Dr. Katherine M. Hermann-Turner is an Assistant Professor in Counselor Education at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She received her doctoral degree in counselor education and supervision with a specialization in couples and family counseling from the College of William & Mary, her master’s degree in community counseling from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, and her bachelor’s degree in economics and management from Rice University. As a faculty member, Katherine has integrated her past experiences as a family counselor, co-director of a school-based counseling program for at-risk adolescents, and research on gifted education into her courses and research agenda. Her current interests include the impact of meal preparation on couples and families, adult development, the unique roles and stressors of women, and Relational Cultural Theory.
The 5 Questions:
You are currently serving at the president of the Association for Adult Development and Aging (AADA). What drives your interest in adult development and aging?
What a great question! AADA is a unique division in that it focuses on adults from eighteen until the end of life, so I have found that the division has had a place for all my interests over the years. When I first joined the division, I thought AADA was tailored toward working with older adults, and I was on a personal quest to better understand my own parents and the transitions they were going through (a recent stroke, assuming a caregiver role, etc.). Over the years, while older adults have still been an interest informed by the division’s resources, I have been more focused on emerging adults and topics such as the quarter life crisis, which I see first-hand in my work with students and clients as both a counselor educator and counselor.
What does it mean to you to be a leader in the counseling profession, and specifically as president of AADA?
I am so thrilled and honored to be the president of AADA and in a leadership role in the counseling profession. Since being elected, I have had many great opportunities to learn more about the structure, struggles, and future of our profession through collaboration at events such as ACA’s Institute for Leadership Training (ILT). This information has helped me to be a better advocate on salient issues as well as given me the tools to educate my student and work toward spreading information among AADA’s members. I feel like this role means that I have a voice in making changes that can help AADA’s members, counselors, and in turn provide the most informed treatment for clients.
What do you see as the current strengths of the counseling profession? (What has got you excited?)
I think the counselors who serve clients every day is the most exciting aspect of our profession. In my experience, counselors are people who are generous in spirit, giving of their time, considerate of others, optimistic about change, and motivated to make a difference. I think there is beauty in people helping people and counselors embody this attitude in their work every day. The potential for impacting schools and communities to make long term change is simply exciting.
What do you see as the current challenges of the counseling profession? (What has got you concerned?)
Unfortunately, I do see quite a few challenges for the counseling profession. I think the lack licensure reciprocity between states and the lack of unity and standardization it represents is one of the top issues. Counselors (i.e., spouses of military personnel, people in committed relationship where partner’s jobs are transferred, etc.) are affected by this job instability constantly. Counseling is no longer a new profession, and it seems like in order to move forward in strengthening a foothold in the helping professions greater cohesion is needed.
What are your hopes for the profession as it continues to grow and mature in the next 5/10/20 years?
My five-year hope for the counseling profession would be medicare and medicaid reimbursements for LPCs (long overdue and hopefully quicker than 5 years). In ten years, I hope counseling and counselors become a more central role in communities. I feel like schools are often a microcosm of our society, and the counselor to student ratio is often so low. With more counselors in the position to make large scale changes in schools and communities, I think we would see a reduction in community uprisings and the stigmatization of individuals seeking help. Twenty-year aspirations for the counseling profession are more difficult (I want to see all these changes now!), but I would like to see more unification among the profession, easier access to services, better pay for professionals, and the community collaboration in order to support long term changes.