About ACA

About ACA

The American Counseling Association is a not-for-profit, professional and educational organization that is dedicated to the growth and enhancement of the counseling profession. Founded in 1952, ACA is the world's largest association exclusively representing professional counselors in various practice settings.

What Is Counseling?

According to 20/20: A Vision for the Future of Counseling, the delegates comprised of 31 counseling organizations agreed upon a unified definition of counseling: Professional counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.

Divisions, Branches, and Regions

There are 19 chartered divisions within the American Counseling Association. These divisions provide leadership, resources and information unique to specialized areas and/or principles of counseling.  ACA has four regions, which serves members in those regions.  Lastly, ACA has 56 chartered branches in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America.  Please click the following links to get more information about ACA's Divisions, Branches, and Regions.

Policies, Bylaws & Forms


ACA Articles of Incorporation and Amendments
ACA Articles of Incorporation - August 1952 

ACA Bylaws

Bylaws - March 2015

ACA Policies Manual
Policy Manual - April 2018

ACA Code of Ethics

2014 ACA Code of Ethics

Code of Leadership Conduct

ACA Code of Leadership Conduct

Past Meeting Minutes
APGA/AACD/ACA Governance Meeting Minutes

IRS Form 1023, Exemption Application

IRS Tax Exemption Letter for ACA

IRS Tax Exemption Letter for ACA Group (ACA divisions that are listed)

IRS Form 990 - ACA 2016 Public Version


Learn more about what ACA does for its members here.
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Latest News

ACA Weighs In on Wording Restrictions at the Centers for Disease Control

by Kathie Felix | Dec 20, 2017
According to recent press reports, officials at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have been told to not use the terms “diversity,” “transgender,” “evidence-based,” and “science-based,” among others, in the upcoming budget request for 2019. This prompted American Counseling Association Chief Executive Officer Richard Yep to write the Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) about the directive.

HHS oversees CDC, an agency with the stated mission to save lives and to protect people from health threats. This effort is described on the CDC website as follows: “To accomplish our mission, CDC conducts critical science and provides health information that protects our nation against expensive and dangerous health threats, and responds when these arise.”

In part, the ACA letter to HHS includes the following:

“The American Counseling Association Code of Ethics honors diversity and embraces a multicultural approach in support of the worth, dignity, potential, and uniqueness of people within their social and cultural contexts. In addition, the American Counseling Association has expressly supported the dissemination of accurate information about gender identity to counteract bias that is based in ignorance or unfounded beliefs.”

ACA objects to a ban on the very language that helps government officials communicate appropriately about people who have experienced bias, and also objects to the idea of the possible exclusion of all diverse people under an agency that protects the nation’s health.

Professional counselors are required to use counseling techniques that have a scientific foundation. The American Counseling Association letter also conveys that ACA is alarmed that CDC officials must find euphemisms for the terms “science-based” and “evidence-based”—and by the implication that these are concepts to be avoided at CDC.

The ACA request asks that these and other allegedly banned words no longer be barred from budget documents—or any other communications at the Centers for Disease Control.