Capella faculty member to lead American Counseling Association

September 4, 2018

As a licensed professional counselor, Simone Lambert, PhD, knows that it’s important to pay attention to the smallest details when working with clients.

Little things—faint memories, unique word choices—can often lead to important discoveries, helping clients find solutions and coping strategies as they navigate life’s path. In the clinic, Lambert must focus on these small matters.

In the classroom and elsewhere, however, Lambert, a faculty member in Capella’s School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, takes a broader view. This is particularly true in her work to advance the mission of such professional organizations as the American Counseling Association (ACA), which recently elected her president. Lambert, who specializes in issues related to mental health, addiction, youth, and families, began her term on July 1, 2018. “It’s a great honor, and I am excited for the opportunity to serve in this capacity,” she says.

A president’s mission

As president, Lambert will help execute the strategic vision developed by the ACA, including efforts to make sure that counselors are culturally sensitive, ethically appropriate, and trained to address a wide variety of mental disorders and substance abuse. She wants to bring more attention to the organization and the positive impact of counseling in the hopes of attracting people to the profession and reducing the stigma associated with mental health disorders.

“Right now, we have a shortage of mental health professionals and at the same time we have an increased need for counseling services,” Lambert says. “It’s a critical time.”

Advancing the counseling profession   

While Lambert loves working with clients and teaching students, she also believes it’s important to move the profession ahead by providing leadership in professional organizations and other groups. She suggests that counseling professionals and students consider how they can help advance the profession by getting involved with legislative advocacy, human rights work, and other efforts.

Serving in a leadership profession pays off in many ways: you gain experience, you make connections, you learn how to navigate challenges. “What you contribute is important,” Lambert says. “But what you get out of it is often equally valuable.”

Counselors looking to gain experience in professional leadership should get involved with the state or local chapters of the ACA or submit an application to serve on a national ACA committee, Lambert says. Membership on committees is a great way to keep abreast of what’s going on in the profession—and it can lead to leadership opportunities in an area that aligns with your interests. Leadership opportunities also can be found within ACA divisions, such as the International Association of Addictions and Offender Counselors or the Association for Child and Adolescent Counseling.

“Think about the time you have available, the skills you have, and the topic areas for which you would like to contribute,” Lambert advises. “If you have an interest in leadership, there’s a spot for you.”

Find out more about counseling at Capella University.

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