Following the United States Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade (via Dobbs v. Jackson), the American Counseling Association (ACA) issued a statement in opposition of the ruling. This statement focused on the need to protect Licensed Professional Counselors, and their clients.
“In counseling, clients are entitled to self-determination and to make decisions in the best interest of their health and well-being. Clients should have access to high-quality professional counseling without the fear of having their confidentiality unjustly waived. This requires safeguarding the integrity and trust built in the counselor-client relationship.”
ACA Latest News – June 24th, 2022
ACA remains committed to obtaining the appropriate support and guidance from the federal government for the counseling profession. Currently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued guidance to protect patient privacy, and securing private health information.
ACA, along with the Mental Health and School Counseling community, appreciates the guidance. However, we believe additional clarity and protections are needed to protect Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs).
On Thursday, August 25th, ACA met with the HHS Office of External Affairs, HHS Office of Civil Rights, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Office of Behavioral Health Division. The purpose of our meeting was to express our concern for the protection of the nation’s mental health professionals and school counselors when working with clients with reproductive rights concerns. From this meeting, we learned that HHS is committed to supporting the counseling profession and has committed to becoming a continued resource to ACA and our members. HHS is committed to working with the Department of Education to clarify support in our nation’s schools and universities, as well as helping to break down the current guidance to make it easier for the counseling profession to know and understand their rights as a mental health provider.
HHS also put ACA in touch with the White House Administration’s Gender Policy Council (WH-GPC). As of September 7, we have received word that the WH-GPC is committed to reviewing the policies in place, as well as providing answers to:
- Ensuring that state laws in certain states do not remove counselor-client confidentiality.
- Providing guidance on a clear definition of “aiding and abetting” to protect counselors from criminal prosecution, civil lawsuits, and fines for performing the sworn duties of their job.
- Expectations of institutions receiving federal funding. (Colleges, Universities, and other institutions)
ACA members and all Licensed Professional Counselors should rest assured that the American Counseling Association will take all the necessary steps within our charter to protect and promote the profession. As our talks with the White House Administration continue, we will keep you informed and empower you with the information that you need to perform your job at a high level without fear or concern.
In the event that you are unsure of what to do, please consult with your state’s licensure board, an attorney that understands your state laws, or reach out by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a consultation. If you would like to get involved with our legislative advocacy efforts, please e-mail email@example.com.