Personal and Professional Development Activities

Personal Counseling

All students are strongly encouraged to undertake personal counseling work while enrolled in the program. EMUCounseling Services provides students with a certain number of free counseling services. The campus pastors are also available for counseling. EMU Career Services is another resource students may use for career counseling.

Program faculty and students do not provide personal counseling services to students in the program. Counseling program faculty can assist students in referral to professional counseling.

Professional Development

Students are required to join a professional counseling association. The major professional organizations students have been affiliated with in the past include the American Counseling Association (ACA), the Virginia Counseling Association (VCA), and the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC). A record of professional membership is indicated on the student’s rating sheet.

ACA is a professional membership organization representing nearly 60,000 counselors and human development specialists. Student membership is open to any graduate student enrolled more than half time. Students are required to obtained professional liability insurance prior to any fieldwork in the program, and students normally obtain this insurance as an automatic benefit of ACA student membership. As a student member of ACA, benefits include an annual subscription to the Journal of Counseling and Development and Counseling Today, ACA’s official newspaper. At the end of the first year of membership, student members are required to join at least one division or organizational affiliate. ACA applications are available at Within the ACA, at the state level, Virginia counselors are organized as the Virginia Counseling Association. The annual VCA conference is held in the fall.

Other Professional Development Opportunities

Students are encouraged to take advantage of the multiple opportunities for personal and professional development. Tangible encouragement and support of selected seminars and conferences includes scheduling seminars as part of course content and working with peers and faculty to help arrange transportation to conferences. Significant conferences include the AAPC Atlantic Regional Conference, the Virginia Counseling Association fall conference, and the Networker conference. Students are encouraged to attend and present at VCAand at the annual Virginia Counseling Graduate Student Association (VCGSA) Conference.

On-campus, students participate in hosting seminars, arranging special colloquia and forums, organizing social events, and planning the annual commissioning service for graduates.

In addition to events actively promoted or sponsored by the program, many other professional development opportunities are regularly posted on the departmental bulletin board. The bi-weekly Seminary chapel frequently hosts speakers of interest to counselors, as does the weekly series of undergraduate chapels. The Seminary hosts an annual School for Leadership Training each spring semester which often offers lectures and workshops of interest to counselors.