The International Institute for the Advancement of Counseling Theory (IIACT) was founded by Dr. Ed Neukrug, the Batten Endowed Chair of Counseling at Old Dominion University and supported by several well-known theorists and researchers in the fields of counseling and psychology. Descriptions of its mission statement, goals, subdivisions, and executive advisory board follows.

Mission Statement

IIACT’s mission is to advance counseling theories through mini-grants, research, information on counseling theory and healing practices globally, awareness of multicultural issues related to theory, and provide resources, such as books, videos, podcasts, and websites, to increase knowledge regarding counseling theory from a global perspective.


  • Further research to advance the understanding of counseling theory.
  • Examine cross-cultural issues related to the application of counseling theories.
  • Provide open-access websites, surveys, oral histories and stories, and podcasts to increase the understanding of theory.
  • Offer mini-grants for research that support the understanding and advancement of counseling theory.
  • Provide resources, such as books, videos, and artifacts, that highlight classic theories, emerging theories, and lesser-known international theories and healing practices.

Executive Director and Executive Advisory Board

The purpose of the Executive Advisory Board is to assist in the direction of the institute and includes the executive director, Dr. Ed Neukrug, and Drs. Danica Hays, John Norcross, and Bruce Wampold.


Directed by Drs. Chris Sink and Mike Kalkbrenner, the directors of research are charged with overseeing the research advisory board and conducting research related to counseling theory. The research advisory board's main role is to develop research projects that advance counseling theory and provide a mechanism for developing competitive proposals for mini grants related to the research of counseling theory.

Research Advisory Board:

  • Dr. Eric Brown, Assistant Professor of Counseling, DePaul University
  • Dr. T Airra Belcher, Assistant Professor of Counseling, Loyola University
  • Dr. Yuleinys A. Castillo, Assistant Professor of Counselor Education and Rehabilitation, Fresno State University
  • Dr. Jungeun "Jay" Lee, LPC, LPC-S, Clinical Associate Professor, Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program, Department of Psychological, Health, & Learning Science, University of Houston
    • My research interest has been focused on underserved and socially marginalized populations including ethnic and linguistic minorities and immigrants and applying counseling theory to multicultural populations. I am also interested in the therapeutic benefits of ACT and CBT on depression, self-theories, growth mindset, and counselor developments.
  • Dr. Meredith A Rausch, Bachelor of Arts: Public Speaking, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater | Masters of Science: Community Counseling, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater | Doctor of Philosophy: Counselor Education and Supervision, University of Iowa | Current University: Augusta University, Department of Advanced Studies and Innovation
    • Research Interests: Mentoring, Social Justice Advocacy, Prevention and Intervention for marginalized populations

Our research advisory board will be reviewing yearly research mini-grant proposals for possible funding.
We hope to have this process developed during the Spring of 2022. Check back at this site for further information.

Current Research Being Conducted:
The IIACT research subdivision is working on validating scores on Dr. Ed Neukrug’s View of Human Nature and Theoretical Orientation Scale. The purpose of the scale is to identify a counseling professional’s theoretical orientation to counseling. At the time of this writing, a research team is working on revising the test items for readability and content validity. The items will be sent to external subject-matter expert reviewers for item analysis and content validity. Following IRB approval and a pilot test, the measure will be administered to large samples to validate the underlying constructs (theory). Specifically, we will analyze the scale for internal structure and convergent validity of scores. If constructs are validated, the scale has potential to offer professional counselors and counselors a free screening tool for identifying one’s theoretical orientation.

The directors of global issues are charged with overseeing the global issues advisory board, examining issues related counseling theory from a global perspective, and developing resources that describe international approaches to counseling theory.

Co-director: Dr. Courtland Lee (Contact: cclee226@gmail.com)

Dr. Courtland Lee

Dr. Courtland Lee is a Past President of the International Association for Counselling. He is also a Fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, the only American to receive this honorDr. Lee is also a Fellow and Past President of the American Counseling Association. He is an internationally renowned scholar having published six books on multicultural counseling and three books on counseling and social justice. In addition, he has published numerous book chapters and articles on counseling across cultures and issues of social justice. Dr. Lee is the former editor of the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development. He currently serves on the editorial board of the International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling. Dr. Lee is a retired Professor of Counselor Education who has held faculty positions at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia, the University of Maryland at College Park, and the University of Malta.

Co-director: Dr. Barbara Herlihy (Contact: bherlihy@uno.edu)

Dr. Barbara Herlihy

Dr. Barbara Herlihy is a Past President of Chi Sigma Iota-International, and she serves as the Chair of the Ethics Roundtable of the International Association for Counselling. A prolific scholar, she is co-author or co-editor of four current textbooks, as well as over 100 refereed journal articles and book chapters. She serves as Associate Editor for Ethics for Counseling and Values and has served as an Editorial Board member for the Journal for Counseling & Development and The School Counselor. Although she is best known for her long-term focus on counseling ethics, she has developed a more recent passion for contributing to the globalization of counseling. She has traveled extensively and has taught at universities in Mexico, Venezuela, and Malta. Dr. Herlihy is Professor Emeritus, Counselor Education Program, College of Education & Human Development at the University of New Orleans. She has held faculty positions at University of Wisconsin- Whitewater, University of Houston- Clear Lake, Loyola University New Orleans, and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Global Issues Advisory Board:

Dr. Anabel Mifusd, Assistant Professor of Professional Practice-Counselor Education

Dr. Divine Charura is a Professor of Counselling Psychology. He is a counselling psychologist, registered and licenced as a practitioner psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council in England (UK). Divine is also an Honorary Fellow of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and an adult psychotherapist. As a counselling psychologist, psychotherapist and researcher, Divine's work focuses on psychotraumatology and the impact of trauma across the lifespan. Divine has co-authored and edited numerous books in counselling, psychology, and psychotherapy. These include Love and Therapy: In relationship [co-edited with Stephen Paul] and with Colin Lago has co-edited the following books: The Person-Centred Counselling and Psychotherapy Handbook: Origins, Developments and Current Applications, (2016) and recently: Black Identities + White therapies: Race respect and diversity, (2021).

Madelyn Duffey, (Madelyn.Duffey@utsa.edu): M.S., M.A., NCC, LPC-Associate: Dr. Duffey is a doctoral candidate in the Counselor Education and Supervision program at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Madelyn received an M.A. in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi and an M.S. in Clinical Mental Health counseling from UTSA. A Mellon Foundation Democratizing Racial Justice Fellow through the Department of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at UTSA, Madelyn teaches Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies to undergraduate students and serves as a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Counseling. Madelyn is Co-Chair of the American Counseling Association's Graduate Student and New Professional Committee, a Graduate Student Editorial Board Member for Teaching and Supervision in Counseling, and a SACES Emerging Leader. Madelyn's research interests include intersectional identity development, multicultural and international counselor education, historical trauma and trauma sites, global and regional studies within counseling, feminist career counseling, and the mental health impact of political polarization.

Dr. Keiko Sano was born and raised in Japan, and she has extensive experience working with both local and expatriate individuals and families in Japan, Australia, and Hong Kong before relocating to the United States. Currently serving as core faculty in the Counselor Education and Supervision program at Antioch University Seattle, her academic, professional, and research interests primarily revolve around multicultural contexts in counseling, particularly from global perspectives. As a survivor of natural disasters in Japan, she is also committed to continue serving the local community as a professional mental health and career counselor. Dr. Sano is the chair of the Chapter Faculty Advisor Committee of Chi Sigma Iota-International and the International Committee of the American Counseling Association, and she also serves as a board trustee of the American Counseling Association Foundation.

Brittany G. Suggs, Ph.D., MPH, LPC, serves as the Graduate Clinical Coordinator for the Counseling Program at Old Dominion University. Her research emphases entail clinical technology competence, collaborative mental health care, multicultural competence, peer consultation, social determinants of health, race-based traumatic stressors, and emerging adulthood.  Global mental health, spiritual integration, and technology extend into her professional paradigms, along with a passionate commitment to sociocultural advocacy and equity promotion.  Dr. Suggs’ extensive years of service and leadership fuel her zeal for mental health consultation and interdisciplinary organization development.  Notably, Dr. Suggs has served as a member of the American Counseling Association (ACA) Human Rights Committee, Chi Sigma Iota (CSI) Leadership Fellow, President of the Virginia Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (VACES), and board member of the Coalition for Technology in Behavioral Science (CTiBS).  Further, Dr. Suggs has contributed to the profession as a reviewer for the Journal of Counselor Preparation and Supervision and the Journal of Mental Health Counseling special issue on social justice, liberation, and action.

Current Research Being Conducted:

The IIACT global subdivision is working on “An Investigation of South American Perceptions of Counseling Theoretical Frameworks.” The purpose of this research initiative is twofold. First, to investigate the suitability of traditional North American counseling theories and theoretical frameworks to healing/helping/counseling in select South American countries. Second, to investigate possible indigenous healing/helping frameworks in South American countries. A sample of countries in South America will be selected for the investigation.  Officials in each identified country who are familiar with health and welfare issues, in particular, mental health issues will be identified. An interview will be conducted with these officials to investigate the suitability of traditional North American counseling theories and theoretical frameworks to healing/helping/counseling and possible indigenous healing/helping frameworks in each country.

The directors of the multicultural issues subdivision are charged with overseeing the multicultural issues advisory board and examining cross-cultural issues related to the use, and the abuse, of counseling theory. Specifically, the Multicultural Issues Subdivision of the IIACT is focused on identifying common factors across healing practices within historically marginalized communities in order to develop culturally appropriate interventions. 

Sylvia Nassar, Ph.D., is currently a Professor of Counselor Education and Research Methods Coordinator for the College of Education at North Carolina State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling and Counselor Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1994 and her Master's degree in Guidance & Counseling in 1984. She has served in a variety of clinical mental health, school, and college settings over the past 30 years, and her initiatives have included promoting the professionalism of counseling and counselor education. Her scholarship spans multicultural, gender, and career development issues, with a special focus on Arab American acculturation and ethnic identity development. She has published approximately 100 books, refereed articles, and other instructional materials and delivered countless professional presentations. Dr. Nassar recently served on the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development's Multicultural Counseling Competencies Revision Committee and on the CACREP (Council for the Accreditation for Counseling and Related Educational Programs) 2016 Standards Revision Committee. She has served as board member for the Census Information Center Advisory Board to the Arab American Institute, the National Board for Certified Counselors, and the North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors, and is a Senior Associate Editor for the Journal of Counseling & Development.

Dr. Daniel Gutierrez is an Associate Professor in the Department of Counseling and Special Education. He is also currently serving as the lead for the iCubed Urban Education and Family Transdisciplinary Core. His research draws on his experience as a Licensed Professional Counselor and Substance Abuse Counselor working with underserved communities. He has advanced training in strength-based and existential approaches to therapy (e.g., Logotherapy, Motivational Interviewing, Mindfulness-based approaches). He is motivated by a belief in the potential for research and theory to be a pathway that supports positive social transformation as well as individual wellbeing. The mission of his research efforts has been to better understand the factors and pathways by which historically marginalized, vulnerable, and at-risk individuals thrive in response to chronic stress, systemic injustices and life challenges, for the purpose of helping develop a more just, healthy, hopeful and flourishing society. This research mission has led to two distinct but overlapping lines of research: 1) the development of cross-cultural, evidence-based mental health approaches for fostering individual and community thriving; and 2) an exploration of contemplative practices and spirituality as catalysts for self and social transformation. One major area of emphasis of his research has been in the area of Latine Mental Health and community wellbeing. Overall, his research has resulted in over 70+ publications and over $700,000 in external funding.

He is the former chair of the American Counseling Association's Human Rights Committee, the Past-President of the Association for Spiritual, Ethical and Religious Values in Counseling, and the Associate Editor for Quantitative Research for the Journal of Counseling & Development and the Associate Editor for Theory and Practice for the journal, Counseling and Values.

Multicultural Issues Advisory Board:

Dr. Sejal M. Barden is a Professor at the University of Central Florida in the Counselor Education program. Primary roles at UCF include Coordinator for the Marriage, Couples and Family Track as well as serving as the Executive Director for the Marriage and Family Research Institute. She earned her doctoral degree in Counselor Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and completed her masters and education specialist degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Florida. Dr. Barden's primary research interests include: supporting healthy relationships for individuals and couples from underserved populations and improving quality of life and wellbeing for chronically ill and marginalized persons. Dr. Barden has secured more than $20.1 million dollars of full indirect research awards as Principal Investigator/Co-Investigator focused on improving relational and individual outcomes for couples and has published over 55 scholarly works in refereed and/or peer-reviewed dissemination outlets. Currently, Dr. Barden is the Past-President for the Southern Association for Counselor Educators and Supervisors (SACES), serves on the ACES Research Committee, ACES Nominations/ Elections Committee and is active in community engaged research and service.


Sherri Ford-Jacobs (she/her/hers) is a Doctoral Candidate in the Counseling and Counselor Education Program at North Carolina State University. She is also a fully Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC) and Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist (LCAS) in North Carolina. Sherri has over 12 years of experience in the mental health field, and five of those years have been spent providing culturally responsive counseling services to various marginalized populations. Her primary research interests involve examining how structural social inequities and power shape intersectional experiences, identity development, and self-empowerment in college spaces. Sherri also has a special interest in epistemic injustices that occur within higher education, how to better integrate social justice into higher education programs through anti-oppressive pedagogy and curricula, and the pervasiveness of controlling images in the media.



Dr. Jane Goodman is Professor Emerita of Counseling at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. She is a past president of the American Counseling Association and the National Career Development Association and serves on the boards of the International Association of Educational and Vocational Guidance and the Counselors for Social Justice. She is the author of several books and many articles and book chapters, primarily relating to transitions and the career development of adults, including the 5th Edition of Counseling Adults in Transition (with Mary Anderson and Nancy Schlossberg.)




Dr. Rafe McCullough, Ph.D., LPC, LMHC, NCC, is an associate professor at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. He has counseling specializations in both clinical mental health and professional school counseling. His scholarship and interests center on multicultural and social justice counseling and advocacy, addressing identity in counseling, disability and disability justice, counseling with youth, and affirming practices for queer and trans individuals. He has been involved in advocacy efforts with transgender communities for over 25 years. Dr. McCullough is one of the authors of the Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies, and has been active in serving the American Counseling Association and its divisions, including AMCD, CSJ, SAIGE, and ACES.



Dr. Derick Williams is currently an associate professor and program director of the counselor education program at the University of Virginia, where he has taught for the past 17 years. His foci include teaching Introduction to the Counseling Profession and Race and Power Structures in Counseling Context, and supervising school counseling interns. His professional interest includes addressing the impact of race and racism in counseling and counselor education training. Dr. Williams was a member of the 2016 CACREP Standards Revision Committee focusing on training and counselor preparation. More recently, his professional service has centered on faculty governance and higher education leadership and policy change

Current Research Being Conducted:

The directors of the multicultural issues subdivision are charged with overseeing the multicultural issues advisory board and examining cross-cultural issues related to the use, and the abuse, of counseling theory. Specifically, our subdivision is focused on identifying common factors across healing practices within historically marginalized communities in order to develop culturally appropriate interventions, and we are currently providing up to two, $4,000 mini grants for researchers studying specific marginalized communities.

Links & Resources

Great Therapists of the Twentieth Century

Meet the prominent theorists of the Twentieth Century.

Stories of the Great Therapists

A collection of oral histories concerning famous theorists of counseling and phychotherapy

Additional Counseling Therapy Resources

Books, videos, and other artifacts available upon request

Counseling Theory Websites

Dr. Edward Neukrug, LPC, is in the process of expanding this list.

World Mapping of the Counseling Profession (Created by The International Association of Counselling)

Training and Practice of Counseling in Countries Globally

Call for Multicultural Mini-Grant Proposal: Review the guidelines and submission formThe deadline is April 15, 2024.

  • Client Factors: Client factors such as readiness for change, psychological resources, and social supports may affect how well a client does in counseling.
  • Evidenced-Based Counseling (EBP): EBP suggests that counseling and psychotherapy is best when the counselor (1) is familiar with the best research-based treatments, (2) understands the client's unique situation and can choose the most effective treatments for it, and (3) takes into account client's preferences, values, and cultural background when choosing a treatment.
  • Common Factors Research: Common factors include characteristics of the counselor that help in the development of a working alliance, such as counselor empathy, acceptance, genuineness, embracing a wellness perspective, cultural competence, and something Neukrug (2022) calls the "it factor"; as well as those factors that are critical to delivering one's theoretical approach, such as one's belief in one's theory, competence, and cognitive complexity.

Please use one of the following three links to assess your view of human nature and the theoretical orientation to which it is most aligned.

IIACT Lib Guides