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.


8 Ways ACA Helped Counselors Help Others in 2018

2018 ACA Annual Report Infographic

Download PDF

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 18 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 - May 2019

ACA Code of Ethics

2014 ACA Code of Ethics

ACA Nominations and Elections Handbook - February 2020
2020-2021 ACA Nominations and Election Handbook Feb 2020

Code of Leadership Conduct

ACA Code of Leadership Conduct

Past Meeting Minutes
APGA/AACD/ACA Governance Meeting Minutes

Governing Council Motions
Governing Council Motions - 2003-Present (August 2020)

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 2018 Public Version

Join/Renew NOW!


  • Access our award-winning publications
  • Advance your career with Career Central
  • Get continuing education just for counselors
  • Advocate for the counseling care of tomorrow
  • Expand your networking connections
  • Get discounts on insurance, travel costs and more!
  • Latest News

    World’s Largest Counseling Organization Denounces Attacks at US Capitol

    by Katrina Lee | Jan 07, 2021
    The American Counseling Association opposes violence. We strongly condemn the rhetoric from the president and others that led to this despicable event, knowing that it threatens to incite similar acts in the future.

    Yesterday was a dark day in American history.  We witnessed the desecration of the cornerstone in which our democracy lives and breathes—an attack on the US Capitol, carried out by zealous followers of President Donald Trump. The stress and anxiety brought on by this mob was made more insidious by the fact that this insurrection had been fomented by President Trump.

    The American Counseling Association opposes violence. We strongly condemn the rhetoric from the president and others that led to this despicable event, knowing that it threatens to incite similar acts in the future.

    “Over the past several months, the increased attack on democracy and the growing examples of racism in our country are responsible for the rise in trauma, stress, and anxiety. We must brace ourselves for the consequences and implications that will result from these heinous actions,” said Richard Yep, CEO of the American Counseling Association. “The riots at the Capitol only serve to increase the fragility of the overall mental health of our country—one that is already besieged by a global pandemic, the fight for racial justice, and the race to address climate change.”

    Words matter. The American Counseling Association has chosen to use ours because we realize the enormous responsibility that professional counselors and other mental health professionals will have in meeting the needs of clients who will be greatly impacted by the barrage of recent events.

    “This isn’t about politics—rather, we are a nation divided in the midst of a series of crises that now demand that mental health professionals show up to courageously meet the challenges faced by their clients and students,” said Yep. “Healing will be kept in abeyance if actions such as what we experienced yesterday at the US Capitol are allowed to continue.

    We call on public policymakers and community leaders to join with mental health professionals across the country to work toward the restoration of a safe, caring, and respectful environment. To do anything less, would clearly be a dereliction of duty and allow the evilness of what we have witnessed to be victorious.”

    If you or someone you know is struggling, ACA has resources on anxiety to help you cope.


    The American Counseling Association was founded in 1952 and includes 53,000 members who work in mental health, education, rehabilitation, business and industry. As the largest membership organization representing professional counselors, ACA publishes ten professional journals, ensures ethical practice by its members, and advocates on behalf of the clients and students served by its members.