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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Integrated of PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS Association of the Philippines (IPCAP), Inc.: not an elite club

One of the things that came up during the 2nd IPCAP meeting at the RGS Convent was a comment that had two points. I want to reflect here my thoughts about those, particularly so that we can have a common understanding about the organization so we all get guided accordingly.

The comment was made by CDAP President Mrs. Consolacion "Chit" Concepcion (there are three Chits in the group - Chit Umali, Chit Salonga, and Chit Concepcion) and supported by PGCA President Dr. Emy Villar. The comment runs this way: that the IPCAP is an organization composed of Presidents and Vice-Presidents of various counseling-related organizations. If IPCAP becomes the APO, other organizations will die because the law requires membership in the APO.

1. As regards the first point, that the IPCAP is an organization of Presidents and Vice-Presidents of various counseling-related organizations: while it was Presidents and Vice-Presidents or the authorized or sent representatives who came for the meetings since Feb. 4, 2006, those at the meetings of IPCAP always clearly understood that it is a "professional counselors" association (IPCAP's first name was Professional Counselors Association of the Philippines [PCAP]), and not an elite club. We have taken Dr. Letty Ho's document about their efforts to organize a federation of counseling-related organizations. Both efforts she mentioned in there failed even after agreeing. Sayang yun, but a federation is not necessary. Tasks of this kind of organization can be done by an integrated association like IPCAP. Thus, we are in the next level na: bringing in the licensed counselors to the organization so we can apply for APO-hood. (Please see upcoming blog on that federation stuff. I have a copy of it and will print i8t here for everyone to know.)

The IPCAP is not an elite club of "Presidents and officers" of counseling-related organizations. While it is true that those who came for the meetings were such, the present identity of IPCAP is not limited to that. In fact, it would even be proper if all Guidance and Counseling-related organizations really tackle this matter of the IPCAP so we can sail smoothly. We need to go beyond our "parochial minds" thinking only of our organizations and feared demise (God forbid!), and see the future of our beloved profession and fellow practitioners instead.

2. Will other counseling-related organizations die when IPCAP becomes APO? By no means has IPCAP contemplated that! In fact, we always had in mind what the medicine field's PMA and law's IBP have, they have specialty organizations. At the PMA or Philippine Medical Association, we are aware of the group of Diabetes experts, the Surgery group, the Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery group, the Family Physicians group, the Psychiatrists group and various other specialization-based groups who first received their professional permits from the PRC to practice in the medical world because they passed the Board exam in medicine. There may be bands of Human Rights Law specialists, Corporate Law practitioners, etc. at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).

In the future, we can also have a group focused and specialized in Counselor Education, Research and Supervision (PACERS), Christian Counseling (PACC), Family and Pastoral Counseling (FPCAP), Career Education and Development (CDAP). Thus, the demise of an organization will not take place except on the following conditions: the continued gap (no mechanism to inform everyone in the group) between the Boards of the organization and their membership, the underhanded practice that may cripple the finances of organizations such as syphoning of organization funds for personal or non-authorized expenditures (which we all know to be the tentacles of corruption in the Philippines - has it entered the Guidance and Counseling field?), plus other acts and ways of being that keep the groups from getting a clear direction in their association, sapping the morale of the organization. When we submitted the IPCAP papers for SEC registration, we kept in mind that we had to live by the vision of the group, identified as objectives in the papers. Only by pursuing the vision are we, individuals and groups for that matter, assured of continued life and meaning. The IPCAP hopes to work on an accreditation process particularly on Continuing Professional Education (CPE) matters which is legally mandated by the way. The promulgation of the law is not to kill but to assure an orderly and meaningful life. If something must die, it should be evil ways that only lead us to death (nag sermon ang pari! haha). I believe that we Guidance Counselors are caring and nurturing people, listening carefully and respectfully to each other just as we listen to others who need us. Yes, that might be the point: we need each other! Therefore, counseling-related organizations, please don't die! If IPCAP manages to become the APO, the PGCA which is currently the interim APO sans the PRC Certification as professional organization will not be led to the silence of history. I for one will do my part so that this historic part of our lives will always be given its due value and position in our profession.

These thoughts about the profession have lately been ruminating in my mind, and how I hope and pray that we can really sail smoothly because any impediment can keep us tired and lose energy. I hope the PGCA manages to get out of all its problems in time to submit the papers and get the accreditation which will legitimize its claim of being the Guidance & Counseling's APO. In fact, if my analysis in the previous blog is correct, we can't be speaking of a 3-year term as APO because only the PRC accreditation certificate shall set that (or unless there is a PRB Resolution to that effect!). And if it really can't pass the requirements set by the PRC, please let us all know so the profession won't be left with an empty bag, so to say. Let's help our profession gain its dignity and respect we accord it ourselves. (I shall write more about it in my next blog as a way of acknowledging what the PGCA has been doing for the profession.)