In just about 16 months, U.S. voters will head to the polls to decide who their elected leaders will be at the local, state and national levels of government. This is an important right for those who are eligible to vote. The economy, health care, gun violence, services for our veterans, protections for LGBTQ individuals, and the environment are among the issues whose futures could be critically shaped by those we elect.
Despite relatively positive economic numbers for some sectors of the population, there continues to be a growing gap between those who hold most of the wealth and those who find it a challenge to put food on their tables. The next election could also have a decided impact on issues that affect the counseling profession, your clients and your students.
I can tell you that here at ACA, we have focused on what we can do for the profession at both the state and federal levels. Our commitment is demonstrated through our building of an incredibly talented public policy team, our work with both Congress and federal agencies on issues that will result in greater job opportunities for professional counselors, and our work to defeat so-called conversion therapy on minors at the state level (ACA won on this issue in every state in which it worked this past year).
Some of our major efforts this year will include:
- Creating the path for licensed professional counselors (LPCs) to move to another state and begin practicing again with as few obstacles as possible. This will be done through the creation of an interstate compact in which states come together to agree on what that action requires. ACA has committed up to $500,000 to build the structure for this effort.
- Working intensely at the federal level to deliver the right for LPCs to receive Medicare reimbursement.
- Advocating for the role of professional school counselors, career counselors, and those working in rehabilitation and addictions counseling. Our goal is to continue having state and federal officials understand the important role that these professional counselors play in our communities.
Last month, ACA organized more than 100 professional counselors who went to Capitol Hill to visit with members of Congress. During those visits, numerous contacts were made. In addition, our members raised important awareness about the work that you and your colleagues do each and every day. Next month, we will join with a number of mental health professions and others for an even larger advocacy day on Capitol Hill.
We simply must make sure that professional counselors are seen, that they are heard, and that we take advocacy seriously. Too many people in positions of authority to make decisions that affect counselors’ practice and the lives of clients do not have the information or expertise necessary to deliver choices that will be of the greatest community benefit.
I am asking each of you to join us in our efforts. Go to ACA’s Government Affairs webpage at counseling.org/government-affairs/public-policy to learn (and communicate) about the latest issues. As an ACA member, I encourage you to join our public policy community.
ACA has a rich history of being active in the support, promotion and enhancement of the profession. What I just shared speaks to our efforts in the public policy arena. I also want to acknowledge an ACA volunteer who for the past eight years has served the profession as our private practice consultant — Anthony “AJ” Centore. Many of you have read his columns over the years in Counseling Today as he provided advice on building, maintaining and enhancing a private practice. He has been of great help to many of our readers. We look forward to working on other endeavors that will use Anthony’s expertise, which means that you will now be hearing from others who are in the private practice space. I just wanted to make sure that I shared my deep appreciation for Anthony’s contributions over many years.
As always, I look forward to your comments, questions and thoughts. Feel free to call me at 800-347-6647 ext. 231 or to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow me on Twitter: @Richyep.
1. Go with the highest standards in each category for licensure. All programs for training meet the same standard. as advised by ACA. Currently at 60 hours all states use a 60 hour requirement.
2.Use the highest number of hours requires under supervision. If one state and only one state requires 4500 hours of supervised practice then everyone go with that.
3. The highest number of direct contact or clinical hours. If one state requires 3500 direct hours out of XX00 hours then all states adhere to that
4. If one state requires 130 hours of supervision then all states follow.
5 Example: state X requires 4500 total supervised hours and that’s is the max anywhere then 4500 hours of supervision AND State Y wants 3500 clinical hours and 1000 indirect hours then 4500 supervision hours with 3500 direct hours and 1000 indirect hours/
State Z wants 150 hours face to face supervision then its becomes 4500 supervised hours of practice with 3500 clinical or direct hours, 1000 indirect hours and 150 hours face to face supervision meetings with “X” number of hours face to face in a group setting. If we all use the highest amount of hours any state requires across all states that creates a national standard.
As a suggestion since the Federal Government now calls us Licensed Professional Clinical Mental Health Counselors perhaps that should be our nationwide identity although I personally feel its too long. Personally I prefer Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Its concise. No other mental health professions use the term “Professional” in its nomenclature. Is it really necessary we do? Also, perhaps the term Unlicensed should be used in place of “provisional Licensed” or “intern”
It is obvious that we as a species (forgive the term) have a big identity issue. Bur so do the Social workers whether Licensed Clinical or Licensed Independent or whatever Social worker. No matter what standardization is key to our success. If we can’t get it together then perhaps we should compel our state boards to put egos aside and submit to the wisdom of the ACA.
On a last note we are too stuck on CACREP, CACREP, CACREP! Psychologists use APA accredited programs but state board will accept programs that are “substantially equal in substance and context” to an APA accredited program. My postgraduate supervisor was from a non CACREP accredited program and I believe today he is one of the finest therapists I’ve ever known. In truth I learned more from his that I did from my professors at my CACREP program. His daughter also attended a non CACREP program and she is an excellent counselor also. I understand what CACREP and ACA is trying to do but having this much control over the state boards in my humble opinion is counterproductive. My belief is that it is orgazationally ego driven and not necessarily client focused.