President's Message

Henry McCarthy, Ph.D., CRC, LPC

Henry McCarthy, Ph.D., CRC, LPC

ARCA 2016-2017 President

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Serving as President of ARCA for this fiscal year (July 2016-June 2017) is both an honor and a challenge for me. I am truly honored to be included among the 58 other men and women who have served as ARCA President and whom I consider to be outstanding rehabilitation counseling educators, administrators, and practitioners. I commit to taking the responsibilities of the office seriously and to trying my best to receive your input and feedback with an open mind and heart. I intend to take every opportunity the position provides to work on increasing the awareness and appreciation of our profession among the consumers of our services, as well as among our fellow providers in the broader counseling and helping professional communities.

The theme that captures what I hope to pursue through ARCA activities during this year is: Working in Partnership with Rehabilitation Stakeholders to Promote Personal Empowerment and Social Justice. Let me explain how I feel about each of the keywords in that aspirational theme. Our Board is a working group that is tackling goals that I asked each member to set for her/his role or committee (we call them “Councils”), aimed at strengthening our association through improved services and engagement with members. Partnership will be a primary method for carrying out our mission. Our outreach will be to all interested individuals and constituencies—especially the disability community, students, educators, practitioners, and our colleagues in other ACA Divisions and rehabilitation counseling (RC) organizations. As we all know, RC’s purpose is to facilitate each client’s journey of personal empowerment. Because ARCA is a professional association and not a client service organization, we aim to participate in that facilitation process indirectly, by contributing to the personal empowerment of rehabilitation counselors, their educators, and students in training. Because we live in a society with very real detrimental forces, like discrimination and other inequities of opportunity, enhancing personal strengths is not enough. Therefore, rehabilitation counselors are also expected to work with their clients, colleagues, and local communities to help eliminate or reduce those negative factors by promoting social justice for persons with disabilities. ARCA is interested in partnering with other groups and resources to become informed and effective as advocates for those social justice issues that are most germane to RC goals and outcomes. As a first step in that commitment, our Understanding Rehabilitation Counseling campaign with our Student Task Force will be focused for this year on advocacy and service learning with self-advocates from the disability community.

We enthusiastically solicit your input in shaping ARCA’s agenda this year and your participation in carrying it out. We ask you to:

  • Explore beyond our homepage to learn about the Board members and our past and planned activities.
  • Tell us what you want from your association, and what you are willing to do to make it happen.
  • Spread the word about ARCA and encourage your colleagues and students to join.
  • Invite us to be part of opportunities in your arena for us to participate, contribute, and collaborate.
  • Join us in enhancing the visibility and effectiveness with which ARCA contributes to the interface of the disability experience, rehabilitation toward wellness, and advancement of human rights.

With the hope of opening up some common ground for creating connections with many of you, I’ll share a bit about myself professionally and personally. After 31 years teaching rehabilitation counseling at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, I am retiring in September from my full-time faculty position to start a new phase of my life and career. I will remain professionally engaged through my activities on the ARCA Board  and as Associate Editor of the scholarly journal that it sponsors, Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin. I also plan to do consulting, writing, volunteering, and exploring new adventures. Before moving to New Orleans, I worked in rehabilitation research and training in the New York metropolitan area for eight years, after completing my university studies in Kansas, Scotland, Austria, and Massachusetts, where I was born and raised. Working in various rehabilitation settings and roles has long been my interest-turned-passion, starting with my first summer job at age 16. Around that age, I also became a pacifist and have continued working on projects for global peace and justice. To relax, I enjoy swimming, tennis, music, art, theatre, dance, and travelling—invite me to your hometown, and I’ll show up prepared to learn and help out with anything that serves the interests of your organization and ARCA.

One of my role models (for my fantasy job) is the great radio raconteur, Garrison Keillor. Because he recently retired from his biggest gig, hosting the public broadcasting show, Prairie Home Companion, I feel I can now adopt his famous closing message:

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch—

Henry McCarthy

ARCA President 2016-17