The Governing Council of the American Counseling Association established a Task Force on Impaired Counselors in the Spring of 2003. The creation of this task force reflects a growing awareness of impairment in the field as well as ACA's commitment to identifying and developing intervention strategies and resources to help impaired counselors.
Task Force Goals
There are three broad avenues for addressing the needs of impaired counselors: education of all counselors to prevent impairment, securing quality resources, intervention and treatment for impaired counselors, and advocacy within ACA and at the state and national levels to address the broader issues surrounding impairment as well as the specific needs of those who are impaired. Our work begins with impairment prevention through education on resiliency and wellness-and geared towards all counselors. Education serves to remind counselors of their knowledge about stress and self-care, to help them identify their areas of vulnerability, and to provide strategies for renewal.
The information provided here outlines the history of impairment, provides working definitions for impairment and other relevant terms, identifies and assesses risk factors for counselors, provides assessment tools through which counselors can evaluate their level of resiliency at this time, and provides an overview of effective wellness strategies. There is also a resources page in which pertinent articles, books, and research is cited-along with links to the best sites available on the topics of stress, distress, and impairment. Several documents are available in PDF format for easy printing so that counselors can share this information with others in the field. Sources for the information and research cited on these pages can be found under Resources. Additionally, information is available on educational programs offered on the topics of impairment, traumatic stress, and wellness practices.