Department chair, alumna receive national awards from American Counseling Association


Janice Holden, chair of the Department of Counseling and Higher Education, earned the Gilbert and Kathleen Wrenn Award for a Humanitarian and Caring Person from the American Counseling Association for her contributions to the field.

Holden was selected to receive the award to recognize her concern for the welfare of others and her passion to fight injustice. The award honors an ACA member who gives to others without fanfare or expectation of reward other than the personal satisfaction of seeing other people made happier. The award includes an honorarium of $1,000.

Holden's primary professional interest is the transpersonal perspective in counseling – "transpersonal" referring to experiences that involve transcendence of the usual personal limits of space and time. Her primary scholarly focus has been near-death experiences, and her primary advocacy focus has been the appropriate treatment in counseling of people who have had transpersonal experiences. Holden is currently the editor of the Journal of Near-Death Studies and served on the board of the International Association for Near-Death Studies for six years.

Holden began her career as a counselor educator when she became an assistant professor at UNT in 1988. She has remained ever since on the faculty of UNT's nationally recognized Counseling Program. In 2009, Holden became the chair of the UNT Department of Counseling and Higher Education.


Kara Holt, an alumna of the doctoral counseling program at UNT, earned the ACA Best Practice Award for her dissertation research and resulting article in Journal of Counseling and Development. This award recognizes research projects that further the evidence-base for counseling practice.

Holt's dissertation focuses on how Child-Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT), a type of therapy that fosters secure child-parent relationships, can have a beneficial effect on adopted children's behavioral problems and parental empathy.

Holt earned her doctoral degree from UNT, and, in addition to her position at UNT, she is currently an assistant professor and play therapy program director at the University of Wyoming.


The awards will be presented at the 2015 ACA Annual Conference and Expo, which is being held March 12-15 in Orlando.

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