APU Counseling Psychology Conference Brings Alumni & Community Together at APU

247At the beginning of October over 80 attendees participated in the first ever Counseling Psychology Conference at Alaska Pacific University. The mission of the conference: raise scholarship funds for students in the APU Counseling Psychology program. Half of the participants were current APU students, faculty, staff, or alumni.

The APU community participation was robust with a majority of the donated items for the silent auction and lunches coming from APU staff, faculty, or alumni. “I was awed by the generosity of our alumni in donating to the silent auction,” said Renee Georg, Co-Chair of the Counseling Psychology and Human Services Department at APU. “I was thrilled that so many of our graduates came to at least part of the conference. Some of the feedback from the alumni was that they were glad to be reminded of being at APU and being in workshops that had a personal touch. It was wonderful to see alumni make connections across graduation years, and also nice to catch up with them in their careers. We had representation (at the conference) from the earlier cohorts that graduated in the 1990’s through to graduates from 2013.”

Keynote speakers for the conference included Dr. Samuel T. Gladding, chair of the Department of Counseling at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and Dr. Diane Levin, Professor of Education at Wheelock College in Boston, MA.

Dr. Gladding’s speech focused on the integration of creativity in counseling and how using creativity in sessions can generate expression and feeling on a deeper level.

“I really enjoyed Sam Gladding’s humor and insight during his keynote speech on Saturday morning,” Robin Bartlett, APU Master of Science in Counseling Psychology student told the APU blog. “I loved the fact that he promoted creative approaches that would break down the barriers that new clients might have.”

Dr. Levin spoke about her recently published book “So Sexy So Soon” which describes the impact of media on today’s generation of children and how counselors can raise awareness and enhance behavior by lessening media exposure for children.

Breakout sessions rounded out the conference honing in on a variety of topics including Alaska Native Counseling, Chronic Pain Management in Counseling, and Counseling for Military families.
A silent auction was held the first evening of the conference with staff, students, faculty, and APU President Dr. Don Bantz in attendance. Proceeds from the silent auction and conference fees totaled over $3,600 with all funds going towards psychology student scholarships.

“I think that quality education of counseling and psychology professionals is based upon enhancing relationships. This conference was able to do that,” said Georg who is hopeful for continued success of the conference next year. “The next step would be to reach out to the wider helping community. We hope to encourage more participation from allied professionals next year. “

Written by Christina Wilson
APU Academic Support Leader & Master of Science in Counseling Psychology student