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Media Inquiries

Please contact Tiffany Erickson at terickson@counseling.org or 703-823-9800 x310.

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

Our Mission: To enhance the quality of life in society by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing the counseling profession, and using the profession and practice of counseling to promote respect for human dignity and diversity.

ACA is on:
Facebook (American Counseling Association)
Twitter (@CounselingViews)
LinkedIn (American Counseling Association)

Counseling Today, the award-winning monthly magazine of ACA, is on:
Facebook (Counseling Today)
Twitter  (@ACA_CTOnline) 

10 Things to Know About Counselors and Counseling

1. Professional counseling is a therapeutic relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.

2. Common specialties within professional counseling include mental health counseling, school counseling, career counseling, addictions counseling, and couples and family counseling.

3. Many counselors are specifically trained to support individuals or groups in the aftermath of natural or man-made disasters. 

4. Professional counselors abide by ACA’s Code of Ethics.

5. Professional counselors can diagnose and/or treat mental health disorders.

6. Counselors do not prescribe medications.

7. School counselors must be certified/licensed by a state education department to work in a public school.

8. Counselors working in mental health settings (mental health centers, college counseling centers, hospitals, substance abuse centers, etc.) must be licensed in their state as a professional counselor.

9. Rehabilitation counselors typically must be Certified Rehabilitation Counselors, especially if they work in the traditional setting of a state Office for Vocational Rehabilitation.

10. The differences among counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists can be summarized by differences in education and focus: Professional counselors have a graduate degree in counseling. A master's degree is the entry-level requirement. Counselors focus on client wellness, as opposed to psychopathology. Psychologists have a graduate degree in psychology, and licensed psychologists typically have a degree in clinical, counseling, or school psychology. Of all the mental health professions, psychologists are the best trained in conducting research. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have usually completed a residency in psychiatry. Their niche is prescribing psychotropic drugs.


Facts and Figures about Mental Health and Professional Counseling 

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services publishes statistics on mental health in America here

The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes employment statistics on mental health counselors here.  School and career counselors here.

ACA publishes state-by-state counts of mental health professionals here.

Latest News From ACA



  • ACA Asks White House to End Forced Family Separations at U.S. Border

    Jun 20, 2018
    The American Counseling Association called on the Trump Administration to immediately end its practice of separating children from their families at the international border and ports of entry. The practice, part of the Administration’s new “zero tolerance” policy, has separated more than 2,000 children from their families and placed them in facilities at multiple sites throughout the United States.
    Read More
  • Gun Violence Trauma: ACA Offers Free Resources for Counselors

    May 21, 2018
    ACA members—and all professional counselors—are fully prepared to assist anyone in need of support following an episode of trauma.
    Read More
  • American Counseling Association and the American School Counselor Association Announce New Collaborative Relationship

    Mar 21, 2018
    The American Counseling Association (ACA) and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) are pleased to announce a new collaborative relationship that will support continued growth of both organizations as we continue to serve the best interests of school counselors nationwide. As of April 1, both organizations will operate independently and autonomously – a formal recognition of the existing relationship, which was voted on by the ACA Governing Council on March 21, 2018. ACA and ASCA will continue to work together on common advocacy issues that strengthen the work of school counselors to support children and adolescents.
    Read More
  • In Support of Counselors and Students Seeking a Reduction in Gun Violence

    Mar 14, 2018
    The American Counseling Association recently adopted a resolution calling for more school counselors to support children affected by gun trauma.
    Read More
  • ACA Calls for More School Counselors to Support Children Affected by Gun Trauma

    Mar 01, 2018
    On Tuesday, Feb. 27, the Executive Committee of the American Counseling Association adopted a resolution supporting and highlighting the role that school counselors play in addressing the anxiety, stress, and trauma students experience after a school shooting. The resolution underscores the vital role that school counselors play in helping students cope with adverse conditions.
    Read More
Click here to read past Latest News stories from ACA.





ACA Government Affairs Blog



INSURANCE, MENTAL HEALTH COVERAGE IN PERIL – TAKE ACTION

by Shahab Shokouhi-Behnam | Nov 22, 2017

The Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans are making an aggressive push to complete a comprehensive tax reform bill before the end of 2017. The House passed the GOP Tax Plan last week.  It is now in the Senate.  There is a provision in the Senate bill that would negatively impact the clients counselors serve in terms of early intervention, preventative care, and costs.

What does this mean? 

The Senate tax reform bill contains a repeal of the “individual mandate” from the Affordable Care Act.  The individual mandate brings more people into the insurance marketplace, resulting in better costs and coverage for early intervention and preventative care.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that this action would result in 4 million people losing health insurance coverage in 2018 and 13 million losing coverage by 2027—as well as premium increases of 10% per year in the individual marketplaces.

What is ACA doing?

We are educating Senators on the disastrous impacts this provision would have and asking they remove this provision from the final version of the bill. We want to use client stories from counselors that clearly show the Senators why this matters to their constituents and their communities.

What can I do?

Sign up for the ACA legislative action email network, Voter Voice. We will help you communicate with your Senator.

Call your Senator’s office and ask them to remove this provision. You can find your Senator’s contact information here.

Send us YOUR STORY:  Personal stories are one of the best ways to demonstrate the impact that proposed legislation would have on the constituents of an elected official. 

  • Send an email to Dillon Harp (dharp@counseling.org) sharing your personal story about the impact that a repeal of the individual mandate would have on your livelihood, profession, and the clients you serve. 
  • Tell us the number of clients you saw before the Affordable Health Care Act was signed into law and how many additional clients you are now able to serve.
  • Telling your Senator how the Affordable Care Act has helped you, as a small business, to help people is extremely important and will highlight how crucial it is for this provision to be removed from the final version of the bill.

1 Comment

  1. 1 Tyler Adams 25 Nov
    Hello,

    As someone who is part of the American Counseling association, I would plead you to reconsider repealing the individual mandate from the Affordable Care Act. This will leave will many people, like myself at one point, struggling through mental illness will no help. Without having adequate insurance coverage, many will lose these afforded opportunities and will not be able to work through these problems. 
    As someone who is now trying to help those in need, if my future clients will not be able to get help, or be able to afford to be with me, they will not get better, and will not be able to contribute to society as effectively as they could. Please, I implore you to reconsider this repeal, and consider how many people who are struggling at their current jobs, and need this help.


    Tyler Adams






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Endorsed Scope of Practice for Professional Counseling

The independent practice of counseling encompasses the provision of professional counseling services to individuals, groups, families, couples and organizations through the application of accepted and established mental health counseling principles, methods, procedures and ethics.

Counseling promotes mental health wellness, which includes the achievement of social, career, and emotional development across the lifespan, as well as preventing and treating mental disorders and providing crisis intervention.

Counseling includes, but is not limited to, psychotherapy, diagnosis, evaluation; administration of assessments, tests and appraisals; referral; and the establishment of counseling plans for the treatment of individuals, couples, groups and families with emotional, mental, addiction and physical disorders.
 
Counseling encompasses consultation and program evaluation, program administration within and to schools and organizations, and training and supervision of interns, trainees, and pre-licensed professional counselors through accepted and established principles, methods, procedures, and ethics of counselor supervision.
 
The practice of counseling does not include functions or practices that are not within the professional’s training or education.