1952

American Counseling Association established as the American Personnel and Guidance Association (APGA). Founding Divisions include the The National Vocational Guidance Association (presently known as the National Career Development Association, NCDA), the National Association of Guidance and Counselor Trainers (NAGCT), the Student Personnel Association for Teacher Education (SPATE), and the American College Personnel Association.

1953

ASCA initiated as the first new division by the governing body, then know as the Senate.

1958

ARCA chartered.

1964

The Senate recommended formation of a branch in every state, U.S. territories and foreign countries.

1965

AAC charted.

1966

NECA chartered.

1968

New bylaws adopted giving branches more authority in association governance, with regional representatives serving on the Board of Directors.

1970

Charters granted to 56 branches and numerous local chapters.

1972

AMCD and IAAOC chartered.

1973

ASGW chartered.

1974

ASERVIC chartered.

1978

AMHCA chartered.

1979

American Counseling Association relocates headquarters to interim facility in Falls Church, VA.

1983

Association name changes from APGA to the American Association for Counseling and Development (AACD). American Counseling Association relocates to Alexandria, VA.

1984

ACEG chartered.

1985

American Counseling Association governance (Senate, Board of Directors, and Executive Committee) combined to form a single governance structure called the Governing Council of the American Counseling Association.

1986

AADA chartered.

1989

IAMFC chartered.

1991

ACCA chartered.

1992

ACPA, one of the founding associations of the American Counseling Association, disaffiliated as a division of ACA

Association name change from AACD to the American Counseling Association (ACA).

Committees were established in accordance with the American Counseling Association's strategic plan.

1994

American Counseling Association newspaper, GUIDEPOST, changed its name to Counseling Today.

State licensure, certification, and/or registry adopted in 41 states and Washington, DC.

First-ever Counseling Awareness Month celebrated in April.

President Clinton signed into law the American Counseling Association-proposed Elementary School Counseling Demonstration Act.

1995

The Governing Council took bold steps for the counseling profession by creating identity and vision statements for the American counseling Association and revitalizing the mission statement. Vision Statement: To become recognized as the association for professional counselors. Mission Statement: To promote public confidence and trust in the counseling profession. Identity Statement: The American Counseling Association is a partnership of associations representing professional counselors who enhance human development.

1996

Creation of the ACA Center for Effective Counseling Practice

State licensure, certification, and/or registry adopted in 42 states and Washington, DC

AGLBIC chartered as a new organizational affiliate

ACA's first annual World Conference held in Pittsburgh, PA with more than 3,300 attendees plus 1,000 at the Professional Development Institutes just prior to the conference

ACA World Wide Web site launched at World Conference

Nearly 4,000 people attended ACA Professional Development National Workshops

ACA filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court which was cited along with the ACA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice in the Court's 7-2 ruling in Jaffee vs. Redmond stating that clients have the right to expect confidentiality. The Court ruled that communications between psychotherapists and their clients are privileged and protected from forced disclosure.

1997

Working jointly with other associations to educate and protect the public ACA helped draft and adopt: "The Principles for the Provision of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Prevention Treatment Services: A Bill of Rights"

ACA's second World Conference in Orlando, FL attracted more than 4,000 attendees

Two additional states passed counselor licensure statutes providing increased protection for the public and increased professionalism for counselors. Now 44 states and the District of Columbia have counselor licensure or certification.

ACA Governing Council developed a unified definition of professional counseling.

1998

Launched ACAeNews - The electronic news and practice bulletin from the American Counseling Association. Published every other Thursday and delivered via e-mail, ACAeNews is free to counseling professionals, students, and other helping professionals.

1999

CSJ Chartered

2002

ACA 50th Anniversary

2004

ACC Chartered

2005

The first professional identity initiative to involve all 30 professional counseling organizations (including all ACA divisions and regions), 20/20: A Vision for the Future of Counseling was initiated as a co-sponsored project between the American Counseling Association and the American Association of State Counseling Boards.

2006

Law enacted recognizing counselors as mental health specialists within the Veterans Affairs health care system.

2008

The historic 20/20 Principles for Unifying and Strengthening the Professions was promulgated and endorsed by 29 counseling organizations, including 18 ACA divisions and all four ACA regions.

ACA's monthly member publication, Counseling Today, debuted its new format as a four-color magazine. Counseling Today first began publishing in December 1958 as a newsletter called The Guidepost before later converting to a tabloid-size newspaper and changing its name, first to Guidepost and later to Counseling Today.

2009

Counselor licensure enacted in all 50 states.

2010

A consensus definition of counseling was promulgated by the delegates to 20/20: A Vision for the Future of Counseling: "Counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals."

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Latest News

ILT 2013 Attendees Spend a Day on the Hill

by Ashwini Yelamanchili | Jul 29, 2013
More than 130 ACA leaders spent the day on Capitol Hill meeting with members of Congress and their staff to lobby for legislation in the areas of mental health, school and career counseling, and veterans affairs.


ACA members meet with Representative Steve Womak (R-AR) during ACA's 2013 Institute for Leadership Training "Day on the Hill."

Counseling leaders from around the country visited Capitol Hill on Thursday, July 25, where they lobbied for important legislation.

Participants were dropped off in front of the Capitol building where they posed for a photo on the Capitol’s historic steps before heading off to meetings with members of Congress. The first stops were the Russell, Dirksen, and Hart Senate Office Buildings, where participants had in-person meetings with their respective senators. After that, the group made its way to the Cannon, Longworth, and Rayburn House Office Buildings to meet with representatives.

During these face-to-face meetings with members of Congress and their staff, Day on the Hill participants discussed three specific policy initiatives (as well as an existing piece of legislation) that would benefit both professional counselors and Americans with mental health needs:           

  • Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program – helps school districts establish or expand school-based counseling services by providing funding to hire qualified state licensed or certified school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers in order to improve school safety and increase students’ academic achievement.
  • Counseling for Career Choice Act – a grant program that will allow professional school counselors to better prepare students for making educated decisions about post-secondary options, and will increase career planning resources and services for students through partnerships with state industries and businesses.
  • Seniors Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2013 – establishes Medicare coverage of both licensed professional counselors and licensed marriage and family therapists for the provision of medically necessary outpatient psychotherapy, at the same reimbursement rates as clinical social workers.
  • Veterans Affairs Integration – despite the fact that the Veterans First Contracting Program (which explicitly recognizes licensed professional mental health counselors as clinicians within VA facilities) was enacted in 2006, there is little evidence that many of the 1,600 newly hired mental health professionals in VA facilities are counselors.


ACA member Chad Mosher with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) during ACA's 2013 Institute for Leadership Training "Day on the Hill."