Building community, continuing education

Lauren Harris, who helped the University Counseling Center put on the Terrell Conference, speaks with a counselor attening the conference. Zachary Araki/The Lion's Roar

The inaugural Terrell Conference brought together mental health practitioners for networking and continued education.

The University Counseling Center held the conference, honoring its namesake former director of the UCC Tom Terrell, on Friday, Jan. 12 from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the War Memorial Student Union. The conference included networking opportunities with other counselors and businesses as well as continuing education units touching on the topics of ethics, addiction and humor.

Assistant Director of Programming and Outreach for the UCC Annette Newton-Baldwin discussed why the UCC decided to hold the conference.

 

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“The main reason was to increase our partnerships in the community,” said Newton-Baldwin. “So, help us know our referral base, so if we’re working with a student that maybe has been seen by another provider or maybe needs a provider, being able to really get good relationships with the people we work with, our referral sources.”

Assistant Director and Counselor for Upward Bound Roshanna King shared what the conference means for the counseling profession and the community.

“It provides an opportunity for other people in the counseling profession from different areas and different capacities within the counseling profession to come together and to give the training that’s required for our profession,” said King. “So again, to see what community resources are available and how they can benefit this area, I think it’s been very beneficial thus far.”

1989 Alumnus and Chief Clinical Officer of Lakeview Health Dr. Phillip Hemphill presented “New Boundaries and Ethics: Are you ready?” Hemphill discussed what challenges the field poses.

“One of the barriers is try to stay up and be an expert in all the different areas that’s expected of the profession,” said Hemphill. “I think that’s one. I think that there’s not enough people in the field, so we don’t have enough mental health and substance use providers in the field. So, I’m concerned about people burning out and not really being able to sustain the level that may be required.”

Hemphill cited technology as another issue.

“We haven’t figured out how to capture and how to use technology in a way that can be beneficial to our patients,” said Hemphill. “We have like telehealth, and we have some apps to monitor people, but we haven’t fully understood how to reach more people. We’re still sort of stuck in having one-on-one therapy sessions or having a group of just a handful of people compared to thinking more macro about our care and how we can deliver that best.”

Clinical Liaison for Addiction Recovery Resources, Inc. Jennifer Couret shared why the business participated in the conference.

“We like to do a lot of outreach in our area and community events, so we thought this was a good conference to attend to network and to get resources out there for people who need them, for addiction,” said Couret.

Hemphill offered advice to aspiring or current mental health practitioners.

“I think that everybody needs to find people in the industry that they can look to to be a mentor,” said Hemphill. “I think that they need to stay up to date with the latest technology because with the science of our industry it’s constantly changing, and we have to stay up to date with the latest information. Also, each person has a story to tell, and it’s drawn them to this field and to this career, to embrace that story and not to run away from it but to realize it’s really giving you the resources and the power to pursue your career and your specialty.”

Newton-Baldwin hopes to continue holding a conference like the Terrell Conference.

Newton-Baldwin said, “What we would really hope to do is host a once a year conference to have something big like a nice sized conference that’s comfortable for professional counselors, licensed clinical social workers to be able to network, continue their education hours where they don’t have to maybe go to New Orleans or Baton Rouge to do that. They can do that here, and then it’s just a nice way to really get to know what the other professionals are doing.”

King shared her thoughts on the conference.

“I hope that they do it again,” said King. “I can see how it could be a jewel for this university, the counseling center and the counseling profession as a whole.”

 

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