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Counselor Professional Advocacy Leadership Conferences
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May 27-29, 1998 and December 11-12, 1998

Preface

Chi Sigma Iota (CSI), the counseling honor society, instituted a new advocacy initiative that has long-term implications for leadership training through CSI chapters on university campuses throughout the world. The CSI Executive Council decided to make advocacy for counselors a long-term, sustained commitment. CSI leaders wish that this effort be as broadly based and inclusive as the profession itself.As a consequence, in May of 1998, an invited group of leaders in the profession met in Greensboro, NC, to share, discuss, and compare perceptions on a common vision for the advocacy of counselors and the services that they provide to others. The outcomes of the meeting were so positive that the participating organizations asked that a follow up conference be held in December in order further on the work underway.

ACA immediate Past-President Courtland Lee accepted the original invitation to collaborate with CSI in instituting this new initiative in May and ACA President Loretta Bradley offered her support to ensure that the results of these efforts are made available during the ACA 1999 World Conference in San Diego in April.

Professional Advocacy

All counselors entered the counseling profession with a desire to help others. Client advocacy feels right as a consequence. Counselors advocating for counselors and the services they provide may seem selfish or self-serving. However, a counselor does not need to be in the field long before realizing that in the absence of advocacy for the profession, the right to be a counselor serving any particular population would be very severely limited.

Every occupational group must be proactive in the marketplace or they will become extinct over time. Counselors must not only believe in their profession's preparation standards, graduate programs, credentialing requirements, and scope of services, but they must educate, inform, and promote them to legislators, employers, third party payers, and the public at large. This can be done most effectively, however, while addressing advocacy for our clients as well.

While CSI has implicitly supported both client and counselor advocacy by the very nature of its mission and purpose, CSI leaders were left wondering if there was more they could do for counselor advocacy through our almost 200 chapters and more than 8,000 active members.Learning how to advocate for the counseling profession is a leadership competence worthy of the attention of CSI. Sixty percent of CSI members are students just launching their careers as counselors and the other 40 percent are experienced practitioners and counselor educators.

With these assets in mind, seeking the insight, experience, and collaboration of others in the profession seemed essential. By meeting together, we hoped that all might benefit by a shared vision, a clearer idea of what is being done, what needs to be done, and how best to achieve what we hold as common goals, particularly in the area of professional advocacy for counselors and those they serve.Not only were these hopes realized, but a renewed vigor was uncovered by the participants of all organizations represented. The hope of the participants now is for a sustained, coordinated effort by all those organizations interested in this essential activity.

Six Themes Identified

Representatives at the first conference agreed on a number of vital points. Among the agreements were those about common themes on advocacy, the desirability of collaboration in the definition of those themes, and a commitment to follow through with their implementation. There were six themes identified for further definition: marketplace recognition, inter-professional issues, intra-professional issues, counselor education, research, and client/constituency wellness.

Those present were sensitive to the fact that not all potentially interested groups were represented. Fortunately, a preliminary survey report sponsored by CSI and ACA of a broad representation of counseling groups was presented and the information was included in the deliberations of the focus groups. Data from the completed survey has been distributed widely to others interested in the topic. Among the organizations officially represented in the first conference were ACA, the American College Counseling Association (ACCA), the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD), the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association (ARCA), the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), the International Association of Marriage and Family Counseling (IAMFC) the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), Chi Sigma Iota (CSI), ERIC-CASS, the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), and the North Carolina Counseling Association (NCCA) (state branch). A draft report was sent to all participants for their input. Interested organizations were invited to respond to the report as well.

The purpose of the December meeting was to revisit the themes, the goals and objectives for achieving each theme, time lines, and the identification of resources in their implementation and follow through. As with the first conference, there was agreement on a number of important general points.

First, the participants agreed that advocacy is necessarily two pronged in nature. Without advocacy for both counselors and their clients, neither is meaningful. Because "counseling" as an activity is practiced by other service providers, advocacy for clients alone could result in other service providers being the sole source of such counseling services. Likewise, to advocate only for "guild" issues wins neither support nor respect from those whose assistance counselors need. As has been noted by the continuing series of articles in the ACA Counseling Today as well as other publications and the theme for this year's world conference, client issues are central to our efforts as a profession.

Another agreement among the participants was the need to seek broad based, active support for the goals, objectives, and strategies of the overall plan. While much good work is already underway, as evidenced by our several successes of recent months and years, a collaborative, comprehensive approach holds the greatest promise for the best use of our mutual resources. Every counseling association will be invited to adopt resolutions in support of the goals coming out of these conferences. Each will be invited to strengthen our collaboration through some organized forum such as the conferences held in May and December.

Philosophically, the participants agreed that counseling as a profession is unique among service providers because of its historical focus upon facilitating optimum human development across the life span. While no less concerned with the results of human tragedy nor its repair in the process of helping, counselors are members of the one discipline for which prevention and the facilitation of optimum wellness are fundamental goals. Our present health system is dysfunctional in its focus and delivery. Although funding for proactive interventions has been the exception rather than the rule, changes are now evident among insurers, managed care companies, business, and industry. While maintaining an advocacy position for clinical mental health, now is the time to promote our uniqueness as a profession committed to prevention and the enhancement of wellness.

What follows is the outcome of the two conferences. The recommendations of these task forces, each of which dealt with two themes, are presented. Although divided by task force, it should be noted that each report was approved by the conference participants as a whole. It is based upon the insight of experienced, totally dedicated advocates for the profession and our clients. As with all such documents, it can only reflect some of what actually can and should be done to realize our goals. The participants are aware that not all recommendations or activities can or even should be considered a priority for all associations asked to endorse it. The nature of this advocacy initiative has such depth and scope that to endorse it in principle will be sufficient to communicate support for further dialogue.

Likewise, the form of the report cannot do justice to the real work that is and needs to be done. Themes are identified as though they are discrete, but in practice they are not discrete and often cannot be separated. Advocacy, for example, by its very nature must include client as well as counselor concerns and needs. As a consequence, the organizers and participants welcome suggestions and comments in order to help us move forward effectively in this initiative.

Advocacy Resolution #1

Whereas, there are national standards for the preparation of professional counselors;
Whereas, there are both nationally accredited and other graduate programs dedicated to the preparation of professional counselors;
Whereas, there are national standards for the certification of professional counselors;
Whereas, there are state legislative requirements for the credentialing of professional counselors;
Whereas, there are state, regional, and national professional associations dedicated to advancing the scientific, educational, and philosophical foundations of the counseling profession and its members;
Whereas, there are individuals, couples, families, and organizations within our society for whom counselors advocate and serve; and
Whereas, there are obstacles to the realization of the full potential of professional counselors in service to those whom they serve, including challenges to the scope of practice, equal opportunity to serve those who need and desire their services, equal payment for services and the right to practice at all;

Therefore, be it resolved that this association supports in principle the goals, objectives, and proposed actions outlined in the Counselor Advocacy Leadership Conferences Report and remains committed to further dialogue on these and other topics related to advocacy.

Advocacy Resolution #2

Whereas, there are 125 nationally-accredited counselor education programs;
Whereas, there are over 65,000 state credentialed professional counselors;
Whereas, there are over 45,000 nationally credentialed professional counselors;
Whereas, there are over 110,000 members of state and national counseling associations;
Whereas, there is evidence that counseling services help to alleviate and prevent both acute and transitional human development challenges;
Whereas, there are persistent and substantial challenges to the right of professional counselors to be paid for their services, to be employed in a variety of settings, and to provide services to individuals, couples, families, and organizations who need them; and
Whereas, there is greater resource and potential impact through collaborative, coordinated, cooperative efforts of all professional counselors and their associations;

Therefore, be it resolved that this association supports in principle the need for collaboration on a comprehensive plan of advocacy for clients and the professional counselors who serve them and will be represented in future dialogue about how best to achieve this goal including but not limited to a Consortium for Counselor Advocacy (CCA).

Optional motions

1. This association supports in principle the goals, objectives, and proposed actions outlined in the Counselor Advocacy Leadership Conferences Report and remains committed to further dialogue on these and other topics related to advocacy.

2. This association supports in principle the need for collaboration on a comprehensive plan of advocacy for clients and the professional counselors who serve them and will be represented in future dialogue about how best to achieve this goal including but not limited to a Consortium for Counselor Advocacy (CCA).

Consortium for Counseling Advocacy

The Consortium for Counseling Advocacy (CCA) is a new initiative to insure coordination and collaboration in efforts of the various counseling associations committed to similar goals and objectives for client welfare and counselors' right to practice. All divisions and branches of the American Counseling Association (ACA), the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC), the Commission for Certified Rehabilitation Counselors, (CRCC), the Council of Rehabilitation Education (CORE), the American Association of State Counseling Boards (AASCB), and Chi Sigma Iota Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society International (CSI) are invited to participate in the formation, implementation, and maintenance of the CCA. The need for the Consortium was identified by the participants of two national conferences on counseling advocacy.

The Consortium is designed to provide a forum for the identification of issues, consensus on resolution and action, and mechanisms for cooperation and collaboration at state and national levels of activity. Representatives of the constituent organizations agree to sponsor a representative to come to one meeting per year related to the purposes outlined in the Counselor Advocacy Leadership Conferences report (April, 1999). One goal will be to minimize duplication and maximize the use of exiting resources. Among the first priorities will be establishment of means for communication and continuation of the work already underway. Initially, as requested by the conference participants, CSI will continue follow-up activities needed to facilitate the transition from the conference dialogue to actions outlined in the conferences? report.

Each association noted above is asked to respond to the invitation for participation through adoption of the resolutions or motions associated with the conferences and appointment of one or more representatives to participate in the work of the Consortium.

Theme A: Counselor Education

Goal

To insure that all counselor education students graduate with a clear identity and sense of pride as professional counselors.

Objectives to achieve the goal and activities to support them

  1. All faculty members preparing professional counselors will perceive their primary professional identification as counselor educators and, as a consequence, as members of the counseling associations, especially ACES.
    • CACREP will be encouraged to incorporate into its standards a clear expectation for the faculty to be counselor education graduates (preferably from CACREP accredited programs) and that individuals coordinating the programs will be counselor education graduates.
    • CACREP will continue to project a clear expectation for all counselor education faculty to attend and be professionally active in state, regional, and national counseling associations.
    • ACES will be encouraged to work closely with ACA, its divisions, and regions to promote the involvement of counselor educators in their activities as well as its own.
    • Universities will be encouraged to employ counselor education graduates through special recognition for doing so by the counseling associations.

  2. Students and graduates will identify themselves fundamentally as Professional Counselors and, as a consequence, as members of the ACA and its divisions.
    • A survey of counselor education students and recent graduates will be conducted to ascertain their current identity preferences, factors influencing those choices, and implications for professional affiliations, credentials, and employment.
    • ACA and ACES will be encouraged to establish a task force to identify materials, methods, and techniques for the purpose of promoting a clear professional identity with counseling by professional counselors. These can then be shared with counselor education faculty teaching the professional orientation courses.
    • CSI will be encouraged to develop and distribute a protocol for professional counselors to use in identifying themselves to the public upon graduation.

  3. Students and graduates will have knowledge of and respect for counseling specialties.
    • A task force of representatives from ACA, its specialty divisions, NBCC, and ACES will identify materials, methods, and techniques for the purpose of helping to articulate a clear professional identity with counseling by professional counselors and its relationship to the counseling specialties. These will be shared with counselor education faculty teaching the professional orientation courses.
    • The ACA web site will include a page with information and explanation of the specialties within counseling.

  4. All counselor education faculty will be credentialed as Professional Counselors
    • CACREP will be encouraged to continue its standards that provide for all counselor education faculty to maintain a state and/or national credential as a professional counselor.
    • Counselor educators will be encouraged to display their professional counselor certification and/or licenses for students and others to see in their offices.
    • Regional accrediting bodies will be encouraged to incorporate a review of professional credentials especially for counselor education faculty teaching clinical courses and supervising practica and internships.

  5. All counselor educators will be active and encourage their students to be active in professional counseling organizations.
    • CACREP will be encouraged to continue in its standards an expectation for all counselor education faculty to actively participate in local, state, regional, and national professional associations by membership, conference attendance and presentations, and service.
    • Counseling associations will be encouraged to establish methods for recognition of counselor educators, students, and institutional programs that regularly and substantively contribute to the work of the associations.

  6. All counselor education programs will be encouraged to work toward achieving CACREP-accreditation.
    • Counseling associations will be encouraged to establish benefits and recognition for students and programs that are CACREP accredited, e.g., reduced dues, conference registration, and exhibit fees as well as special mention in their publications, programs, etc.
    • Counseling associations will be encouraged to promote national accreditation through their literature, web sites, and other media including, for example, membership applications by inquiring about student and graduate program status with respect to accreditation.

  7. All counselor education programs will be encouraged to incorporate into their curriculum the teaching of advocacy for clients and the profession.
    • Counseling associations will help to develop and distribute advocacy materials for use in the professional orientation courses in counselor education.
    • Chi Sigma Iota will be encouraged to compile and distribute advocacy materials designed to inform and educate students and practitioners in all counselor education programs.
    • CSI will be encouraged to develop a web page to showcase model advocacy programs for clients and counselors.

  8. All counselor education graduates will be eligible for professional counselor credentials upon completion of supervised post-graduate clinical experience.
    • Counseling associations will be asked to provide coverage in their publications on the criteria, benefits, and sources of professional counselor credentials.
    • Applicants for membership in counseling associations will be asked to note what professional counseling credentials that they hold.
    • Counseling associations will help to educate students and potential counselor education students to both CACREP and credentialing requirements for preparation as a professional counselor.

Responsible Parties

ACA, its branches and divisions, CSI, CACREP, and NBCC.

Assets

The needed structure is in place: counselor education programs (N= 400 possibilities), 125 CACREP nationally accredited programs, state and national credentialing agencies, the professional organizations and their memberships, a web of networks, the individual and organizational skills that will result from these efforts, and opportunities for getting financial support.

Obstacles

  • Many members of counseling associations including those who work in counselor education are not professional counselors and do not share our passion or efforts for advocacy;
  • Students/graduates receive mixed messages from faculty and colleagues regarding the adequacy of their preparation, where they should seek advanced preparation, and what they should call what they do and what they are, i.e., counseling and professional counselor vs. therapy and therapist;
  • Counseling associations send mixed messages to their membership when they highlight disagreements among leaders? points of view between organizations and understate or ignore successes made through collaboration on common goals and objectives.
  • Too many advocacy efforts are assigned to a small staff or a few volunteer members when many more are needed of both.

Resources Needed

ACES is the most logical organization within ACA to provide leadership. CSI is next in its potential to provide a positive influence. Naturally, they require the concurrence and involvement of all counseling associations at various times and places.

Association Actions

  1. ACES leaders will incorporate one or more goals and objectives into their strategic plan and annual activities that address the fundamental issues underlying counselor education and advocacy.
  2. CSI, in conjunction with other counseling associations, will develop advocacy materials and help distribute them to counselor education programs throughout the country.
  3. CACREP will continue its efforts through definitions and standards to make clear that counselor education involves more than a definable body of knowledge and skill. It also includes a philosophy, values, and behaviors associated with the counseling profession that counselor educators trained by CACREP Standards are best able to teach and model.
  4. CSI will continue its efforts to promote excellence within the counseling profession through preparation and practice as a matter of advocacy as well. As a consequence, it will incorporate into its leadership training competencies for advocacy.

Timeline

By the year 2000, counseling associations and agencies will have passed resolutions necessary to establishing a sound basis for the realization of these goals and objectives over a span of five to ten years.

Theme B: Intra-Professional Relations

Goal

To develop and implement a unified, collaborative advocacy plan for the advancement of counselors and those whom they serve.

Objectives to achieve the goal and activities to support them

  1. Professional counseling associations will agree upon a common identity to articulate publicly.
    • A task force of counseling association representatives chosen for their scholarship, leadership, and experience in the counseling professionalization movement will be asked to develop an identity, definition, and rationale for a "common identity to articulate publicly."
    • Association governing bodies will be encouraged to reach consensus upon the ?common identity? that staff and volunteers can incorporate into all public documents when appropriate.

  2. Professional counseling associations will proactively collaborate on advocacy projects,e.g., legislation, research, grants, and related activities.
    • ACA staff will be encouraged to continue collecting and distributing a compilation advocacy related activities of all counseling associations on at least a yearly basis. The ACA web site will be a repository for these compilations.
    • Staff and volunteers will be directed to continue seeking opportunities to inform and collaborate with members of other association staff and committees.

  3. Professional counseling associations will be unified in seeking counselor-related legislation.
    • Based upon a common legislative plan developed by the ACA Public Policy and Legislative Committee, all counseling associations will be encouraged to collaborate on common goals and activities.
    • Legislation related to specific clientele and settings will be supported by all counseling association efforts even though one or more specialty associations may be providing leadership for such efforts.

  4. Professional counseling associations will be encouraged to consult with each other on matters of advocacy on a regular and systematic basis, including a comprehensive, collaborative advocacy plan for the profession.
    • Counseling association representatives will be invited to participate in advocacy planning and collaboration conferences at least once and possibly twice a year.
    • A network of advocacy staff and volunteers will be established for purposes of communication, dialogue, and cooperation on matters related to advocacy.

Responsible Parties

ACA, its branches and divisions, CSI, CACREP, and NBCC.

Assets

  • All counseling associations most interested in advocacy already have an agenda, committees, staff, and ongoing activities.
  • Our associations already have a history of collaboration and successes, as a consequence.
  • Our memberships for the counseling associations expect, if not require, that for their continuing support and membership, advocacy for them and their clients must be a high priority of the associations.
  • Other disciplines expect us to be united in our efforts, otherwise we can be discounted much more readily.
  • In spite of recent differences among leadership of counseling associations, we have more in common as a profession than the differences suggest.

Obstacles

  • All counseling associations most interested in advocacy already have an agenda, committees, staff, and ongoing activities. As a consequence, each tends to entertain a proprietary sense of what is most important and how and who is best able to address it.
  • Existing resources assigned to advocacy efforts are fully committed. There is a very real possibility that a new, comprehensive emphasis upon advocacy could be ambitious beyond what is reasonable for present resources. To over-commit or under-fund the efforts could result in unnecessary frustration, failure, or both.

Resources Needed

There is a need for counseling associations to address these objectives through financial and organizational means. Through strategic plans and specific actions, governing bodies and their officers set the priorities that in turn direct resources and guide staff and volunteers in their efforts.

Association Actions

  1. ACA, its divisions and branches, CSI, CACREP, and NBCC will be invited to pass resolutions in support of the goals, objectives, and principles of advocacy outlined by the Counselor Advocacy Leadership Conferences of 1998.
  2. ACA, its divisions and branches, CSI, CACREP, and NBCC will be invited to participate in a Consortium for Counseling Advocacy (CCA) through which collaboration, cooperation, and common goals and objectives can be identified and addressed.

Timelines:

By the year 2000, counseling associations and agencies will have passed resolutions necessary to establishing a sound basis for the realization of these goals and objectives over a span of five to ten years.

Theme C: Marketplace Recognition

Goal

To assure that professional counselors in all settings are suitably compensated for their services and free to provide service to the public within all areas of their competence.

Objectives to achieve the goal and activities to support them

  1. Professional counselors will be identified in both state and national legislation as service providers in all areas for which they have competence through preparation and experience.
    • Counseling associations will asked to establish within their strategic plans and annual program of activities both state and federal legislative agendas to insure professional counselors may be service providers in all areas for which they have competence.
    • A compilation of state and federal classification systems related to counseling service providers will be maintained and made available to all counselors.
    • A profile of what Licensed Professional Counselors? scope of practice entails will be developed, maintained, and distributed.
    • A matrix of barriers to full recognition of professional counselors in both state and federal systems will be developed and addressed through association plans of action.
    • Counseling associations will be asked to establish a plan for joint leadership training in advocacy on a continuing basis for both state and national officers.
    • All professional counselors will be encouraged to obtain and advocate for their state and/or national credentials through both individual and collegial efforts.
    • All professional counselors will be encouraged to join and be active members of one or (preferably) more professional associations at state, regional, national, and international levels.
    • All professional counselors and counselors in training will be provided opportunities for developing advocacy skills.

  2. Professional counselors will be accepted for employment and/or payment in any setting or for any service to clients for which they have competence and preparation.
    • Data compiled on the current employment status of professional counselors will be widely distributed in order both to highlight their services and to emphasize the benefits of having more counselors to meet client needs.
    • Opportunities and obstacles to employment will be addressed through advocacy plans of action by counseling associations.
    • Targets of opportunity will be sought to challenge systemic bias against professional counselors and the clients whom they serve through legal or other means.

  3. Professional counselors will be broadly recognized in the media and elsewhere as providing needed and valuable service to individuals, couples, families, organizations, and society at large.
    • A consortium of counseling organizations will be explored to pursue matters of funding, effective organizational collaboration, auditing internal and external resources, and strategic planning.
    • A long-term plan for achieving broad-based, positive recognition in the media and elsewhere will be developed. It will be grounded in client needs and professional counselors' contributions to clients' well being.
    • All counselors and counselors-in-training will be invited to participate in one or more phases of this effort.

Responsible parties

All counselors, ACA, its branches and divisions, CSI, CACREP, and NBCC.

Assets:

  • Our assets are multiple including:
  • High public regard for "counseling" and "professional counselors" as a part of normal human development activities versus the negative connotations for "sickness" and dysfunction of "therapy";
  • Philosophical and scientific grounding in human growth and development with concern both for prevention and optimum wellness across the life span and for assessment of that which is dysfunctional;
  • National preparation standards that provide both entry level and advanced level educational guidelines for practitioners, educators, supervisors, and researchers;
  • Nationally accredited preparation programs and a numerically manageable body of other programs through which positive educational change can be implemented in a timely manner;
  • Credentials for professional counselors by both state and national agencies designed to promote quality assurance for greater public trust and protection;
  • Approximately 60,000 credentialed professional counselors in a variety of settings located throughout the country, often in areas not served by other mental health service providers;
  • Evidence that Masters level practitioners are effective within areas of practice for which other professions require doctoral preparation at more cost to the employer and consumer;
  • Counselor associations at local, state, regional, and national levels represent a powerful coalition for both public and professional good when vision and direction are clear and collaboration is the modus operandi;
  • Counselor associations provide needed structures for promoting scientific knowledge, leadership on professional issues, visibility to other associations for purposes of collaboration, and a sense of professional identity and unity for members located in every segment of our society and every geographical location in this country and abroad;
  • There have been notable successes at both state and national levels for legislative and media efforts that are changing the position and posture of professional counselors among legislators, other health providing organizations, and consumer organizations.

Obstacles

  • The terms "counseling" and "counselor" are used loosely in every day language;
  • Even many counselors miss the opportunity for educating others by identifying themselves by other titles gained through "backdoor" methods (e.g., psychologists or therapists);
  • Many members of counseling associations including those who work in counselor education are not professional counselors and do not share our passion or efforts for advocacy;
  • Students/graduates receive mixed messages from faculty and colleagues regarding the adequacy of their preparation, where they should seek advanced preparation, and what they should call what they do and what they are, i.e., counseling and professional counselor vs. therapy and therapist;
  • National accreditation standards permit faculty from other disciplines not only to teach but to coordinate program emphases and chair the entire department of counselor education, thereby influencing who gets hired and promoted among faculty and who gets admitted to the program;
  • Both state and national credentials are available to other mental health providers and thus can be used by them as evidence that they can do the work of the professional counselor in addition to their primary professional discipline;
  • There is a movement within psychology to credential Masters level psychologists to do work in areas previously done by other health providers, including counselors;
  • Graduate degree programs, including "institutions without walls" taught by members of other disciplines, are being designed to meet state and national credential requirements, including course work with CACREP-like counseling curricula designations;
  • Psychiatric nurses, marriage and family therapists, and especially social workers are politically active at all levels of government and their administrative agencies, designing inroads to settings and clientele counselors might otherwise expect to be working with and serving;
  • Counseling association leaders have been distracted by organizational and structural issues that both confuse and discourage their memberships from having faith in a common vision and direction for advocacy.

Resources Needed:

Among the needs will be those for a clear, articulated plan with a commitment for collaboration by the various counseling associations and agencies toward its implementation, identification of staff and volunteer resources needed to achieve desired outcomes, and financial support for specific activities targeted to specific, desired outcomes.

Association Actions:

  1. ACA, its divisions and branches, CSI, CACREP, and NBCC will be invited to pass resolutions in support of the goals, objectives, and principles of advocacy outlined by the Counselor Advocacy Leadership Conferences of 1998.
  2. ACA, its divisions and branches, CSI, CACREP, and NBCC will be invited to participate in a Consortium for Counseling Advocacy (CCA) through which collaboration, cooperation, and common goals and objectives can be identified and addressed.
  3. A system for soliciting member priorities on legislative and regulatory issues will be established to insure consistency and continuity in our legislative efforts at both state and national levels.
  4. A "state of the counseling profession" summary report on advocacy will be updated on a regular basis and will be published on a web site available to all interested professional counselors.
  5. A collaborative plan of action will be developed addressing specific activities derived from the priorities of the membership. Various association staff and committees will be assigned to allocate their resources accordingly.
  6. Based upon a needs assessment, additional resources required to achieve the goals within a five to ten year span will be identified including staff, consultants, and supporting services. The needs assessment and financial requirements will be placed before the counseling associations for consideration and action.
  7. ACA will be asked to establish a program for advocacy grants to address specific issues related to the highest priority goals and objectives of the membership.
  8. All of the associations and agencies will educate and encourage members in competencies needed to become advocates for their clients and the services that they provide to them. Association media, workshops, and presentations will regularly address topics and issues related to these competencies in order to reach all members at the state, regional, and national levels.

Timelines:

By the year 2000, counseling associations and agencies will have passed resolutions necessary to establishing a sound basis for the realization of these goals and objectives over a span of five to ten years.

Theme D: Inter-Professional Issues

Goal

To establish collaborative working relationships with other organizations, groups, and disciplines on matters of mutual interest and concern to achieve our advocacy goals for both counselors and their clients.

Objectives to achieve the goal and activities to support them

  1. Professional counseling associations will identify associations, groups and disciplines with whom professional counselors at both the state and national levels will desire relationships for dialogue, information sharing, and potential collaboration.
    • ACA staff will be asked to identify and compile efforts already underway by the various counseling association staff and volunteers for distribution and review by all interested parties to ascertain overlap and/or oversight of organizations important to advocacy efforts.

  2. A plan for systematically establishing and maintaining contact with the leadership of significant organizations and individuals that are important to counselor advocacy will be established and periodically revised to address new or changing concerns, issues, and dynamics.
    • A task force of the counseling associations? consortium will develop a plan for reviewing, prioritizing and recommending organizations with which to establish and maintain relationships.

  3. A strategy will be established to address initiatives by other organizations or groups that have the potential for omitting, limiting, or blocking the employment or practice of professional counselors.
    • A task force of the counseling associations? consortium will develop a plan for maintaining vigilance with respect to other disciplines' efforts to negatively affect the employment or scope of practice of professional counselors.

  4. Professional counseling associations will be encouraged to establish and maintain personnel and resources necessary to sustain counselor advocacy initiatives.
    • Annual plans for advocacy will be prepared by the counseling associations' consortium including staff and other needs required to adequately meet expectations such as those illustrated in this report.
    • Counseling associations' governing bodies will be asked to review member priorities, progress reports, annual action plans, and requested resources and act accordingly.

Responsible parties

All counselors, ACA, its branches and divisions, CSI, CACREP, and NBCC.

Assets

All counseling associations at both the state and national levels have on-going opportunities for contact and dialogue with other professional organizations and agencies. In many instances, inter-professional cooperation is already present on some issues. Client needs are held in common in many ways.

Obstacles

  • Absence of a profession-wide comprehensive plan and vision of what is needed in order to be most effective in inter-professional relations and activities.
  • Insufficient resources; trained volunteers or staff, or financial support to insure representation at essential functions, coalitions, etc.

Association Actions

  1. ACA, its divisions and branches, CSI, CACREP, and NBCC will pass resolutions endorsing collaboration on the development and implementation of a comprehensive plan for inter-professional relations in order to achieve the objectives identified above.
  2. ACA, its divisions and branches, CSI, CACREP, and NBCC will direct its existing staff and committees to participate in this effort to achieve the optimum use of our mutual resources and to identify others still needed to achieve the stated goal and objectives.

Timelines:

By the year 2000, counseling associations and agencies will have passed resolutions and taken action necessary to implementing the actions above.

Theme E: Research

Goal

To promote professional counselors and the services that they provide based upon scientifically sound research.

Objectives to achieve the goal and activities to support them

This goal will be addressed by counselor educators, students in counseling, and counseling organizations such as ACA and its divisions, CHDF, CSI, NBCC, CACREP, and ERIC-CASS:

  1. To demonstrate the effectiveness of counseling through outcome research by:
    • Promoting research on the effectiveness of counseling with individuals, children, families, groups, and other systems.
    • Promoting research on the effectiveness of counseling in new and emerging settings and paradigms.
    • Encouraging all practitioners to conduct research.
    • Encouraging multiple, broad based approaches to research (e.g., qualitative, quantitative, formative, summative, longitudinal, short term, or case study).
    • Encouraging our clients and constituencies (e.g., parents, administrators, under-served populations) to be active participants in the entire research process.

  2. To assess the outcomes of counselor preparation by:
    • Evaluating the ability to counsel.
    • Evaluating the ability to obtain employment.
    • Evaluating the ability to conduct research.
    • Evaluating the ability to be effective advocates for the profession and clients.
    • Evaluating the ability to manage a business.

  3. To determine the state of counselor employability by:
    • Identifying employment opportunities for counselors (e.g., federal/state levels).
    • Assessing factors affecting the retention of counselors in the profession (e.g., job satisfaction, salaries, trends)
    • Assessing employer perceptions of counselors and counseling services.
    • Identifying barriers to practice resulting from legislation and regulations at international, national, state and local levels.
    • Identifying comparative data on qualifications and salaries of counselors.

  4. To assess public awareness of counseling by:
    • Evaluating knowledge of counseling.
    • Determining perceptions of the availability of counseling services.
    • Determining patterns of use of counseling services.
    • Determining satisfaction with counseling services.

  5. To determine sources of funding for research by:
    • Identifying sources of grants/funding relevant to counseling research.
    • Investigating additional sources of funding.

  6. To encourage the use of research by:
    • Disseminating the results to appropriate and relevant populations (e.g. administrators, clients, professionals, legislators).
    • Promoting the use of results as a basis for program development and improvement.

All counselors, counselors in training, counselor educators through ACA, its branches and divisions (particularly ACES), CSI, CACREP, and NBCC.

Assets

  • Existing publications and conferences, poster sessions,
  • Recognition of research through awards,
  • Human resources (e.g., well-trained professionals conducting research),
  • Commitment of counselor educators to research,
  • Electronic media (technology and the internet),
  • New counseling professionals,
  • AAC research standards,
  • CSI publication of doctoral dissertation abstracts.

Obstacles

  • Not enough practitioners contributing to research,
  • Research not considered a high priority,
  • Professional headquarters staff lack of knowledge of counseling,
  • Lack of research on emerging paradigms(e.g., wellness),
  • Insufficient time and money allocated to research efforts,
  • Faculty do not identify with counseling,
  • Counselor educators are encouraging students in other career tracks,
  • Expense of attending national/international conferences,
  • Lack of funding for attending conferences,
  • Lack of interface with other related professions,
  • Lack of interface with non-related professions.

Resources Needed

Among the needs will be those for a clear, articulated plan for research with a commitment for collaboration by the various counseling associations and agencies toward its implementation, identification of staff and volunteer resources needed to achieve the desired outcomes, and financial support for specific activities targeted to specific, desired outcomes.

Association Actions

  1. ACA, its divisions and branches, CSI, CACREP, and NBCC will pass resolutions endorsing the goals of the Counselor Advocacy Leadership Conferences including those for sound scientific research on counseling.
  2. These organizations also will be asked to help identify people to conduct research; provide resources and support for research; disseminate results of research; promote dialogue on research results; and change and endorse policy based on these results.
  3. All persons associated with publications in counseling (e.g., editors, publishers, staff) will be identified with and committed primarily to counseling as their profession.
  4. ACA will asked to establish an Office of Research and Development to facilitate and provide leadership for meeting this goal.

Timelines:

By the year 2000, counseling associations and agencies will have passed resolutions necessary to establishing a sound basis for the realization of these goals and objectives over a span of five to ten years.

Theme F: Prevention/Wellness

Goal

To promote optimum human development across the life span through prevention and wellness.

Objectives to achieve the goal and activities to support them

This goal will be addressed by counselor educators and counseling organizations such as CACREP, ACA, its divisions:

  1. To encourage client wellness by:
    • Identifying the needs of clients (e.g., barriers to wellness, factors affecting holistic growth and development).
    • Identifying and implementing strategies to address the needs of clients.
    • Identifying and implementing strategies to help clients become self-advocates.
    • Engaging in social action to address human needs.

  2. To encourage all counselors to incorporate wellness into their philosophical orientation, their professional practices, and their advocacy for client welfare by:
    • Counselor education programs infusing prevention/wellness throughout the curriculum (i.e., awareness, knowledge, and skills).
    • Association conferences and institutes providing theme sessions, poster sessions, in-service programs on wellness.
    • Associations bringing attention to wellness for clients and counselors through all sources of media, awards, and funding of committees and taskforces addressing the issues associated with wellness.

  3. To encourage counselor wellness by:
    • Identifying the needs of counselors (e.g., barriers to wellness, factors affecting holistic growth and development).
    • Selecting, training, and retaining counseling students who are committed to personal wellness.

Responsible Parties

ACA and its branches and divisions, CSI, CACREP, NBCC, counselor education programs.

Assets

  • Historical central emphasis by the profession upon facilitating human development over the life span;
  • Publications, conferences, electronic media (technology and the internet) on wellness;
  • Availability of experts in development, prevention, and wellness;
  • Public awareness of wellness issues and their importance to life satisfaction;
  • Existing wellness programs (e.g., business, colleges and universities);
  • Growing financial support by insurance companies, HMO's, businesses, etc. for wellness- promoting activities and services.

Obstacles

  • Lack of reimbursement of wellness/prevention services by managed care (i.e., medical model),
  • Lack of commitment by counselor educators to prevention/wellness;
  • Lack of recognition/awards for exemplary wellness programs;
  • Lack of adequate public awareness of holistic wellness issues;
  • Dominance of the medical model in health care;
  • Lack of a clear definition and commitment for advocacy both of the profession and for clients.

Resources Needed

To achieve this goal will require funding for pre-service and in-service training on wellness, effective legislative lobbying with an emphasis upon the right of all citizens to have access to wellness- facilitating life opportunities, and the development of curriculum resources on wellness.

Association Actions

  1. ACA, its branches and divisions (particularly AHEAD, AMCD, ARCA, ASERVIC, and AADA), CSI, CACREP, and NBCC will pass resolutions adopting prevention/wellness as a fundamental goal for human development through counseling.
  2. All counseling stakeholders will infuse the theme of wellness into research, publications, conventions, and other dissemination modalities (e.g., web).
  3. All entities will strive to be broad-based in their focus on prevention/wellness, to include such issues as an emphasis on devalued, under-served, and vulnerable populations.
  4. ACA, its branches and divisions, CSI, CACREP, and NBCC will collaborate with all constituencies (e.g., legislators, employers, families, agencies) to enhance prevention/wellness public policy and programs.

Timelines:

By the year 2000, counseling associations and agencies will have passed resolutions necessary to establishing a sound basis for the realization of these goals and objectives over a span of five to ten years.

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