their academic, social and emotional success.


Annie Peters, President & CEO of Pet Partners has endorsed the Animal Assisted Therapy program here at Idaho State University.

"Pet Partners is excited to see a certificate option with a strong focus on therapy animal welfare, particularly with an intensive supervised applied practice component with a registered therapy animal. Dr. Leslie Stewart's work as the primary author for Animal Assisted Therapy Competencies in counseling has done much to articulate the need for knowledge and skills in this burgeoning field. This certificate is a great opportunity for practitioners/counselors to develop those knowledge and skills to bring the power of the human-animal bond to those who may benefit."


ISU's Dr. Christian Chan was featured in the recent Counseling Today article on Changing the Conversation About Aging…/changing-conversation-aging/


Animal Assisted Therapy for Substance Abuse with Dr. Leslie Stewart 

Animal-assisted therapy isn't designed to be a stand-alone therapy. When combined with other treatments for substance use disorders, the therapeutic approach can motivate patients to stay in treatment. Animals can also help therapists and clients resolve mental health problems in a way that isn't possible with other types of therapy alone. For the full interview.

The Faculty Meeting

Christian D. Chan, Assistant Professor, speak with Marty and Eric about his recent transition from doctoral student to university faculty.

Unleashed Podcast

There's an important distinction to be made between consent and  compliance. There are many ways to coerce people into doing things they're not entirely comfortable with, so you can't always look at what people are doing to know what they believe. Assistant Professor Dr. Leslie Stewart shared her ideas about what truly consent means and how having a better understanding of consent can help us develop stronger relationships--with animals and with people. 


Christian Chan published in Journal of Child and Adolescent Counseling 

Published by Christian Chan, A Critical Analysis of Systemic Influences and Spiritual Development for LGBTQ+ Youth. There is an extensive need to explore the intersection of spirituality in conjunction with sexuality, gender identity, and affectional identity as a result of the nuanced complexity and paucity of conceptual and empirical literature in this area, which holds to a substantial diversity between and within identities. Furthering this exploration is the consistent dialogue of spirituality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community that offers context at-large and in heavy concentration in other areas of the life span, yet integrates far less into spirituality for youth and, more specifically, for LGBTQ+ youth. This article generates a conceptual framework derived from the ecological systems model and intersectionality theory to deliver insights relevant to addressing systemic barriers, practices, and complexities in attending to spirituality for LGBTQ+ youth.  Assistant Professor, speak with Marty and Eric about his recent transition from doctoral student to university faculty.


Congratulations to the first Annual RMACES Award Recipients 

Dr. David Kleist received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Kleist is the Chair for the Department of Counseling

Doctoral Students Jehan Hill and Melisa DeMeyer were selected for the Emerging Leaders Workshop. 

Dissertation Award Winners doctoral Students Renee Howells and Kerrie Taylor.

Volunteer Scholar award to doctoral student Jehan Hill.

Doctoral Student Marisa Rapp received the 2017 Research Grant Award for her proposal entitled, "The process of Becoming a Gatekeeper in Counselor Education: A Grounded Theory."  

Faculty and Doctoral Students Present at the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) 2017 Conference

At the 2017 ACES Conference, October 3 through 8, 2017, the faculty and doctoral students presented sixteen Inform, Education, Poster and Round table Sessions, and eleven prior graduates of the doctoral program presented sixteen sessions. The presentations:


Rasch Analysis of the Counseling Self Efficacy Measures 
Steven Moody, Chad Yates

This presentation will explore the methodology of Rasch Analysis. The presenters will explore the methodology of a study which investigated Counseling Self-Efficacy through Rasch Analysis of the Counseling Self-Estimate Inventory (COSE) and the Counselor Self-Efficacy Scale (CASES), to demonstrate how this methodology can fit within counseling research.


Size Matters: Sampling Considerations for Successful Quantitative & Qualitative Counseling Research 
Randall Astramovich, Judith Crews, Elizabeth Horn

This presentation will explore sample size considerations for successful quantitative and qualitative research designs in counseling. For quantitative research, the effects of sample size on statistical power, significance levels, and effect sizes will be reviewed. For qualitative research, sampling issues affecting saturation, transferability, and trustworthiness will be discussed as well as considerations for determining sample size in phenomenological and grounded theory designs.

Creating Connection: Incorporating Art and Music into Multicultural Counseling
Renee Howells, Kristen Langellier, Tamara Tribitt, Alexia DeLeon
Counselors are called to continually asses their own multicultural competence. Often, counselors encounter their own fear regarding how to engage in enriching multicultural discussions. Specific strategies for counselor educators will be discussed in this experiential presentation. Participants will gain an understanding of how expressive mediums, such as music and art, can help counselors connect with clients from diverse backgrounds.

Intersectional Pedagogy for Career Development in Counselor Education
Christian Chan, Amanda Friday, David Julius Ford, Jr, Popiolek Melanie
The advent of the ACA Code of Ethics (2014) and Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies (MSJCC; Ratts et al., 2016) calls for a richer connection among counseling, counselor education, multiculturalism, and social justice. Utilizing an intersectionality framework, the presenters will engage in a collaborative dialogue to negotiate salient cultural identities, contexts, and careers and foster the connection among career counselor education, multiculturalism, and social justice.

Developing a Gatekeeper Identity in Counselor Education: Preparing Doctoral Students
Marisa Rapp, Steven Moody, Leslie Stewart
This education session will provide counselor educators with training recommendations to better prepare doctoral students in their role of gatekeeper. Presenters will provide gatekeeping training guidelines for counselor educators to utilize in doctoral level programs. Presenters will disseminate preliminary results from a pilot study examining gatekeeping knowledge of incoming doctoral students and explore implications and recommendations for future research.

Queering Counseling Education
Elizabeth Horn, Jennifer Gess
The presenters will share results from a grounded theory and situational analysis research study on LGBTQ+ competent counselor educators. Participants will learn about the process LGBTQ+ competent counselor’s experience of becoming competent counselors. Also, participants will gain tools to infuse LGBTQ+ competence throughout the classroom, including understanding the power of language.

The Big or Small Question: A Model for Conceptualizing Sample Size in Qualitative Research
Melissa Luke, Kris Goodrich, David Kleist
Counseling researchers often have little guidance in determining sample size for qualitative studies beyond commonly published sample size ranges. This presentation introduces a model that may assist researchers in weighing the multiple factors that may affect the appropriate sample size for their study. The presenters will discuss the role of sample size in qualitative research and describe the model and its foundation. Attendees will have the opportunity to apply the model to several cases.


Bringing Self: A Qualitative Study of CEs Incorporating Spirituality and Religion into Teaching
David M. Kleist, Jade Letourneau
The presenters will share the results of a qualitative research study that explored the processes, social actions, experiences, and contextual influences of counselor educators incorporating spirituality and religion into their teaching. The presenters will discuss the four sensitizing concepts that emerged from the data and the concepts' multi-directional processual relationships. Implications and directions for future research will be introduced.

Program-Site Alliance: The Relationship Between CE Programs and Field Placement Sites
Steven Moody, Tamara Tribitt
This presentation will share results from an interpretive phenomenlogical analysis that explored the program-site alliance from the perspective of site supervisors. Implications for counselor education programs will be discussed.

The Application of Biofeedback-Assisted Relaxation Training with Counseling Practicum Students
Jehan Hill, Sarah Baquet, Chad Yates
Biofeedback has a history of success in training participants to monitor psychophysiological stress responses, and then through mindful breathing and acceptance alter these stress responses. This ability to self-regulate stress responses could have a range of implications from increased focus with clients to improved self-care. This presentation will explore an investigation of counseling practicum students' experience of participating in a semester-long Biofeedback-Assisted Relaxation Training.

Incarceration Nation: Helping Counselor Educators to Increase Student Awareness with Ex-Offenders
Kathleen Muirhead
This presentation seeks to aid counselor educators in gaining knowledge on the previously incarcerated population and in incorporating this information into curricula and programs of study for students who will be interacting with this population in high numbers.

The Future of Addiction Counseling Ed: Developing a Behavioral/Process Addictions Course
Marisa Rapp, Leigh Holman, Tasha Hicks
Due to increased public awareness, more clients are presenting for treatment of behavioral/process addictions (BPAs). Prevalence rates for BPAs is between 2-3%. However, research indicates counselors are assessing, diagnosing, and treating BPAs with little or no training, in spite of CACREP standards and ACA Ethics. Our presentation is designed to provide participants with best practices for integrating BPAs throughout the counseling curriculum and for developing a stand-alone course.

Reflexivity's Role in Developing a Teaching Philosophy Statement
Melisa DeMeyer, David M. Kleist
The ACES' teaching initiative addresses the importance of teaching excellence. This presentation provides an in-class model for educators to use to facilitate the development of students' teaching philosophy, highlighting the importance of reflexivity within this process. Offered will be an integrated model combining the Integrative Reflective Model of Group Supervision (Stinchfield, 2015) with Schonwetter, Sokal, Friesen, and Taylor's (2002) model for developing a teaching philosophy statement.

Multiracial Identity Models: Current Trends in Teaching and Practice
Jehan Hill, Sarah Baquet
This round-table discussion will provide counselor educators the opportunity to discuss what trends they are seeing when teaching multiracial or biracial identity models. Topics will include multiracial or biracial identity models that are being taught, connecting student learning to practice, and increasing awareness inside and outside of the classroom.

Current Events to Broach Social Justice Issues in the Multicultural Course: A Qualitative Study
Melisa DeMeyer, Dustin Destler, Kerrie Taylor, Renee Howells
Counselors have a responsibility to focus on social justice issues-in following the profession's ethical codes, and to best serve a diverse clientele. Counselor educators (CEs) can broach these conversations with students using various methods. Our team of five doctoral students seek to share findings of a qualitative inquiry on CE experience of utilizing current events as a vehicle to broach social justice issues. Join us for discussion on created meaning and glean ideas for your practice.


Reciprocal Mentoring in Counselor Education & Supervision: Preventing Burnout in Counseling

Kathryn Williams, Christian Chan, Cirecie West-Olatunji
As the counseling profession continues to crystallize its identity, the need to more clearly define and actualize the mentoring experience is needed. The session presenters provide an overview of the effectiveness of mentoring in leadership, social justice implications in the mentoring relationship and then highlight the benefits of reciprocal mentoring as a prevention tool for leadership burnout in counseling and counselor education.


Transitioning In and Out of a University Training Clinic: The Counseling Interns' Perspective
Katie Kostohryz, Kirsten LaMantia
This pre-conference session will explore current trends and technology as it relates to training clinics in counselor education, including accessibility accommodations and funding. It will also identify ways to sustain relationships with sites and site supervisors. While also addressing and reducing anxiety in counselors in training in your clinic. Finally it will explore and expand on ethical considerations and crisis situations when running a training clinic.

Mapping Your Qualitative Data Analysis
Jade Letourneau
Situational Analysis (SA) is a postmodern approach to grounded theory. SA addresses issues of power, privilege, and oppression. Through the use of three types of maps-situational, social worlds/arenas, and positional-coded data is subjected to further analysis to identify social influences and processes. This presentation will include an overview of each of the types of maps and interactive instruction on how to create each map.

Exploring Q Methodology
Dominique Avery
Q methodology is an exploratory methodology including a blend of qualitative and quantitative methods. This is well suited to initial research in subjective opinions. This presentation will review the standard procedures in a Q study and demonstrate a new Q sort software. This interactive presentation will introduce participants to Q as a methodology well suited to counseling research.

Contemplating the Future of Counselor Education: A Pedagogy for a Deeper Knowing and Being
Clarissa Cigrand, Blaine Reilly
This interactive and experiential presentation will provide an overview of contemplative pedagogy, exploring concrete ways contemplative practice (e.g., mindfulness, compassion practices, etc.) promotes wellness, compassion and empathy, therapeutic presence, interpersonal and intrapersonal awareness, community, and creativity in the classroom. We will discuss the benefits of using contemplative pedagogy and detail caveats and considerations for counselor educators interested in this approach.

Posting Privilege: Factors and Experiences that Contribute to Counselors' Multicultural Competence
Shawn Patrick, Anna Elliott, Bryan Lamb, John Beckenbach
This presentation will include findings of a current study exploring the relationships between awareness of privilege, educational experiences and political ideology. Participants will engage in activities and dialogue related to privilege. This will include opportunities for participants to reflect on their sense of privilege and professional identity, and consider how to foster self-awareness and promote social justice competencies in their practices.

Using Expressive Therapy to Explore Diversity Issues with Counselor Education Faculty and Students
Daniel Sweeney, Keith Dempsey, Beronica Salazar
Discussion of diversity issues should be a priority in CounsEd programs. These conversations are challenging, and most often, entirely based on verbal interaction. Just as in the therapy process, verbalizing challenging issues may not only be substantially difficult, but even neurologically hampered. This session will explore expressive and projective means of communication [sandtray and art activities] that can facilitate the deeper exploration that CounsEd programs should aspire to have. 

Cultural Diversity in Practice: Understanding Doctoral Students Experience of Religion/Spirituality
Tiffany Nielson, Alyse Anekstein, and Hailey Martinez
This presentation provides the results of auto-ethnographic research on the experiences of four doctoral students ranging in religious/spiritual beliefs during their doctoral program. The results of this study provide counselor educators and doctoral student’s information to increase awareness and normalize the doctoral student experiences. It is hoped that this study and related discussion will aid in moving the profession to promoting cultural awareness and authentic dialogue.

Our Youth's Future: Exploring the Needs of the Gifted and Talented Population
Hailey Martinez, Rebecca Scherer, Ashley Luedke, Jill Packman
Presenters were tasked with evaluating why a quarter of gifted and talented (G&T) students from rural communities failed one or more courses. Presenters investigated this phenomenon through interviews with teachers, parents, and G&T youth. After a qualitative analysis, presenters implemented a mindfulness-based intervention to help with some of the themes uncovered. This presentation walks the audience through a needs assessment and program evaluation with the G&T youth from a rural community.

Hosting Gracious Conversations: Facilitating Political and Cultural Dialogues in the Classroom
Shawn Patrick, John Beckenbach, Anna Elliott, Bryan Lamb
Politico-cultural classroom discussions can prove challenging for counselor educators. While we seek to bridge differences, we can be at a loss when faced with difficult interactions, emotions, or confrontations. This session presents guiding principles for facilitating dialogues that invite multiple viewpoints while promoting cultural understanding and competence. By examining mistakes and effective methods, attendees will develop awareness and strategies for hosting "gracious conversations."

The Portability Problem
Dominique Avery, Lynn Bohecker
Portability of a counseling license in the United States is complicated by the wide variety of licensure titles and requirements among states. This presentation will review the current status of licensure across the US and efforts to increase the ease of portability. The presenters will share their experience of developing an interstate licensure committee to work towards accessible portability in their region.

Counselor Educators' Perspective on Teaching Trauma
Dominique Avery
The application teaching the 2016 trauma CACREP standards is vague, leaving counselor educators uncertain as to how best include this topic in the graduate curriculum. This presentation introduces the results of research on counselor educators' perspectives on teaching this topic. The emerging recommendations will provide guidance for selecting which topics to include in a trauma course. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the best practice and potential competencies in this area.

Promoting Community Connection: The Implementation of an Elementary School Mentoring Program
Tiffany Nielson
To address counseling student and community needs, a mento-ring initiative was developed to create a cultural immersion experience. Counseling students were paired with elementary aged children as mentors to provide consistent adult relationships for the children. The counseling students experienced growth through the development of meaningful mentoring relationships. This presentation will highlight the counseling student experience to advocate for community outreach and to foster systemic change.

United We Stand: Lessons Learned from Other Professions
SunHee Jang, Lynn Bohecker
The program will discuss issues facing the counseling profession, outlined by 20/20 initiative. The presenters will share research results from a narrative inquiry study of the experiences of key persons from other professions. Highlights from the accomplishments and failures of other professions will be discussed with implications of how the counseling profession might develop a strong professionalism grounded in research, thus increasing the likely success of the counseling profession.

The Harms of Conversion Therapy: How Educators Can Train Affirmative Counselors with Trans Clients
Jennifer Gess
There is significant client harm associated with conversion therapy and other non-affirming counseling techniques. The presenters embarked on a phenomenological inquiry exploring transgender individuals' experiences with these types of counseling approaches related to their identities. As educators, it is our ethical duty to train safe, effective and affirming counselors.

Counselor Formation & Gatekeeping Best Practices
Beronica Salazar, Anna Berardi, Ana Lilia Villafuerte Montiel
Counselor educators and supervisors contribute to students' development while determining fitness to the profession. How we intervene can either help students work through internal conflicts that prevent them from embracing professional skills and dispositions or undermine that process. Facilitators will interactively engage participants in the application of a developmental framework that maximizes students' dissonance in service to their counselor identity development process.

Transitioning In and Out of a University Training Clinic: The Counseling Intern's Perspective
Kirsten LaMantia, Ashley Angerer-Blunt, Korey Crum, Sara Dee, Ayesha Kadri

This presentation showcases an autoethnographic study that explored commonalities among the experiences of five culturally diverse masters-level counseling interns in their first or final semester of clinical work at a university training clinic. The results and implications will be presented by the five interns, giving attendees an in depth understanding of the experiences and needs of counseling students from the students themselves. 


Christian Chan Published Book Chapter 

Christian Chan, Idaho State University Adrienne N. Erby, Ohio State University, Laura Boyd Farmer, Virginia Tech, and Amanda R. Friday, The George Washington University, have a published book chapter: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer Identity Development in the edited volume College Student Development: Applying Theory to Practice on the Diverse Campus (Editors: Wendy K. Killam & Suzanne Degges-White). Publisher Springer Publishing


Published in the Journal of Counselor Leadership and Advocacy (JCLA) 

Dr. Kristen Lister, Clinical Assistant Professor, and Dr. Steve Moody, Assistant Professor, have a published paper in the new issue of the JCLA titled, "Cutting the Profession's Gordian Knot: A Call for Evidence-Based Practice in Counseling". The expression "cutting a Gordian knot" refers dealing with an interactable situation with decisive action. The counseling profession needs to take decisive action on the Gordian knot of evidence-based practice (EBP), yet incorporating EBP while retaining the professions' core humanistic values is a challenge. Collaborative leadership among practitioners, counselor educators, and students is needed to conduct EBP research for the counseling field. A guide to developing intraprofessional relationships and suggest research approaches are provided.

  1. Alexandria K. Kerwin, Assistant Professor Department of Leadership and Counselor Education at the University of Mississippi, and Dr. Elizabeth A. Doughty, Associate Professor for Idaho State University, have a published paper in the JCLA titled, "Sisters in Social Justice: Do Counselors and Social Workers Advocate Differently?" The purpose of this study was to explore a panel of experts' opinions concerning potential features distinguishing social justice advocacy in counseling from social work. The experts in the area of social justice counseling came to consensus on issues concerning social justice and professional identity. The panelists concluded that distinguishing the two professions is counterproductive to the mission of helping professions. Several expert responses addressed the integration of social justice advocacy into the professional identity of counseling, including use of professional guidelines and education strategies. 

For the full papers, log into and visit the JCLA webpage.

Publication by Dr. Christian Chan

Christian Chan has published a book chapter, "Intersectionality in Practice: Moving a Social Justice Paradigm to Action in Higher Education" with co-authors Adrienne N. Erby and David J. Ford in the edited volume Queer People of Color in Higher Education. For access to the textbook on Information Age Publishing.

Professionalizing the Passion first Annual Pet Partners Conference

Assistant Professor Dr. Leslie Stewart was invited to present at the conference a talk on "Professionalizing the Handler: Honoring the Relationship through Competency Development." Dr. Stewart's presentation oriented attendees to the Pet Partners Tiered Competency model for handlers with volunteer, paraprofessional, or professional identities, with particular emphasis on animal welfare, ethical considerations, and handler training. The presentation was the highest rated presentation at the conference. Pictured is Dr. Stewart and Colleen Pelar, a nationally recognized dog training and specialist in dog-child interaction safety.

Conference Presentation by Dr. Christian Chan

Dr. Chan presented at the Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling (AARC) 2017 Conference, a division of the American Counseling Association, in Phoenix, Arizona. His presentations were on "Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis: Methods, Contestations, and Implementation in Counseling Research" with Brian A. Kooyman, Long Island University, and "Inclusivity in the Assessment Process: Barriers, Challenges, and Strategies for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Individuals" with Tamekia Bell, Adler University. 


Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) Outstanding Graduate Student Leadership Award

Dr. Christian Chan is the award recipient for the 2017 ACES Outstanding Graduate Student Leadership Award. The award will be presented at the ACES 2017 Conference in Chicago, Illinois in October. The Outstanding Graduate Student Leadership Award honors a graduate student who is a member of the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, and has provided outstanding leadership to counselor education and ACES and the counseling profession. Christian is a Member-at-Large, Outreach and Advocacy, Association for Adult Development and Aging (AADA) and Past-President, Maryland Counseling Association (MCA).

Dr. Leslie Stewart

Dr. Leslie Stewart, Assistant Professor, was the invited presenter at the Animal Assisted Interventions 2nd Annual Conference entitled, "Creating a Competent, Compassionate, Cross-disciplinary Future" at Oakland University's Center for Human Animal Interventions (CHAI). The conference is to help current and future practitioners who want to incorporate animal assisted interventions into their practices. Leslie's presentations were on Provider Competencies and Session Planning. Her role play partner was Karma and she is a border collie-golden retriever cross and is seriously the BEST therapy dog!

Dr. Thana Singarajah

Thana Singarajah, 65, of Idaho Falls, passed away July 13, 2017, at his home from complications of a chronic illness.

Thana was born and raised in Bentong, Malaysia, to S. Singarajah and N. Maheswary Singarajah, on July 12, 1952. He studies at the Vanto Academy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, followed by Leeds Beckett University in England. While there, he experienced a complete change in his life. During a moment of despair over his life and career choices, he was miraculously delivered from his despair by his declaration of faith in the Risen Savior, Jesus Christ. As a result of this rather sudden transformation, he completely changed the course of his life, abandoning the counting of numbers for the care of people. Heeding the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he moved to the United States and attended Multnomah Bible College in Portland, Oregon, and upon completion of his studies, he left for the scenic wilds of American Falls, Idaho, as a Christian Missionary. He commenced post-graduate studies in Pocatello, Idaho, graduating from Idaho State University in 1984 with a Master's Degree in Counseling, and in 1988, when he earned his Doctor of Education degree.


Affectionately known to everyone as Dr. Thana, he started his professional career in American Falls in 1983, when he founded Family Care Counseling Center, initially under the auspices of the Bethany Baptist Church, where he also served as the senior pastor. Meanwhile, members of the Board of Directors of the YMCA made an urgent plea for Dr. Thana to come to Idaho Falls to counsel troubled teens; Idaho Falls was then suffering among the highest rates of teenage suicide in the United States. Through this association, the Family Care Center was reorganized and incorporated as a nonprofit organization. The organization grew to be one of the largest counseling centers is the State of Idaho. Dr. Thana has always had a vision for serving the underappreciated, and thus, also founded the City of Refuge for Men, and later the ARK Transitional Housing for Men and Ruth's House Shelter for Women.

After enduring the blessings and challenges of nonprofit work, he founded the Pearl Health Clinic, PLLC, in 2008, where he continued his client-focused efforts, treating persons through the entire life spectrum.

Dr. Thana was never one to sit still. Not even for a few minutes! So, while running the clinic, he founded Pearl Group Homes and Pearl Properties, University Study Abroad, among other things.

Although Dr. Thana was an avid globetrotter, he enjoyed his home in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He served as Clinical Assistant Professor at Idaho State University where he earned the 2015 Professional Achievement Award from the Division of Health Sciences. He was the recipient of the Idaho State University Brightest Star of Idaho awarded by the Governor of Idaho. For his community service, he received the Eastern Idaho United Way Council's highest award for Community Leadership.

He was a member of the American Counseling Association, member of the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology, Ambassador to the National Health Service Corps, Clinical Member of ATSA, and was until his death, an active member of the Idaho State University Foundation Board. He was active in adolescent counseling and in the Idaho Foster Care system since the mid-80s. He fostered 55 sons through the Health and Welfare system as well as through the judicial system. He adopted four of these children. Dr. Thana also found time to be among the major supporters of the orphanage, Esperanza Viva in Puebla, Mexico and Lighthouse Children Welfare Home Association, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for many years.

Dr. Thana was also a full-time minister for a number of years. As an ordained pastor in the Foursquare Church, he led several congregations. First and foremost, he was the pastor of Bethany Baptist Church, American Falls, Idaho, from 1982 to 1992. He subsequently served as interim pastor at: Alliance Covenant Church, Idaho Falls, Idaho, from 1993 to 1994, Eagle Rock Baptist Church, Idaho Falls, Idaho, from 1994 to 1995, and finally at Alliance Covenant Church, Idaho Falls, Idaho, from 1995 to 1998. Subsequently, he continued to fill various pulpits and taught at various Christian seminaries around the world throughout his life.

He greatly enjoyed traveling, cooking, entertaining and hosting dinner parties. He also enjoyed gardening, collecting and selling antiques.

Thana was a man whose love for Jesus drove him to love others fiercely, and serve others tirelessly. He strove to see the very best in each person with whom he came in contact. Whether in business or the church, Thana was a man who lived out Jesus' teaching in Matthew 25:34-36: "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me."

Thana is survived by his:
cousin, Rangini S. Kandasamy of Richton Park, IL;
sons, Daniel Singarajah, Michael Singarajah, Brian Singarajah, and Thana Colin Singarajah all of Idaho Falls, ID;
foster son, Jamie Quinn Howard of Idaho Falls, ID;
brother, S. Rajasingam of Johor, Malaysia;
sister, S. Puveneswari of Leeds, England;
and 3 grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, July 22, 2017, at Watersprings Church, 4250 South 25th East, with Pastor Gordon Boyle officiating. The family will visit with friends Friday from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Wood Funeral Home east Side, 963 South Ammon Road and Saturday from 10:00-10:45 a.m. prior to services at the church. Burial will be in the Rose Hill Cemetery. A community reception will be held in Pearl Hall at Pearl Health Clinic, 2705 E. 17th Street, Ammon, ID 83406, 2:00-5:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon. All are invited to join and celebrate Dr. Thana's life!

Efforts will be made to provide live-streaming of the funeral for his many international friends and family. This stream will later be uploaded to YouTube for those who cannot travel to the funeral, or see the service in real-time. More information can be found on the clinic Facebook page, Dr. Thana's page "Thana's Journey Home," and at Wood Funeral Home's web page.

Scholarship Recipient Krista Birkmaier 

Congratulations to Krista Birkmaier recipient of the 2016-2017 Idaho Mental Health Counselors Association (IMHCA) scholarship, and an invited guest of the Leadership Development Institute (LDI). Krista is most interested in working with adolescents suffering from anxiety, depression, and trauma. She works from a person-centered lens with an emphasis on Adlerian theory and techniques.


Congratulations to Alyssa Brook

Congratulation Alyssa Brook recipient of the 2017 Stephen S. Feit Student Award for Professional Excellence.

This award recognizes an individual who embodies the distinguished characteristics and achievements of Dr. Stephen S. Feit. Dr. Feit is a well renowned leader in counselor education due not only to his achievement in academia but also his regard and care for students and colleagues. Probably his most celebrated accomplishment is the influence he has had on the development of the counselor and counselor educator professional identities. A fervent advocate for the profession, Dr. Feit has contributed to the professions' understanding of what counselors do and how they do it, most notably his influences as a CACREP board member and team leader. Dr. Feit is generous with his time, knowledge and spirit, influencing generations of students during his tenure. In celebration of the decades of service Dr. Feit has provided to counselors and counselor education, the Department of Counseling at Idaho State University will annually recognize a counselor-in-training who personifies Dr. Feit's passion for professional advocacy and devotion to personal and professional growth.


This award honors the exceptional performance of a counselor-in-training in regards to the development of the counseling profession. This can entail excellence in service, scholarship, advocacy, or innovation in the practice of counseling. This award is intended to recognize an individual reaching beyond the typical expectations of a graduate student in counselor education.

Congratulations to our 2017 Graduates!

The Department of Counseling is proud to announce our graduates for 2017. From Meridian, Doctoral Students Kristen Langellier and Dominique Avery.

Our Meridian Master Student Graduates are, from left, Kristen French, Jamie Lange, Megan Drysdale, Sharon Hammer, Kelli Shoaf, Jessica Kirwan, Jennifer Weiss, Michael Callender, and Robert Devore. 

From Pocatello, Doctoral Students Heidi McKinley, Tami Tribitt, Bryan Lamb, and Alexia DeLeon. 

Our Pocatello Master Student Graduates, back row - Neill Jenson, Michelle Marchant, Carmen Stites, Desiree Jenks-Asay, Lori Miller, Tanner Saxton, Jacob Zarpentine. Middle row-Tiffany Fanning, Camille Frank, Hailey Reed, Cody Johnson, Heather Neaman, Joan Palikhel and William Lane, Jr., Front row-Alyssa Brook, Carly Romney, Emily Holloway, Jordan Wixom, Nicole Webb, and McKenzie Christensen. 


Alexia Brooke DeLeon Awarded Counseling Fellowship from National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) and Affiliates

Pocatello, ID-The NBCC Foundation, an affiliate of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), recently selected Alexia Brooke DeLeon, of Pocatello, Idaho, for the National Board for Certified Counselors Minority Fellowship Program (NBCC MFP). As an NBCC MFP Fellow, DeLeon received training to support her service to underserved minority populations. 

The NBCC MFP is made possible by a grant first 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 (NCCs). 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 supported DeLeon and the 22 other doctoral counseling students during the past year. DeLeon is a graduate of Angelo State University, in San Angelo, Texas, and of Adams State University, in Alamosa, Colorado, and is currently a doctoral candidate in the Counselor Education and Counseling program at Idaho State University, in Pocatello, ID. DeLeon's research interests include social justice pedagogy within counselor education, mindfulness-based sobriety, and multicultural issues in counseling and supervision, such as the experiences of Latina doctoral supervisors in counselor education. She is currently a graduate assistant at Idaho State University, where one of her roles includes mentoring and advocating for minority first-generation students like herself. She is also currently working at a nonprofit inpatient facility that serves underserved youth with substance abuse concerns. She is interested in the intersection of communities of color and addictions counseling, as well as the impact of barriers faced for underserved minority populations within addictions counseling. This fellowship will assist her in furthering her service interests and shed light on barriers faced by underserved, minority populations with addictions counseling. In addition, this fellowship will help her receive specific education and training for working with minority populations, which impacts communities on a larger scale, such as helping underserved populations receive adequate treatment for addictions concerns. These experiences will help her to continue advocating for underserved minority voices with the counseling profession.


For the NBCC Foundation press release:


Congratulations to Rafael Torres

The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) has named Temoc Rafael Torres a Foundation rural scholar. They will distribute $8,000 to him. Torres completed his undergraduate degree at Brigham Young University-Idaho, in Rexburg, Idaho and is currently a first year Master's level student in the Counseling Department at Idaho State University. Ever since he was a child, he loved helping people. The need to help others was ingrained by his culture and family. Coming from Mexico at the age of two years old and living in Los Angeles, Torres was able to see and live through the struggles that minorities endure in this country. He knew obtaining an education was important; however, with limited resources he did not think it was possible. He stated, "I thought attending a University was like going to the moon; it was something I could never achieve." Torres recalls moments when he and his family did not have enough food to eat or beds to sleep. His mother would hug him and his brother to keep them warm at night. Being accepted into Idaho State University Master's program is not only a victory for Torres, but all those that have been through difficult moments and thought there was no hope. He stated, "The day I graduate from Idaho State University will be a victory for me, my family, and all minorities in this country." He knows how important it is to complete the program. Torres is honored and humbled to be selected as a 2017 minority rural scholar. This fellowship will assist Torres to further his education to be able to assist the less privileged. He realizes there are many people who cannot afford the services provided by mental health professionals. He wishes to serve this population. He also wishes to share with the Latino/Hispanic population the value of attending counseling. When asked why he decided to go into counseling he answered, "I wanted to have an opportunity to give it all back to the people and serve all of humanity." He is grateful to Idaho State University's Counseling Department and the NBCC for their continuous support and guidance in becoming a professional counselor.

For the NBCC Foundation press release:  


National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) Fellowship Awarded to Renee Howells

Congratulations to doctoral student Renee Howells, recipient of the NBCC 2017 Minority Fellowship. The Fellowship Program provides financial support to masters and doctoral level counseling students who commit to serving minority communities.

Renee is interested in researching the intersection of disability, higher education, and accessibility to mental health care. Specifically, she is passionate about serving individuals with sensory disabilities, which includes the d/Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (HH) populations. Renee is empowered to address and challenge the social barriers between the d/Deaf community and dominant hearing community as it relates to seeking mental health services, lessening stigma, and creating meaningful therapeutic relationships. Her dissertation research focuses on highlighting the experiences of d/Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (HH) Counselors-in-Training in Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Program accredited programs in the United States. The Minority Fellowship Program will allow Renee to become more involved in outreach and advocacy for the d/Deaf and HH minority populations. The fellowship will also aid Renee in developing more inclusive and sensitive clinical and educational curriculum for students whom identify with disability within counselor education. 

For the NBCC Foundation press release:


What is Your Pet Telling You 

Assistant Professor Dr. Leslie Stewart presented a TEDx Talk about what is your pet telling you. The human-animal bond has proven biological, psychological, and social effects - some that people recognize and some that people don't. Knowing more about what your pet sees and feels within you can help you heal and be more healthy. It's time to find out what your pet is telling you. Watch this great presentation at

Award Presented to New Faculty Member Christian D. Chan

The American Counseling Association presented the Courtland C. Lee Multicultural Excellence Scholarship Award to Christian Chan, MA, NCC. The award is presented to a graduate student in counselor education whose dedication and academic work demonstrate excellence in the theory and practice of multicultural counseling. Christian completed his doctoral degree in 2017 in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at The George Washington University (GWA), where he received his Master of Arts in clinical mental health counseling. His interest center upon the intersectionality of cultural and social identity; multiculturalism in counseling, supervision, and counselor education; social justice; career development; critical research methods; acculturative stress; intergenerational conflict; and cultural factors in identity development and socialization Christian has worked in higher education administration and various other roles, including as a case manager with foster-care adolescents and as an outpatient counselor providing individual, couples, parent-child, group, and family counseling services. He envisions a career as a scholar and counselor educator, as a leader in the counseling profession, and as a mentor to future counseling professionals.


Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling

The ISU Department of Counseling is pleased to offer a newly-developed Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling (AAT-C) curriculum. The courses in this curriculum will be offered in the summer and are based on the American Counseling Association Competencies for providers of AAT-C. The curriculum includes the following three (3) credit courses to be taken sequentially: Introduction to AAT-C; Best Practices in AAT-C and Applied Practice in AAT-C. For further information about these courses, please contact Dr. Leslie Stewart at   


American Counseling Association (ACA) Governing Council Approves Animal Assisted Therapy Competencies (AAT-C)

The ACA Governing Council recently approved formal competencies for the practice of animal assisted therapy in counseling (AAT-C), recommended by the ACA Animal Assisted Therapy in Mental Health (AATMH) interest network. Qualitative research conducted by Leslie Stewart of Idaho State University, Catherine Chang, Lindy Parker, and Natalie Grubbs of Georgia State University helped delineate the competencies. AATMH promotes the competencies not only a step toward professional advocacy and professionalism, but as a clinical benefit protecting clients, as well as promoting animal welfare. 

Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) is defined as a goal-directed intervention, delivered by an appropriately credentialed health or human service professional, in which an animal is incorporated as an integral part of the clinical health care treatment process and utilized during counseling sessions (Pet Partners, n.d.). Animal-Assisted Therapy in Counseling (AATC) is defined as the incorporation of specially trained and evaluated animals as therapeutic agents into the counseling process, whereby professional counselors use the human-animal bond as part of the treatment process (Chandler, 2012). For the full research.

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