The NBCC Foundation puts forth many efforts to enhance care for underserved populations and provide ongoing training to National Certified Counselors (NCC), Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE) credential holders, and Foundation Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) Fellows and Scholars. One of those opportunities is through live webinars, many of which are recorded and made available via i-counseling after the live session. One of the many benefits of being an NCC is the ease of access to live webinars and continuing education opportunities throughout the year. Webinars are free to the Foundation’s current MFP Fellows and Scholars, and a majority are either free or of low-cost to NCCs.
The Building Professional Excellence webinar series features presenters offering their highly specialized expertise in mental health care on a variety of topics addressing professional counselor identity, advocacy, and innovative counseling practices. These resources are a part of the NBCC Foundation’s capacity-building plan to engage counselors and counselors-in-training in becoming innovators of counseling practices that benefit the underserved.
The Professional Practice Building webinar series is designed to be useful for both new and seasoned counselors wishing to expand their areas of practice and aims to help counselors develop the business skills necessary to build a successful professional profile.
The Innovations in Counseling: Working With Minority Populations webinar series, provided through grant funds from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as a part of the MFP, features presenters offering expertise in mental health care with multicultural competence. These resources are a part of the NBCC Foundation’s capacity-building plan to increase mental health resources in communities where access to mental health care is extremely limited.
Another continuing education opportunity is the Foundation’s annual event, the Bridging the Gap Symposium, which also offers a discounted rate to NCCs. This year, the 2020 Bridging the Gap Digital Experience: Counseling Together, Apart was a virtual event held in lieu of the annual Symposium because of global health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event included a mix of NBCC-approved continuing education topics within the overall theme of “Family Matters,” with an emphasis on counseling skills, research, and resources that can improve, strengthen, or enrich families that represent minority and other underserved communities.
This year’s speakers presented sessions that explored topics such as: intimate partner violence; infertility and reproductive loss; serving immigrant, refugee, and undocumented families; counseling South Asian families; working with military families; and exploring historical issues impacting modern Black families. Registered attendees were given access to all recorded sessions so they could view any session they may have missed or sessions that overlapped.
The Foundation is preparing for the 2021 Bridging the Gap Symposium: Eliminating Mental Health Disparities, to be held May 26–28, 2021, in the Washington, D.C., metro area. The theme for the Symposium is Making Spaces for Unseen Faces, with an emphasis on counseling skills, research, and resources that can improve, strengthen, or enrich the lives of individuals who represent minority and other underserved communities.
For those who are interested, the Foundation is currently accepting proposals from presenters for both the upcoming Symposium and future webinars. Webinars are conducted online, requiring no travel, and the NBCC Foundation handles all the logistics of managing the webinar platform, advertising, and promotion. All webinar presenters must hold a minimum of a master’s degree in counseling or a related mental health field and must be an NCC.
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