News

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  • 01 Nov 2018 12:23 AM | Moira Ryan (Administrator)

    Hello ORCA members,

    As you know, it’s an election year and November is quickly approaching. As a non-profit organization, it is the Oregon Counseling Association’s choice (and duty) to fight for the well-being of all Oregonians, whether they be counselors, clients, both, or neither.

    The three measures on the ballot this November that we, as a Board, voted to take a stance on through COPACT. COPACT (The Coalition of Professional Associations for Counseling and Therapy) is the organization that works with our lobbyist to ensure that we are protected as counselors and therapists, as well as making sure that our clients and their mental health is protected, and allowing ethical policies to progress. This November, you will see COPACT’s name in the Voter’s Pamphlet.

    Ballot Measure 102

    COPACT publicly supports a YES vote. This is something that affects many folks in Oregon, especially low income folks and families. This measure would allow local governments to fund and construct more affordable housing, which is desperately needed across Oregon. It passed the legislature with bipartisan support and requires voter approval.

    Ballot Measure 105
    COPACT publicly supports a NO vote. Measure 105 would throw out Oregon’s existing “sanctuary” law. This law passed with broad support from Republicans and Democrats and has been protecting Oregonians from unfair racial profiling for more than 30 years. If Measure 105 passes, it could open the door to racial profiling and families being separated, simply because someone is perceived to be an undocumented immigrant. As counselors, we know how deeply harmful and traumatic such family separations are to children. A “no” vote on Measure 105 will keep the existing law in place, ensuring that local police resources are not used to pursue and detain people based solely on suspicion about their immigration status, while also ensuring that local police can continue to hold anyone--regardless of their immigration status--accountable who commits a crime.

    Ballot Measure 106
    COPACT publicly supports a NO vote. This measure targets and disproportionately harms low-income women and public employees, by prohibiting any public funds for abortion, with narrow exceptions. This means that those Oregonians who access health care through OHP, and those who are public sector workers— such as teachers, nurses, and firefighters— would have their reproductive health care options limited. In cherry-picking and prohibiting certain aspects of health care based on ideology, Measure 106 sets a dangerous precedent that could open the door to limiting other types of care, such as coverage for gender affirming care, for example. It is our ethical obligation to stand up for all Oregonians, and this measure disproportionately targets women and low income folks, contradicting who we are as healers.

    If you would like to know more about ORCA and our Advocacy efforts, please visit our website. If you would like to donate to COPACT, please visit their website.

    Get out there in November and VOTE! Vote like your life depends on it, because it does. And if your life doesn’t depend on it, please use that privilege and power to help other folks!

    Let’s continue to empower not only this profession, but the folks we stand up for everyday. Thank you.

    Gianna Russo-Mitma, M.S.,LMFT

    President, Oregon Counseling Association

  • 31 Oct 2018 9:41 PM | Moira Ryan (Administrator)

    Nearly every person highlighted in Afflictedhad suffered significant financial losses as a result of pursuing treatments for their chronic mystery illnesses. Certainly, some ethical healthcare practitioners were featured on the series but in many cases, as we listened to the assessments, diagnoses, and treatments doled out by (sometimes) licensed medical practitioners to these patients, we were in shock. The basic “science” they presented to support their care was often patently false and the treatments cost thousands of dollars of out of pocket expenses. We were literally shouting at the TV as we watched some scenes, saying “No no please don’t do it! That’s not going to work… They’re stealing your money!! No!!!” 

    Click here to read more.

  • 31 Oct 2018 9:36 PM | Moira Ryan (Administrator)

    My career as a professional counselor started 31 years ago.  My first jobs were in two chemical dependency treatment programs and on a crisis team in a community mental health program.  I happen to believe it is a good idea to work in various areas of the mental health system when you are early in your career, finding your path into the field.  Registered interns need clinical hours and supervision, and historically both were available in agencies.  Registered interns also need experience with various types of clients with different types of mental illness...

    Click here to read more. 

  • 27 Jun 2018 4:05 PM | Anonymous


    June 27th, 2018

    Statement by Oregon Counseling Association Regarding the Trump Administration’sZero Tolerance Policy and the Detainment of Immigrant Children

    Oregon Counseling Association is shocked and saddened for the thousands of immigrants, including over 2,000 children, who have been detained and separated from their family members as a result of the Trump Administration’s Zero Tolerance Policy. Even in this time of extraordinary political divide in our country, the policy and its resulting practices have been widely condemned by individuals and organizations across the political spectrum. While President Trump last week signed an Executive Order formally ending the practice of separating families the border, there is still no timetable for reuniting separated families, and multiple news outlets are reporting that detained migrants are being offered reunification with their children only if they agree to withdraw their asylum cases and be voluntarily deported. Some current and former U.S. government officials believe that many of the separated families will never be reunited.

    As counseling professionals, we possess an intimate knowledge through our training and clinical experiences of the harmful consequences of adverse childhood experiences, as well as the trauma that results from forced separation of any duration from parents and caregivers. Separating and detaining children and families indefinitely is a clear catalyst for trauma, and there have been disturbing reports of the treatment children have received while detained, including being forcibly given psychotropic drugs without patient or parental consent in response to behaviors that counseling professionals can easily identify as trauma responses.

    The actions sanctioned by our federal government’s policy represent clear risk factors for future mental health and substance abuse challenges. As such, our profession’s values, as well as our roles as advocates for positive change, compel all counselors to condemn this inhumane policy in the strongest possible terms. The American Counseling Association has called on the Trump Administration to immediately and permanently end family separations and the zero tolerance policy, present a clear plan with a timeline for reuniting detained children with the parents or legal guardians who brought them to the U.S. border, and present a clear plan for providing treatment of the trauma inflicted on all family members impacted by this policy.

    We urge ORCA members and the broader counseling community to take action. Call or write letters to your congressional representatives urging them to demand that the Trump Administration promptly reunite and provide treatment to the thousands of individuals harmed by the Zero Tolerance Policy. While we recognize that the counseling profession is comprised of both critics and supporters of the current administration, it is also true that our training and knowledge related to human growth and development knows no political ideology. Please join us in standing up in support of detained immigrants and in opposition to government-sanctioned trauma.

    Joel A. Lane, PhD LPC NCC
    President, Oregon Counseling Association
    president@or-counseling.org

  • 09 May 2018 3:03 PM | Anonymous

    We are delighted to announce a new benefit for ORCA members stemming from an exciting new partnership between ORCA and Person Centered Techa Portland-based company providing mental health professionals with guidance and consultation regarding technology security. Person Centered Tech (PCT) demystifies the legal and technical topics that are required of counselors by providing education, tools, and resources required to help make your business successful. 

    As part of their partnership with ORCA, PCT has agreed to provide ORCA members with quarterly ORCA-members-only webcast “office hours,” where you can get your burning tech and ethics questions answered by the experts at PCT. Reserve your spot and submit your questions today for the first ORCA/PCT office hours Thursday, May 31st at 10am! And if you're not yet an ORCA member, join up now so you don't miss out on this great resource. You'll be able to watch the webcasts live online, or later on the ORCA website by logging into your members-only page.

     We are ecstatic about this opportunity for our members, as this benefit will assist you in ensuring that your policies and practices related to technology are HIPAA-compliant and in line with the laws and ethics of our profession. 

    See you Thursday, May 31st at 10am for the first ORCA/PCT office hours. Reserve your spot and submit your questions today! 

  • 01 May 2018 9:18 PM | Moira Ryan (Administrator)

    From the Spring 2018 issue of The Counselor:

    As a clinician treating a client suffering a terminal illness, it is possible that your client may request from their attending physician a prescription for a lethal dose of medication consistent with the Death With Dignity (DWD) statutes of Oregon, and for those of us practicing on the border, Washington State or California. It is conceivable that the attending physician may have concerns about whether your client is competent or capable of making such a decision, and while you would not be asked to render the ultimate opinion on the matter, which is akin to a forensic opinion, you would no doubt be consulted with concerning your observations and clinical opinion. 

    The intent of this article is to provide a basic orientation for counselors in Oregon of a few of the relevant statutory factors so that they are better able to consult with other professionals involved in evaluating the client’s competence or capacity to proceed with DWD...

    Click here to read the rest of the story.

  • 01 May 2018 8:50 PM | Moira Ryan (Administrator)

    From the Spring 2018 issue of The Counselor:

    Finding out who I am as a person is an unfolding journey that has taken me through the uncharted waters of gender, identity, sex, power, and privilege (Bornstein, 2013). During this process, I have felt trapped, stuck, confused, angry, overwhelmed, powerless, ashamed, despairing, and joyful. Similarly, my trans* clients have experienced waves of confusion, disorientation, anger, grief, sadness, loss, and the discovery of something new. These emotions accompany different chapters of the journey of gender, as my clients and I have moved from a received/socialized gender identity into expanding vistas of gender possibility and freedom. As counselors and therapists, we can help people in their journeys of becoming their unique selves, by midwifing people through the process of becoming a new self, recognizing that self, growing into it, giving it up, and grieving the self—then beginning the cycle anew...

    Click here to read the rest of the story.

  • 01 May 2018 8:45 PM | Moira Ryan (Administrator)

    From the Spring 2018 issue of The Counselor:

    The most well-meaning person may still occasionally find themselves saying “time heals all wounds” or “it was meant to be.”  As mental health counselors, we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard.  We must recognize the grief that accompanies life, and hold space as clients experience the various dimensions of grief, allowing them to find their way through...

    Click here to read the rest of the story.

  • 01 May 2018 8:36 PM | Moira Ryan (Administrator)
    From the Spring 2018 issue of The Counselor:

    When I was 12 years old, my family and I flew from America to Southeast Asia to visit my ailing grandfather. To my relief, my grandfather made a recovery, and surprisingly, it was my great-grand uncle who passed away suddenly. After learning of his death, relatives immediately began reciting prayers and weeping openly. I recall how my parents, siblings and I sat there awkwardly, feeling out of place. The only other funeral I had attended at that point was at an American church; the service was subdued, and the following day everyone went back to work. On the other hand, when my great-grand uncle passed away, relatives took time off, made several tables worth of food, and spent days eating and sharing stories. I would remember that time again nearly ten years later, after getting a message that my grandfather had passed away. I read that message alone in my college dorm room, aware that I had work and class early the next day. I had to schedule time to cry. I told a classmate about my grandfather’s passing, and her reply was, “You seem to be grieving well.” What did that mean?

    Click here to read the rest of the story.

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