ACAeNews for Mental Health, Private Practice and Community Agency Counselors  | Volume I | Number 1

In this edition readers will find:

Visit our website:

Website Sections:

Press Room
Public Policy
Career Center
Divisions / Regions / Branches

Introductory Note--You Must Opt-in to Continue Receiving This E-Newsletter

Welcome to the second issue of ACAeNews for Mental Health, Private Practice and Community Agency Counselors, one is a series of Special Focus enewsletters. The other three are:

  • ACAeNews for School Counselors
  • ACAeNews for Counselor Educators
  • ACAeNews for Counseling Students and New Professionals

This electronic newsletter is a free service for ACA members. To ensure that all members are aware of this series, we have sent the first two issues of each enewsletter to all members for whom we have an email address. If you wish to continue receiving ACAeNews for Mental Health, Private Practice and Community Agency Counselors.

Watch for Email with Opt-in Instructions

This is the second issue of this special focus ACAeNews. To continue receiving this, or any of the four special focus ACAeNews, please watch for a separate email this week containing opt-in instructions.

All ACA members will continue to receive the regular biweekly ACAeNews.

We hope you find this new benefit useful and we welcome your feedback. Please email the editor at

Richard Yep, CAE
Executive Director
American Counseling Association

4 Questions 4 Bob Walsh and Norm Dasenbrook

Bob Walsh and Norm Dasenbrook1. To what extent have the economic crisis and the resulting stress on individuals and families added to mental health needs of our citizens and driven them in search of counselors in private practice?

A high school sophomore was referred to me by his pediatrician because he was missing school. The boy was suffering from headaches and fatigue but the doctor could find nothing physically wrong. The client came for the mid-morning appointment with his father. The young man was irritated that he had to come to see a counselor instead of staying home. The father said he had tried for a week to get his son to go to school. I asked the dad how he was doing. He explained he had recently been laid off from his job; the boy broke into sobs. This is an example of how the scope of the economic crisis has just begun to show up in our offices. Many clients with marital conflict, physical complaints, drinking, and drug abuse have come to see counselors and we need to help them address the root of many of these issues, the stress of job loss, and financial difficulties.

2. Counselor education programs do an effective job of preparing good counselors. However, beyond clinical excellence, what are the core competencies future private practitioners need to have in order to create and manage a good business?

Simply put, vision and confidence. Any entrepreneur must be able to see what they want to achieve and must be able to pull it off. This is what counselors tell clients all the time and we need to take our own advice. Is the vision a limited practice (5–10 hours a week), full time practice (20­–35 hours a week) or creating an outpatient clinic with multiple providers? Steven Covey once said, "Begin with the end in mind." And a strong sense of self will allow one to turn obstacles into opportunities.

3. Where can a counselor interested in establishing a private practice turn to get business creation and start-up information?

The best two sources are those counselors who have succeeded in private practice over time (20 years +) and professional organizations. Find a mentor who has accomplished what you want to do or review materials from those who have actually managed their own successful practice. Membership and involvement in national and state counselor organizations provides access to a wealth of private practice information and other successful private practitioners. Our Private Practice Pointers area on also provides information on many of the business creation and maintenance issues.

4. What are the most effective ways to make a practice better known in the community?

Probably the best way to make our private practice better known in the community is through public speaking. Some of us may have fears connected to standing in front of a group, but sharing on a topic you know well and love helps allay the fears. This not only promotes your counseling business, but also is a service to the community. Low cost or free presentations covering your counseling niche can be very popular with community groups, schools, and places of worship. We have seen these free workshops provide invaluable exposure but also generate goodwill within the community. Often the community newspaper, school and church bulletins, and chamber of commerce Internet sites will publicize your workshop and thus your practice for free.

Norm Dasenbrook and Bob Walsh have both been in private practice for over 30 years. They co-authored The Complete Guide to Private Practice for Mental Health Professionals. See for details.They have partnered with the American Counseling Association on ACA's Private Practice Initiative and write the column, Counseling in Private Practice in Counseling Today. ACA's website section at features some of their work.

ACA Member Poll: Using Evidenced-Based Practices

ACA Member PollOne of the exciting aspects in the evolution of the practice of mental health and community agency counseling has been the emergence of evidenced-based research into the efficacy of techniques and strategies utilized by counselors. Today, we know more about "what works" than at any other time in the history of the counseling profession.

To what extent are you utilizing evidenced-based techniques and strategies in your work? Share your thoughts by participating in our unscientific, anonymous, informal ACA member poll. Findings will be reported in the next edition.

Participate in Member "Your Thoughts" Poll...

Research Reports: Fear of Job Loss Growing for All

Research findings released in February 2009 by the Pew Research Center indicate that American workers at all income levels are worried about the impact the economy is having on their personal work status. Notably, a significant amount of the growing concern is among well-educated, high-income workers, who are now about as likely as less-educated, lower-income workers to predict job problems in the coming year. More than four-in-ten college graduates (46%) see one or more job difficulties as at least somewhat likely (layoff, pay or benefits reduction, or their employer going out of business or moving). In January, 2008, just 28% of college graduates said that one or more of those problems was likely.


Children and Adolescents Coping with Violence and Disasters: Resource for Parents

Children and Adolescents Coping with Violence and DisastersYoung people are exposed to excesses in violence and disasters in their lives. Whether from the local news of crimes of violence in the community or national coverage of natural disasters and other horrific events, it is difficult to protect children and youth from this exposure. Counselors may wish to use "Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Violence and Disasters: What Can Parents Do?, an online resource of the National Institute of Mental Health.

The publication is "counselor friendly," as evidenced by the following passage: "Children experience trauma differently. It is difficult to tell how many will develop mental health problems. Some trauma survivors get better with good support. Others need counseling by a mental health professional."

PDF Details...

Worth Reading: Essay Relates Mental Health to Physical Health

Michael Friedman, the Director of the Center for Policy and Advocacy of the Mental Health Associations of New York City and Westchester County, has written an essay on the relationship of mental health to physical health and how future policies and delivery structures must stress an integration of care.


ACA Book Provides Lifesaving Information for Working with Suicidal Clients

Developing Clinical Skills in Suicide Assessment, Prevention, and Treatment
by Jason M. McGlothlin

Developing Clinical Skills in Suicide Assessment, Prevention, and TreatmentMental health professionals working in every setting must master the skills necessary to counsel suicidal clients in all age groups. In this new text, McGlothlin explains how to conduct assessment interviews and use suicide assessment tools, identify levels of lethality using his SIMPLE STEPS model, create a comprehensive suicide prevention and treatment plan, and work with family members. Case examples, discussion questions, individual and group activities, and skill-building resources throughout the book link theory to practice in a concrete way. The final chapter presents stories from the field to inspire reflection and growth.

2008 | 290 pages

ISBN 978-1-55620-272-8
Order #72861
List Price: $47.95
ACA Member Price: $29.95


Websites That Can Help You in Launching a Business

Let's face it. When starting a business---any business---you can use all the help you can get. identifies 39 websites addressing everything from business plans to consumer communication to money collecting issues. Note that the thrust of the introductory article is more product than service oriented and that some of the links are for paid consulting services.


ACA Report Details State-by-State Licensure Requirements

ACA produces a very thorough review of state licensure requirements for professional counselors, including 140+ pages of information on education and supervised experience requirements, examination requirements, scope of practice, board contact information, and more. The most recent version of this report—Licensure Requirements for Professional Counselors, 2008 edition—is available for $17.95 at The website also gives ACA members free access to an electronic version of the basic information on state education and training requirements for licensure.

ACA staff have recently updated an addendum to the report, available on the same website, describing recent changes and additions state licensure boards have made regarding counselor licensure. Know the licensure requirements in your state!

BOA Makes Mental Health a Neighborhood Excellence Initiative Grant A Priority

BOA Makes Mental Health a Neighborhood Excellence Initiative Grant A PriorityBuilding on a long-standing tradition of investing in the communities it serves, Bank of America will embark in 2009 on a new, ten-year goal to donate $2 billion to nonprofit organizations engaged in improving the health and vitality of their neighborhoods. Under the Neighborhood Excellence Initiative, BOA has identified "access to affordable health and mental health care" as a program priority. Learn more and review the application guidelines via the link below.


Fast Fact: 13% to 24% of High School Students Have Deliberately Injured Themselves

Self injury, expressed through "cutting" and more recently as "embedding" (jamming objects into one's body), is a growing mental health issue among adolescents. Medical professionals estimate that 13% to 24% of U.S. and Canadian high school students have deliberately injured themselves at least once.

The more common forms of self-injury include cutting the skin, burning or bruising the body, pulling hair, breaking bones, and swallowing toxic substances. In self-embedding disorder, objects are used to puncture the skin or are embedded into a wound after cutting, often causing swelling and inflammation. No one knows how many teens engage in self-mutilation, but it's clear that the practice is growing, especially among adolescent girls.


Adolescent Mental Health Care: A Report on Services Rendered and Issues Addressed

A February report from the National Survey on Drug Use & Health (NSDUH) offers data on rates of mental health services adolescents received from a range of outpatient, residential, education, and general medical settings, including such delivery systems as hospitals, foster care homes, private therapists, in-home therapists, school counselors, community agencies and other care providers. Also included in the report is a list of reasons adolescents received mental health services, including suicidal thought/attempts, eating problems, depression, and other concerns.


Quotable Quotes from Notable People

"Mental illnesses and addictions are bipartisan, pervasive, and expensive and have profound consequences for people's lives — yet support for care is not commensurate with impact."

Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO
National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare

ACA Conference: Earn a Mental Health/Private Practice Academy Certificate

ACA Conference & ExpositionAttend at least six of the 44 education sessions in the category "Mental Health/Private Practice" and take home a frameable Academy certificate acknowledging your specific expertise in this area. The Mental Health/Private Practice Academy is one of 16 offered at the ACA 2009 Conference & Exposition in Charlotte, March 19-23. Others that may be of interest to you are the Military Counseling Academy, Multicultural Counseling Academy, Couples and Family Counseling Academy, Addictions Academy, Career Development/Employment Counseling Academy, and Child and Adolescent Counseling Academy. Once you earn a certificate, you can use it in marketing your practice, announce it on your website, or add to your newsletter. The form can be found in the back of the Conference Program book.

Interested in starting a private practice? You may wish to attend "Starting a Private Practice for Licensed Counselors, Educators, Agencies, Schools, and Universities," Sunday at 11am. This 60-minute session is presented by Robert J. Walsh and Norm Dasenbrook.

There is still time to register for the ACA Conference!

Pre-Conference Learning institutes...

Education Sessions..

Conference Registration...

Studies Tie Mental Health to Worker Productivity and Job Retention

According to a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) sponsored study, systematically identifying and treating employees' depression symptoms is likely to result in higher job retention, fewer sickness-related absences, and increased worker productivity. Earlier research had shown that employees who are depressed are less productive and experience a higher rate of absenteeism. Keep in mind, however, that this research was conducted prior to the downturn of the economy. What may have been viewed as an "issue," may now be considered a full-blown problem.

This and earlier NIMH studies have shown that organized screening and enhanced depression treatment can improve health significantly. A number of mental health experts believe such concerns should be the focus of employee assistance programs and services. However, few employers have implemented such programs, in part because their return on investment has been unclear.


Inside JCD: Watch for These Articles in Spring Issue

Inside JCDThe spring 2009 edition of ACA's Journal of Counseling & Development (JCD) contains a number of articles that mental health, private practice and community agency counselors may wish to read and study. Watch your mailbox mid to late March.

Workaholism, Health and Self-Acceptance
by Christine M. Chamberlin & Naijian Zhang

Perceptions of Mate Selection for Marriage Among African American College Educated Single Mothers
by Rochelle Holland

Investigation of Ethnic Self-Labeling in the Latina Population: Implications for Counselors and Counselor Educators
by Krista M. Malott

End-of-Life Care: An Overview for Professional Counselors
by James T. Werth Jr. & Laura Crow

Wellness: A Review of Theory and Measurement for Counselors
by Lauren J. Roscoe

The American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA): Reflections on 30 Historic Years
by James J. Colangelo

SAMHSA Monitors and Reports Evidence Based Practices Via NREPP

The National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP), created and maintained by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is a searchable online registry of mental health and substance abuse interventions that have been reviewed and rated by independent reviewers. The purpose of this registry is to assist the public in identifying approaches to preventing and treating mental and/or substance use disorders that have been scientifically tested and that can be readily disseminated to the field.

The NREPP, which now includes 129 interventions in its database, is one way that SAMHSA is working to improve access to information on tested interventions and thereby reduce the lag time between the creation of scientific knowledge and its practical application in the field. Due to the large number of interventions already accepted for review, NREPP will not be accepting new submissions until October 1, 2009.


About ACAeNews for Mental Health, Private Practice and Community Agency Counselors

ACAeNews for Mental Health, Private Practice and Community Agency Counselors is one of four new electronic newsletters that are published three times per year each by the American Counseling Association for the benefit of members working in these unique settings. Each is disseminated as an opt-in subscription enewsletter and is a free benefit of ACA membership.

The other three special focus enewsletters are:

  • ACAeNews for School Counselors
  • ACAeNews for Counselor Educators
  • ACAeNews for Counseling Students and New Professionals

Watch for Email with Opt-in Instructions

This is the second issue of this special focus ACAeNews. To continue receiving this, or any of the four special focus ACAeNews, please watch for a separate email this week containing opt-in instructions.

Any reference to a product, service or activity or listing of a website in this publication does not imply endorsement by ACA. Any views and opinions are those of the sponsoring organization and may or may not be shared by ACA.

Direct comments, questions and submissions to Frank Burtnett. All submissions will be subject to review by ACA for accuracy, timeliness and relevance to the readership and may be edited.

Colleen Logan, President

Richard Yep, CAE, Executive Director

Debra Bass, Director of Marketing and Communications

Frank Burtnett, ACAeNews Editor

Don Kenneally, Internet Development / Production

ACA Website:

Copyright 2009, American Counseling Association, 5999 Stevenson Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304. Telephone: 703/823-9800. Email: Permission is hereby granted to reproduce anything contained in this newsletter as long as the American Counseling Association is identified as the original source of the information.

Unsubscribe Information

You have received this message as a service of your ACA membership. If you wish to be removed from our mailing list, please visit or email with the subject line "REMOVE". Please allow 72 hours for removal.

Contact Information

American Counseling Association
5999 Stevenson Ave. Alexandria, VA 22304
800.347.6647 | 800.473.2329 (fax)

About us | Contact us

Copyright 2009, American Counseling Association, All Rights Reserved.