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International Institute for the Advancement of Counseling Theory

Promoting the Understanding & Application of Counseling Theory Globally

Founded by Dr. Ed Neukrug, the Batten Endowed Chair of Counseling, the main goals of International Institute for the Advancement of Counseling Theory (IIACT) are to:

  • Further research on counseling theory.
  • Provide links to sites that discuss a wide variety of counseling theory.
  • Examine cross-cultural issues related to the use, and abuse, of counseling theory.
  • Provide theoretical surveys and open-access websites to increase the understanding of theory.
  • Offer mini grants for research on counseling theory.
  • Through ODU's libraries, lend books, videos, and artifacts that highlight classic theories, emerging theories, and lesser-known international theories.


Research Subdivision

Directors: Drs. Mike Kalkbrenner and Chris Sink

The directors of research are charged with overseeing the research advisory board and conducting research related to counseling theory. The research advisory board's main role is to develop research projects that advance counseling theory and provide a mechanism for developing competitive proposals for mini grants related to the research of counseling theory.

Research Advisory Board

Current members include:

  • Dr. Eric Brown, Assistant Professor of Counseling, DePaul University
  • Dr. T Airra Belcher, Assistant Profess of Counseling, Loyola University
  • Dr. Yuleinys A. Castillo, Assistant Professor of Counselor Education and Rehabilitation, Fresno State University
  • Dr. Jungeun "Jay" Lee, LPC, LPC-S, Clinical Associate Professor, Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program, Department of Psychological, Health, & Learning Science, University of Houston
    • My research interest has been focused on underserved and socially marginalized populations including ethnic and linguistic minorities and immigrants and applying counseling theory to multicultural populations. I am also interested in the therapeutic benefits of ACT and CBT on depression, self-theories, growth mindset, and counselor developments.
  • Dr. Meredith A Rausch, Bachelor of Arts: Public Speaking, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater | Masters of Science: Community Counseling, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater | Doctor of Philosophy: Counselor Education and Supervision, University of Iowa | Current University: Augusta University, Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation
    • Research Interests: Mentoring, Social Justice Advocacy, Prevention and Intervention for marginalized populations


Our research advisory board will be reviewing yearly research mini-grant proposals for possible funding.

We hope to have this process developed during the Spring of 2022. Check back at this site for further information.

Current Research Being Conducted

"Validation of Scores on the View of Human Nature and Conceptual Orientation Scale"

Factors That Make Counseling Work: Client Factors, Evidence-Based Practice, and Common Factors

  • Client Factors:
    Client factors such as readiness for change, psychological resources, and social supports may affect how well a client does in counseling.
  • Evidenced-Based Counseling (EBP):
    EBP suggests that counseling and psychotherapy is best when the counselor (1) is familiar with the best research-based treatments, (2) understands the client's unique situation and can choose the most effective treatments for it, and (3) takes into account client's preferences, values, and cultural background when choosing a treatment.
  • Common Factors Research:
    Common factors include characteristics of the counselor that help in the development of a working alliance, such as counselor empathy, acceptance, genuineness, embracing a wellness perspective, cultural competence, and something Neukrug (2022) calls the "it factor"; as well as those factors that are critical to delivering one's theoretical approach, such as one's belief in one's theory, competence, and cognitive complexity.

Global Issues Subdivision

Directors: Drs. Courtland Lee & Barbara Herlihy

The directors of global issues are charged with overseeing the global issues advisory board, examining issues related counseling theory from a global perspective, and developing resources that describe international approaches to counseling theory.

Co-director: Dr. Courtland Lee (Contact: cclee226@gmail.com)

Dr. Courtland Lee is a Past President of the International Association for Counselling. He is also a Fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, the only American to receive this honor. Dr. Lee is also a Fellow and Past President of the American Counseling Association. He is an internationally renowned scholar having published six books on multicultural counseling and three books on counseling and social justice. In addition, he has published numerous book chapters and articles on counseling across cultures and issues of social justice. Dr. Lee is the former editor of the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development. He currently serves on the editorial board of the International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling. Dr. Lee is a retired Professor of Counselor Education who has held faculty positions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia, the University of Maryland at College Park, and the University of Malta.

Co-director: Dr. Barbara Herlihy (Contact: bherlihy@uno.edu)

Dr. Barbara Herlihy is a Past President of Chi Sigma Iota-International, and she serves as the Chair of the Ethics Roundtable of the International Association for Counselling. A prolific scholar, she is co-author or co-editor of four current textbooks, as well as over 100 refereed journal articles and book chapters. She serves as Associate Editor for Ethics for Counseling and Values and has served as an Editorial Board member for the Journal for Counseling & Development and The School Counselor. Although she is best known for her long-term focus on counseling ethics, she has developed a more recent passion for contributing to the globalization of counseling. She has traveled extensively and has taught at universities in Mexico, Venezuela, and Malta. Dr. Herlihy is Professor Emeritus, Counselor Education Program, College of Education & Human Development at the University of New Orleans. She has held faculty positions at University of Wisconsin- Whitewater, University of Houston- Clear Lake, Loyola University New Orleans, and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Global Issues Advisory Board

  • Dr. Divine Charura is a Professor of Counselling Psychology. He is a counselling psychologist, registered and licenced as a practitioner psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council in England (UK). Divine is also an Honorary Fellow of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and an adult psychotherapist. As a counselling psychologist, psychotherapist and researcher, Divine's work focuses on psychotraumatology and the impact of trauma across the lifespan. Divine has co-authored and edited numerous books in counselling, psychology, and psychotherapy. These include Love and Therapy: In relationship [co-edited with Stephen Paul] and with Colin Lago has co-edited the following books: The Person-Centred Counselling and Psychotherapy Handbook: Origins, Developments and Current Applications, (2016) and recently: Black Identities + White therapies: Race respect and diversity, (2021).

  • Madelyn Duffey, (Madelyn.Duffey@utsa.edu): M.S., M.A., NCC, LPC-Associate: Dr. Duffey is a doctoral candidate in the Counselor Education and Supervision program at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Madelyn received an M.A. in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi and an M.S. in Clinical Mental Health counseling from UTSA. A Mellon Foundation Democratizing Racial Justice Fellow through the Department of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at UTSA, Madelyn teaches Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies to undergraduate students and serves as a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Counseling. Madelyn is Co-Chair of the American Counseling Association's Graduate Student and New Professional Committee, a Graduate Student Editorial Board Member for Teaching and Supervision in Counseling, and a SACES Emerging Leader. Madelyn's research interests include intersectional identity development, multicultural and international counselor education, historical trauma and trauma sites, global and regional studies within counseling, feminist career counseling, and the mental health impact of political polarization.

Multicultural Issues Subdivision

Co-Directors: Drs. Sylvia Nassar and Daniel Gutierrez

The directors of the multicultural issues subdivision are charged with overseeing the multicultural issues advisory board and examining cross-cultural issues related to the use, and the above, of counseling theory.

Sylvia Nassar, Ph.D., is currently a Professor of Counselor Education and Research Methods Coordinator for the College of Education at North Carolina State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling and Counselor Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1994 and her Master's degree in Guidance & Counseling in 1984. She has served in a variety of clinical mental health, school, and college settings over the past 30 years, and her initiatives have included promoting the professionalism of counseling and counselor education. Her scholarship spans multicultural, gender, and career development issues, with a special focus on Arab American acculturation and ethnic identity development. She has published approximately 100 books, refereed articles, and other instructional materials and delivered countless professional presentations. Dr. Nassar recently served on the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development's Multicultural Counseling Competencies Revision Committee and on the CACREP (Council for the Accreditation for Counseling and Related Educational Programs) 2016 Standards Revision Committee. She has served as board member for the Census Information Center Advisory Board to the Arab American Institute, the National Board for Certified Counselors, and the North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors, and is a Senior Associate Editor for the Journal of Counseling & Development.

Dr. Daniel Gutierrez is an Associate Professor in the Department of Counseling and Special Education. He is also currently serving as the lead for the iCubed Urban Education and Family Transdisciplinary Core. His research draws on his experience as a Licensed Professional Counselor and Substance Abuse Counselor working with underserved communities. He has advanced training in strength-based and existential approaches to therapy (e.g., Logotherapy, Motivational Interviewing, Mindfulness-based approaches). He is motivated by a belief in the potential for research and theory to be a pathway that supports positive social transformation as well as individual wellbeing. The mission of his research efforts has been to better understand the factors and pathways by which historically marginalized, vulnerable, and at-risk individuals thrive in response to chronic stress, systemic injustices and life challenges, for the purpose of helping develop a more just, healthy, hopeful and flourishing society. This research mission has led to two distinct but overlapping lines of research: 1) the development of cross-cultural, evidence-based mental health approaches for fostering individual and community thriving; and 2) an exploration of contemplative practices and spirituality as catalysts for self and social transformation. One major area of emphasis of his research has been in the area of Latine Mental Health and community wellbeing. Overall, his research has resulted in over 70+ publications and over $700,000 in external funding.

He is the former chair of the American Counseling Association's Human Rights Committee, the Past-President of the Association for Spiritual, Ethical and Religious Values in Counseling, and the Associate Editor for Quantitative Research for the Journal of Counseling & Development and the Associate Editor for Theory and Practice for the journal, Counseling and Values.

Multicultural Issues Advisory Board

  • Dr. Sejal M. Barden is a Professor at the University of Central Florida in the Counselor Education program. Primary roles at UCF include Coordinator for the Marriage, Couples and Family Track as well as serving as the Executive Director for the Marriage and Family Research Institute. She earned her doctoral degree in Counselor Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and completed her masters and education specialist degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Florida. Dr. Barden's primary research interests include: supporting healthy relationships for individuals and couples from underserved populations and improving quality of life and wellbeing for chronically ill and marginalized persons. Dr. Barden has secured more than $20.1 million dollars of full indirect research awards as Principal Investigator/Co-Investigator focused on improving relational and individual outcomes for couples and has published over 55 scholarly works in refereed and/or peer-reviewed dissemination outlets. Currently, Dr. Barden is the Past-President for the Southern Association for Counselor Educators and Supervisors (SACES), serves on the ACES Research Committee, ACES Nominations/ Elections Committee and is active in community engaged research and service.
  • Sherri Ford-Jacobs (she/her/hers) is a Doctoral Candidate in the Counseling and Counselor Education Program at North Carolina State University. She is also a fully Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC) and Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist (LCAS) in North Carolina. Sherri has over 12 years of experience in the mental health field, and five of those years have been spent providing culturally responsive counseling services to various marginalized populations. Her primary research interests involve examining how structural social inequities and power shape intersectional experiences, identity development, and self-empowerment in college spaces. Sherri also has a special interest in epistemic injustices that occur within higher education, how to better integrate social justice into higher education programs through anti-oppressive pedagogy and curricula, and the pervasiveness of controlling images in the media.
  • Dr. Jane Goodman is Professor Emerita of Counseling at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. She is a past president of the American Counseling Association and the National Career Development Association and serves on the boards of the International Association of Educational and Vocational Guidance and the Counselors for Social Justice. She is the author of several books and many articles and book chapters, primarily relating to transitions and the career development of adults, including the 5th Edition of Counseling Adults in Transition (with Mary Anderson and Nancy Schlossberg.)
  • Dr. Rafe McCullough, Ph.D., LPC, LMHC, NCC, is an associate professor at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. He has counseling specializations in both clinical mental health and professional school counseling. His scholarship and interests center on multicultural and social justice counseling and advocacy, addressing identity in counseling, disability and disability justice, counseling with youth, and affirming practices for queer and trans individuals. He has been involved in advocacy efforts with transgender communities for over 25 years. Dr. McCullough is one of the authors of the Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies, and has been active in serving the American Counseling Association and its divisions, including AMCD, CSJ, SAIGE, and ACES.
  • Dr. Derick Williams is currently an associate professor and program director of the counselor education program at the University of Virginia, where he has taught for the past 17 years. His foci include teaching Introduction to the Counseling Profession and Race and Power Structures in Counseling Context, and supervising school counseling interns. His professional interest includes addressing the impact of race and racism in counseling and counselor education training. Dr. Williams was a member of the 2016 CACREP Standards Revision Committee focusing on training and counselor preparation. More recently, his professional service has centered on faculty governance and higher education leadership and policy change.

Additional Information


Grants, Awards, and Scholarships

Call for Multicultural Mini-Grant Proposal: Click here for guidelines and submission form. The deadline is April 15, 2024.

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