Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

An Interview with Brad Erford about Becoming a Counselor

Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

An Interview with Brad Erford about Becoming a Counselor

Article excerpt

Bradley T. Erford, Ph.D., is currently Professor at Loyola University Maryland, Timonium Graduate Center. He received his Ph.D. in Counselor Education at the University of Virginia. He has authored several books on the theory and practice of counseling as well as several hundred articles on the art of counseling. He can be reached at In this interview, he comments on the current "state of the art" of counseling.

NAJP: First of all, what are you currently researching, writing, or investigating?

BE: I have become more intrigued by meta-studies over the past few years, primarily as a way to bring order to a sometimes chaotic literature base. I have undertaken a series of meta-analyses on the use of counseling interventions to treat a host of diagnostic conditions (e.g., depression, substance use, anxiety), primarily in school-aged children, with the hope of synthesizing what we know works in counseling into a holistic perspective. I have also been conducting a series of meta-studies of articles published in various counseling journals (e.g., Journal of Counseling & Development, Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, Counselor Education and Supervision) to describe the characteristics of authors and articles, with a special focus on the research articles. It is my hope that such meta-studies will help raise our awareness of the counseling literature base and state of research that forms the scientific basis of our discipline. I also have a couple of new books that I am collaborating on with colleagues, and I am currently working on the second edition of Assessment for Counselors (Cengage).

NAJP: How did you first get involved in counseling?

BE: It was quite a strange transformation, actually. I was a Biology major at Grove City College (PA) destined for medical school because of a death-bed promise to my mother, when I realized I didn't want to be an M.D. I also completed the major requirements for a psychology major and enjoyed that discipline immensely, especially an undergraduate course in psychological assessment. I was faced with the choice of working for the PA Fish and Wildlife Commission or graduate school, and was fortunate to get a full scholarship to Bucknell University. I completed my M.A. in school psychology and simultaneously met all requirements for school counseling. I took my first job as a school psychologist in Chesterfield County Public Schools (VA) and started doctoral work in counselor education a year later at the University of Virginia. A few years into my job at Chesterfield County, Virginia I passed the elementary counselor mandate and I volunteered to help fulfill the mandate by morphing into some hybrid version of a school counselor and school psychologist. That transformation continued until, in 1993, I completed my Ph.D. and took my current faculty position at Loyola University, Maryland.

NAJP: Your bio at lists 10 books that have been published for 2010. Clearly you are a prolific author and have a vast network of professional contacts. What is the story behind the story (meaning what is your motivation in publishing and what drives you)?

BE: Actually, I think the ten books hit print from 2009-2010, so it's more like 10 in two years ... and I have been working on those books for about five years, so it's really not such a big thing. I was blessed with a number of quite profound opportunities earlier in my career, which stemmed from publisher battles prior to the recent string of publisher mergers and acquisitions. I have always been one of those professors disappointed with the available texts, which seemed to be written in a dry manner and have content irrelevant to current and emerging practice. I also realized that few people actually know enough about a discipline to truly breathe life into each and every chapter of a text book. So I reached out to colleagues and networked with other networks until I found people who really had passion for specific topics. …

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