2015 Fall Newsletter


The theme of the Fall 2015 ACAC Newsletter was “Helping Children Thrive at School and at Home.” Four articles were included in the publication that touched on executive functioning, nurture groups, infant mental health, and self-compassion.  Information was also provided on how branches could attain state affiliation status with ACAC.

ACAC Position Statement – Immigration Camps

June 20, 2018


Dear Mr. Trump,

On behalf of the Association for Child and Adolescent Counseling (ACAC), a division of the American Counseling Association (ACA), we are writing to convey our concern for the children forcibly separated from their parents at the border and detained in DHS and HHS facilities. We also respectfully request that the current government administration immediately reunite separated families. We have ample scientific and historical data, which identifies the abusive nature of these experiences on children and provides evidence of long-lasting negative mental health, physical health, and economic impacts on individuals who experience this type of trauma, as well as the communities in which they live.

Scientific evidence indicates these relationally traumatic experiences create long lasting negative effects on individuals and communities:

  • There is a tremendous amount of research spanning decades indicating that experiences result in relational trauma, also called Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) by the Centers for Disease Control, who has published findings from large-scale public health studies conducted by Kaiser Permanente, a large insurance company. These studies demonstrate negative effect of ACEs on health and wellbeing and financial impacts to the country resulting from ACEs (CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/index.html)


  • Relational trauma is considered toxic stress resulting in a child’s development of an overly sensitive autonomic nervous system (ANS), resulting in chronically higher levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, and hypervigilance (CDC, 2014; Middlebrooks & Audage, n.d.; WHO, n.d.). Hypervigilance results if a person is living in an environment with chronic threats to his/her health or safety, then the brain becoming more sensitive to environmental threats, which is actually adaptive. However, this over-activation signals a change in brain development in both structure and functioning.



  • We also know that relational trauma manifesting in changes in neurobiological functioning can have lifetime negative effects on their ability to develop empathy, particularly for young (0-3 year old) children (Hare, 1993; National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2005).


Historical evidence indicates government enforced child separation from ethnic and religious minority parents results in negative outcomes for individuals and community health.

  • Native American Children:The Dawes Act of 1887 resulted the U.S. government removing very young indigenous children from their homes and placing them in assimilation-model boarding schools so they would become ‘Americanized’ (Holm, 2007; Prucha, 1984). The government acknowledged this as a ‘wrong’ action by passing the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA; Pub. L. 95-608) in 1978 to address concerns about placement of indigenous children with non-native families or institutions (Barbell & Freundlich, 2001).





  • Scientific studies demonstrate evidence that there is an intergenerational/transgenerational transmission of trauma, which explains how these types of traumatic experiences affect not only one group of children, but the generations of children that follow them in their own families and cultures (Braga, Mello,& Fiks, 2012;Brown-Rice, 2013; Danieli, 1998; Daud, Skoglund, & Rydelius, 2005; Dekel & Goldblatt, 2008; Freyberg, 1980; Sigal, 1971; Sorscher & cohen, 1997; Starman, 2006; Yehuda, Schmeidler, Wainberg, Binder-Byrnes, & Duvdevani, 1998; Yehuda, Halligan, & Grossman, 2001; Rieck, 1994; Nadler, Kav-Venaki, & Gleitman, 1985; Sagi-Schwatz, van Ijzendoorn, & Bakermans-Kranenburg, 2008). For an explanation of this process see Portney, 2003 Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma: An Introduction for the Clinician http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/comorbidity-psychiatry/intergenerational-transmission-trauma-introduction-clinician.

We ask that you consider the overwhelming multi-disciplinary peer-reviewed scientific evidence demonstrating the negative impact on individuals and communities related to child separation from parents into camp-like facilities. Additionally, we strongly urge you to immediately reunite children with their families as we believe these actions to be inconsistent with the values of the American people.


Catherine Tucker

Catherine Tucker, PhD, LMHC, RPTS

President, Association for Child & Adolescent Counseling


Leigh Falls-Hollman

Leigh Falls-Holman, PhD, LPC, RPTS

Advocacy Chair, Association

Success at ACA 2018 in Atlanta, GA! Stay tuned for details about our ACAC 2019 Conference…

ACAC Featured Sessions:

Friday, April 27

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Program ID #182, Room A407

Adverse Childhood Experiences, Trauma and Child-Centered Play Therapy

90-Minute Education Session

Dee C. Ray

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), traumatic experiences during childhood, are correlated to posttraumatic stress, behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders. The purpose of this session is to inform play therapists about the role and effects of ACEs, the relationship between ACEs and trauma and how play therapists can respond most effectively to children who have experienced multiple ACEs.


Saturday, April 28

8:00 am – 8:30 am

Program ID #576, 3rd Floor, Poster Area 4

A Model to Enhance Attachment for Perinatal Maternal Mental Illness in the United States

30-Minute Poster Session

Quinn K. Smelser

Research highlights the impact a mother’s psychological instability can have on the attachment security and physical and psychological health of a child and on the recurrence of a maladaptive cycle through generations in a family. Models studied in other countries suggest that group interventions, multidisciplinary treatment teams and mother-infant inpatient psychiatric units are the most effective in treating the mother’s mental illness and building attachment security in the mother-child dyad.


Sunday, April 29

12:15 pm – 1:15 pm

Program ID #446, Room A407

Mindfulness in Schools: Planning and Implementing a School-Based Program

60-Minute Education Session

Gail K. Roaten, Elsa Soto Leggett

Mindfulness has become a “hot topic” in counseling! Mindfulness programs in schools show promising results. Attendees will learn about the research on mindfulness as well as the basics of planning for and implementing a mindfulness program in a school. Numerous examples of mindfulness activities will be provided along with a couple of experiential activities.

Come by our table in the exhibit hall or come to our general membership meeting. Students welcome!

2017 ACAC Conference Highlights

The Association for Child and Adolescent Counseling (ACAC) held it’s inaugural national conference July 20th – 21st in Arlington, Virginia.

The conference theme was Trauma in Children and Adolescents

Our Keynote Title: When the Unthinkable Happens: Fostering Resiliency, Hope & Healing

Deb Del Vecchio-Scully, LPC, former Clinical Recovery Leader of the Newtown community shared her experiences in navigating the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. There were also several other presentations, some of which are featured here below. We look forward to planning the next conference and hope to see you there!



Inaugural ACAC National Conference 2017

2017 ACAC Conference Program

The Association for Child and Adolescent Counseling (ACAC) held it’s inaugural national conference July 20th – 21st in Arlington, Virginia. Highlights included a keynote presentation by Deb del Vecchio-Scully, Sandy Hook Counselor & Trauma treatment expert. The conference theme is Trauma in Children and Adolescents

Our Keynote Title: When the Unthinkable Happens: Fostering Resiliency, Hope & Healing

When the unthinkable happens in our communities, life changes for everyone involved, particularly following senseless violence. Counselors must balance their personal reactions while supporting the needs of survivors, particularly traumatized children, through the raw healing steps to recovery.  Deb Del Vecchio-Scully, LPC, former Clinical Recovery Leader of the Newtown community shared her experiences in navigating the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. 

Up to 9 hours of APT approved play therapy credits
APT Approved Provider #16-471

See our registration page for more details about accommodations.

Register today!

ACA 2017 Conference & Expo ACAC Featured Sessions

Tips and Tools for Counseling Youth with Sensory Processing Disorder

60-Minute Education Session
Emily Goodman-Scott, Melanie Burgess, Simone Lambert

Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a neurological disorder impacting the behavioral, emotional, and social functioning of nearly 20 percent of youth. However, SPD is largely unrecognized in the counseling profession. Counselors serving youth in mental health and school settings attend this session to learn more about SPD and gain strategies for screening, diagnosing, treating, and collaborating with related stakeholders. Come prepared for a wealth of tips and tools to help you best serve the youth on your caseload.

  • Friday, March 17
  • 3:00pm – 4:00pm
  • ACAC Featured Session
  • Program ID #173, Room 2022

More than Just a “Bad Kid”: Exploring Positive Self-Concepts with Students

90-Minute Education Session
Shanice N. Armstrong, Richard J. Ricard

Have you ever met students who have given up on themselves? Who felt so powerless that they lose hope and see no point in even trying? This mentality is a small component of the “Why Try” Effect. The “Why Try” Effect involves self-stigma and stereotype threat, mediators such as self-esteem/efficacy, and their effect on goal-related behavior. This session will guide attendees in understanding the underlying research of this phenomenon and evidence-based practices to combat internalized hopelessness.

  • Saturday, March 18
  • 10:30am – 12:00pm
  • ACAC Featured Session
  • Program ID #248, Room 2002

Identifying and Addressing the Needs of Refugee Adolescents in Schools

30-Minute Poster Session
Amanda D. Rumsey 

With the growing number of refugees being resettled in the U.S., schools are seeing an increase in the numbers of refugee students and counselors are faced with providing appropriate services to support the needs of these youth. Information gathered from school counselors who currently work with refugee adolescents was collected and will be shared with attendees. Suggestions for providing support and ideas for future research will be discussed.

  • Saturday, March 18
  • 5:00pm – 5:30pm
  • ACAC Featured Session
  • Program ID #785, 2nd Floor, Poster Area 1

Can We Play Too: Including Children in Family Therapy

30-Minute Poster Session
Jennifer Pereira

Therapists often struggle when working to appropriately include young children in family sessions due to differences in cognitive, emotional, and social understanding. This poster outlines various methods for including young family members in sessions in ways that allow them to benefit from therapy and add to the positive outcomes.

  • Sunday, March 19
  • 10:00am – 10:30am
  • ACAC Featured Session
  • Program ID #818, 2nd Floor, Poster Area 41

JCAC Volume 2 Issue 2

Counseling Children and Adolescents with Sensory Processing Disorder: Results of an Exploratory National Study

Emily Goodman-Scott, Melanie Burgess, Jonna Bobzien, Ryan Melton & Simone Lambert

Pages: 77-94

Literacy, Personal Development, and Social Development Among Latina Youth: Exploring the Use of Latino Literature and Dance

Amy L. Cook, Laura A. Hayden & Kari Denitzio

Pages: 95-111

Mandatory Reporting of Child Maltreatment for Counselors: An Innovative Training Program

Maureen C. Kenny & Roberto L. Abreu

Pages: 112-124

Experiences of Caregivers and Students in an Elementary School–Based Mental Health Counseling Practicum Program

Coralis Solomon, Samuel L. Bierbrauer, Shaywanna Harris, Christopher T. Belser, Naomi J. Wheeler, A. Elizabeth Crunk & Glenn W. Lambie

Pages: 125-142

Playing in Schools: Adaptation of CPRT with Senior Volunteers to Help At-Risk Children

Angela M. Yoder, Danessa Carter, Breanna Yantis, Amy Allison & Alyssa Swan

Pages: 143-158

School Counselors’ Experiences With Empowerment and Students on the Autism Spectrum: A Qualitative Study

Laura Lynn Gallo, Tracie Self & Meredith A. Raush

Pages: 159-174

JCAC Volume 2 Issue 1

Adolescents’ Perceptions of Their School Counselors’ Impact

Jonathan H. Ohrt, Dodie Limberg, Tiffany M. Bordonada, Catherine Griffith & Renee S. Sherrell

Pages: 1-15

A Pilot Evaluation of Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Adolescents Within a Partial Hospitalization Treatment Milieu

Garry Del Conte, A. Stephen Lenz & K. Michelle Hollenbaugh

Pages: 16-32

Using the Crisis Stabilization Scale to Evaluate Progress for Adolescents in Crisis

Richard S. Balkin & Erika L. Schmit

Pages: 33-41

A Child Counselor’s Guide to Help Parents Discuss Sex in Developmentally Appropriate Ways With Children Ages 3 to 9

Dalena Dillman Taylor & Matthew D. Munyon

Pages: 42-60

Embodying and Communicating Authenticity in Adolescent Counseling

Ryan P. Holliman & Ryan D. Foster

Pages: 61-76

JCAC Volume 1 Issue 2

Meta-Analysis of The Coping Cat Program for Decreasing Severity of Anxiety Symptoms Among Children and Adolescents

Stephen Lenz

Pages: 51-65

Effect of Child-Centered Play Therapy on Performance Anxiety and Academic Achievement

Pedro J. Blanco, Joel H. Muro, Ryan Holliman, Victoria K. Stickley & Kali Carter

Pages: 66-80

Investigating the Effectiveness of Adlerian Play Therapy (AdPT) with Children with Disruptive Behaviors: A Single-Case Research Design (SCRD)

Dalena Dillman Taylor & Kristin K. Meany-Walen

Pages: 81-99

Sex-Specific Parental Behaviors and Attitudes as Predictors of Alcohol Use and Alcohol-Related Consequences Among Ninth Grade Students

Diana M. Doumas, Robin Hausheer & Susan Esp

Pages: 100-118

DSM-5 PTSD in Children Six Years and Younger: Implications for Assessment and Treatment

Naomi Wheeler & K. Dayle Jones

Pages: 119-134

JCAC Volume 1 Issue 1

In This Issue

Launching a New Era for Child and Adolescent Counselors

Dee C. Ray

Pages: 1-2

Effectiveness of Play Therapy on Problematic Behaviors of Preschool Children With Somatization

April A. Schottelkorb, Karrie L. Swan, Lexie Jahn, Sara Haas & Jordan Hacker

Pages: 3-16

Humanistic Sandtray Therapy With Preadolescents

Stephen A. Armstrong, Tim Brown & Ryan D. Foster

Pages: 17-26

Play Therapy for Children With Intellectual Disabilities

Randall L. Astramovich, Catherine Lyons & Nancy J. Hamilton

Pages: 27-36

Meeting the Need: Applying Concepts for Assessment and Planning With Child and Adolescent Trauma

Nathan C. D. Perron & Debra A. Pender

Pages: 37-49