Trying to bring closure to a process that began seven years ago, the delegates to the 20/20: A Vision for the Future of Counseling initiative, met for the final time Thursday afternoon to discuss the two remaining “building blocks to counselor license portability.” The group reached consensus at last year’s conference in San Francisco on “Licensed Professional Counselor” as the common licensure title for counselors.
Tasked in Cincinnati with reaching consensus on a counselor scope of practice proposal and a proposal on educational requirements for licensure, the delegates went 1-for-2. After roughly 90 minutes of discussion, the delegates voted 28-1 to accept a common scope of practice for counselors.
The delegates could not, however, reach agreement on education requirements. At last year’s conference, the delegates endorsed the concept that having a single accrediting body would be a clear benefit to the counseling profession. Two accrediting bodies participated in the 20/20 process — the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE).
The proposal on the table in Cincinnati recommended inclusion of graduation from a CACREP-accredited mental health counseling or clinical mental health counseling program in model licensure language. It also recommended development of grandparenting language to be applied to graduates of CORE-accredited programs and graduates from other CACREP program areas for a time-limited period.
While many of the 20/20 delegates expressed strong support for the proposal, other delegates voiced concern that endorsing the proposal would leave CORE and rehabilitation counselors “disenfranchised.”
Many of the delegates believe the true solution to the problem is to have CACREP and CORE pursue a merger and urged those representing the two accrediting organizations to “come together.” The organizations did discuss a merger in 2007 but couldn’t reach an agreement.
“We are a long way away from this third building block to license portability, which is a shame,” said facilitator Kurt Kraus as time ran out on the 20/20 discussions.
“We’ve gotten further than any other group has with this topic,” said Barry Mascari, the American Association of State Counseling Boards representative to 20/20. “I’m a little disappointed we ended up with the ball on the 1-yard line.”
Added Burt Bertram, the 20/20 delegate representing the Association for Specialists in Group Work, “I have come to realize the last yard belongs to CORE and CACREP.”