Message from the President
Marc Coulter, MA, LPC, CAC III
One of the things I love most about this time of year is the thought of a new school year beginning. I love seeing children with their new clothes and backpacks as they head off to school excited, or dreading, the first days of school. I remember the promise of August and the new plans I would make for the upcoming year. I would review my summer vacation and relive many of the memories, wishing they might appear again. I feel that way again as I begin my first months as President of the CCA.
I almost wish I had an essay due on “How I Spent My Summer Vacation,” so I could share all the exciting details of my trip to Washington D.C. with Sean Boyd in July for the American Counseling Association’s Institute for Leadership Training. We made wonderful connections with other branches, attended informative trainings, spoke about our branch, won awards and prizes, and were able to lobby on behalf of mental health. It was an inspirational experience that gave me many ideas for the coming year. I’d like to share some of them, so I’ve included my 2015-2016 Presidential Goals.
Since 2009, I have worked with U.S. Service members and families. I have seen first hand the impact of 13 years of combat, and the subsequent war-wounds, multiple deployments, and frequent moves as a result. My experience has led me to make our Military service members and their family a priority in my work. I hope you join me.
My goals and objectives for the next year as I support the mission of the CCA are as follows:
- To increase clinical and community awareness of the mental health needs of our Active Duty, Reserve, National Guard, and Veteran Military and Families.
- Objective One: Develop and increase outreach to both clinicians and community members.
- Tactic: Actively reach out and seek clinical and community interest and involvement in Military mental health issues.
- Tactic: Develop and implement Military focused trainings to clinicians and community members (This will begin September 18, 2015).
- Tactic: Partner with service organizations that target Military members (Phoenix Multisport, Give-An-Hour, Passport to Hope, Bikers Against Child Abuse, Military Child Education Coalition, etc).
- Objective One: Identify and increase access and awareness to clinical and community resources.
- Tactic: Develop a list of providers/service organizations who focus upon the issues and concerns of Service Members and Families.
- Tactic: Review online and on-the-ground resources that are currently available.
- Tactic: Provide linkage to care to resources through the CCA.
- Objective One: Outreach community members for education and training
- Tactic: Promote engagement
- Tactic: Promote education and training
- Tactic: Increased communication with community clinical members
- Objective Two: Outreach clinicians regarding education and training
- Tactic: Promote engagement
- Tactic: Promote education and training
- Tactic: Increased communication with clinicians
- Objective Three: Provide Education and Training
- Tactic: Promote outreach for educational opportunities
- Tactic: Promote increased education/trainings
- Tactic: Promote CCA members’ providing ongoing education/training
Please let me know of any questions or concerns, or of any ideas you would like to share. We have amazing things ahead, and I want to make sure your voice is heard.
Finally, I want to leave you with a call to action request. Please email me with any resources for Active Duty, National Guard, Reserve, Veteran, or Military Family you are aware of. We will be compiling a database of resources for our Service Members and Families.
Marc Coulter LPC, CAC III, NCC, EMDR
One of my favorite games as a child was Connect Four. I preferred it to checkers, which, looking back, I believe was more aggressive. In checkers, you took your opponents black or red pieces while invading their territory. The goal was to eliminate your opponent and conquer the board. Connect Four on the other hand was about aligning things up and making connections. Sure, sometimes you had to make a defensive or offensive move and stop your opponent from connecting four of their pieces, but the point was to connect!
Looking back at this childhood game has helped me recognize that I’ve always been a connector. I love connecting things, people, ideas, thoughts, patterns, and beliefs. In my work as a Licensed Professional Counselor, I help people make their own connections, to themselves, to others, to LIFE. I am blessed that I have found work that helps fulfill my need to connect.
This is why I’m so excited about the next year of the Colorado Counseling Association. As I move into the Presidency, I look forward to our organization making more connections with the Colorado community, with other counselors, with other mental health helpers and healers. I look forward to connecting our resources and to build strong alliances as we take strides in reducing the stigma of mental health.
The CCA is working hard to build bridges with other mental health professionals in Colorado. Our goal is to make connections and align resources where previously there may have been disconnection. There are over 20,000 mental health professionals in Colorado. It’s an astounding amount of wisdom, heart, and strength, and we have the opportunity to show up in powerful ways to support good mental health for all citizens of Colorado. The opportunity lies within all of us to connect with each other and become an even bigger force for good.
One of the communities I am most inspired to connect with and serve is the men and women in uniform and their families who serve our country. I spent over five years working as a Military Family Life Counselor and had the opportunity to work with thousands of Active Duty, National Guard, Reserve, Veterans, and families from all branches of service around the world. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I felt blessed to bring the idea of good mental health to a community where stigma and fear of reaching out for mental health services was a reality. I attempted to reduce the stigma by showing up as a beneficial presence on Military Installations and helping people connect to resources in ways that previously they might not have. My goal for the next year is to continue to make the mental health needs of our Service Members and their families a priority, and I hope you will make them a priority as well. It is our responsibility as helpers and community members to help reconcile the mental and physical war injuries suffered on behalf of our nation.
Another population I am interested in connecting our resources to is our LGBTQ community. As the first openly gay President of the CCA, it is also deeply important to me that we show up in service to the mental health needs of our Colorado LGBTQ communities. Recent equality victories are profound and significant, and they are cause to celebrate yet there is still work to be done. I aim for our organization to continue to expand its reach to the LGBTQ youth, adults, and elders as we connect and advocate for the mental health and well being of these amazing people.
I love the idea of connection, and I challenge you to a game of Connect Four. I invite you to investigate four connection points in your life. How are you connecting with your profession, your colleagues, your community, yourself? What opportunities are there to connect even deeper? How might your life be even better through deeper connections? I look forward to connecting with you at our meetings and at some of our amazing events lined up this next year. We are moving in wonderful directions. Connect with us.