Department News

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What is Your Pet Telling You

Assistant Professor Dr. Leslie Stewart presented a TEDx Talk about what is your pet telling you.The human-animal bond has proven biological, psychological, and social effects – some that people recognize and some that people don’t. Knowing more about what your pet sees and feels within you can help you heal and be more healthy. It’s time to find out what your pet is telling you. Watch this great presentation at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oTVlCnenYeE

NBCC Fellowship Awarded to Renee Howells

Congratulations to doctoral student Renee Howells, recipient of theRenee Howells NBCC 2017 $20,000 Minority Fellowship. The Fellowship Program provides financial support to master's and doctoral level counseling students who commit to serving minority communities.

Renee is interested in researching the intersection of disability, higher education, and accessibility to mental health care. Specifically, she is passionate about serving individuals with sensory disabilities, which includes the d/Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (HH) populations. Renee is empowered to address and challenge the social barriers between the d/Deaf community and dominant hearing community as it relates to seeking mental health services, lessening stigma, and creating meaningful therapeutic relationships. Her dissertation research focuses on highlighting the experiences of d/Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (HH) Counselors-in-Training in CACREP accredited programs in the United States. The Minority Fellowship Program will allow Renee to become more involved in outreach and advocacy for the d/Deaf and HH minority populations. The fellowship will also aid Renee in developing more inclusive and sensitive clinical and educational curriculum for students whom identify with disability within counselor education.

NBCC Minority Fellowship Program

Award Presented to New Faculty Member Christian D. Chan

  ACA National Awards - For story please see https://www.counseling.org/about-us/awards/national-awards/courtland-c-lee-multicultural-excellence-scholarship-award   

Thailand Study Abroad!

Mindfulness, Professional Exchange, and Service - 2 credits or 30 CEUs. (Professional Development Graduate Credit - $55 per credit)

On-campus Classes: February 25 and March 4, 2017.

When: March 15-26, 2017

March 15-17 (lose a day crossing international time line): Travel to Bangkok
March 18-19: Acclimation & Sightseeing in Bangkok
March 20: Academic exchange with Psychology Department at Chulalongkorn University
March 21: Fly to Chiang Mai & city tour (temples and historical sites)
March 22: Visit all female Buddhist monk temple, Nirotharam Vipassana
March 23: Tour/service at Orphanage/Shelter
March 25-25: Elephant Park Tour and Service
March 25: Return to Bangkok
March 26: Depart Bangkok, arrive U.S.A. (gain day due to crossing international time line)

Cost: $2,350 per person plus airfare U.S. to Thailand at time of purchase.

Cost Includes: Transportation in Thailand: a/c van, round trip airfare from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.

Lodging: 3-3.5 stars hotel, 2-3 people per room in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, 1 night at Elephant Nature Park.

Food: (At Nature park): Breakfast and Lunch, 2 dinners (one buffet dinner, one farewell dinner).

Deposit to reserve your spot: $500 by December 16, 2016.
Second payment: $925 by January 15, 2017.
Final payment: $925 by February 15, 2017.

E-mail Dr. David M. Kleist at kleidavi@isu.edu for application form, or if have any questions.

Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling

Star ready to counsel The ISU Department of Counseling is please to offer newly-developed Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling (AAT-C) curriculum. The courses in this curriculum will be offered in the summer and are based on the American Counseling Association Competencies for providers of AAT-C. The curriculum includes the following three (3) credit courses to be taken sequentially: Introduction to AAT-C; Best Practices in AAT-C and Applied Practice in AAT-C.

For further information about these courses, please contact Leslie Stewart at stewlesl@isu.edu.

ACA Governing Council Approves Animal Assisted Therapy Competencies (AAT-C)

The ACA Governing Counseling recently approved formal competencies for the practice of animal assisted therapy in counseling (AAT-C), recommended by the ACA Animal Assisted Therapy in Mental Health (AATMH) interest network. Qualitative research conducted by Leslie Stewart of Idaho State University, Catherine Chang, Lindy Parker, and Natalie Grubbs of Georgia State University helped delineate the competencies. AATMH promotes the competencies not only a step toward professional advocacy and professionalism, but as a clinician benefit protecting clients, as well as promoting animal welfare.

Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is defined as a goal-directed intervention, delivered by an appropriately credentialed health or human service professional, in which an animal is incorporated as an integral part of the clinical health care treatment process and utilized during counseling sessions (Pet Partners, n.d.). Animal-assisted therapy in counseling (AATC) is defined as the incorporation of specially trained and evaluated animals as therapeutic agents into the counseling process, whereby professional counselors use the human–animal bond as part of the treatment process (Chandler, 2012). For the full research, go to: https://www.counseling.org/docs/default-source/competencies/animal-assisted-therapy-competencies-june-2016.pdf?sfvrsn=6.


Congratulations to Dr. Leslie Stewart, Assistant Professor in the Department of Counseling. Leslie has been elected Rocky Mountain Association for Counselor Education and Supervision President elect-elect. 

Dr. David Kleist

Congratulations to Dr. David Kleist, Chair and Professor in the Department of Counseling. Dr. Kleist is the co-author with Richard S. Balkin of new book, “Counseling Research: A Practitioner-Scholar Approach”

Practice-Based Counseling Research Made Accessible!
ACA's newest brook "Counseling Research: A Practitioner Scholar Approach provides a refreshing, user-friendly exploration of the primary research methods used in the counseling profession. This valuable professional resource bridges the gap between understanding research and applying actual concepts to study design efforts. Students and emerging researchers considering thesis topics, dissertations, or the development of an initial study will appreciate the conversational tone and straightforward presentation of research concepts.

Key features include:
*Helpful chapter summaries with highlights of essential content.
*Ethical and multicultural considerations for research design.

*Suggested activities, discussion topics, and assignment ideas.

*Design strategies for quantitative and qualitative research.

*Research examples solely devoted to counseling research from counseling journals.

Demonstrating a professional counselor identity within the framework of research, this book thoughtfully dissects the technicalities of research and the realities of practice.

Healthy Bengal Wellness Fair

Healthy Bengal Wellness Fair and the Pocatello Counseling Clinic (PCC) joined with University Counseling and Testing Service (UCTS) and The University Health Center (UHC) to promote healthy relationships and sexual health with a joint table. Camille Frank and Cody Johnson, master's students in the Department of Counseling and interns with PCC and CTS, helped staff the table and spoke with students to promote relationship health.

Congratulations to Sally Baumgartner!

Sally BaumgartnerCongratulations Sally Baumgartner, recipient of the 2016 Stephen S. Feit Student Award for Professional Excellence.

This award recognizes an individual who embodies the distinguished characteristics and achievements of Dr. Stephen S. Feit. Dr. Feit is a well renowned leader in counselor education due not only to his achievement in academia but also his regard and care for students and colleagues. Probably his most celebrated accomplishment is the influence he has had on the development of the counselor and counselor educator professional identities. A fervent advocate for the profession, Dr. Feit has contributed to the professions’ understanding of what counselors do and how they do it, most notably his influences as a CACREP board member and team leader. Dr. Feit is generous with his time, knowledge and spirit, influencing generations of students during his tenure. In celebration of the decades of service Dr. Feit has provided to counselors and counselor educations, the Department of Counseling a Idaho State University will annually recognize a counselor-in-training who personifies Dr. Feit’s passion for professional advocacy and devotion to personal and professional growth.

This award honors the exceptional performance of a counselor-in-training in regards to the development of the counseling profession. This can entail excellence in service, scholarship, advocacy, or innovation in the proactive of counseling. This award is intended to recognize an individual reaching beyond the typical expectations of a graduate student in counselor education.

Congratulations 2016 Graduates!  

This year the Department of Counseling had five graduates with the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Counselor Education and twenty-seven graduates with the Master of Counseling (M.Coun.) degree.

The student for Ph.D. Blaine Reilly, Kristen Lister, Jade Letourneau, Hailey Martinez and Jennifer Gess.2016 Doc Grads

2016 Meridian MasterMaster Graduates from the Meridian campus: Lisa Butterworth, Dena Dodge, Lindsay Kenley, Katherine LeBar, and Gina Watt.

Master Graduates from the Pocatello campus: Cydney Horton, Shane Griggs, Sebastian Horton, Dallen Bills, Liz Stephenson, Colin Waters, Malia Raass, Cassandra Noyes, Candice Elison, Elisabeth Marler, Jessica Harris, Greg Rodgers (back row). Rebecca Brown, Hillary Merkley, Connie Hanson, Bev Jones, Jasmin Lindholm, Lisa Norman, Sally Baumgartner, Amanda Jenson, Sara Stengel and Collette Harris.
Pocatello Master

Student Excellence Award  

Jennifer Gess received the 2016 Student Excellence Award at Idaho State University-Meridian’s 11th annual commencement ceremony May 9 at the Boise Centre.

Jenn Gess“I was very surprised and thrilled. I had an amazing experience at ISU, and I’m honored to be a part of the ISU community,” said Gess, clutching her certificate and honorary plaque.

Gess, who received her Doctor of Philosophy in counselor education, is a gifted scholar and researcher specializing in counseling issues within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, bisexual and queer community (LGBTQ+).  She has published peer-reviewed articles and presented her research at state, regional and national conferences.

She is president of the Idaho Counseling Association and is founding president of the Idaho Association of LGBT Issues in Counseling.  Gess, who is in private practice in Boise, specializes in child and family therapy, group counseling and issues relating to LGBT children, youth and adults.

Congratulations Dr. David Kleist

David Kleist, chair for the Department of Counseling has been honored David Kleistas one of the five Idaho State University Outstanding Master Teachers for 2016. He has been teaching at ISU since 1995 after arriving from Southern Illinois University where he received his Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision.

Dr. Kleist was hired by the Department of Counseling to develop the marriage, couple and family counseling major. He developed curriculum for all the specialty classes and over the years has taught each one, ranging from couple and family counseling theory, to parent education, family assessment and couple and family practicum.

He has additionally taught a variety of counseling core classes, and clinical practicum experiences with students across student affairs, school counseling, clinical mental health; and marriage, couple and family counseling specialties.

At present, in addition to chair duties, he teaches doctoral students in the Ph.D. program in counselor education and supervision, having responsibility for the instructional theories course a two-course qualitative research philosophy and methods sequence. Kleist was honored as a Master Teacher once before, in 2000.

Student Research Grant

Second year doctoral students Tamara Tribitt, Dominique Avery, Alexia DeLeon, Kristen Langellier, Bryan Lamb, and Heidi McKinley were awarded a CACREP Student Research Grant of $500. The title of the grant proposal is, "A Grounded Theory Investigation into the Process of How Men Encounter Their Gender in Counselor Education."

Idaho Counseling Association 2016 Awards  

Sharon HammerSharon Hammer, Master of Counseling Student-Meridian, received the 1st place Certificate of Excellence for her poster presentation titled "Yoga as a Treatment Modality for Trauma."

Kelli Shoaf

Kelli Spessard Shoaf, Master of Counseling Student-Meridian, received 2nd place Certificate of Honor, for her poster presentation titled "Native American Spirituality and Mental Health: Integrating an Indigenous Worldview into Counseling."

"Pass It On Baton"

Jennifer Gess, Doctoral Student-Meridian, received the the Advocate "Pass It On Baton" Award. The award is given to an individual who is willing to serve, teaches advocacy, and creates new paths in the counseling profession. This person's advocacy of counseling services has a positive impact for counselors on a local, state or national level.

Counseling Faculty and Students Make Presentations

The following presentations were recently presented by faculty and current doctoral students from the Department of Counseling at the 2015 Association for Counselor Education and Supervision national conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Union of Biometrics and Single Subject Design in Counselor Education by Assistant Professor Steven Moody, doctoral student Blaine Reilly and Assistant Professor Chad Yates.

‘You Don’t Look Like a Lesbian:’ Challenging Heteronormativity in Counselor Education by doctoral student Jennifer Gess.

Provider Competencies in Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling: A  Qualitative Study by doctoral student Jade Letourneau, Kristen Lister, Heidi McKinley, and Assistant Professor Leslie Stewart.

Developmental Infusion of Social Justice Constructs in Counselor Education: Shifting the Paradigm by Assistant Professor Steven Moody.

The Process of Doctoral Level Advisor Selection Within Counselor Education by Department Chair David Kleist and recent graduate Pamela Wells.

Publication and Presentation Rejection: Exploring Professional    Resilience and Embracing Temporary Residence on the Island of Misfit Toys by Department Chair David Kleist and Assistant Professor Randy Astramovich.

Culturally Responsive Supervision: Working with Latino Supervisees and Clients by doctoral students Alexia DeLeon, Bryan Lamb, Kristen Langellier, Heidi McKinley, Tami Tribitt, and recent graduate Beronica Salazar.

9-Card Draw: A Creative Framework for Developmentally-Appropriate Facilitation of Practicum Group Supervision by doctoral students Dominique Avery and Blaine Reilly.

Transformative Experiences of a Travel Study: Perspectives from a Professor and a Student, by doctoral student Jennifer Gess.

Cultural Diversity in Practice: Understanding Counselor Identity and Doctoral Students Experiences of Spirituality & Religion by doctoral student Hailey Martinez.

Promoting Leadership: Understanding the Lived Experience of Doctoral Students as Mentors, recent graduate Tiffany Nielson.

What is Counselor Education Pedagogy?, by doctoral student Jade Letourneau and Department Chair David Kleist.

“Imposter Phenomenon”: Moving From Self-Doubt to Self-Confidence doctoral students Dominique Avery, Kristen Langellier, and Heidi McKinley.

Applied Pedagogy and Practice: Training Counseling Students to Use Feedback Informed Treatment Systems Inside of a Counseling Research Course by recent graduate Tiffany Nielson and Assistant Professor Chad Yates.

Using Core Dispositions to Guide Students’ Professional and Personal Development: A Strength-Based Framework for Counselors-in-Training and Counselor Educators-in-Training, by Assistant Professor Chad Yates, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Jane Coe Smith, Assistant Professor Leslie Stewart, Department Chair David Kleist, Assistant Professor Steve Moody, Assistant Professor Randy Astramovich, Association Professor Judith Crews, and Associate Professor Elizabeth Horn.

Building Cohesion in an Educational Cohort: Assessment and Structured Dialoguing using Strength-Based Tools by Assistant Professor Jane C. Coe Smith, Ph.D., and doctoral students Bryan Lamb, Kristen Langellier, Tamara Tribitt, Heidi McKinley, Alexia DeLeon, and Dominique Avery

The Aftermath: Faculty Voices and Recommendations Following CACREP Site Visit by doctoral student Marisa Rapp.

Voices of Doctoral Students of Color in Counselor Education by recent graduate Beronica Salazar, M.S.

Broaching the Topic of LGBTQ Competencies with Conservative Counseling Students by recent graduate Holly Wagner, Ph.D.

The Changing of the Vanguard: A Comparative Analysis of the 2005 and 2014 ACA Code of Ethics by recent graduate Brittany Dennis.

Basic Career Link Mini-Presentation: How to Parlay Your Phone Interview to an On Campus Interview by recent graduate Pam Wells, Ph.D. & Richard Cleveland

Voices of Minority Students: A Phenomenological Ethnodrama by recent graduate Kirsten LaMantia, Ph.D.

Impact of International Service Work in Counseling Programs on Professional Development and Relationship by recent graduate Anna Elliott, doctoral student Alexia DeLeon and Department Chair David Kleist.

National Ranking for Clinical Mental Health Program

Graduateprograms.com is pleased to announce its 4th Annual Fall 2015 Mental Health Counseling Grad Rankings according to graduate students.  The Clinical Mental Health Program moves up four places to 12th in the country in the recent ranking. For more information please go to  graduateprograms.com.

RMACES Dissertation Awards - Blaine Reilly and Jennifer Gess

Congratulations to Department of Counseling doctoral students Blaine Reilly and Jennifer Gess! Blaine has been awarded a RMACES Dissertation Award for 2015-2016 for his dissertation entitled: Mindfulness Training: An Evaluation of Effects of Prepracticum Student Anxiety and Counseling Self-efficacy.

Jennifer was awarded for her dissertation entitled: Queering Counselor Education: Situational Analysis of LGBTQ+ Competent Faculty.

"All applications and statements were blind-reviewed. The evaluators all commented on the high quality of each of the dissertation submissions. You are to be commended for your excellent work! Please join us on Friday, Oct. 9th at 5:30-6:30 at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown to receive your award and share briefly about your study. Thank you!"

The RMACES 2015-2016 Board

2016 ACES Research Grant Award Recipients

Three Department of Counseling Doctoral Students received research grants from the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES). Jennifer Gess' study is entitled Queering Counselor Education: Situational Analysis of LGBTQ+ Competent Faculty. Jade Letourneau and Kristen Lister study is entitled Counselor Educators' Lived Experiences of Professional Service.

National Conference Presentation

Dr. Chad Yates presented The Application of Bayesian Statistical Methods Within Counseling Research and Practice at the 50th Anniversary, AARC (Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling) Conference, Memphis, TN, on September 18, 2015. The presentation and discussion covered the history of Bayesian methods in comparison to frequentist methodologies. Additionally, the definition and application of probability theory, conditional probability, Bayes Theorem, and decision tree construction was discussed. Special application of Bayesian methods to the field of counseling was included.

Dr. Liz Horn - Watch our Brilliant Colleague Do Her Thing!

Therapist ways in on Smart Phone addiction on Boise KIVI News http://www.scrippsmedia.com/kivitv/news/Therapist-weighs-in-on-smartphone-addiction-302690211.html.

Idaho State University Counseling Students To Visit Thailand During Holidays to Study, Serve

Posted: Sunday, December 21, 2014 2:36 am

POCATELLO – While many Idaho State University students and personnel were finishing up and readying for the holidays with their families, ISU Department of Counseling Professor and Chair David Kleist was packing his bags, preparing to leave for a three-week trip to Thailand on the last day of fall semester. Kleist will be leading a group of eight, including four master’s and two doctoral Department of Counseling students, during a series of activities in Thailand including visits to an orphanage, a domestic violence shelter, a university and a Buddhist meditation center. The ISU students, who will earn two credits for the trip, will join him in Thailand on Dec. 27.

“One of the main reasons we offer opportunities like this, is from a counseling perspective, our students need to have a cross-cultural perspective,” Kleist said. “We are challenged in Southeast Idaho to provide students with rich experiences with cultural diversity and how different people from different cultures view mental health problems and the receipt of care.”

Studying and experiencing mindfulness is a significant part of the group’s itinerary. Mindfulness, defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.”

“Mindfulness is something we work a lot on in mental health counseling,” said Hillary Merkley, ISU counseling master’s student and ISU assistant track coach, who is going on trip. “It is a concept that is used in the Buddhist religion. We will be staying in a Buddhist temple a couple of nights to visit with monks and we will be learning about this topic from people who study it. It is a big part of their religion, lives and culture.”

The students will have the opportunity to learn and possibly serve at the domestic violence shelter and at an orphanage.

“We won’t be able to make a profound impact at either the shelter or orphanage during a few-day visit, but we’ll do whatever we can that is useful to them,” said Anna Elliott, a third-year doctoral student in the ISU counselor education program.

The ISU contingent will also meet with the counseling faculty at a university, getting exposed to what is similar and what if different in the Thai people’s approach to mental health counseling and education.

This is the ISU Department of Counseling’s first trip to Thailand for international studies. In previous years the department has taken students and faculty to a variety of other countries. Part of the agenda for this trip is to make and develop contacts for future potential collaborations.

“My ultimate hope is to develop a relationship with some universities and agencies in Thailand so our students can return and provide and receive training for mental health counseling,” Kleist said.

The trip promises to be an adventure and a learning experience for the ISU students.

“I love the opportunity to do some service, which we may get at the domestic violence shelter or the orphanage,” Merkley said. “I hope to learn a little bit about how they do counseling in Thailand and how that is different than how we do it in the United States.

“I’m also excited,” she added, “to see an elephant.”

Animal Attraction: How animal-assisted therapy might improve your family’s health

By Rebecca Long Pyper
For the Journal

Published Idaho State Journal, Wednesday, November 5, 2014

No matter what struggles you and yours face, animal-assisted therapy might be the key to turning things around.

What used to be considered nonsense or “fluff” at best, animal-assisted therapy is growing in application and credibility, said Dr. Leslie Stewart of Idaho State University’s Department of Counseling, who specializes in animal-assisted therapy.

This therapy is more than animal-assisted activities like reading-assistance dog programs in schools or therapy animal visits in hospitals and nursing homes, designed to boost mood and improve quality of life.

Animal-assisted therapy is goal-directed and professional counselors are professionally trained. While relying on animal assistance in counseling, specially trained and evaluated pets act as therapeutic agents in the counseling process to reach goals.

Some of the most common conditions treated by the therapy include anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and trauma, and developmental disorders such as autism and learning disabilities. Even those with more profound conditions like schizophrenia can benefit from animal-assisted therapy because “learning to care for the animals can help them learn to care for themselves,” Stewart said.

One reason this therapy works is that humans and animals have a need for each other - a bond that’s biological. According to Stewart, in order for humans to invest in the biological energy necessary for brain development, they had to surrender the acuteness of the senses that animals have.

It’s the reason higher primates still hang out next to prey species like deer - they watch the deer and have a heads-up when danger is nearby.

There’s a hormonal matter at play too. Animals and their owners both demonstrate elevated levels of oxytocin, or the “cuddle” hormone, since its production is boosted by affectionate touch, and aids in bonding.

And with animal-assisted therapy, “when people are having positive interactions with animals, you see that elevated level of oxytocin in the animal and the client,” Stewart said.

That’s a good thing because many therapy-seeking clients need some feel-good in their lives. Animal-assisted therapy can be used by any health- or human-service professional – counselors, therapists, nurse practitioners, physical therapists and occupation therapists, for instance.

For emotional, behavioral or physical difficulties, professionals can set goals with clients and incorporate animals into the treatment.

“As long as an appropriately qualified handler facilitates the intervention, it’s very widely applicable to a whole, wide range of concerns,” Stewart said.

When selecting a therapist who works with animals, make sure to do your homework. Health professionals should be able to tell you which organization they are registered through. Pet Partners and Therapy Dogs Inc. are common, reputable ones. This will ensure that the services are safe and high quality, Stewart said.

For more information, Stewart recommends Dr. Rise Van Fleet’s Facebook group “Animal Assisted Play Therapy” and Temple Grandin’s book “Animals in Translation.” 

Last Modified: 04/05/17