VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.
Promoting professional development among students and professional counselors
John McCarthy, Amy J. Thompson, and Teresa E. Fernandes
Continuing education and professional development are a necessity for mental health professionals. In particular, during the past few years, continuing education requirements have increased significantly (Rubel, Sobell, & Miller, 2000). In its Code of Ethics, the American Counseling Association (ACA, 2005) cited the need for continuing education for counselors. This section is due to the obligation of counselors to remain aware of current practices in their field (ACA, 2005; see also Rubel et al., 2000). Although distinct from counseling, the American Psychological Association (APA; APA Continuing Education Sponsor Approval System, 2005) shares this view of continuing education. Vitulano and Copeland (1980) spoke of “professional obsolescence,” which they believed would occur in the absence of continuing education (p. 891). Similarly, Hodgins, Murray, Donoghue, Judd, and Petts (2004) studied the professional development of mental health services (specifically for mood disorders) in rural areas of Australia, and noted that a lack of professional development can negatively affect such services provided to the public.