Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Now that you have explored many paths in counseling and related fields, identify which you would like to do. What graduate program will you attend and why? Is it accre - Writingforyou

Now that you have explored many paths in counseling and related fields, identify which you would like to do. What graduate program will you attend and why? Is it accre

 Now that you have explored many paths in counseling and related fields, identify which you would like to do. What graduate program will you attend and why? Is it accredited? What do you expect to learn throughout your training and education? 

Counselors LO 2a

In the past, the word counselor referred to any mental health professional who practiced counseling (Chaplin, 1975). However, today, counselors are generally seen as those who hold a master’s degree in counseling. Today, we find a wide variety of counselors, such as school counselors, college counselors, mental health counselors, counselors in private practice, pastoral counselors, rehabilitation counselors, counselors in business and industry, and more. The counselor’s training is broad and includes expertise in individual, group, and family counseling; administering and interpreting educational and psychological assessments; offering career counseling; administering grants and conducting research; consulting on a broad range of educational and psychological matters; supervising others; and presenting developmentally appropriate psychoeducational activities for individuals of all ages. Although not all counselors have in- depth expertise in psychopathology, they all have knowledge of mental disorders and know when to refer individuals who might need more in- depth treatment.

Today, counselors tend to have had coursework in common areas defined by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP, 2014a), the program accreditation body for most counseling programs. Although not all programs are CACREP accredited, most follow their guidelines. These include knowledge in the following eight content areas (for more details, see Chapter 7):

1. Professional counseling orientation and ethical practice 2. Social and cultural diversity 3. Human growth and development 4. Career development 5. Counseling and helping relationship 6. Group counseling and group work 7. Assessment and testing 8. Research and program evaluation

In addition to the eight content areas, a counselor has taken coursework in a counseling specialty area, such as clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, college counseling and student affairs, and others. Such classes usually include content in the history, roles and functions, and knowledge and skills of that specialty area. Finally, all counselors

have had the opportunity to practice their acquired skills and knowledge at field placements, such as a practicum or internship.

Master’s level counseling programs accredited by CACREP include programs in school counseling; clinical mental health counseling; marriage, couple, and family counseling; addiction counseling; career counseling; and college counseling and student affairs. Currently, CACREP requires 60 credit semester hours for clinical mental health counseling; marriage, couple, and family counseling, and addiction counseling. The other programs currently require a minimum of 48 semester credit hours. However, beginning July of 2020, all master’s level programs will require a minimum of 60 semester credit hours

In addition, to the above programs, there is a 48-credit rehabilitation counseling program accreditation that is administered through the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE), as well as a new, 60- credit clinical rehabilitation counseling accreditation process that is jointly administered by CORE and CACREP. CORE and CACREP recently signed a planned merger agreement, and in July of 2017, CACREP will administer all of the rehabilitation counseling programs (CACREP, 2014b, n.d.a).

A master’s level counselor can become a National Certified Counselor (NCC) by passing the National Counselor Exam (NCE) offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) (NBCC, 2015a). Students who are matriculated in CACREP-accredited programs can take the exam prior to graduating, and become certified upon passing the exam and graduating from their program, while others have to obtain post-master’s clinical experience (NBCC, 2015a, 2015b). NBCC also offers subspecialty certifications as a Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC), National Certified School Counselor (NCSC), and Master Addictions Counselor (MAC). In addition, today all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia have established licensing laws that allow a counselor who has a master’s degree, additional training, and supervision to practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) (some states use a different, but similar term) (ACA, 2011; 2015a). Whereas certification is generally seen as mastery of a content area, licensure allows counselors to practice independently and obtain third-party reimbursement for their practice. (An in-depth discussion of credentialing can be found in Chapter 8.) The American Counseling Association (ACA), and its 20 divisions, focus on a variety of counseling concerns and are the major professional associations for counselors (see Chapter 2).

The following describes the most common types of master’s level counselors, including school counselors; clinical mental health counselors; marriage, couple, and family counselors; addiction counselors; career counselors; college counselors and student affairs professionals; rehabilitation counselors; and pastoral counselors.

School Counselors School counselors have received their master’s degrees in counseling with a specialty in school counseling. Some states credential school counselors on the elementary, middle, and secondary levels, while other states offer credentialing that covers kindergarten through 12th grade (K–12). The professional association for school counselors is the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), which is a division of ACA, although one can become a member of ASCA without joining ACA. In recent years, the ASCA National Model has been used as a model for the training of school counselors (ASCA, 2012). In addition, over the past few decades, there has been a push by professional training programs, professional associations, and many in the field to replace the term guidance counselor with school counselor, as the latter term is seen as de-emphasizing the guidance activities of the school counselor (Baker & Gerler, 2008).

School counselors are certified or licensed by their state boards of education, usually directly after having graduated from a state-approved school counseling program. If they so choose, school counselors can also become National Certified Counselors (NCCs), National Certified School Counselors (NCSCs), certification as a school counselor by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), and, in most states, with additional coursework and supervision, Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) (ASCA, 2015; NBCC, 2015b). Other certifications are also available if the school counselor chooses to specialize (e.g., addiction counseling, etc.).

Clinical Mental Health Counselors (Agency Counselors)

Clinical mental health counselors are individuals who have obtained their degrees in clinical mental health counseling, or a closely related degree in counseling (e.g., agency counseling). Those who obtain a degree in clinical mental health counseling, or related degrees, are generally trained to conduct counseling for those who are struggling with life problems, emotional issues, or mental health disorders. They are usually found working in a wide variety of agencies or, in private practice, conducting counseling and psychotherapy.

The clinical mental health counselors’ professional association is the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), which is a division of ACA, although one can now be a member of AMHCA without joining ACA. If they so choose, clinical mental health counselors can become NCCs and LPCs. Other certifications are also available if the clinical mental health counselor chooses to specialize (e.g., Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor [CCMHC], Master Addictions Counselor [MAC], and more) (NBCC, 2015b).

Marriage, Couple, and Family Counselors Marriage, couple, and family counselors are specifically trained to work with couples and with families and can be found in a vast array of agency settings and in private practice. These counselors tend to have specialty coursework in systems dynamics, couples counseling, family therapy, family life stages, and human sexuality, along with the more traditional coursework in the helping professions. The International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors (IAMFC), a division of ACA, is one professional association these counselors can join; another is the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). These days, one can join IAMFC without joining ACA.

Although all 50 states and the District of Columbia have some requirement for marriage and family licensure, the requirements can vary dramatically (Association of Marital and Family Therapy

Regulatory Boards [AMFTRB], 2015). Generally, these individuals have the title Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), or something similar. While some states license marriage and family counselors who have studied from programs that follow the 60 semester credit CACREP guidelines, other states prefer licensing counselors who have studied from programs that follow the guidelines set forth by AAMFT’s Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), and still others have set their own curriculum guidelines for credentialing. Most states that offer marriage and family counselor credentialing allow related licensed helping professionals (e.g., licensed professional counselors, licensed clinical social workers, licensed psychologists) to also practice marriage and family counseling as long as they have some expertise in this area. Often, couple, marriage, and family counselors can become NCCs, LPCs, and obtain other specialty certifications, if they so choose.

Addiction Counselors Addiction counselors study a wide range of addiction disorders, such as substance abuse (drugs and alcohol), eating disorders, and sexual addiction. They are familiar with diagnosis and treatment planning and understand the importance of psychopharmacology in working with these populations. Many addiction counselors can become certified through their state. In addition, NBCC offers a certification as a Master Addictions Counselor (MAC) (NBCC, 2015b). Often addiction counselors can become NCCs, LPCs, and obtain other specialty certifications, if they so choose. In addition to AMHCA, addiction counselors often belong to the International Association of Addictions and Offender Counselors (IAAOC), which is also a division of ACA.

Career Counselors Career counselors focus on vocational and career counseling and may work in a variety of settings, including private practice, vocational rehabilitation settings, college career centers or counseling centers,

schools, and in some agencies. Career counselors often join the National Career Development Association (NCDA) and/or the National Employment Counseling Association (NECA), both divisions of ACA. Like most other counselors, career counselors can become NCCs, LPCs, or obtain other specialty certifications.

College Counselors and Student Affairs Professionals Sometimes referred to as postsecondary counselors, these college counselors and student affairs professionals work in a variety of settings in higher education including college counseling centers, offices of educational accessibility, career centers, residence life, advising, multicultural student services, and other campus settings where counseling-related activities occur. Usually, college counselors and student affairs professionals will have taken specialty coursework in college student development and student affairs practices.

Often counselors who work in college settings can become NCCs, LPCs, and obtain other specialty certifications (e.g., MAC), if they so choose. There are two main professional associations of counselors in higher education settings: College Student Educators International (this organization was formerly the American College Personnel Association and has kept the acronym ACPA), which tends to focus on administration of student services, and the American College Counseling Association (ACCA), which is a division of ACA and tends to focus on counseling issues in college settings. Today, one can join ACCA without joining ACA.

Rehabilitation and Clinical Rehabilitation Counselors Rehabilitation counselors and clinical rehabilitation counselors offer a wide range of services to people with physical, emotional, and/or developmental disabilities. As noted earlier, currently CORE and CACREP both accredit rehabilitation counseling programs and CACREP will

be accrediting all such programs starting in 2017 (CACREP, 2014b, n.d.a).

Both CORE and CACREP accredited rehabilitation counseling programs include coursework on vocational evaluation, occupational analysis, medical and psychosocial aspects of disability, legal and ethical issues in rehabilitation, and the history of rehabilitation counseling. The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) credentials rehabilitation counselors as Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRCs), and rehabilitation counselors can usually obtain other related credentials, if they so choose (e.g., NCC, LPC, MAC). Many rehabilitation counselors join the National Rehabilitation Counseling Association (NRCA) and/or the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association (ARCA), a division of ACA. Today, one can join ARCA without joining ACA.

Pastoral Counselors Pastoral counselors sometimes have a degree in counseling but can also have a degree in a related social service field or even just a master’s degree in religion or divinity. Pastoral counselors sometimes work in private practice or within a religious organization. Pastoral counselors, religious counselors, or counselors with spiritual orientations might join the Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling (ASERVIC), a division of ACA, and/or the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC). AAPC offers a certification process for those who are interested in becoming Certified Pastoral Counselors (CPCs) (AAPC, 2005–2012a), and pastoral counselors who have a master’s degree in counseling can often go on to obtain certification as pastoral counselors and may be eligible to become LPCs or NCCs.