Association for Child and Adolescent Counseling in Illinois
A division of Illinois Counseling Association

February 2017 Newsletter
  • Letter from ACACI President
  • Listening to Youth Update
  • Call for Proposals
  • Free February and March CE Opportunities
  • Crisis Intervention with Children and Families
  • Creative Arts Therapies
  • Join us on Social Media

  Message from thePresident

Dear ACACI collegaues,

You matter to us!   Our vision is to provide our members opportunities to learn about mental health, network with one another, and contribute through their work and volunteer efforts to the mental wellness of Illinois youth.

Some of the ways we are carrying out this vision are through our website with resources, the Listening to Youth program which offers affordable training for creating youth advisory boards to support children and adolescents having an active voice in their communities, and our quarterly newsletter providing opportunities for our members to share information and expertise with each other.

We welcome your involvement and ideas, and look forward to meeting with you at our division meeting in November at the annual ICA conference. We would also like to encourage you to share your knowledge and passion for counseling youth by submitting a proposal to the upcoming conference.

Roseanne Oppmann, LCPC, President ACACI 

     Listening to Youth (LTY) Update 

Article by: Maria McCabe, LCPC                               
This Spring IACAC will launch a training that will allow them to form Youth Advisory Boards for youth ages 13 – 18.  Listening to Youth is an opportunity for child and adolescent counselors who are members of IACAC to earn 6 CE’s while being trained to facilitate Youth Advisory Boards that will advise adult boards in agencies or not for profit organizations, schools or community groups.   Training will be offered this Spring in four locations across the state.  The cost of the training will be $60 and will include 6 CEU’s, a training manual, 6 hours of training and lunch.  IACAC members will receive a 50% discount on training.  Pilot sites will be selected and will receive stipends for materials and training to launch their youth advisory boards. 
Listening to Youth was initiated in 2001 in reaction to a sudden increase in violence in schools. School counselors were trained to organize groups of students within their schools to address the issues impacting school climate.  The result was very positive not only for the youth involved but for the schools who sponsored the groups.  In 2016 ACACI, along with Mental Health Association of the North Shore, decided to launch a new version of “Listening to Youth” that would extend the concept beyond issues of “violence” and beyond the school.  Based on the work of Mental Health Association of the North Shore’s(MHANS) Youth Advisory Board, the program expanded.  Allyson Adams and Cristina Ramirez j along with Maria McCabe, Toni Tollerud, Scott Wickman, Rosanne Oppmann, Leslie Contos, Al Orsello and Peggy Mayfield worked for many months to find ways to combine the concepts of “Listening to Youth” with the Youth Advisory initiative at MHANS. 
The new “LTY” Handbook will be filled with information about how to form, sustain and maintain Youth Advisory Boards.  Research, activities and resources will help new facilitators launch and guide their Youth Advisory Boards in a way that will promote the development of strong social/emotional skills.  Facilitator training will give participants an opportunity to discuss the possibilities and plan for the initiation of their own groups in a way that will ensure success.  Pilot sites will be selected after training is complete.
At the 2016 ICA Conference in Springfield, Maria McCabe was awarded the Robert J. Nejedlo Social Emphasis Grant from the Schultz Foundation for Advancing Counseling
(formerly ICA Foundation) in the amount of $5000 to support the purchase of materials and to provide training that will launch “Listening to Youth.”  Sarah Schriber from Prevent School Violence Illinois (PSVI) has been hired as the coordinator of pilot sites for the project.  Her responsibility will be to collect data, support facilitators and youth boards with resources and training materials, and to organize a “Listening to Youth Advisory Board” summit in 2018.
More information about “Listening to Youth” can be found on the IACAC site under resources

Call for Proposals

Conference Proposals for Fall 2017 ICA Conference
This year's theme is  "The Spirit of Creative Counseling".

Please consider submitting a proposal for a poster or a presentation on counseling with youth to share your passion or expertise with your fellow Illinois counselors.

Free CE's in February and March
Sunday, February 19-Saturday, February 25, during CACREP Advocacy Week, CSI members and non-members with Guest accounts will be able to access the “Strengthening the Counseling Profession” webinars for free on CSI’s Recorded Webinars webpage. After completing a webinar and passing a five-question quiz, a participant will be able to download a CE certificate from her or his profile and receive free NBCC-CACREP approved CE hours regardless of membership in CSI!  Non-members can set up a CSI Guest membership at any time by visiting and clicking on “New Member Registration.” 
Thursday, March 2, 2017    9am - 12pm  Check-in begins at 8:30am.  Residential Treatment for Chemical Dependency and Anxiety Disorders.  Hosted by: Alexian Brothers, Amita at Stonegate Conference & Banquet Center at 2401 W. Higgins Rd, Hoffman Estates, IL   60169.  CEUs Offered: 3.0   LPC/LCPC, LSW/LCSW, LMFT
Cost: Free Includes program materials, continuing education and continental breakfast.
Reserve a Seat Register by calling  1-855-692-6482

Crisis intervention with children and families:  A counselor's perspective 

 Article by: Christine Vinci, MA, LPC, CCTP, NCC and ACACI Member
In the counseling profession, crisis is often used to describe an unstable situation.  The goal of crisis intervention is to not only provide tools and teach skills, but also to prevent any future crisis situations from arising.  When working with children, oftentimes, the family is involved.  The National Alliance on Mental Illness described crisis in children as “any situation in which the child’s behaviors puts them at risk of hurting themselves or others and/or when the parent isn’t able to resolve the situation with the skills and resources available.”  In reading this definition carefully, crisis situations can range significantly. 

As clinicians, we are provided many training and educational opportunities on crisis intervention.  The challenge is to apply this to improve the lives of our clients.  When multiple people are involved in a crisis, such as with children, it is more of a challenge to do so.  In my experience with crisis situations, here are a few things to remember:

1. Slow down: it is very easy to get caught up in the situation.  It is important to take a step back and to look at the situation from an outside perspective.  This tends to be overlooked because our human instinct is to react; flight, fight, or freeze.  When we do this, things tend to get lost in translation.  Important information may be overlooked or overanalyzed, therefore, not really helping the situation and providing a poor outcome. 

2. Take a few deep breaths: in a crisis, it is important to be as calm as possible to avoid any added stress or anxiety to the child and the family.  Many times, it is the first time that they have been in a crisis.  There are levels of uncertainty with them, but also, with the clinician.  This is when we apply the tools and training we have learned in school or in our employment settings.  Remember, if you are calm, the child and their family are more calm.

3. There are many things to consider:  crisis work in of itself is very unpredictable.  In most instances, if a crisis occurs with those under 18, SASS or Screening, Assessment, and Support Services are involved.  Often, a SASS worker comes out to where the child and family are in crisis and provides a face to face assessment.  This provides the luxury of seeing the parent and child interact, their living environment, and other various observations that are helpful to resolve a crisis.  Ultimately providing a snapshot of the child and the family.  Look at the child in other environments as well.  If the child lives with multiple caregivers, how they are in school and with their peers.  These are all very important pieces of data, as having an estimation of positive outcome measures will prevent future crisis situations.

4. Other things to consider:  Consider the child and family as a WHOLE; their culture, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, family system, developmental history, medical history, trauma history just to name a few.  Looking at these factors can tell you about how the child and family functions and deals with a crisis, giving the clinician better insight into how they resolve a crisis.  Remember that crisis work is not just about the crisis itself, but the people involved.  Understanding the family will give you a better sense of who they are and provide you with tools for a foundation to build a strong rapport.  The more comfortable they are with you, the easier it is to assist with problem solving tools to resolve a crisis.

5. ASSESS FOR SAFETY:  Safety is the most important thing in crisis work.  Not only for the child and family, but the clinician as well.  Again, this is when our training comes in.  Assess for suicidality and homicide.  If medical attention is required, call 911.  If the police need to be called, call them.  Don’t assume anything.  If you as a clinician feel unsafe, act.  It is better to act than not at all.  If your own personal safety is threatened, call the police. 

6.  You are the clinician: In a crisis, there are two outcomes-deflection and hospitalization.  When someone reaches out for help, we as clinicians are doing out diligence to provide interventions and services that are appropriate for the client and the family.  After an assessment is completed, it is possible that deflection or safety planning is appropriate.  This is ideal as the goal is to prevent future crisis from occurring.  Giving the child and the family problem solving tools and a concrete safety plan will decrease the need for crisis intervention in the future.  On the other end, psychiatric hospitalization may be required.  If this is the outcome, be honest and straightforward with the child and family throughout the process.  For many, this will be very anxiety provoking.  Be sensitive, empathetic, compassionate, and supportive.  Tell them word for word what will happen and assist so that the process will be less traumatic and as smooth as possible.  There is the case where a parent will refuse or disagree with your recommendations.  Ask the family about what their apprehensions are.  Most of the time, parents are scared and worried, many having going through this for the first time.  Talking them through and reducing these anxieties will provide more room to be open and honest, strengthening the rapport between you, the child, and the family.  If any of these don’t work, DCFS may be involved.  Again, be honest with families about this.  Do not mention this until it is necessary.  For many, DCFS involvement increases apprehension and builds defenses, impacting the trust and rapport that you built.  When making your recommendations, remember that consideration for safety is primary.

7.  Utilize supports In a crisis, it is important to process what happened.  In many environments, there are protocols to help clinicians debrief from a crisis.  Know what your workplace policies and protocols are.  You are not in it alone.  Seek support either for further consultation in a situation, clinical supervision. or opportunities for further training to learn more about crisis intervention.  The truth is that we don’t know everything or have the answers.  When in doubt, seek supervision.
            Overall, crisis work is unpredictable and stressful.  Newer clinicians will have more anxiety when a crisis occurs.  Experience in these situations will increase competence and confidence in the ability to work with children and families in crisis.  In reflecting in my experience as a clinician, there are many things to consider when working with children and families in crisis.   Having the right resources, clinical support, and tools will help with increasing positive outcomes. 

National Alliance of Mental Illness
Illinois Department of Human Services
Christine Vinci is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has over eight years of experience in the social service and mental health field working with children, adolescents, and adults in a variety of settings.  Christine has additional training in the areas of child development, trauma, and crisis intervention.  She is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional through the International Association of Trauma Professionals, providing her with additional tools and resources to work with trauma survivors and their families across the lifespan. 
Creative arts therapies: "Creativity takes courage"   – Henri Matisse
Article by:  Azizi Marshall, LCPC, RDT/BCT, REAT and ACACI Member
Creative arts therapists have been around since the beginning of time. We have painted in caves to communicate ideas and thoughts, written music to express difficult emotions and performed for Gods to show our devotion. In the mid-1900’s, creative arts therapies were formed as distinct disciplines of artistic therapeutic interventions. 

When a creative arts therapist today is asked what they do for a living, many answer, “I’m an art therapist” or “I am a drama therapist.” This ultimately leads to the following question… “What is that?” Creative arts therapy is often seen as the unknown, and venturing into the unknown takes courage.
Over the years, creative arts therapists have developed a repertoire of answers to that question, and over the years we have found that being in this creatively therapeutic field takes courage. Not as artists, per se, but as clinicians using the arts to heal. Sometimes people have a general knowledge of art therapy; but drama therapy, music therapy, dance/movement therapy? Let us attempt to answer the question we have received over the past 80 years as creative arts therapists. “What is that?”
What is Drama Therapy?
The North American Drama Therapy Association defines Drama Therapy as “an active, experiential approach to facilitating change. Through storytelling, projective play, purposeful improvisation and performance, participants are invited to rehearse desired behaviors, practice being in relationship, expand and find flexibility between life roles, and perform the change they wish to be and see in the world.” Psychodrama, ritual and role play are also used.
Drama Therapists are trained in psychotherapy and drama/theatre. They hold a masters or doctoral degree from a program accredited by the North American Drama Therapy Association (NADTA) or a masters or doctoral degree in mental health or theatre supplemented by required courses stipulated by the NADTA in its Alternative Training Program. The designation “Registered Drama Therapist” (RDT), and the more advanced credential “Board Certified Trainer” (BCT) is awarded by NADTA to applicants who fulfill requirements beyond the academic degree: clinical internships, supervised professional practice, and documented clinical experience.
What is Dance/Movement Therapy?
“Dance/Movement Therapy is the psychotherapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual.” (American Dance Therapy Association). The therapeutic process of using dance and motion allows clients to better understand their feelings and regulate their emotions. Thus, clients learn to express their emotions through creative motion, which is a powerful form of communication.
Dance/Movement Therapists (DMT) enter the profession with a masters degree, which includes psychological content as well as DMT specific content, such as theory, movement observation and assessment. DMT professionals can be a “Registered Dance/Movement Therapist” (R-DMT), or the more advanced credential, “Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist” (BC-DMT), attained upon the completion of supervised clinical hours as well as passing an examination.
What is Art Therapy?
Based on the American Art Therapy Association, Art Therapy is “a mental health profession in which clients…use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem.” Art Therapy consists of creating many different kinds of art and then processing the total experience through individual and group therapy. Art therapy allows clients to share and understand things about themselves that they might otherwise find difficult to express.
Art Therapists hold a masters or doctoral degree in Art Therapy from a program accredited by the American Art Therapy Association. The designation of Art Therapist Registered (ATR) is awarded by the Art Therapy Credentials Board with the completion of 1000 hours of supervised direct clinical contact.
What is Music Therapy?
The American Music Therapy Association defines music therapy as “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.” Music therapy provides avenues for appropriate self-expression that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to communicate. Research shows that many areas of life are supported and enhanced through music therapy, such as: emotional growth, increased motivation, and improved self-image and self-identity. Essentially, music therapy provides an outlet for expression of feelings and emotions that translates into healing of the whole person.
Music Therapists are musicians trained in physiology, biology/neurology, psychology, development and pathology. They hold a baccalaureate, masters or doctoral degree from a program accredited by the American Music Therapy Association. The designation “Music Therapist Board-Certified” (MT-BC) is awarded to applicants who fulfill the degree requirements, a 900 to 1200 hour internship and the completion of the Music Therapy Board Certification Examination.
What is Expressive Arts Therapy?
“The expressive arts combine the visual arts, movement, drama, music, writing and other creative processes to foster deep personal growth and community development.” (International Expressive Arts Therapy Association) Use of the expressive arts multiplies the avenues by which a client can seek meaning, clarity, and healing. It deepens and transcends traditional talk therapy by acknowledging that each client’s process is unique. Intermodal in its approach, expressive arts therapy realizes that all modalities and movement between them supports the expression of all the senses, thus focusing on the process of creating rather than the artistic outcome.
Training to be an Expressive Arts Therapist requires at least a masters degree in counseling with a concentration in Expressive Arts Therapy from an accredited university. Additionally, training exist that offer certificate programs or studies in expressive arts for those who want to use the expressive arts in related fields like coaching, consulting, and education.
So, “What is that?”
Creative arts therapists use a variety of artistic modalities to apply theoretically based clinical interventions for clients of multiple settings, diagnoses and backgrounds; counseling their clients through the arts. This field truly provides the means for client and clinician to venture into the unknown, where the creative journey takes courage. Consider joining the journey.
Azizi Marshall is the Founder & CEO of The Center for Creative Arts Therapy in Downers Grove, an arts-based psychotherapy practice and training center. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the state of IL in independent practice, the Past Central Region Representative for the North American Drama Therapy Association, and Board Certified Trainer in Drama and Expressive Arts Therapy.
Contact:, (847) 477-8244

  Social Media: Our Website, Facebook, and Twitter accounts are managed by President-Elect, Peggy Mayfield.  Please visit us at Twitter and like us on Facebook and check out our website for resources.  
 Newsletter: Our Membership Advocate and newsletter editor is Leslie Contos. Do you enjoy writing? We would love to have your article in our next newsletter! contact for more information.
      Volunteers: Graduate students are you looking for ways to get involved?  Contact Roseanne Oppmann
ACACI Collaboration
IACAC/ACACI continues to collaborate with other groups! On January 27, 2017.  We were invited by the Illinois Association of Multicultural Counseling group to participate in a Lunch and Learn event that was funded in part by a 2016 Merlin W. Schultz Professional Development Grant. This sold out event was called “Mental Health Issues in Immigrant Families”.  
Dr. Scott Feldman, the keynote speaker, presented important information on counseling the vulnerable population of at-risk immigrant youth. Undocumented immigrants, particularly children and adolescents, face an array of stressors, which negatively impact mental health. Following the keynote, there was a solution-focused panel discussion, which provided an opportunity for questions to be posed and answered. IACAC/ACACI had the opportunity to serve on the panel to represent a view in regard to school aged children and how some families are affected, as well as what resources could be  available to them. This event was a wonderful example of our continued effort to collaborate and provide valuable opportunities to our members!
Helping children and adolescents thrive!

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