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May 2, 2018

Spotlight: Graduate Student Gets Published!

This week we are celebrating the accomplishment of graduate student Brittany Bishop of the Counselor Education program. Brittany is recently published in the Counseling and Values Journal with her article “Advocating for Atheist Clients in the Counseling Profession.”

 

This article started as an assignment for her introduction to counseling class. The students were tasked with picking a group that could benefit from advocacy and education for counselors and the public. Brittany described her journey to delving into this topic:

“I personally have gone through a journey of trying to define my beliefs and since beginning to identify as an atheist, I have experienced discrimination and prejudice from a variety of sources. I have also noticed that there are a lot of counselors who are willing to identify as Christian but there does not seem to be a lot of counselors clarifying that nonbelievers are welcome in their offices. As I’ve looked deeper into literature and heard stories from others who identify as atheist, I continued to find that there was a lot of advocacy for bringing spirituality and religion into counseling but not a good amount of research on responding therapeutically to the systemic and personal difficulties many nonbelievers face.”

 

The most interesting part of this process for Brittany was gaining both anecdotal and researched knowledge. While her anecdotal knowledge was not written into her paper, she was able to reach out to others, connect to a community and collect a personal understanding of experiences. She was also fortunate to meet researchers in this field who have published research working towards promoting atheist visibility at a conference she presented at.

 

She learned a lot about getting published and going through the process

  • First, that a graduate student can make it into a publication. She suffered from “imposter syndrome,” which many student researchers feel as well, but this helped her believe that she might be less of an imposter in the field than she thinks.
  • Second, not everyone is going to like your style or your topic. She found that when responding to reviewers you can either change your work according to their suggestions or defend your reason for leaving it as is.

“I made updates to improve the writing, but I refused to lessen the controversy of the topic simply because one reviewer was uncomfortable hearing the truth about how atheist clients have been overlooked and underserved. I made my case well enough that the editors listened to it over the suggestions of one reviewer and I was happy I stuck to my convictions for the final edition”

She describes how it feels to be published in a journal!

“It feels exciting but also a lot of the time it does not feel real. Mostly I think it makes me happy to have gotten the word out about such an important topic and I really hope it helps inform the techniques counselors will use. I also feel motivated to begin working on new topics and advocating for more issues to have light shed on them.”

 

Congratulations to graduate student Brittany Bishop of the Counselor Education program!

 

Here is the article below:

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