(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The American Counseling Association is expanding its international reach by partnering with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) for its 2014 Research Conference.

ACA will sponsor events and have a hand in the session selection process for the conference, which will be held May 16-17 in London. Attendees will also be able to spend time with ACA President Cirecie West-Olatunji, who will be in attendance and introduce presenters.

Olatunji has noted that internationalizing the counseling profession is one of the areas she would like to focus on during her presidency. She thinks this will lead to counseling becoming “more recognized globally, [with] more counseling organizations … created internationally and we … will see the value of adopting effective practices that emanate from outside of the U.S.”

The BACP Research Conference brings together counseling and psychotherapy researchers from around the world with keynote speakers, 30-minute presentations, poster sessions and other opportunities focused on counseling research and the researchers behind it.

“The Research Conference fosters a climate of open inquiry where new researchers and students, as well as practitioners, academics and leaders in the field, come together to share their common enthusiasm for learning and their desire to continually improve their practice, drawing on the latest research evidence,” says Nancy Rowland, the director of research, policy and professional practice for BACP.

ACA very much looks forward to partnering with BACP on the conference, says ACA Chief Professional Officer David Kaplan.

“ACA is part of the global counseling community, and we have had a strong relationship with BACP for many years,” he says. “BACP does an outstanding job of encouraging and highlighting outcome research, and we have much to learn from them.”

In fact, Kaplan adds, ACA’s Client-Based Research Series, which debuted at the 2013 ACA Conference & Expo in Cincinnati, is modeled after the BACP Research Conference.

Rowland is looking forward to the international aspect of the partnership.

“The strong cultural and scientific links between the U.K. and USA are reflected in the relationship between our two associations,” she says. “BACP has long been aware of the rigor and wealth of North American research into the psychological therapies, and both of our associations need to add to the evidence base for counseling and psychotherapy and to engage members in research. As this will be our 20th annual Research Conference, we are seeking to mark the occasion with a truly international event, and what better way to achieve this than by inviting ACA to co-host?”

Rowland believes BACP’s partnership with ACA will draw a healthy number of research presentations from North America to the conference, leading to “new perspectives and reinforcing the international aspects of the conference,” she says. “In welcoming our ACA colleagues to the conference in London, we also create opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue and synergy between our two associations.”

She notes a steady increase in the number of international research submissions to the conference have come in over the years from countries such as Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Greece, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, Spain and the United Arab Emirates, making the conference a “truly internationally recognized event.”

As psychological therapies are increasingly valued and the counseling profession continues to grow, Rowland says it is “essential to expand our scientific knowledge. A greater understanding of the effectiveness of interventions with different populations and presenting problems, the acceptability of interventions to clients and issues relating to service delivery is essential for the future development of the profession and for enhanced services to clients. The generation of research findings is an exacting and resource-intensive process, making the pooling and aggregation of this new knowledge a priority.”

ACA members are encouraged to present at the conference. All submissions must be submitted by Nov. 8 and follow BACP guideline templates, which can be found at, along with more information about the event.

 Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Contact her at