Sponsored by the ACES Supervision Committee

The Vulnerability of Counselor Educators: Navigating the Gatekeeping Process in a New Millennium

Friday, April 21 – 3:00 to 4:30pm EST

Presented by Edward Ewe

1.5 NBCC Approved Contact Hour

Addressing problematic behaviors through gatekeeping is an ethical responsibility of counselor educators. Counselor educators and supervisors have the responsibilities and roles as gatekeepers, including setting policies and procedures for admission criteria and selection, retention, remediation, and students’ assessments throughout their progress in the counseling program as required by accreditation standards and ACA Code of Ethics (Brown-Rice & Furr, 2016).

In recent years, students, faculty, and administrators have faced unprecedented times, including a global pandemic, social and political unrest, and technological advancement that have changed how counselor education programs train and prepare students to be counselors and future counselor educators (Gilbert et al., 2019). Yet, the complexity, subjectivity, and emotional involvement it takes counselor educators to address gatekeeping issues is often challenging and difficult (DeCino et al., 2020). In this presentation, the panel, consisting of a Dean, two program directors, and three counselor educators in which, one of them also serves as a community clinic director, will discuss their experiences and policies and procedures that help them address gatekeeping issues within their counselor education programs. The panelists will also share ideas and practices that can reduce burnout among faculty, reduce liability and emotional vulnerability when serving as gatekeepers, and prevent legal challenges that can negatively impact the faculty, the program, and the university distinctively. The panelists are from various ACES regions and have worked in varied universities across the country.

Presenter Bios

Dr. Laura E. Welfare

Dr. Laura E. Welfare is a Licensed Professional Counselor and an Associate Professor at Virginia Tech.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wake Forest University, a CACREP-Accredited master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Marymount University, and a CACREP-Accredited doctoral degree in Counseling and Counselor Education from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  Dr. Welfare has worked with children and adults in school and clinical mental health settings and is a Fellow of the American Counseling Association.  Her research on counselor education has been published in Counselor Education and Supervision, the Journal of Counseling and Development, and The Clinical Supervisor.  She also continues to research the students and clients she has served including grant-funded projects related to K12 student mental health and school discipline disparities.  In total, she has served as PI or co-PI on 17 research grants totaling over $2.5 million dollars and authored 35 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Dr. Challen Mabry

Dr. Challen Mabry is a licensed professional counselor in the state of Virginia. She serves as an Assistant Professor in the department of Counseling Education at Bluefield University and is passionate about training counselors to provide empathetic, evidenced-based, trauma and culturally responsive interventions. She also currently serves as the Chief Clinical Officer for Hope Tree Family Services, a non-profit organization providing services to youth and adults in out-of-home placement settings. Her professional experience has been focused on providing community based behavioral health services to predominately underserved populations. Dr. Mabry has served in various leadership roles in large behavioral health organizations since 2014. She has significant experience working alongside regulatory bodies throughout the transition to managed care in Virginia. Dr. Mabry has additional focused training and certifications in Applied Behavior Analysis, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Her research interests include issues of social justice and furthering counselor competencies of evidenced informed practice.

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