By Paula Enevoldsen
McDaniel Budapest had the privilege of hosting the 58th Annual European Branch of the American Counseling Association Conference on September 30 and October 1. Some of our psychology students had the chance to participate as volunteers in order to gain valuable experience and learn about the different proposals.
This was the first time this notable organization has held its annual meeting in Hungary. During the weekend, mental health professionals from the US and Europe were holding lectures and discussions on many different topics. The aim of the conference was to develop a deeper understanding of the profession, oneself, and the individuals, promoting public confidence and trust in the counseling profession.
During these days, conference participants had the opportunity to choose from 60 different sessions comprising of the latest research, case studies, and methodologies. Some of the topics included: An integrative treatment approach to Bipolar Disorder, Learning to live with Loss: An Autoethnographic Journey, Cross-Cultural Supervision: The impact of Power, Race and Gender, Journey Beyond the Core: Exploring Voice, Treating Substance Use Disorders as Attachment Disorders, Expressive Healing: A laughing matter and more.
Rejecting the idea of having some chill days out of class schedule, our volunteers got some positive feedback about the whole experience. One of our volunteers, Chahinez Haddad said it was: “Very tiring but also very interesting to network and listen to professionals.” Sarah Boudiaf, another volunteer from McDaniel Budapest said, “enriching for psychology students, but also interesting to learn about event management for the mess it was sometimes.’’ Mark Bondar, a psychology student, who also volunteered, added: “The ACA conference was eye-opening as the presentations evidenced the magnitude and significance of self-awareness and the role it plays in maintaining a healthy mental state.”
Due to Levente Somogyi (our mental health counsellor) and Dr. Adamson, McDaniel College Budapest’s Director of Academic Affairs), who helped with the organization of the event, the whole event was a total success. The EB-ACA 58th Conference was a unique opportunity and the first professional venue for the American Counseling Association in Hungary, explained Levente. “In addition hosting this event, McDaniel did a great step forward bringing this prestigious organization closer the local counseling community meanwhile introducing Budapest as a cultural experience to visiting American counselors,” he said. The 42 sessions gave a chance for the attendees from many parts of the world to get familiar with the various approaches or professional experiences of the clinical field, thus making this event a truly a multi ethnic and a multi-cultural professional reunion for all involved, added Levente. “We also owe a big thanks to the student volunteers who were working 12 hour shifts over the weekend patiently assisting the organizers, helping presenters and representing McDaniel College Community in such an outstanding way,” he said.
The developer conference was not just talks and workshops. There were also a couple of opportunities to get to know the presenters and the people who went to the event. All participants shared the joy of having the chance to be there and how good they were encouraged to challenge themselves to a higher standard of work. Overall, it was a wonderful experience that was incredibly beneficial. The learning experience of our volunteer students will be enhanced as a result of this conference.
The European Branch-American Counseling Association has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 1102.