Five (Plus) Things to Know about Dr. Adam F. Stephens
Dr. Adam Stephens, Assistant Professor at SUNY New Paltz, currently serves as our Special Initiatives Committee Chair. As we get to know our leadership and members a bit better, we asked a few questions about his experience working with groups and his involvement in ASGW.
- What motivated you to take on a leadership role within ASGW?
I was voluntold! 🙂 As with many organizations, feeling connected with the mission and, especially, the people of that organization is what it’s about. I began on the Special Initiatives Committee in the summer of 2020 and quickly learned that working with a great group of passionate, warm, and engaging colleagues was where I wanted to be. I’ve been fortunate enough to keep a leadership role on the Special Initiatives Committee since January of 2021.
- What is the most important lesson that you have learned about working with groups?
While we can anticipate certain challenges with various types of groups and stages of group, they are also dynamic, exciting, and have the potential for many powerful moments. One thing that I learned in my counseling work with groups, and frequently remind students, is to sometimes let the group go where it needs to go. While we often have an idea or focus for a particular group, sometimes where the group naturally takes things may have much more value than our initial thought. Being flexible, adaptable, and trusting the group process can allow for many powerful and genuine moments.
- What could ASGW members come to you for advice on or help with?
I’m always happy to speak with any ASGW members about any questions they have about leadership roles, various committees, or other ways they can be involved. While I’m relatively new to ASGW compared to others in leadership roles, I’m happy to share my experiences and help them feel the professional home that I’ve come to experience in ASGW. I won’t promise to know the answer, but I’m happy to help find out!
- What is your favorite memory of being involved with ASGW?
Our time together at our last conference in Florida in February of 2022 comes to mind. As Co-Chair of the Special Initiatives Committee, we worked with our team to deliver a day of service with youth staff workers at JASMYN, an organization that services LGBTQIA+ individuals in Jacksonville, FL. It was a special day and reminded me of the power that organizations can have to help make a different in communities where the support is needed. Beyond that day, there are many special memories of our time together over that weekend with colleagues, friends, and chosen family.
- Why should others become involved in ASGW leadership?
Because they were also voluntold! 🙂 Seriously though, many of us in counselor education and clinical work are always looking for other ways we can make a difference in the world beyond our own offices. Sometimes the size of large organizations feels daunting and we may not even be sure where to start. In ASGW, we have a nice culture of welcoming individuals and helping them find a committee or role that fits them and is workable with their schedule. As a volunteer role, all of us do this because we care and are passionate about the work and are excited to share that with others who feel similar!
+ What’s your favorite word and why?
My favorite word is ‘sanguine’, which means keeping an optimistic or positive attitude, especially in an apparently bad or difficult situation. While it certainly doesn’t mean I embody the spirit of the word in my life daily (a work in progress!), it is a good reminder that while the hard moments will certainly come, we can also do hard things, especially when we draw on the strength of our own groups to support us.