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AMHCA Honors 2012 Award Winners in Orlando
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AMHCA Honors 2012 Award Winners in Orlando


The 2012 winners of AMHCA’s individual and state chapter awards were honored at a luncheon at the association’s Annual Conference in Orlando in July. The awards ceremony took place on July 20, with Carol Staben–Burroughs, LCPC, right, bestowing the awards as chair of AMHCA’s Member Services Committee.

“Counseling in the Modern Era: Challenges & Opportunities in a Changing World” was the theme of the 2012 Annual Conference. AMHCA President Karen Langer, LMHC, who chaired the Conference Planning Committee, observed that the theme of the 2012 conference was a natural choice for the Conference Planning Committee “since it reflects what we see in our everyday world and in our work with clients.” 

The award winners this year are those who have succeeded superbly in turning challenges into opportunities and reflect well on the profession of mental health counseling in the modern era.


Outstanding State Chapter

The Idaho Mental Health Counselors Association (IMHCA) has an outstanding website, cosponsors an annual wellness symposium, and offers scholarships. It also has a Facebook page, a job bank, a find-a-counselor directory, and a mental health resources directory.


Outstanding Chapter Website

The Utah Mental Health Counselors Association (UMHCA) recently revised its website to tie it directly to AMHCA. There are also quick-links that take visitors to a number of important sites. The UMHCA website now includes a new capability for visitors to register online for conferences and other events, as well as to pay member dues. The site is easily navigable and greatly updated. 


Graduate Student of the Year/Donald Mattson Scholarship

Todd Burd is is the only grad student in the entire state of Illinois who is a full voting member on the IMHCA board of directors. A clinical mental health counselor intern at Rosecrance Health Network, he is working on his master’s degree and owns his own company, Pay It Forward. Burd also spent 25 years working in the military and in corporate management. Descriptors include: enthusiastic, dedicated, skillful, and a “go-giver” attitude. The philosophy of “go-givers” is that changing their focus “from getting to giving—putting others’ interests first and continually adding value to their lives—ultimately leads to unexpected returns,” according to the book, “The Go-Giver.”

Legislator of the Year

Rep. Edolphus “Ed” Towns, Jr., (D–N.Y.) is a vigorous advocate for LMHC recognition under Medicare and holds an MSW. A strong supporter of mental health issues, Towns is retiring after a long career—15 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has served on a number of committees, chairing some through the years. He has been a “champion of issues critical to the quality of life for New Yorkers and all Americans, such as: improving the public healthcare system; enhancing consumer protections; strengthening public education; providing access and opportunities for minority business development; developing initiatives to reduce chronic diseases; and eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse in government,” according to his award nomination. An ordained minister who frequently preaches at churches in Brooklyn and throughout the country, he is the author of the book, “Harvesting the Fruits of Power.”

AMHCA Foundation Scholarship

Douglas R. Kabell is an AMHCA member and PhD student in Counselor Education and Supervision at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Kabell attended the conference as the winner of the AMHCA Foundation’s inaugural Student Travel Scholarship, which is made possible by the generous contributions of Foundation supporters. A graduate assistant since 2009, Kabell has been an LPC intern since 2011 at Family Counseling Services in Lubbock. He interned in 2010 at The Bridge, a program of the Lubbock Juvenile Justice Substance Abuse Program. He also was named an Outstanding Graduate Assistant at Texas Tech in 2011 and is president of the Texas Tech’s Chi Sigma Iota National Counseling Honor Society, Theta Theta Upsilon Chapter.

Public & Community Service

Darlene Silvernail, PhD, DAC, CAP, LMHC, demonstrates commitment and competence in an unselfish and dedicated manner. She has teamed up with PWN Books (PWN stands for Professional Woman Publishing) to write a series on empowerment. She has authored and co-authored eight books, and women all across the nation have experienced the Empowerment Series firsthand through her conferences and workshops. Silvernail has an ability to create partnerships and alliances while motivating people to move forward to achieve per-sonal and professional success.

Outstanding Community Service Award

Kay Arnold, LPC, NCC, is a founding member of the Tennessee Licensed Professional Counselors Association (TLPCA). She has held a number of positions on the board, including president. She is in practice at the BABBCenter, a ministry of the Hendersonville (TN) First Baptist Church. Along with her work as an LCPC, she supervises pre- and post-graduate students and works hard to promote LCPCs in Tennessee. She is a friend, a mentor, and an example of what a counselor should be. Kay is approachable, kind, and concerned for the welfare of her clients, associates, and friends.

Professional Service and Leadership to a State Chapter

Denise (Denny) Cecil–Van Den Heuvel, PhD, LMHC, NCC, was president of AMHCA’s Florida chapter, the Florida Mental Health Counselors Association, from 2011–2012, which grew substantially under her direction. It has maintained a strong presence in new local chapters, held teleconferences, and enhanced FMHCA’s website. She has helped maintain FMHCA’s continued presence in the state capitol. A comment about leadership reminded a colleague of her: “Leadership has a harder job to do than just choose sides. It must bring sides together.” She was able to unite all toward a common goal in her year as president, and she exemplifies courage and leadership.

Counselor of the Year

Jason King, LPC, NCC, CCMHC, is the clinical director and co-owner of the Life Enhancement Center, a clinical training and research facility that has expanded to three locations in Utah County. He oversees all aspects of the business as well as works with other agencies to assist them in seeking services for their clients. King supervises interns and post-master’s mental health counselors. He is a “Professor of Practice” and the director of training for the Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program for Argosy University since 2010. King has done much to enhance the field of mental health counseling.

Dr. Linda Seligman Counselor Educator of the Year

Lisa Hooper, PhD, has shown great dedication and commitment to the field of counseling. She has developed counselor education courses and a study abroad program, and she mentors, trains, and supervises counseling students at the University of Alabama. She also conducts and publishes research and supervises graduate students in her research lab. She currently sits on five editorial boards. Her work with students is grounded in care, honesty, discretion, and ethics. She, and many of her students, have won awards for their work and research in the field.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Midge Williams, LMHC, has served as a counselor, mentor, and educator for thousands of individuals. She has played key roles in the Massachusetts Mental Health Counseling Association as well as in AMHCA, being a former president of both organizations. Recently, Williams was instrumental in developing the AMHCA Diplomate and Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialist award. She recognized the need for CMHCs to be recognized as advanced practice clinicians and also for their specialization expertise. Her significant professional efforts and achievements have had a major impact on the development of the mental health counseling profession.


For the first time, AMHCA awarded Diplomate and Clinical Mental Health Specialist (DCMHS) awards. Diplomate awards will be bestowed quarterly. The deadline for fall applicants is Oct. 15. Those who received the first Diplomate awards in July are listed here:

Robert Bakko, D.Min., LCPC, CCMHC (Montana): 
Specialist in:

  • Couples Counseling;
  • Trauma Counseling

Carol Anne Daniels, LPC, CAADC, CCS-M (Michigan): 
Specialist in: 

  • Geriatric Counseling;
  • Trauma Counseling

Kathy Fortner, EdS, LPC, NCC (South Carolina): 
Specialist in: Child and Adolescent Counseling

Pamela Frank, LPC (Virginia):

Specialist in: 

  • Child and Adolescent Counseling;
  • Trauma Counseling

Carla Goodwin, PhD (Massachusetts):
Specialist in: Family Counseling

Chrys Harris, PhD (South Carolina): 
Specialist in: Trauma Counseling
Barbara Hester, PhD, LPC, LPC-S, LCAS, CCS, CCJTS,
Licensed Therapist/Supervisor (North Carolina):

Specialist in: Substance Abuse & Co-Occurring Disorders
Carol Hinman, PhD, LMHC (Iowa): 
Specialist in: Child and Adolescent Counseling
Cynthia L. Jamison, MHS, LPC, LCADC (Maryland): 
Specialist in:

  • Substance Abuse & Co-Occurring Disorders;
  • Family Counseling

Nancy L. Johnston, LPC (Virginia): 
Specialist in: Substance Abuse & Co-Occurring Disorders
Adrian R. Magnuson-Whyte, LMHC, NCC (Washington): 
Specialist in: Trauma Counseling
Robert E. McCarthy, PhD, LPC (South Carolina): 
Specialist in:

  • Child and Adolescent Counseling;
  • Developmental Disability Counseling;
  • Substance Abuse & Co-Occurring Disorders;
  • Geriatric Counseling

Amy Mooney, PhD, LMHC (Iowa):
Specialist in: Developmental Disability Counseling

Angele D Moss–Baker, LPC, LMFT (Washington, D.C.):
Specialist in: Substance Abuse & Co-Occurring Disorders

Ronald G. Nicolet, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, AFC (Indiana):
Specialist in: Substance Abuse & Co-Occurring Disorders

Gray Otis, PhD, CMHC, NCC, CCMHC (Utah):
Specialist in: Trauma Counseling

Daya Sing Sandhu, EdD, NCC, NCSC, LPCC (Kentucky):
Specialist in: Child and Adolescent Counseling

Willetta M. Wilson, ABD, BCLP, LPC, LMFT, MAC (Virginia):
Specialist in: Substance Abuse & Co-Occurring Disorders

Hank Winters, PhD, LCPC #7 (Montana):
Specialist in:

  • Couples Counseling;
  • Trauma Counseling   


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