Executive Council

The IAC Executive Council has Regional Representation From Every World Region.


Dione MifsudDione Mifsud (Malta)

Dione Mifsud is the President of the International Association of Counselling (IAC) and Head of the Department of Counselling at the University of Malta.  He is also a former Head of the Department of Psychology at the same university, a former Head of the University of Malta Counselling Unit and a former President of the Malta Association for the Counselling Profession (MACP).  He designed and presently coordinates the first Masters in Counselling programme offered by the University of Malta.  He also co designed and co-coordinates an international Masters programme in Transcultural Counselling previously with the University of Maryland at College Park and currently as a collaborative degree with the University of New Orleans USA. His research interests include topics around counselling ethics, counselling supervision and transcultural counselling.



Courtland LeeCourtland Lee (USA)

Courtland Lee is a Professor in the Counselor Education Program at the Washington, DC campus of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.  He is the author, editor, or co-editor of seven books on multicultural counseling and three books on counseling and social justice. He is also the author of three books on counseling African American males.  In addition, he has published numerous book chapters and articles on counseling across cultures.  Dr 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 honor.  Dr Lee is also a Fellow and Past President of the American Counseling Association.  He is also a past President of the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development.  In addition, Dr. Lee is a past President of Chi Sigma Iota, the international counseling honor society.  He is a charter member of Chi Sigma Iota’s Academy of Leaders for Excellence.


William Borgen

William Borgen (Canada)                            

William Borgen is a professor of Counselling Psychology and Head of the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education at the University of British Columbia.  Dr Borgen has conducted research and has developed programs in the area of life transitions and career development for several years.  He is a registered psychologist in BC and Alberta.  His work has been translated and adapted for use in Bhutan, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, and Sweden.  In 2005 Dr Borgen was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Umea in Sweden for his leadership in the development of counsellor education in Sweden.  Dr Borgen is a member of the Canadian Working Group on Evidence-Based Practice in Career Development, a group of researchers from six Canadian universities and the Canadian Career Development Foundation.  Dr Borgen was elected to a four year term as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance in 2011.


NaoiseNaoise Kelly (Ireland)

Naoise Kelly is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the International Association for Counselling (IAC). He previously served on the IAC Executive Council, and as National Director of the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP) for seven years. Naoise is a board member of Northern Ireland’s Independent Counselling Service (Contact NI).  He holds an M.Sc. in Mental Health (Hons - 1st) from Trinity College Dublin (TCD), and a Psychology degree (Hons) also from TCD. His master thesis focused on counselling’s contribution to suicide prevention. Naoise has over 20 years of leadership and senior management experience in the mental health and non-profit sectors, both in Ireland and internationally, including seven years’ service as manager of the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, Ireland. He has extensive organisational development, governance and strategic planning experience. Other interests include working with victims of crime (as a volunteer and board member with Ireland’s Crime Victims Helpline) and the development of mental health services. Naoise believes that IAC’s greatest strength lies in the large numbers of Counsellors practising throughout the world, and that IAC can consolidate that strength to become a leading organisation in the quest to improve global mental health and well-being.


Dr. John Prysor-Jones (Wales)

Dr. John Prysor-Jones is a Counsellor and Psychotherapist and has held senior management positions in the National Health Service (NHS) and Local Government in the UK. An accredited member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) he has worked for over 40 years in mental health in the UK including hospital Occupational Health and community based health centres.  He counselled in India for some years.  He is a very experienced practitioner trained in a number of modalities.  Now retired, John practices with Compass a community based counselling and training charity in Liverpool.  As a Practitioner-Researcher he leads an International Research Project through IAC into counsellor’s hope experiences including Canada’s Indigenous community, Botswana and Jamaica.  He has presented widely at international conferences, training workshops and University courses and contributed chapters to two books.  Other research interests include spirituality, forgiveness, and reconciliation in counselling perspective.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.


Blythe ShepardBlythe Shepard (Canada)

 I am a Canadian of British and Indigenous (Mohawk) ancestry. I obtained my PhD in 2002 in Educational Psychology with a specialty in counselling  psychology from the University of Victoria, British Columbia. Currently I am a full professor in counselling psychology at the University of Lethbridge in  Alberta.  I am an active member of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) and have gained the experience and expertise necessary  to promote the profession and its contribution to the mental health and well-being of all. My experience with CCPA includes:  four years as a national Board  member, six years as an Executive Committee member including President of the Association, four years as Chair of the Certification Committee, and three years as co-chair of the Inter-Provincial Mobility for the Counselling Profession project. I have been very involved in the regulation of the counselling/psychotherapy in Canada: as a member of the BC Task Group for the Regulation of Counselling and a co-developer of the entry to practice competencies for the profession (2006) and the revised edition (2016); a member of the The Federation of Associations for Counselling Therapists in BC (FACTBC); and a member of The Federation of Associations for Counselling Therapists in Alberta (FACT-Alberta). Recognizing that clinical supervision is an essential component of ongoing professional development, I have been instrumental in creating the national Canadian Certified Counsellor- Supervisor Certificate (CCC-S); in developing and instructing a graduate course in supervision sponsored by CCPA;  in co-authoring Supervision of Counselling and Psychotherapy: A handbook for Canadian Certified Supervisors and Applicants; co-editing the textbook, Supervision of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Profession; and co-editing the newly revised Canadian Counseling and Psychotherapy Experience: Ethics-Based Issues and Cases and the revised CCPA Standards of Practice. I currently chair the IAC Indigenous Roundtable. Promoting the profession of counselling/psychotherapy has been my life focus for many years in Canada and I am excited at the opportunity to take my energy into international initiatives headed by the International Association for Counselling


RuthRuth Falzon

Dr Ruth Falzon is a lecturer at the Department of Counselling, University of Malta. Her areas of expertise include personal and social education, inclusion and Learning Disabilities. She coordinates PSD teacher-training methodology programmes. She is a member of the Executive Councils of the Malta Dyslexia Association, Malta Association for the Counselling Profession, Malta PSD Association, and a Board Director of the European Dyslexia Association. Dr Falzon was IAC  treasurer between 2010-2016. Her research interests include PSD, Dyslexia and inclusion. Her particular area of research interest is performance auto-ethnography and quality of life with regard to Dyslexia and self-esteem.
Nate Perron              
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Nate Perron holds a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision, and is a Clinical Assistant Professor with the Counseling@Northwestern Master of Arts in Counseling program with The Family Institute at Northwestern University near Chicago, USA. He currently serves with IAC as the Chair of the Counseling Practitioners’ Round Table, and the Chair of the Scientific Committee for the 2018 IAC Conference. Nate has worked to advance professional counseling internationally by offering trainings with National Board for Counselors- International, teaching university counseling courses and conducting research abroad, and presenting at IAC conferences. Nate serves as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in his community, where he continues to support adults, children, adolescents, couples, and families through counseling practice. He specializes in marriage and family, child and adolescent issues, crisis and first responder support, Christian integration, and multicultural issues. Nate continues to research, write, and publish about international counseling, children and adolescents, and counselor education and supervision.
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Valentina Chichiniova (Regional member for North America)
Valentina Chichiniova is the clinical lead for the Mood Disorders Association of BC, Vancouver, Canada. Part of a multidisciplinary team, she works with the management team on the further development and expansion on the counselling services offered by the agency. Valentina also provides individual and group therapy. Her clinical practice and research interests are in the area of trauma and complex trauma. Valentina has Masters in Counselling psychology, including a one year post-graduate internship, further specialising in work with complex trauma. Valentina is a member of various professional organizations including the Canadian Counselling & Psychotherapy Association, the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, the EMDR International Association, and others. She has also presented at a number of national and international conferences. Valentina also co-facilitates the IAC’s Students Round table and maintains and updates the IAC’s social media sites.             
Anna Maria Mora (Regional Member for Caribbean)


Immediate Past President, Trinidad and Tobago Association of Psychologists (TTAP).   A trained teacher, she worked at primary and secondary levels. After fourteen (14) years in the Government Service, she was accepted and completed a Master of Arts and Master of Education in Counselling Psychology at Columbia University in New York City, with emphasis on counselling adults and adolescents from diverse ethnic, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. She returned home and found youth services sadly lacking in communities.   Mariama Children’s Museum & Teen Turf: the Counselling and Activity Center for Children and Adolescents came into being.  It is a non-judgmental, caring, safe, community-based space for young people to gather, learn and dream. Anna Maria received a fellowship from the Dutch Government to study “Development, Law and Social Justice: A Human Rights Perspective” at the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, The Netherlands. A published author of two books, Anna Maria also produced a video, which is used as a youth-training video, under the title:  “Our Culture Must Teach Positive Values.”   Anna Maria is also a regular columnist in local newspapers and magazines, discussing issues which affect family life, children’s rights, youth, their personal-social development and potential for success, as they journey to adulthood. She presented at IAC’s Conference 2004, Jamaica, on the “State of Guidance and Counselling in Trinidad and Tobago,” and received the Hans Z. Hoxter Fellowship to attend IAC’s conference 2012, Manila, and The Philippines where she presented the paper: “Counselling to Advocate for the Human Rights of Children and Young People.”  Anna Maria believes that mental ill-health which is plaguing our world today, can be addressed and resolved through the process of counselling, and that education is the key to creating awareness of the power of counselling to effect change personally and regionally. 


Estany Obetile Esnaty Obetile (Regional Member for Africa)

 Ms Esnaty Obetile is the President for Botswana Counselling Association. She is a School Counsellor who works for the Ministry of Education and Skills  Development as Senior Teacher Guidance and Counselling at Marulamantsi Secondary School. She graduated her Master of Education Degree in Counselling  and Human Services in 2010 from the University of Botswana. She has been a researcher and TV panelist for the  Teacher Capacity Building Project in HIV  and AIDS for the Ministry of Education since 2009. She is the Chairperson for South East Region Wellness Executive Committee, and Cluster Schools. She sits  in various intervention committees of the Ministry of Education in psychosocial support as a trainer. Her research interest are in HIV and AIDS, Character Building and Drug and Substance Abuse. 

Jessica Jessica Bertolani (Regional Member for Europe)

 Jessica Bertolani earned her Ph.D in Counseling from the University of Verona, where she worked for 10 years as a Research Associate and Coordinator of  the  Master Program. She is an Executive Council Member of the Association Continuando a Crescere, where she coordinates the counseling program. She is  an  Adjunct Professor at UMass and collaborates with the Center for School Counseling Outcome Research since 2008.  She is the coordinator of a founded  research project ‘Eccomi Pronto’ on self-directed learningwith Dr. John Carey (CSCORE, UMass). She is a Scientific Committee Member of ANCORE and the  Italian Journal of Counseling (AssoCounseling).

AAmalia Madihiemalia Madihie (Regional Member for Asia)

 Amalia Madihie, PhD is a senior lecturer at the Department of Counselling, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, MALAYSIA. Her teaching foci includes: individual and  group counselling; counselling supervision, adolescent counselling, and career counselling information system.  She is a registered and licensed counsellors  in Malaysia. and also an executive member of the International Counselling Association of Malaysia (ICAM),   Amalia's research interests include family, child  and adolescent mental health, resilience and self-concept across cultures.


Sue WebbSue Webb (Regional Member for  Oceania)

 From New Zealand, Sue is presently a counsellor, supervisor, trainer and consultant, having previously worked as a University counsellor educator for nearly  30 years. She is a Life Member of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors, served a term as its President and is presently Convenor of the Association's  Ethics Committee. In addition to ethics, Sue’s professional interests include the social and political context of counselling, counselling and colonisation, the  development of the profession, school counselling, and integrating theories into practice. She has a publishing record at home and internationally. Her long  involvement with IAC includes serving as Secretary to the Executive Council 2008-2014 and being on the organising committee for the 1993 Auckland conference. She has been an advocate over many years for IAC developing a more genuinely global profile and has experienced working in the South Pacific and West Africa, as well as New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Ümüt Arslan Ümüt Arslan ( Regional Member for the Middle East)

 Ümüt Arslan just completed a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision. His clinical experiences include schools and special education centers in Turkey,  and working with Native American youth at schools, Trio Programs, and job corps in the U.S. He was selected as a panelist for the ACA International Student  Panel and awarded the International Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) Association Training Scholarship. He received several accolades from the  University of Montana, including the Diversity Student Achievement Award, the Bertha Morton Scholarship, the Tough Kids Cool Counseling Scholarship, and  the Outstanding Foreign Student Award. He presented at various international conferences all over the world related to ethics, multiculturalism, and Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT). Currently, Dr. Arslan teaches in the Counseling Department at the Mehmet Akif Ersoy University (Burdur, Turkey); he also trains and supervises counselor for SFBT.  


 Ruth FalzonGuillermo Garcia Arias (Regional Member for Latin America)

Mr Guillermo Hernan Garcia Arias graduated as an electronic engineer in 1980 and founded his Electronic company DEPLI SRL in 1982.  He graduated as a Counselor in 2003 from HOLOS CAPITAL, Argentina’s First School Counseling and Humanistic Psychology School and in 2005 specialized in Personal Development.  In 2006 he became Director of HOLOS CAPITAL.  Since 2006, the Institution has grown 500%.  With nine offices, it is the largest group of Academic Counselors’ Training Centres in Latin America.  Mr Garcia Arias has participated in numerous meetings, congresses abd conferences as a speaker, facilitator and organizer over the last ten years. One of them was the 2005 IAC Conference in Buenos Aires. He has been a Rotarian since 1999, was president of ROTARY CLUB OF MONTSERRAT, between 2007 and 2008 and is currently on its Board of Directors.