October 15, 2015
A native of Austria, Andreas Bienert grew up in a country that has deep roots in psychological theory as the home of Sigmund Freud and others, but counseling is yet to be recognized as a mental health practice. After looking at preparation programs in Austria/Germany and the United States, Andreas chose to pursue his master’s and doctoral program at Regent University in Virginia Beach to be able to access and integrate cutting-edge counseling research into his practice as a mental health clinician.
“Universities and training institutes are slowly starting to build training programs in counseling, yet find themselves in early developmental stages.”
Not only has he worked in the U.S. and Austria, he joined a cross-cultural training team where he taught counseling skills and techniques to students in Honduras and the Ukraine. In the Ukraine, he provides supervision via Skype and through local translators.
“Throughout the years I have been privileged to work with a variety of different age groups around the world, children to adults. Working with diverse populations has greatly impacted my skill level as a clinician, being able to applying counseling theory from a holistic mindset and multicultural perspective.”
Andreas views IRCEP as a way of helping to achieve global recognition of counseling and counselor education.
“IRCEP may not only create one of the largest international networks within the field of counseling and aid to the globalization of the profession, but also become a leader in supporting the development of training programs worldwide.”
As an IRCEP Steering Committee member, Andreas hopes to contribute personally to making this happen.
“I envision building a bridge between the American and European academic and mental health communities. With many European countries lacking affordable and available counseling services, my goal is to build a vital foundation for counseling in the Austrian mental health community, and other parts of Europe.”
His decision to study abroad years ago has not only shaped his worldviews and understanding of different people and cultures, but contributed to his identity as a counselor. Andreas encourages students considering studying abroad.
“Embrace the challenge! Leaving one’s home is never easy, whether it is for a semester or for the duration of one or several academic programs. It has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Looking back at my personal journey of engaging in cross-cultural development and training, I would never have thought or dreamed to be where I am today.”