What is a Professional Counselor?
CSI is an honor society dedicated to promoting excellence in the profession of counseling. Because common usage of the term "counselor" can be misleading, professional counselors are distinguished by their preparation at the graduate level in pursuit of both Masters and doctoral degrees. One's highest or terminal degree in counselor education is considered evidence of desire to identify with the profession and through membership to support the mission of the Society.
For purposes of clarity among helping professionals who use counseling as a method or its techniques, the graduate education of members of the profession of counseling are defined by the national standards of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Individuals whose programs of study in counselor education were accredited by the Council of Rehabilitation Education (CORE) also are eligible for membership.
While a small number of members may be enrolled in programs that are not accredited by CACREP at the present time, the program where chapters are located must prepare its graduates to be eligible for state or national credentialing as professional counselors and fundamentally meet the minimum standards as defined by CACREP.
Over eighty percent of the counselor education programs that sponsor CSI chapters are nationally accredited. CSI's goal is to encourage and ultimately expect all chapters to be located in nationally accredited counselor education programs in the next few years.
The CSI Executive Council (5/2010) in an effort to support solidarity in the profession endorsed the ACA and AASCB 20/20 Visions for the Future of Counseling consensus definition of counseling by incorporating it into the following statement to be consistent with the mission of CSI. CSI was a participating organization throughout the 20/20 initiative:
Professional counselors hold their highest graduate degree in counselor education from a nationally accredited preparation program, are credentialed by authorized state and/or national agencies, and adhere to its competency standards on matters of ethics, diversity and behavior in order to contribute to the realization of a healthy society by fostering wellness and human dignity. As a consequence, counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.
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