Working hard “upstream” to help people as they go downstream successfully navigate difficulty and to be resilient in the face of adversity?


International School Counseling Profile

photo: KL Beasley

I am on faculty at the Yokohama International School in Yokohama, Japan and work as an international school counselor to provide responsive services and guidance oriented curriculum for middle and high school students (grade 6-10). This age range is fascinating as it spans the distance between childhood through all of early and mid-adolescence. I also just enjoy students in middle school and high school so work is full of laughter most days.

Some of the issues I am most passionate about addressing through international school counseling are developing resiliency, coping, inter-cultural transitions, stress management, balance with technology, relationships, self-harm, suicide, substance use and abuse, emerging sexuality, and social justice. There are, of course, others but those are some I see as particularly influential. With a background in educational consulting and two children of my own I am also active in parent education with a specific focus on developing the dispositions in ourselves and our children for successful families.

If you’re passionate about international school counseling and adolescent mental health, let’s collaborate online using the twitter hashtag #scchat.

Counseling PresentationsSocial JusticeSchool Counseling Mission Statement

The Global Context of School Counseling

National School Counseling Week (NSCW) is fast approaching and I received a request from Erin Mason who I know through twitter to contribute to her student’s interviews at DePaul College of Education with counselors in the field and, in particular, to respond to the prompt “How is school counseling a global profession?” Thanks to Erin for […]


Dispositions in Resilience Education

Middle School Educators Conference 2015 Homepage Breakout Session Presentation for Educators entitled “Dispositions for Resiliency” Description: Among the key life attributes we strive for with our students is for them to be resilient in the face of  adversity and challenge. While there has never been a better time for children to develop excellence across a myriad […]


Anything but Nonsense

This year we have added another year to our Personal Social Health Education program with the class offered to grade 10. Having worked with this year group in grade 9, it is great to be back together for another year. The program has been expanded and I am excited to approach the opportunities and challenges […]

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Teen stress and the link between cutting and porn

As has become more and more prevalent in the news, it is imperative for educators to address the impact internet pornography can have on adolescent development. Gary Wilson in his TEDx Talk entitled the Great Porn Experiment does a brilliant job of raising awareness about the individual risk factors for men, particularly young men, who […]


Me and Change Inventory for Counseling Conversation

The iPad continues to be a useful device for me and my counseling work with students. I sometimes prepare diagrams to share with students or groups of students on it and the ability to pass it around a room makes it much more intimate and a lot less “class-like” than putting something on a big […]


Balanced Family Tech Contract

Last week our grade 2 students at YIS mentioned, as part of a digital citizenship week assembly, how they are going to have better balance than their parents about the amount of time they spend on their mobile phones, laptops, and other devices when they grow up. These 8 year olds are not students with […]


Finding an English Speaking Therapist in Tokyo and Yokohama

During times of difficulty a school counselor can be a tremendous help but it can also be essential to find an English speaking therapist in Tokyo or Yokohama. One of the things I love about working in a school is that I am available to help people in a setting where they are as opposed […]


Talking it Over with Grade 8

Ask any middle school counselor about the length of time between winter break and spring break and you will hear stories of 7th and 8th graders falling apart just a little. What this means in concrete terms is that the individual and social drama within these year levels reaches a bit of a fever pitch […]


Reflection on 10 Guidelines for Confidentiality

I recently published a post sharing 10 Guidelines for Maintaining Confidentiality in the Digital Age. In many ways this is a blue ocean that is largely left unclarified in the codes of ethics for counselors/psychologists. The therapeutic alliance relies on unique circumstances with regard to confidentiality and disclosure of information to allow deeply meaningful conversations to occur […]

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10 Guidelines for Maintaining Confidentiality in the Digital Age

(Maintaining Confidentiality of Student’s Records and Personal Data for School Counselors)   Counselors have an ethical obligation when obtaining informed consent to make sure confidentiality protections and limitations are explained and understood. While various ethical codes extensively address confidentiality, little is specifically mentioned regarding the security of electronically stored and transmitted counseling related information. The […]

International School Counseling Social Justice

As an agent of positive change in the profession of international mental health I accept as fundamental the principle of respect for the dignity of persons. I acknowledge and practice under the belief that all people have innate worth as human beings and that this worth is not dependent upon culture, nationality, ethnicity, color, race, religion, sex, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, physical or mental abilities, age, socio-economic status, or any other preference or personal characteristic, condition, or status.*

In addition to enacting multicultural counseling practice, I accept a commitment to (a) lobby for policies that compensate practitioners for social justice work and primary prevention, (b) serve communities by participating in interdisciplinary social justice programs, (c) advocate for promotion and tenure policies that recognize and reward high-quality scholarship whose purpose it is to serve communities, (d) identify the exchanges that occur when social justice work becomes an emphasis in a curriculum, (e) be a model of vulnerability, (f) advocate for clients who are too overwhelmed to advocate for themselves, (g) embrace traditional and nontraditional approaches to helping, and (h) balance confrontation with engagement when challenging unjust systems and practices.**

This manifesto for social justice calls upon me and all international school counselors to engage in peace-building to eliminate the continued sociopolitical structural violence that negatively impacts specific populations. This objective must take precedence over other considerations even when it places us at odds with colleagues or supervisors. It is essential, however, that antagonism not be misconstrued or substituted ineffectively as the main objective. Once educated, adversaries can become powerful allies in the pursuit of social justice.

Please join me as a catalyst for change on behalf of vulnerable people across all systems and boundaries. – AC


* adapted from Canadian Psychological Association. (2000). Canadian code of ethics for psychologists (3rd ed.). Ottawa: Author.
** adapted from Kiselica, M. S. (2004). When duty calls: The implications of social justice work for policy, education, and practice in the mental health professions. The Counseling Psychologist, 32(6), 838-854.