Position Statement


The American Counseling Association stands in solidarity with immigrants, refugees, and communities of all religious faiths.

The United States of America was settled in the 17th century by immigrants and refugees who sought the guarantee of religious freedom, safety from prosecution for their religious beliefs, and a place to create a better life for their families. Now, in the 21st century, the ACA and its members are proud to continue to support the idea of the U.S. as a haven, a place of tolerance and freedom from oppression—and an unwavering beacon of hope.

Along with its members, ACA strives 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 members help advocate for equity and fair treatment for all people and groups in order to end oppression and injustice affecting clients, students, families, communities, schools, workplaces, governments, and other social and institutional systems.

ACA members consider it a privilege to work with—and on behalf of—individuals from all backgrounds, emphasizing multicultural competence and a respect for diverse world views. We encourage our clients to be genuine and to work to find their own authentic self, even if that authentic self appears to be somewhat different from dominant cultural norms.

Our goal is to ensure that everyone has a safe, unthreatened space to continuously build a vibrant, thriving self, which in turn can build a vibrant, thriving family, as well as a constantly evolving and improving community.

We respect and honor the unique background that everyone—regardless of country of origin or religion—brings to the United States. At ACA, it is our goal to help make certain that everyone has an opportunity to grow and to achieve their full potential.

Competencies for Counselors

The American Counseling Association has endorsed a set of Advocacy Competencies that can be instrumental in this work. The Advocacy Competencies, developed by Lewis, Arnold, House & Toporek, were endorsed by the ACA Governing Council in March 2003. These competencies provide 43 strategies spanning the areas of:

  • Client/Student Empowerment
  • Client/Student Advocacy
  • Community Collaboration
  • Systems Advocacy
  • Public Information
  • Social/Political Advocacy

Read the complete text of the Advocacy Competencies here. (PDF file)

Links to other related ACA resources:

Counseling Today articles

ACA Publications:

ACA Webinars