Founded in 1991 | A division of the American Counseling Association

Pre-Conference Workshops

Pre-Conference workshops will be offered on Thursday, February 27, 2020 and are at an additional cost to the 2020 ACCA Annual Conference Sessions.  ACCA is pleased to offer a diverse variety of pre-conference sessions that will offer continuing education for session attendees.

Full Day Pre-Conference Options

8:30 AM - 5:00 PM - $129 - 6.0 CE Hours
Suicide Assessment on College Campuses: Avoiding Malpractice and Using the SIMPLE STEPS Model 


Jason McGlothlin 
Kent State University


  • Clinical Supervision and Training
  • Research and Program Evaluation

Abstract: The rate of suicide has been increasing amongst college aged students. Working with suicidal clients have been found to be one of the most difficult and anxiety producing aspects of counseling. Simply teaching how to conduct a comprehensive suicide assessment frequently evokes strong emotions in students. Much of the anxiety and emotionality of working with suicidal clients begins with a fear of the unknown and an inability to conceptualize suicidality in a holistic manner. Based on a study of over 70,000 callers to a suicide prevention hotline, the goal of this presentation is to take the mystique out of suicide assessment, inform attendees of ways to conceptualize suicidality, and present a comprehensive and empirically based model of suicide assessment. Multiple handouts and assessments will be provided to attendees. The data that supports this presentation is longitudinal ranging from 2008 to 2019. New data that supports this model will be presented that has not been yet published.

Learning Objectives:

  • Attendees will be able to describe current and upcoming risk factors of suicide among college age students.
  • Attendees will be able to revise current suicide assessment practices in order to avoid malpractice.
  • Attendees will be able to describe and explain the SIMPLE STEPS model of suicide assessment which is based on a dataset of over 70,000 individuals.
  • Attendees will be able to critique, use and design assessment practices based on the SIMPLE STEPS model of suicide assessment.
  • Attendees will be able to use the SIMPLE STEPS model of suicide assessment in training and supervision.
Advanced Topics of College Counseling

The Advanced Topics of College Counseling offers (4) 90 minute sessions covering the following topics: Triage and Clinic Flow, Clinical Supervision, Leadership in Higher Education, and Group Therapy.  Each session is worth 1.5 CE Hours.

Each Advanced Topics of College Counseling session is $70 if purchased individually, if you sign up for all 4 sessions the price is discounted to $170.

8:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Clinical Supervision
: Supervision in College Counseling

Abstract: The purpose of this workshop is to explore the theory and practice of clinical supervision within a college counseling context. Historically, college counseling centers have been popular placements for clinicians-in-training due to the diversity of experience and quality of supervision.  With that said, even in the college setting many counselors are being asked to take on the role of clinical supervisor with little formal training. In this workshop we will review the practice of existing theories of supervision and supervision models.  We will discuss structuring the supervision process to include components important to providing a comprehensive supervision experience for professionals and interns.  Evaluation and assessment of supervisees will also be addressed.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to identify critical theory in clinical supervision
  • Participants will be able to describe how to structure the supervision process
  • Participants will be able to assess the developmental level of counselors in training

    10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

    Group Therapy
    Topic: Group Counseling

    Abstract: Group Therapy will explore how to effectively utilize group as a primary modality in college and university settings. While the majority of counseling centers report using groups as a treatment modality, it is often seen as a second class treatment by both therapists and clients. Running a successful group program in the college setting requires special considerations and surprisingly little attention has been given to this specialized type of group practice. This workshop will review the components of an effective group program. We will discuss the most common types of groups used in counseling centers, barriers to getting group started, and best practices in starting and maintaining the most frequent types of group offerings. Issues such as member selection and preparation, conjoint and concurrent therapies, and the use of group activities to facilitate group development will be also addressed.

    Learning Objective(s):
    • Participants will be able to explain the efficacy of groups in treating a wide range of presenting concerns to students and staff
    • Participants will be able to design a group counseling program for their counseling center

      1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

      Triage and Clinic Flow

      Topic: Clinical Issues

      AbstractTriage and Clinic Flow will explore different administrative and clinical structures to help avoid therapist burn out and wait lists as well as maximize clinic efficiency.  (was previous ly ‘avoid therapist burn out, wait lists and maximize clinic efficiency.’

      Learning Objective(s):

      • Participants will discuss different triage models
      • Participants will review key items essential to decision making during triage model selection
      • Participants will identify the importance of assessing triage competency

      3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

      Leadership in Higher Education
      Topic: Administration/Leadership

      This workshop offers participants an opportunity to broaden their awareness and leadership potential in the college counseling profession and to introduce or further develop their leadership skills.

      Learning Objective(s):

      • Participants will briefly examine theories of leadership, current leadership trends, and how to apply them to the college counseling center
      • Participants will develop and practice leadership skills for effectively running a higher education department
      • Participants will discuss challenges involving working with subordinates and administration

        Half Day Pre-Conference Options

        All half day pre-conference workshops are $79 and are worth 3.0 continuing education credits

        Morning Pr-Conference Options
        8:30 AM - 12:00 PM (with a 30 minute break)

        Applying Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to the College Counseling Setting


        Nick Joyce
        University of South Florida


        • Counseling Theory/Practice
        • Wellness and Prevention

        Abstract: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is an empirically validated treatment which is quickly garnering national attention for its ability to treat a wide array of mental health issues ( Its core premise, how to be okay when one is not okay, is a powerful aspect of resilience and a developmental need for young adults. This session will instruct participants in the basics of ACT, how its six core foundations can increase psychological flexibility and how such flexibility allows us to manage pain and not suffer. Participants will engage in experiential ACT interventions and learn how to conceptualize and treat clients from an ACT standpoint. This session will discuss how these concepts can be applied to day-to-day counseling center work in individual sessions, wellness/prevention outreach efforts, and group interventions. This session will detail Dr. Joyce's unique "Learning to Let Go" packaging of these ACT concepts as well as the "MOVE Forward" group intervention offered at USF. Data from these offering at USF will be presented.

        Learning Objectives:

        • Identify the 6 core foundations of ACT and how they lead to psychological flexibility
        • Understand the role of the human mind in creating and enhancing psychological distress from ACT theory
        • Learn specific ACT interventions to target the six foundations.
        • Learn how to apply ACT in group interventions.

        Ethical and legal clinical practice in a world of fake news and fear mongering 


        Christopher Corbett

        Abstract: Everyone has an opinion about privacy and confidentiality, especially when they think we have something they “need.”  While legal and ethical guidelines pay particular attention to these matters, it does not always feel cut and dry in practical application.  This session will review the relevant standards and work to clarify both the theoretical and practical application for clinical practice, clinical supervision, and cross campus collaborations.  Lastly, case studies will be reviewed for discussion and critique.

        Learning Objectives: 

        • Discuss the legal and ethical codes related to privacy/confidentiality for college mental health, including FERPA, HIPAA, TITLE IX, ACA, APA, NASW and state-based laws
        • Analyze and revise, if needed, their clinical policies regarding sharing of information
        • Apply standards for productive and sound clinical supervision practice
        • Utilize this knowledge to communicate and collaborate with campus stakeholders

          Afternoon Pr-Conference Options
          1:30 PM - 5:00 PM (with a 30 minute break)

          Many Paths, One Goal: College Student Mental, We've Got it Covered


          Sharon Mitchell
          University at Buffalo

          Teresa Michaelson-Chmelir
          Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

          Lindsey Mortensen
          University of Michigan

          Cecilia Sun
          University of Houston


          • Counseling Theory/Practice
          • Administrative

          Abstract: In a recent survey of college and university presidents, 81% indicated that compared to three years ago, student mental health has become more of a priority on their campus (American Council on Education, 2019).  As the utilization rate of college counseling centers has  grown 5 times the rate of the overall student enrollment (CCMH, 2016), college campuses have been pressed to re-examine resources, strategies, and mission as they grapple with what their counseling center and the larger campus community can do to take a more comprehensive, inclusive, and effective approach to promoting the emotional well-being of students.  A panel of experts from college student mental health organizations will discuss the trends, challenges, and practices being used to address this issue from administrative (American College Counseling Association – ACCA and Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors – AUCCCD), clinical services (Association for the Coordination of Counseling Center Clinical Services – ACCCCS), psychiatric services (American College Health Association), outreach (Association for University and College Counseling Center Outreach – AUCCCO), and training (Association of Counseling Center Training Agencies – ACCTA) perspectives.

          Learning Objectives:

          • Describe 3 trends in college student mental health in the areas of clinical services including psychiatry, outreach, training, and administration
          • Describe 3 programs or services that address today's college student mental health needs in an innovative way
          • Problem-solve challenges counseling centers  face in responding to college student mental health needs.
          • Identify one college student mental health strategy, program, or service that can be implemented on their campus.

          Integrating Single-Session Principles Into Every Session


          Josh Gunn
          Kennesaw State University


          • Counseling Theory/Practice

          Abstract: This workshop will help clinicians learn to make the most of every session. The median number of counseling appointments attended in college and university counseling centers is one. This has been the case for a long time, and it is also true in almost every mental health treatment setting. Nevertheless, the vast majority of mental health training programs ignore this statistic and provide very little training or applied experience in how to use this single contact. The traditional model focuses on using the initial contact almost exclusively to collect information to determine diagnosis and/or formulate a treatment plan. This workshop will focus on helping mental health clinicians conceptualize the initial and follow-up contacts as standalone interventions that may or may not result in additional contacts. Participants will learn strategies for focusing the time, assessing readiness to change, facilitating insight, and helping clients take the next best steps that could lead to the changes they are seeking.

          Learning Objectives:

          • Describe the rationale for treating each contact as an independent intervention that may or may not lead to additional sessions.
          • Determine readiness to change and an appropriate focus for single-contact interventions.
          • Develop realistic goals and action oriented steps that clients can take to meet their goals.

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              February 27 - March 1, 2020


              ACCA joins the 4th edition of Health and Well being in Higher Education: A Commitment to Student Success

              ACCA is seeking nominations for professional recognition awards to be presented at the 2020 National Conference

              Through a collaboration of the PAPA Committee and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee a new paper on the Increased Need for Counseling Services has been added to the Resources Page

              The HEMHA Distance Counseling Guide has been added to the resources page.

              2018-2019 Research Grant Applications are now being accepted.  Follow the link to learn more about ACCA Research Grant Awards

              Please note the addition of the College Counseling & Psychological Services Knowledge Base to the resources page.

              ACCA Members in the News

              Janelle Johnson comments on the state of mental services at community colleges.

              Janelle Johnson on College Counseling” Interview. Follow the link to read the full interview.

              Janelle Johnson is quoted in the Inside Higher Ed article Colleges Use Technology to Help Students Manage Mental Health, October 5, 2018.

              Lisa Adams is quoted in the Washington Post article College Students are forming mental-health clubs - and they're making a difference.
              June 28, 2018

              Lisa Adams is quoted in the Inside Higher Ed article Flawed Judgement in Use of Force Against Students.
              April 19, 2018

              Lisa Adams is quoted in the Inside Higher Ed article A World Without Depression.
              April 3, 2018

              Lisa Adams is quoted in the Time article Record Numbers of College Students Are Seeking Treatment for Depression and Anxiety - But Schools Can't Keep Up.
              March 19, 2018

              Lisa Adams is quoted in the Inside Higher Ed article Moving Away from Charging for Counseling
              February 7, 2018

              Lisa Adams is quoted in the Inside Higher Ed article Suicide Data
              January 11, 2018

              Lisa Adams is quoted in the Inside Higher Ed article All by Myself
              October 26, 2017

              Lisa Adams is quoted in the Inside Higher Ed article Suicide Victims as Art Subjects
              October 10, 2017

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