After his election as President of the European Association for Counselling at The General Assembly on the 4th April 2014. Seamus Sheedy outlined an 8 point vision as part of the strategic plan for the European Association for Counselling (EAC) to the Conference in Malta. The theme of the conference was “Counselling Children and Adolescents – New Insights” .
New European Vision – The Way Forward
1. Implement the Strategic plan this is being worked on at the moment, once in place the strategic plan is the formalised road map that will describe how the European Association of Counselling (EAC) will execute the chosen strategy. The plan will spell out where EAC is going over the next 3 years or more and how it’s going to get there. A strategic plan will help us continue the great work that has been done since the inception of the EAC, because a plan focuses the energy, resources, and time of everyone in the organisation in the same direction.
2. Governance: EAC needs to have optimal governance in place, with terms of reference in place for all committees and compliance with all legal, financial and data protection requirements.
Role descriptions, duties, responsibilities and reporting structure for volunteers in the EAC.
Clear definition of what a National Association(NA) is and criteria that governs them.
Role of NA, what is required of the individual representative both in the role of Governing Board representative as well as in the role of NA representative on the Executive Committee. How the NA representative liaise with the representative on the PTSAC (Professional Training Standards & Accreditation) and the distinction between these two positions in terms of responsibility. Finally, an indication of time commitment and duties outside of face to face meetings (i.e. Skype meetings, work between meetings etc) for the different positions.
3. Resourcing:EAC needs to make sure it has strong resourcing for the future, by setting in place a strategy to have full complement of all 26 European states represented. Also by getting involved and have representation with The United Nations (UN), The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), World Health Organisation ( WHO) et al organisations and see what grants and funding are available and form partnerships on policy development in counselling .
4. Collaborate with the Commission of the European Union, to convey to them the views of professionals in the field of counselling, and to encourage Regulation of the profession to improve the General welfare of society across Europe.
5. Establish a strong European domain and support the further development of IAC (International Association for Counselling). To establish EAC as the voice of the voices of counselling in Europe. Participation at International Professional Meetings and Professional/Research Conferences. To increase our visibility by engaging in research and participation in activities at national and international profession-related conferences and meetings. Improve our reputation and calibre of work so we are more visible globally.
6. Professional Standards: EAC will need to set Standards of Practice for Counsellors and our standards need to enhance the profession, increasing the standard of care for all clients with whom our practitioners work. The EAC has a responsibility to elevate the awareness of professionals, governments and the public of the unique and highly effective contributions of the counselling profession to the health and well-being of the population in Europe.
Ensure that within the profession there is clear academic and practice standards at which regulation should be introduced across Europe. Our priority is that the baseline academic level suggested for regulation of a Counsellor will be based on clear evidence and rationale. The EAC will have evidence-based research into our certification and setting European standards in Supervision by providing a Supervision Handbook to be used by counsellors in Europe. The EAC will set clear standard in supervision that will support vulnerable people and help prevent exploitation of and discrimination against any person or group
7. Membership Services :To increase membership services and benefits for members of the EAC, from providing liability insurance to our certified members to cost savings at hotels. Another important area of membership services is related to continued professional development opportunities. We would like to help members access high quality, affordable pre-approved learning opportunities for continued professional development. EAC will look at ways of providing webinars to members.
8. Website: To continue to host a public-facing website and assist the public in understanding the role that counselling can play in supporting individuals, families, groups, and organisations with concerns related to career, education, family, mental health, and mental illness (among others). The website to continue to provide the public with information about the profession, how to find a counsellor, what to expect from counselling, and many other awareness and support-related facts. To expand and grow the website as we find additional resources that the public may find helpful.