Round Tables

RE-INTRODUCING THE ROUND TABLE CONCEPT

The International Association for Counselling (IAC) was born as the International Round Table for the Advancement of Counselling (IRTAC) in 1966. The concept of a round table for counselling was the brainchild of IAC’s legendary founder and visionary Hans Hoxter. Hoxter had started working in favour of counselling as a force for peace and human wellbeing in the immediate aftermath of the second world war and when IRTAC was founded it gave a voice to all those counsellors and associations around the world who needed to meet, share and discuss with international colleagues.

The IAC round table concept presents us with scenarios where all counsellors and counselling associations irrespective of any kind of difference have equal opportunities to present, explain, understand and be heard and be understood. IAC is interested in becoming a vehicle for understanding, solidarity and opportunities for counsellors and their associations. During the Victoria, Canada conference, the IAC council was presented with a plan to introduce several round tables for professionals to come together and belong to. The first batch of these include an Associations' Round Table, an Ethics Round Table, A Students and Young Counsellors Round Table, an Indigenous Round Table, a Social Justice Round Table, a Projects Round Table, and a Practitioners’ Roundtable and an International Research Round Table.

The Associations' Round Table provides opportunities for the leaders of associations to meet physically during IAC conferences to discuss and share issues that can be similar or different to each other. 

The Ethics Round Table should be made up by professionals, academics and students who are interested in understanding different ethical issues and dilemmas and how these are tackled in ways that make sense within particular international contexts. It should thus provide for opportunities to explore differences and similarities in what constitutes good practice in different contexts and should include windows for academic and professional exchanges within different contexts.

The Students and New Counsellors’ Round Table

The Counselling Practitioners’ Round Table creates an opportunity for practicing counsellors to learn and share the different experiences, approaches and standards adopted in different settings and countries. Too many times the counselling debate has been dominated by academics and researchers and this round table can be the repository of practitioners’ experiences and field knowledge. The round table could also serve to create international awareness on the practitioner and help counsellors in different contexts to unite and strive for better standards and work conditions.

The purpose of the IAC Indigenous Roundtable is to: Establish a community of counsellors who are interested in clinical practice and research relevant to Indigenous people; To acknowledge the historical and political issues that impact Indigenous mental health; Share the practices of Indigenous people to promote holistic health and healing; and advocate for culturally appropriate counselling and research for Indigenous people internationally. The RoundTable provides ongoing support and recommendations to the IAC Executive in developing a plan of action for the enhancement of Indigenous counselling internationally.

The Research Round Table substitutes the annual International Research Seminar held traditionally during an IAC conference. This round table gives the opportunity to counselling researchers and students to explore and research issues around counselling but particularly transcultural, contextual and social justice issues. This round table should attract top counselling researchers as well as budding researchers and students.

Dr. Dione Mifsud

IAC Past President