Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

Jane E. Myers: The Evolution of an Advocate

Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

Jane E. Myers: The Evolution of an Advocate

Article excerpt

Jane E. Myers's journey to becoming a prominent leader in the counseling profession can only be partially understood by examining her extensive list of accomplishments. Her profile in Leaders and Legacies (Remley, 2003) gave readers an opportunity to learn more about her prolific career and personal background culminating in numerous professional accomplishments. The Wellness Evaluation of Lifestyle (WEL; Myers & Sweeney, 2008; Myers, Sweeney, & Witmer, 1998) and the Indivisible Self: An Evidence-Based Model of Wellness (Sweeney & Myers, 2003) developed from the WEL are two of many notable contributions. As women in the counseling profession and given our interests in and interactions with Dr. Myers and her work, we pursued the opportunity to profile her in the Journal of Counseling & Development (JCD) to gain additional insight into her personal and professional evolution as the recognizable advocate she is in the profession today. By understanding more about an individual who has afforded so much to counseling, those with similar aims to support and advance the profession, whether through leadership, teaching, supervision, practice, or research, will have the opportunity to learn from her experience.

Many counselor educators have shaped my (Lindsey Nichols) experiences and interests as a beginning counselor educator. Longstanding interest in practices that holistically address the wellness needs of consumers connected me to Dr. Myers's work. Through my membership in Chi Sigma Iota (CSI), I became increasingly aware of her many contributions and the impact her scholarly work and leadership had and are continuing to have on the counseling profession. I have been inspired by Dr. Myers's work; I wondered, however, what support and obstacles she encountered during her journey. As a new counselor educator and woman, I wanted to gain insight into my own voyage by understanding the development of such a major pioneer more holistically and giving voice to the experiences of such an influential figure in my professional development.

I (JoLynn Carney) was drawn to this project of profiling Dr. Myers on several different levels. I believe it is easy to see professional reasons for highlighting Dr. Myers's accomplishments in terms of her relevance to the counseling profession through her continuing national leadership, impact as a prolific scholar, efforts to mentor future generations of leaders, and focus on wellness. These accomplishments hold even more professional importance as one considers that she was one of the early female counselors and counselor educators at the national level, paving the way for so many other women to have a positive impact on the profession. One can only guess where she goes next and what more she will accomplish long after this article has been published. For me, it is the personal dimension of Dr. Myers that is most intriguing, because her story shows that the path to making a difference can begin, much like my own, in working-class family roots where gaining a college degree at all, let alone a doctorate, was not a part of the family dinner conversation; rather, working hard, being fair, and caring about others were values that made families proud.

When we approached Dr. Myers about conducting an interview with her, she responded with graciousness and we had a distinct understanding of her passion for the profession and productivity. We developed a list of questions based on other recent interviews that have been conducted in JCD (e.g., Coker, 2011; Gladding, 2011) and that would highlight the connection between Myers's personal and professional journey, our primary interest, and the knowledge and experience Dr. Myers could offer that we believed would add to her already published biographical information. In a recent profile of Dr. Edwin L. Herr, Engels (2012) identified the importance of focusing on both the ideas developed and delivered by an individual as well as her or his persona (Boring, 1950). …

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