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Norfolk, VA (USA) Dissemination Activities 2021

Bianca R. Augustine, Norfolk, VA, USA

Could you please tell us a little about you and your background?
I identify as a Black, French-Creole female, originally from a small town in the Acadian area of Louisiana, USA. Throughout my upbringing, I was often one of few, if not the only, person of color in many spaces that I occupied. This continued throughout college, my master’s program, my doctoral program, and now in my professional spheres. Additionally, I am a first-generation college student and recently completed my Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision at a large university in Virginia, USA. Now that I have completed my studies, I work as a Resident in Counseling in Virginia, specializing in trauma and sex/sexuality concerns. ACT is my primary modality for treatment and has been beneficial in serving my clients, most of whom belong to minoritized populations. Additionally, I teach master's counseling courses for two universities in the USA as an adjunct professor. Sadly, many of the students I have taught were not familiar with ACT, nor other CBS modalities of counseling. It brings me so much joy to introduce ACT, CFT, and other CBS.

How did you become interested in CBS?
During my master's and Ph.D. programs, none of the faculty in my departments studied, researched, taught, or utilized ACT, leaving me to learn about this modality independently with limited mentorship. Fortunately, two of my peers in my master's program independently attended an ACT workshop, and shared their newfound knowledge with me. This ignited my interest and passion for ACT, fostering my exploration of ACT modalities, books, research, and trainings and later CFT!

Could you tell us about your research and application interests?
My clinical and research interests revolve around two broad areas- trauma and sex/sexuality concerns. More specifically, within the field of trauma counseling, I am especially interested in and specialize in traumas unique to individuals identifying within historically oppressed and minoritized populations, especially those identifying within the Black diaspora. I am also very passionate about and specialize in counseling sexology, or counseling issues related to sex, sexuality, and gender. I have found ACT very useful in helping my clients engage in valued living as a means to healing from and/or coping with trauma, including race-based traumas, while further developing their resilience. Similarly, ACT has been extremely beneficial in my work within the field of counseling sexology, as I aim to help clients identify and live within their sexuality-related values, defuse from uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, and live a fuller life!

Could you tell us about your experience at the World Conference this year?
My experience at the 2021 World Conference was nothing short of amazing! I attended numerous workshops that were very beneficial for my personal and professional growth. At this year's World Conference, I was also introduced to CFT!!

Was there anything that stood out to you about the CBS community?
An aspect of the CBS community that stands out the most to me is its dedication to social justice and multiculturalism. Of the multiple professional organizations I belong to and numerous conferences I have attended, CBS continues to not only discuss social justice and multiculturalism, but also puts these discussions into action.

What did you take back from your experience that has been helpful to you?
There were so many concepts and ideas I took back from the World Conference 2021! At this year's conference, I was exposed to CFT. As a result, I have begun integrating CFT into my clinical work and have begun teaching my master's counseling classes about it. Furthermore, the conference provided me with further information regarding the implementation of ACT that I have infused into my clinical work. Workshops I attended at the World Conference also strengthened my overall knowledge of and passion for ACT and provided me with valuable information that I was able to share with my students, mentees, and colleagues. Furthermore, workshops I attended inspired me to develop workshops/presentations on the use of ACT with the populations I am most passionate about, including individuals within the Black diaspora, those in romantic partnerships, and individuals identifying as affectionate or gender expansive.

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