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Reflections of a First-time AMHCA Conference Attendee
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Reflections of a First-Time AMHCA Conference Attendee

By R. Brahm Fay
Troy University, Orlando

What an opportunity to learn, share, network, and gather resources! This year’s AMHCA Annual Conference was held in my hometown of Orlando. Imagine my delight at learning that several of my own professors from the Orlando campus of Troy University would be presenting at the conference: Sandra Pollock, PhD, on “Men in Nontraditional Careers”; Linda Vanderbleek, PhD, LMFT, LMHC, on “Trauma Today”; and Gregory Dawson, PhD, on “Counseling the Forgotten Generation.”

The keynote address by Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, on “The Power of Vulnerability,” and the panel discussion on “Warriors and Their Families” were both great. What I enjoyed most from “The Power of Vulnerability” was the idea that being the first to say, “I love you” is a beautiful thing, and that perfectionism is a 20-ton shield.

My takeaway from the “Warriors” panel discussion on PTSD was that much is being done, but more is needed. The most effective civilian therapists treating “wounded warriors” will possess the Rogerian trifecta—unconditional positive regard, empathy, and be genuinely invested in their clients—and will make no assumptions about their military clients. (And everything from Acronyms to Zulu Time warrants concise clarification.)

I am reaching the end of my counselor education, with just one more class to take before finishing my MS in Counseling and Psychology; however, my training in the field will never be complete. 

I also attended the American Counseling Association (ACA) Annual Conference in New Orleans last year, and I must say that I prefer the focus, dedication, and exclusive relevance of the AMHCA experience. 

I certainly will be attending AMHCA’s Washington, DC, conference next year in July 2013.