Dr. Mary O’Leary-Wiley Presidential Initiatives

I am very excited about focusing this year on ENGAGEMENT, and my theme is: It Takes a Village: Engaging with Solidarity in Practice, Anti-Black Racism Work, Advocacy, Leadership/Education, and BIG IDEAS.


This theme emerges from our organization’s vision for itself, as reflected in our strategic plan, which will guide our communal efforts over the next few years. My dream is to make our Counseling Psychology community stronger, to make an impact on our field and on the world, and to engage every member in this journey: Practitioners, scholars, and activists; students, ECPs, mid-career and late career folx, and individuals from all communities, cultures and countries.


Engaging Practice Initiative

Tri-Chairs: Drs. Lisa Ferdinand, Batsi Bvunzawabaya, and Chris Stultz

Description: The Society of Counseling Psychology’s Presidential Initiative on Practice Engagement has focused on two primary areas. Through the continuing education credit-bearing webinar series, a total of 8 webinars focused on clinical practice with marginalized groups and/or in specialized areas have been offered, with hundreds of practitioners in attendance. The practice-focused discussion space series has invited practitioners to meet in smaller groups (10-50 people) to discuss a variety of topics relevant to practitioners (e.g., building a private practice, challenges of being an international practitioner, etc.). Several of these spaces have also focused on offering a supportive space of engagement for practitioners with marginalized identities.


The Big Ideas in Counseling Psychology Initiative

Tri-chairs: Drs. Sharon Bowman, Carmen Cruz, & Marty Cooper

Description: We were charged to develop a speaker series highlighting luminaries and emerging leaders in Counseling Psychology across a number of topics relevant to our discipline. Our goal is to identify both senior thinkers and emerging voices in counseling psychology and invite them to dialogue about the current and future of the field. Each group will focus on a particular “big idea”, ranging from anti-Blackness to vocational psychology. These recorded discussions will stimulate the thinking of students and professionals alike.


SCP Membership Initiative

Tri-Chairs: Drs. Heidi Hutman, Marisa Moore, and Abiola Dipeopu

Description: The SCP membership initiative was developed with the goals of promoting membership recruitment, retention, recognition, and engagement for SCP members across career stages, professional settings, and cultural backgrounds. To this end, the committee has been in communication with both APA and Division leadership to evaluate membership trends as well as outreach and marketing strategies. In addition, the organizational structure of the membership committee was assessed and continues to be reviewed to ensure that the existing roles and responsibilities represent our memberships' diverse needs and interests. Future plans include continuing to strengthen relationships and increase collaborations within SCP, as well as with APA and ACA stakeholders, with the goal of making Division 17 inclusive and relevant for all counseling psychologists.


Dismantling Anti-Black Racism Initiative

Tri-Chairs: Drs. Jeannette Madkins, Marcy Rowland, & Abimbola Afolayan, and LDI Intern, Déja Fitzgerald

Description: The Anti-Black Racism initiative aims to support the SCP community in learning from and growing with one another around dismantling White supremacy culture and promoting Anti-Racism. As such, we are hosting two programs in the Liberation Lounge to provide education and conversation on topics relevant to upending Anti-Black Racism, with a focus on restorative work and developing concrete steps to move each individual’s work forward in our own communities. Additionally, we are joining efforts with the Advocacy team to develop a compilation of Anti-Black Racism resources that will be available on the SCP website for the entirety of our members.


Engaging in Advocacy as Counseling Psychologists

Tri-chairs: Drs. Andrés Consoli, Jennifer Taylor, and Ryon McDermott, with consultant Dr. Germán Cadenas

Description: This committee was charged with addressing issues of advocacy and community engagement both domestically and internationally. On the domestic front, we have developed programming to highlight and celebrate the amazing advocacy and community engagement efforts of counseling psychologists. We want to elevate that work within the D17 community, as well as the broader public. Toward those aims, we successfully proposed a symposium for the 2021 APA conference highlighting international and community advocacy/engagement efforts. We have also developed the “Ask an Advocate” series where we meet with outstanding professionals who engage in a range of advocacy and community engagement initiatives. These brief interviews will be posted on YouTube and promoted via social media. On the international front, a subcommittee is focused on Engaging Advocacy Internationally, bringing together leaders and members from the ICP Section, SAS, and SCP. It is led by Shaznin Daruwalla, Gitika Talwar, J. Robina Onwong’a, and Andrés Consoli. It has hosted an International Practitioner Discussion Space addressing the complexities of providing services while holding a precarious immigration status, and it is collecting data on international resources for the purpose of decolonizing the curriculum.


Master’s Programs in Counseling Psychology Initiative

Co-chairs:  Drs. Kim Howard and Michael Scheel

Description: This Presidential Initiative is focused on continued support of master’s training in Counseling Psychology programs. In addition to continuing to monitor training and licensure issues across the country and to organize appropriate responses, this working group is also exploring the possibility of an analysis of the mental health workforce with APA.  Regular meetings with APA leaders allow workforce members to stay informed about accreditation and scope of practice questions, and to provide feedback when needed.


Engaging Lifelong Learning and Leadership

Tri-chairs: Dr. Kimberly Howard, Dr. BongJoo Hwang, and Dr. Ruth Fassinger

Description: This Presidential Initiative is a set of 3 working groups that will generate recommendations for SCP as it moves forward in implementing the leadership development goal included in the Division’s Strategic Plan. The goal is to provide a roadmap for the Division to shape its future activities in the Leadership arena and to begin creating some of the structures and resources needed.  The three overall areas are Mentoring, Training, and Governance. The specific Team goals are: TEAM #1: Develop Mentoring and Consultation Networks for Lifelong Learning in Various Settings; TEAM #2: Develop Modules to Infuse Leadership into Training (with additional focus on Prevention and Vocational Issues); and TEAM #3: Develop Recommendations for SCP Governance to Expand the Leadership Pipeline and Strengthen Anti-Racist, Socially Just Division Leadership.



 [PU1]Note: We would like to create a new sub-page on the website to showcase all the Practice Initiative webinars. Hyperlink the new subpage to “Engaging Practice Initiative”

Content for subpage can be found here: