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Thomas Sweeney: AASCB Research Award Recipient
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CSI was pleased to accept an invitation to present at the January 2018 American Association of State Counseling Boards (AASCB) Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Holly Moorhead, CSI CEO, and Dr. Tom Sweeney, CSI Founder and Executive Director Emeritus, presented “A Commitment to Excellence in Counseling: Chi Sigma Iota’s Historical Support and Ongoing Advocacy for Professional Counselor Licensure.” They discussed CSI’s historical commitment to counselor licensure through members’ advocacy efforts from the earliest visions of counselor licensure through present day.

Dr. Sweeney was awarded the AASCB Outstanding Research Award in honor of his service to the profession, and specifically for his research, scholarship, and advocacy about counselor licensure.

Dr. Angela McDonald, AASCB President, CSI member, and former Phi Sigma Chapter Faculty Advisor, shared the following remarks:

The Outstanding Research Award is presented to someone without whom we would not be here today, a true legend of counseling—one of the profession’s most notable leaders and mentors, Dr. Thomas Sweeney. It is difficult to summarize all of Dr. Sweeney’s research related contributions, so I am going to highlight those specific to AASCB’s mission. An article about Tom’s career notes that: “One colleague and mentee described it (Tom’s leadership) as like a fine wine: smooth, mellow, and delightful to experience.” 


In 1974, Tom wrote the first article on professional counselor licensure published in ACA’ s journal. The following year, in 1975, he wrote position papers on counseling licensure that were adopted by ACA. In 1979, Tom as ACES Past President and APGA President-elect, made a governing council motion for APGA to adopt the ACES preparation standards—these standards (pre-CACREP) became the first ever formally adopted standards of the counseling profession.
In 1981, Tom authored a position paper on national accreditation. He served as chair of the first licensure committees for SACES and ACA, and was the chair of CACREP during its first 6 years. He also was instrumental in creating a national credentialing process, what became in 1982 the National Board of Certified Counselors. But he has not just taken on and worked within the associations in counseling. Tom also knows what it is like to advocate directly within the states. In fact, it was his work in states like Ohio and Virginia where psychologists were actively defining their scopes of practice through rules and regulations that made the work of counselors illegal, where marriage and family practitioners were changing their identity from “counselors” to “therapists” that indicated to Tom the need for the professional associations to transform counseling from an occupation to a profession—a profession that all could be proud of identifying with.
In a position paper on leadership for Chi Sigma Iota, Tom quotes John Gardner: “The future is shaped by people who believe in the future-and in themselves.” Tom, thank you for believing in yourself, in counseling, and in us. Your combination of leadership, diplomacy, and political savvy, as ever needed as before, are a beacon of optimism to us all.


- Dr. Angela McDonald, AASCB President


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