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Advocacy Interview: Cynthia Osborn
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Advocacy Heroine: Dr. Cynthia Osborn

Interviewed by Kenya Bledsoe, CSI Leadership Fellow and Leadership & Professional Advocacy Committee Member, Rho Chapter, The University of Alabama

It was a privilege and honor to interview Dr. Cynthia Osborn, an established counselor educator and advocate. Dr. Osborn, Ph.D., LPCC-S, LICDC, Professor at Kent State University in Ohio, attributes her passion for advocacy to her doctoral studies at Ohio University, CSI Alpha chapter and birthplace of CSI. Dr. Osborn credits mentorship paired with formative experiences for fostering her ongoing passion for counseling advocacy. She gleaned advice about advocacy from legends within the counseling profession such as Dr. Tom Sweeney and Dr. Tom Davis.

Dr. Osborn recognizes the abundance of work put towards establishing counseling as a legitimate profession over many years. Therefore, Dr. Osborn remains supportive of CACREP accreditation and counseling programs that strive to ensure that the next generation of counseling students are properly educated and trained to work in highly integrative health care systems, ensuring that the profession remains relevant. Dr. Osborn is encouraged by the ongoing efforts between ACA and CSI and welcomes collaborations that extend beyond counseling to foster conversations pertaining to health care and school reform with other prominent professions. She stated that counselors need to acquire a seat at the table to remain knowledgeable and relevant. According to Dr. Osborn, counseling is who we are and what we do, therefore, counselor educators must continue to educate and inspire students and be intentional about developing their counseling professional identity. Doing so will position counselors to remain knowledgeable and counseling to remain relevant.

Presently, Dr. Osborn’s primary role at Kent State is working with students and others in the realm of addictions counseling. She was instrumental in establishing an addictions counseling certificate program at Kent State for undergraduate and graduate students and community professionals. Dr. Osborn believes that the need for addictions counseling services warrants ongoing discussions centered around client centered care and evidenced-based interventions. Therefore, it is imperative that formal academic training in counseling is crafted in such a way that positions counselors to obtain the necessary skills to provide quality client centered care.

Dr. Osborn believes that advocacy is embedded into counseling as it is woven into what we do as counselor and who we are in our efforts to support individual clients, families, communities, and counseling programs. Her ongoing advice for students and new professionals is to keep advocacy at the heart of what they do as helping professionals who work in a caring profession. One way to do this is to foster ongoing conversations with counselor educators and practitioners who have been engaged in counseling advocacy efforts.

Dr. Osborn’s ongoing efforts are focused on preparing counseling professionals and practitioners to navigate our current healthcare system and provide integrated care by working alongside others within the integrative health care system. Dr. Osborn encourages counselors to become involved in local and regional advocacy efforts. Counselors should also consider running for public office (e.g., city council, school board). Acquiring these positions will help counselors to have a “seat at the table” advocating on behalf of clients to establish programs and activities that will promote better care for clients and their families.

Originally posted November 10, 2017 at csi-net.org.

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