Happy New Year!
Thank you to everyone who attended our Fall Conference in November! It was such a wonderful experience interacting and learning with our counseling community. I would like to thank Brenda Hanson and the rest of the Conference Committee for their extraordinary efforts in making the conference such a success. I am also deeply appreciative of Summer Brown and Dr. David Kaplan, who each provided challenging and informative keynote addresses.
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to ORCA’s new Secretary, Sofia Jasani. Sofia is a student in the Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling program at Portland State University. She has previously worked for the Multnomah County chapter of NAMI as Education Program Director. Welcome Sofia! We are delighted to have you serving ORCA and the counseling profession.
The theme of this edition of The Counselor is Effective Advocacy Approaches. In this issue, you will find stories and guidance regarding client and professional advocacy. Advocacy is an essential component of our work as counselors, which is why advocacy is mandated in the American Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics. One tool that I have found to be invaluable is the ACA Advocacy Competencies, which remind us that advocacy necessarily takes place at the client, community, and legislative levels.
This special edition of The Counselor comes at a time of multiple important advocacy issues impacting mental health providers and consumers in our state. Recently, Oregonians participated in a special election on Measure 101, which would protect hundreds of millions of dollars in state funding, and potentially billions of dollars in federal funding, for the Oregon Health Plan. We need Measure 101 to pass in order to maintain stability of Medicaid and health insurance premiums in the state, not to mention the job security of counselors and other mental health providers. ORCA worked diligently to ensure the success of Measure 101, partnering with the Yes campaign and mobilizing members to recognize the gravity of the issue for our profession. [placeholder for sentence about whether or not 101 passed].
Concurrently, Oregonians have been grappling with the closure of FamilyCare. While the issue is complex and political, the closure resulted in the loss of over 300 jobs and the disruption of services of thousands of consumers. COPACT, the joint political advocacy group for ORCA and the Oregon Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, ensured that Oregon Health Authority has a viable plan in place for the transition of care for impacted consumers. We also disseminated information about the impact of the closure and shared advocacy opportunities with ORCA members.
I am grateful to the many ORCA members who got involved with these important issues. It is our hope that the articles in this issue will provide additional ideas regarding how counselors can support the success of our clients and our profession.
Joel Lane, PhD, LPC NCC
President, Oregon Counseling Association