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Professional Advocacy Agent: John Laux
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Professional Advocacy Agent: Dr. John Laux

Interviewed by Zanovia P. Tucker, Mu Beta Chapter, Western Michigan University

Dr. John LauxIt was an honor to be granted an interview with Dr. John Laux: a Counselor Educator and Interim Associate Dean at the University of Toledo. This article documents his work as an advocate for the counseling profession.

Dr. Laux had been advocating for quite some time before he realized that he was engaging in professional advocacy work. At first, he incorrectly believed that advocating meant going to the state court house rallying for change. He put that incorrect notion aside once he realized that there were many ways to advocate for the counseling profession. Dr. Laux realized that working with students and teaching them about the counseling profession was also advocacy work. Further, he engages graduate students in conversations about the counseling profession and how to get involved in professional counseling organizations, such as the Ohio Counseling Association and the American Counseling Association. He also speaks with students at the undergraduate level where he helps them navigate through their program, make decisions about which graduate program will best fit their professional goals, understand the roles and scope of practice of counselors, and understand the importance of the counseling profession to the public.

Dr. Laux believes it is important to advocate for the counseling profession because the public and other mental health professions do not know what professional counseling is and the role and scope of practice of professional counselors. He mentioned how loosely the word “counseling” is used, which can cause confusion for someone who does not understand the counseling profession. He believes that the word “counselor” should be protected and remarked that it is important to advocate for the counseling profession because if we do not advocate for ourselves, license for professional counselors can be weakened or threatened.

Dr. Laux has participated in numerous advocacy projects. On a state level, he lends a voice on matters concerning the counseling profession in the state of Ohio with the Ohio legislature. At his university, he encourages students to go to local, regional, and national counseling conferences.

He believes it is urgent to address licensure portability laws across states. He believes there should be a clear, unified understanding on what it should take to become a professional counselor. There should be a standard, uniformed training model in regards to counselor training and licensure. Dr. Laux remarked that he would like the counseling profession to become more scientific based and publish more research studies. Other professions citing the research of professional counselors is another important professional advocacy issue.

His students’ successes are of what he is most proud. When students win awards from state and national counseling organizations, take leadership roles in the counseling profession, become outstanding clinicians, and become counselor educators, he feels like he has done a great service to the profession by preparing his students for successful careers.

Most importantly, he believes that the counseling profession would benefit from all counselors becoming more active advocating for the needs of the counseling profession, counseling students, and clients.

Originally posted April 27, 2017 at csi-net.org.

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