GSE Professor Spurs National Counseling Organization to Action

Posted: October 2, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Elena Barbre

Countless members of the American Counseling Association (ACA), the country’s only professional counseling organization, are scattered around the nation helping people deal with the emotional effects of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But the association lacks a coordinated effort at the organizational level–a deficit that Graduate School of Education professor Fred Bemak and his colleague Courtland Lee of the University of Maryland, College Park, hope to correct.

They are taking the lead in developing a program through the ACA that will support the wide range of agencies and professionals providing counseling to the families and friends of the victims, firefighters, and police in Washington, D.C., and New York City.

“Many of the licensed counselors who are helping people deal with this significant grief, loss, and death have never had experience in handling emergency situations,” says Bemak. “We expect that these caregivers will need support and further training given the intensive work and painful situations they are facing. We are developing a program that will provide the training and consultation these professionals need.”

Bemak and Lee will be designating a core group of senior-level counselors from around the country to work with the counselors handling this crisis from a central location in New York. They are in the process of contacting relevant agencies in the New York metropolitan area and inviting those counseling professionals to a daylong seminar that will be supplemented with workshops and informal support throughout the coming months. They hope to develop a similar program in Washington, D.C.

Write to at