World-renowned professor bestowed the Garry R. Walz Trailblazer Award

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The American Counseling Association selected Dr. Lori Russell-Chapin, professor in the College of Education and Health Sciences at Bradley University and co-director for the Center for Collaborative Brain Research (CCBR), to receive the 2017 Garry R. Walz Trailblazer Award for her efforts in blazing new trails in neurocounseling.

The Garry R. Walz trailblazer award, established in 2015, “recognizes an individual who exemplifies a trailblazer in the counseling profession. One that has created an idea or concept that stands out both in originality and practicality and demonstrates a personal commitment to enact it.”
Russell-Chapin will join an esteemed group, who has made a significant impact in counseling, including:

  1. Dean Porter, the executive director of the California Association for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (CALPCC), who was recognized for her work to establish the LPCC license in California, and
  2. Dr. Jane E. Myers, who was posthumously recognized for her efforts in “spearheading the development of a curriculum and competencies for gerontological counseling.”

Below is an interview with Russell-Chapin to discuss the innovative activities that led to her being recognized with the 2017 Garry R. Walz Trailblazer Award.

What does winning the Garry R. Walz Trailblazer Award mean to you?

The Garry R. Walz Trailblazer Award means that our national and international counseling colleagues value the many benefits of neurocounseling. It is such a humbling honor to be considered one of the many “trailblazers” in our wonderful counseling profession!

Have you always considered yourself to be an innovator in the counseling field?

I teach our graduate students that counseling is a very creative process. I am not sure I think of myself as an innovator, but I so enjoy learning and am very curious about everything in life. I find research and new knowledge fascinating, and I am always looking for ways to enhance the efficacy of the counseling process and outcome.

What inspired you to invest your time and energy in neurocounseling research?

I have always believed that the more we know about our brain and physiology, the more everyone can assist, understand and control psychological and behavioral concerns. Neurocounseling may help eradicate the term “mental illness” and replace it with “brain illnesses” and “brain health.” Neurocounseling, bridging brain and behavior, helps counselors incorporate additional tools and skills to assist them and their clients.

What do you plan to do with the honorarium funds?

I honestly was not aware that there was an honorarium! I will definitely use it to enhance the Neurocounseling Interest Network website.

What’s next for you with counseling?

I will continue to work and build the neurocounseling knowledge base. Currently, I am conducting research with veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The participants are randomly assigned to three noninvasive treatment arms: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Recall of Traumatic Memories (RTM) or Neurofeedback (NFB). Pre/post tests of 19-channel electroencephalograms (EEGs) are being administered. It will be fun to share these neurocounseling results.