20/20: Principles for Unifying and Strengthening the Profession

For details on the Statement of Principles and their development, please see 20/20 Principles for Unifying and Strengthening the Profession from the Summer 2011 edition of JCD.


20/20 Principles for Unifying and Strenghtening the Profession


As one of the organizations in the counseling profession, our organization supports the premise that strengthening our profession is essential. With this in mind, our organization participated in 20/20: A Vision for the Future of Counseling. This was a representative process in which 30 counseling associations and organizations worked over a span of 3 years to identify where the counseling profession wants to be in the year 2020 and what it will take to get there.


Professional counseling is approaching its 100th anniversary of the founding of the first counseling association. Since this time, we have become an established profession and made significant progress. As the profession expands and develops, continued attention to a unified counselor identity is important. The opportunity to establish a cohesive counseling identity leads to multiple benefits for professional counselors, including the presentation of a clearer image of professional counseling to clients, students, and the general public; and the promotion of legislative efforts that are in the best interest of the counseling profession and the people we serve.

We believe that the seven principles identified in this document constitute a beginning for developing a unifying vision and creating a long-term dialogue regarding these principles. Such a dialogue is important to identify the many approaches toward professionalism that can vary and, at the same time, are common to our profession. The following seven principles provide a foundation for unity and advancing the counseling profession as we progress toward the year 2020. The delegates of 20/20: A Vision for the Future of Counseling identified these principles as important in moving the profession forward.


  1. Sharing a common professional identity is critical for counselors.
  2. Presenting ourselves as a unified profession has multiple benefits.
  3. Working together to improve the public perception of counseling and to advocate for professional issues will strengthen the profession.
  4. Creating a portability system for licensure will benefit counselors and strengthen the counseling profession.
  5. Expanding and promoting our research base is essential to the efficacy of professional counselors and to the public perception of the profession.
  6. Focusing on students and prospective students is necessary to ensure the ongoing health of the counseling profession.
  7. Promoting client welfare and advocating for the populations we serve is a primary focus of the counseling profession.

Statement of Support

Through our delegate to 20/20: A Vision for the Future of Counseling, our organization participated in the development of this document and understands that the document represents a consensus that was reached by the delegates.

The signature below verifies that this document has been presented to the board members of our organization and that our board supports the following seven principles.

We further agree to participate in a continuing dialogue within the counseling profession as a whole to facilitate and assess progress toward a unified professional position.


President or Board Chair



Endorsing organisations are:

  • American Association of State Counseling Boards
  • American College Counseling Association
  • American Counseling Association
  • ACA Midwest Region
  • ACA North Atlantic Region
  • ACA Southern Region
  • ACA Western Region
  • American Mental Health Counselors Association
  • American Rehabilitation Counseling Association
  • Association for Adult Development & Aging
  • Association for Assessment in Counseling and Education
  • Association for Careers Education & Guidance
  • Association for Counselors and Educators in Government
  • Association for Creativity in Counseling
  • Association for Humanistic Counseling
  • Association for Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling
  • Association for Multicultural Counseling & Development
  • Association for Specialists in Group Work
  • Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling
  • Chi Sigma Iota
  • Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification
  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs
  • Council on Rehabilitation Education
  • Counselors for Social Justice
  • International Association for Addictions and Offender Counselors
  • International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors
  • National Board for Certified Counselors
  • National Career Development Association
  • National Employment Counseling Association
  • National Rehabilitation Counseling Association

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