It’s commonly known that the development and success of young children depend on more than just the efforts of their teachers. As the phrase goes, “it takes a village.” And some of the most critical practitioners in that village are products of Educational Psychology, a field that can be obscured in the landscape of early childhood and elementary education.
A casual observer walking down a hallway in the Eastburn Education building on the Flagstaff Mountain Campus may see the contrast plainly. Compared to their talkative, bustling future-teacher counterparts, Educational Psychology students can appear introspective. Whether a function of their rigorous curriculum or the developing mindset of a professional clinician, educational psychology students possess poise and earnest solemnity that project a sense of ease and comfort.
The field itself is diverse; students are working toward careers in everything from School Counseling to Student Affairs to Clinical Mental Health counselors in private practice, and plan to work with adult, children, and couples dealing with eating disorders, trauma, children, and couples, among a plethora of options. Such a wide range of opportunities calls for organizations that can bring everyone together to offer development, support, and camaraderie within their chosen fields.
Chi Sigma Iota is an international honor society that values academic and professional excellence in counseling, and NAU’s Beta Alpha chapter was established in 1988, only a few short years after the society was founded in 1985. Made up of graduate students studying at the Flagstaff Mountain Campus, Chi Sigma Iota hosts educational talks and training opportunities, organizes advocacy projects within the community, and plans social and recruiting events for students to learn more about the organization.
CSI’s stated mission is “to promote scholarship, research, professionalism, leadership, advocacy, and excellence in counseling, and to recognize high attainment in the pursuit of academic and clinical excellence in the profession of counseling,” a tall order when students are juggling full course loads and countless hours in practicum.
And yet, they find the time. “This semester we are hosting several talks covering the topics of Creativity in Counseling, Working with Clients from a Parts Approach, and Gender and Sexuality in the Context of Healthcare. CSI is also hosting a series of webinars showcasing various techniques that can be used while working in a clinical setting,” said chapter president Loran Wallace.
Other events hosted in the Fall 2019 semester:
The Cooper Norcross Inventory of Preferences Training: The CNIP training educated students on how to administer this tool designed to help counselors learn, in great detail, how a client prefers to interact and connect in counseling with a therapist. It gave students an opportunity to practice using the tool as well as ask questions, and have discussions regarding its clinical utility.
Valentine’s Day Fundraiser: A hosted a booth on Valentine’s day selling homemade flowers, cards, patches, and candies to raise money for future talks and training opportunities. The booth also provided a variety of information for different needs, including relationship building activities, qualities of healthy vs unhealthy relationships, guidelines for healthy conflict resolution, and tips on showing gratitude for your partner.
Working with Clients from a Parts Approach: This talk conducted by NAU faculty member Dr. Pit Kolodinsky discussed parts approaches from Internal Family Systems, Gestalt therapy, 3-2-1 Process, and Schema Therapy. This talk demonstrated the clinical usefulness of clients thinking of themselves as having a core sense of self that has a relationship with the subparts of the self.
Gender and Sexuality in the Context of Healthcare: This talk conducted by NAU faculty member Dr. Joe Wegwert discussed common gender and sexuality issues that commonly surface for counselors and treatment providers. It provided students with the information needed to work effectively and therapeutically with this population.
In such an important profession, students need all the support they can get. Wallace eagerly encourages interested students to contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and actively seeks opportunities to collaborate and partner with other organizations.
“Having the opportunity to be the President of CSI has been an extremely rewarding experience,” said Wallace. “I have made meaningful connections within the university and community and learned more than I ever thought possible. Our faculty advisors are nothing short of continuously supportive and encouraging. Our members are a team of passionate future counselors dedicated to providing students with training tools and confidence before entering the field. I am truly lucky to have been a part of such an amazing group of people!”
Learn more about the Beta Alpha chapter of Chi Sigma Iota and get involved by visiting their page on True Blue Connects.