Counseling Program Graduate Students Geaux Above & Beyond at LCA Conference

October 13, 2023

BATON ROUGE, LA - The Louisiana Counseling Association Annual Conference was held October 8th-10th in Baton Rouge, LA. Each year, counselors state-wide attend the conference to share best practices, network, and learn from other professionals. This year, eight students from counselor education presented original research at the conference during the graduate student poster session. Jennifer Curry, PhD and Gary Gintner, PhD supervised students as they researched and presented.LCA Conference Student Presenters
Alexandra Laroe, a 3rd year counseling student on the Clinical Mental Health Counseling track, said, “Constructing a poster presentation for the Louisiana Counselors Association Conference allowed me to build on skills and connect with clinicians throughout the state. I feel like this experience helped me grow as a future clinician substantially. I was able to work closely with a cohort member compiling resources, discussing experiences, and ultimately building a poster that benefitted our learning journey as well as the treatment for my future clients.”

The mission of the Louisiana Counseling Association is to enrich the life processes and to advance the profession of counseling. LCA’s strategic plan seeks to provide structure to fulfill the mission, promote the development of the counseling profession, promote and advocate for the professionalism of counseling, promote and support public policy and legislation which enhances the counseling profession, and promote the advancement and dissemination of research and knowledge in counseling.  

Dr. Gintner presented with Erykah Mathis, Abbye McDonald and Kamryn Gaines on Emerging Trends in the Treatment of Depression. Each of the students took a special population to highlight. Mathis discussed issues of treating depression when it is complicated by the presence of a substance use problem while McDonald reviewed treatment considerations for treating children and adolescents with depression and Gaines discussed peripartum depression.

Mathis had nothing but good things to say about her conference experience. She said, "Presenting at LCA was something I never thought I would do. I was able to highlight my work in substance abuse and practice new skills that I have never learned before. My work was focused on the comorbidity between depression and substance abuse. I looked at the prevalence of the comorbidity as well as current treatments and emerging trends. I also was able to conquer my fear of public speaking which made me more confident in my upcoming role as a counselor. It was very fulfilling to look out in the audience and see people taking notes on what I as presenting and being truly engaged. I am extremely thankful for Dr. Gintner for giving me this opportunity to enhance my professional development."

Dr. Gintner said, "Overall, the presentation went very well. We had 70 people in attendance with an additional 100 online. Afterwards, I had numerous attendees tell me how impressed they were with how well the students did. This is always music to my ears and makes my day."

For some students, it was their first LCA conference. Emma Derstine, a 2nd year counseling student on the Clinical Mental Health Counseling track, said, “I really appreciated the hands-on research experience and the opportunity to share that work alongside my peers. There is something special about attending your first conference as a student—making new connections and getting exposure to so many fascinating ideas in your field—but it is another thing entirely to truly participate and get to contribute our own work and experience to our professional community.”

Graduate Student Poster Presentations
Emma Derstine — Enhancing Graduate Student Wellness in a Counselor Education Program 
Kamryn Gaines & Abbye McDonald — Wellness and Counseling Interventions for Theater Students 
Alexandra Laroe & Clara Lopez — Novice Counselors and Clients with Borderline Personality Disorder: Challenges, Insights, and Evidence-Based Strategies 
Erykah Mathis — An Alternative Intervention in Financial Literacy for Residential Substance Abuse Clients 
Courtney Saulsman — Inequities in the Scholarship Process for Low-Income, Underserved and Underprepared Students 
Darius Spurlock — Two Years of Scholarship Transcript Data: A Content Analysis of Student College Preparation

The LSU Counselor Education program prepares students to meet the mental health needs of diverse clients in Louisiana, and nationally, through a focus on evidence-based practices, advocacy and social justice, and wellness across the lifespan. The LSU Counseling Program is program is a 60-hour master's program in counseling with two distinct concentrations: School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling. To learn more, visit our website.