AMHCA has mapped out several suggested tracks/itineraries to make it easier for attendees to select their sessions.
*Suggested track sessions are completely optional.
- Addictions, Substance Use and Co-Occurring Disorders Track
Practitioners working in substance use and addictions must be knowledgeable with the distinctive ethics and standards of practice in the treatment of substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. Counselors must be committed to comply with legal, ethical, and practice standards related to this work: e.g. consent to treat, confidentiality; mandated reporting, appropriate treatment facilities; referral relationships; etc. This year at the AMHCA Conference our substance use/addictions track focuses on teens, trauma and substance use, helping difficult clients, complex trauma, building resilience, medical marijuana and more.
Addictions Track PDF
- Advocacy and Leadership Track
The Clinical Mental Health Counselor Declaration (A Hippocratic Pledge) has a section that states, "I will advocate for the betterment of others, for equality, inclusion, and the intrinsic dignity and the inherent rights of every person, and for the advancement of health and well-being." With the charge of advocating for the well-being of individuals, families, and communities, it is prudent for counselors to learn how to advocate, not only for themselves and their profession, but for those in their community and their clients.
Advocacy and Leadership Track PDF
- Affectional Identity Track
Research indicates that those who identify as an affectional minority are experiencing much higher rates of trauma than the general population (Cohen et al., 2018). In addition, individuals who identify with a minority affectional identity are more than twice as likely to experience a mental health condition (i.e. depression, anxiety, etc.) than the general population (National Alliance on Mental Illness, n.d.). Because the common practice has been to combine the identities in an acronym of varying letters, gender and affectional identities are often conflated. AMHCA recognizes the need for specific training addressing gender and affectional identities, given the distinct nature of the identities and the requisite knowledge and skills that are unique to each. On Thursday, AMHCA is offering a session entitled "Being “Out” In The Bible Belt: Creating Safe Spaces For The Hidden And Scorned" that explores the complexity of being “out” in a community that takes pride in being the “Buckle of the Bible Belt.”
Affectional Identity Track PDF
- Child & Adolescent Track
Children and adolescents often present different symptomatic presentations of these disorders compared with adults, requiring specialized knowledge of diagnosis and treatment. Several notable neurodevelopmental conditions emerge during early childhood, including autism and spectrum disorders and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Late adolescence is also the time when major mental disorders such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia develop, with prodromal symptoms often appearing earlier in adolescence.
Child & Adolescent Track PDF
- Couples and Family Track
Counselors are required to be knowledgeable with the distinctive ethics and standards of practice in the treatment of families or couples. Counselors must be committed to comply with legal, ethical, and practice standards related to this work: e.g. consent to treat, confidentiality; mandated reporting, appropriate treatment facilities; referral relationships; etc.
Couples and Family Track PDF
- Developmental and Learning Disabilities Track
Counselors must be committed to comply with legal, ethical, and practice standards related to this work: e.g. promotion of positive support networks, community inclusion and least restrictive environments; interdisciplinary collaboration; behavioral treatment models; adaptive equipment and environmental needs; assessment of co-occurring mental disorders; psychopharmacology, etc. A clinical mental health counselor demonstrates qualifying expertise with this population and enhances the services for people with developmental disabilities, and works with other specialists, state agencies, and third-party payers.
Supervision Track PDF
- Diversity Track
Mental health counselors have a responsibility to educate themselves about their own biases toward those of different races, creeds identities, orientations, cultures, and physical and mental abilities. They recognize the important need to be competent in regard to cultural diversity and are sensitive to the diversity of varying populations as well as to changes in cultural expectations and values over time.
Diversity Track PDF
- Ethics Track
Mental health counselors subscribe to and pledge to abide by a principle code of ethics. They are expected to utilize carefully considered ethical decision-making processes when faced with ethical dilemas, make sound ethical decisions, and utilize ethical behaviors and best practices. AMHCA is offering several sessions this year focusing on ethical topics including how your heritage informs your values, ethical and legal expectations in clinical documentation, strategies to enhance ethical practice, neuroeducation, ethical blogging for counselors, ethical use of social media in counseling, and becoming an effective counselor in geriatrics.
Ethics Track PDF
- Gender Identity Track
Gender-expansive populations, which encompass those whose gender identity differs from the sex assigned at birth, have been and continue to be harshly judged by many persons in society and often report feeling invisible. People in this population attempt and die from suicide at devastatingly higher rates than does the cisgender population (those whose sex assigned at birth matches their gender identity). LCMHCs have an ethical responsibility to honor diversity, and to promote health, wellness, and personal growth for all, no matter a person’s uniqueness or social and cultural context. In order to abide by this core value, LCMHCs’ practices must be guided by relevant knowledge and skill.
Gender Identity Track PDF
- Geriatric Track
Older adults, those aged 60 or above, make important contributions to society as family members, volunteers and as active participants in the workforce. While most have good mental health, many older adults are at risk of developing mental disorders, neurological disorders or substance use problems as well as other health conditions such as diabetes, hearing loss, and osteoarthritis, to name but a few illnesses that may present in older persons. Furthermore, as people age, they are more likely to experience several conditions at the same time. Mental health problems can be under-identified by health care professionals and older adults themselves, and the stigma surrounding mental illness can make older adults reluctant to seek help. Substance use problems among the elderly can also be overlooked or misdiagnosed.
Geriatric Track PDF
- Integrated Behavioral Healthcare Track
AMHCA believes that mental health counseling is at the core of healthy individual. Integrated care models hold promise in addressing many of the challenges facing our health care system. We believe that the clinical and policy expertise that CMHCs possess and can provide will be invaluable to other primary care physicians in developing innovations in integration to improve the nation’s public’s health, with the goal of dramatically reducing the unacceptable high morbidity and mortality rates experienced by Americans with mental illness.
Integration Behavioral Healthcare Track PDF
- Military and Veterans Issues Track
It is important for mental health counselors to recognize the values and needs of this special population. Counselors can be effective meeting the needs of this population when they are aware of the specific challenges and cultural norms that are a large part of serving in the military. A breakout sessions in this track focuses on the impact of military culture on mental health and substance use.
Military and Veterans Suggested Track PDF
- Neuroscience/Biological Bases of Behavior Track
AMHCA continues to be a leader in promoting our understanding of the role of neuroscience in the training, research, and practice of clinical mental health counseling. In addition to a robust interest network, AMHCA is the first counseling association to establish neuroscience-related standards, publish a special edition and create a special section in our journal, and establish a task force to provide direction on the future of neuroscience in our field.
Neuroscience/Biological Bases of Behavior Track PDF
- Specialized Clinical Assessment Track
Through the use of assessment techniques, both client and counselor can gain an awareness of the unique constellation of traits, qualities, abilities, and characteristics that define each individual as unique. The assessment process considers mental and emotional well-being, physiological health, as well as relationship and contextual concerns. These sessions focus on psychological testing, CBT for OCD, and DSM-5 resources for differential diagnosis.
Specialized Clinical Assessment Suggested Track PDF
- Technology Assisted Counseling Track
Mental health is adapting to the use of advanced communication technologies and the Internet for delivery of care and care support. By using advanced communication technologies, clinical mental health counselors are able to widen their reach to clients/patients in a cost-effective manner, ameliorating the mal-distribution of specialty care. Sessions in this track focus on technological therapy, creating community in a virtual training and more!
Technology Assisted Counseling Suggested Track PDF
- Crisis and Trauma Assessment and Treatment Track
Many individuals seek counseling to resolve symptoms associated with traumatic or chronically distressful experiences. Those experiences may include single-episode traumatic events (such as a mugging, assault, tornado, etc.), or complex trauma (sometimes referred to as developmental trauma or poly-victimization) experienced in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood featuring chronic abuse, neglect, or exposure to other harsh adversities.
Trauma Suggested Track PDF