Richard Yep

Last month, the American Counseling Association lost a member of its family, Dr. Patrick J. “Joe” McDonough, who served the association from 1983 to 1990 as its sixth executive director. Joe was someone who, as executive director, watched over an incredible time of growth and development, both for ACA and the profession. Although he worked for ACA for a number of years prior to being appointed executive director, it was during his tenure in that position that the following occurred:

  • ACA grew from approximately 41,000 members to more than 56,000 members.
  • Twenty-seven states enacted counselor licensure laws.
  • Three new divisions were chartered.

As executive director, Joe was responsible for hiring, managing and promoting an increasingly diverse workforce. He was interested in bringing together a team that could work to meet the needs of our members and the profession. He recognized that as societal issues were changing, ACA also had to change.

For example, back in 1984, Joe was willing to take a chance and approve the hire of a young, scrappy fellow from Capitol Hill to work in the association’s government relations department. Because of his background in public policy issues, I like to think Joe saw something in me which he thought could be of use to the association. Whatever the reason, I was the fortunate one. He may have gained a government relations specialist, but I found a professional home and, for that, I am appreciative.

Last month, I attended Joe’s memorial service. Rather than simply reference his work or accomplishments during his time at ACA, the focus was on Joe as a father, grandfather and friend. He was a man who clearly put great stock in his faith and applied his life’s experience to being an outstanding role model to others. I know that he received a great deal of satisfaction, comfort and happiness from his lovely wife Nancy, his children, his children’s spouses and his grandchildren. The stories that his children shared were touching, inspirational and heartwarming.

I know the entire ACA family joins in sharing our condolences with Joe’s family. We also want them to know that we appreciate Joe’s contribution to ACA and the counseling profession, and we value the friendship that he shared with us.

Our final issue

For everyone reading this column, you need to know that this is your very last issue of the Counseling Today newspaper. Wait! We aren’t closing up shop, nor are we eliminating our award-winning flagship monthly publication. However, we are embarking on the biggest change in the history of this publication — an even greater move than when we changed our newspaper’s name from Guidepost to Counseling Today. Beginning with the July issue, ACA will relaunch Counseling Today as a four-color magazine.

Many of you have asked that we move in this direction, and we also know there is a continuing desire to see articles and information addressing various issues that impact the counseling profession. Change does not come easy, and some of you may wonder, “Why change the Counseling Today newspaper? It’s fine as it is.” Others of you will embrace the change and think it is the right move.

I want to personally thank Counseling Today editor-in-chief Jonathan Rollins for his perseverance and dedication to exploring our options, working out the transition and planning for this major overhaul. His efforts have gone beyond this simply being a job. He has shown an intense dedication to ensuring that the quality and impactful reporting you have become used to will not only continue but be enhanced with this latest iteration of our monthly publication.

I also want to thank graphic designer Carlos Soto, who has worked closely with Jonathan to ensure that the new Counseling Today will be both eye-catching and reader-friendly.

Last but not least, I want to thank the column editors who have served ACA so diligently over the past several years for their contributions of time and energy. Our readers should know that the work these column editors do is voluntary, and each of them is truly appreciated. While we are retiring many of the columns that have been part of our Counseling Today history, this does not mean that the issues these columns covered are also being retired! In fact, just the opposite. Our desire is to allow others who would like a voice in Counseling Today to be heard; in other words, to be even more inclusive of various voices as they speak out on issues of importance to professional counselors and counselor educators.

I know you will all join me as we express our deep appreciation for our very dedicated volunteer column editors: Jeffrey Kottler, Michael D’Andrea, Judy Daniels, Patricia Arredondo, Richard Hazler, Ruth Harper, Susan X Day and Amy Reece Connelly. You really do have the gratitude of ACA members and all readers of Counseling Today. Thank you!

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or suggestions by e-mailing or calling 800.347.6647 ext. 231.

Thanks and be well.