AI Recommendations For Counselors And Clients

Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly influencing the counseling profession. While it presents new opportunities for client management and operational logistics, it also necessitates thoughtful consideration of its clinical and ethical implications in the evolving landscape of counseling.

A recent Google Cloud report defined AI as follows:

“Artificial intelligence is a field of science concerned with building computers and machines that can reason, learn, and act in such a way that would normally require human intelligence or that involves data whose scale exceeds what humans can analyze.”

AI has the power to assist practicing counselors in their day-to-day work with clients. It also faces challenges to wider adoption, including skepticism and misunderstanding about what it is and how it can provide benefits to people seeking counseling services. Government regulations, such as those that have recently been enacted in the E.U. and those being considered by the U.S. Congress, could also make AI more complex for mental health practitioners to navigate. 

AI Work Group Recommendations

In an effort to support the counseling community and prepare counselors for the impact or improvements AI could bring to their practice, ACA — the leading organization representing counseling professionals — has convened a panel of counseling experts representing academia, private practice and students to comprise its AI Work Group. The work group used research-based and contextual evidence; the ACA Code of Ethics; and clinical knowledge and skill to develop the following recommendations. The goal is to both prioritize client well-being, preferences, and values in the advent and application of AI, while informing counselors, counselor-educators and clients about the use of AI today. The recommendations also highlight the additional research needed to inform counseling practice as AI becomes a more widely available and accepted part of mental health care.

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AI Work Group Members

S. Kent Butler, PhD
University of Central Florida
Russell Fulmer, PhD
Husson University
Morgan Stohlman
Kent State University
Fallon Calandriello, PhD
Northwestern University
Marcelle Giovannetti, EdD
Messiah University- Mechanicsburg, PA
Olivia Uwamahoro Williams, PhD
College of William and Mary
Wendell Callahan, PhD
University of San Diego
Marty Jencius, PhD
Kent State University
Yusen Zhai, PhD
UAB School of Education
Lauren Epshteyn
Northwestern University
Sidney Shaw, EdD
Walden University
Chip Flater
Dania Fakhro, PhD
University of North Carolina, Charlotte