Professional Counselor Identity and Practice
Professional Counselor Identity Throughout the United States
Professional counselors are known as counselors, therapists, psychotherapists, mental health professionals or school counselors. Counselor licensure and credentialing across the United States generally identify professionals as one of the following:
License vs. Credential
In California, licensure as a Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCC) qualifies an individual for employment in agencies and other mental health settings. It also qualifies an individual to set up an independent practice. The Pupil Personnel Services Credential in School Counseling credentialing qualifies an individual for employment as a school counselor in K-12 public schools.
Definitions of Counseling
American Counseling Association (ACA)
Practice of professional counseling includes, but is not limited to, the diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders, including addictions; psychoeducational techniques aimed at the prevention of such disorders; consultation to individuals, couples, families, groups, and organizations; research into more effective therapeutic treatment modalities; and training in the provision of established research-based “talk therapies” of cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, and psychodynamic therapy. Counselors’ education and training are oriented toward the adoption of a truly client-centered, and not primarily illness-centered, approach to therapy.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services
Professional counseling is the application of mental health, psychological, or human development principles through cognitive, affective, behavioral, or systemic intervention strategies that address wellness, personal growth, or career development, as well as pathology. The primary purpose of counseling is to empower the client to deal adequately with life situations, reduce stress, experience personal growth, and make well-informed, rational decisions.
American School Counselor Association (ASCA)
The purpose of school counseling is to facilitate student development in the following three domains:
1) Academic Development, including attitudes, knowledge, and skills that contribute to effective learning in school and across the lifespan; completing school with a wide variety of post-secondary options; and understanding the relationship of school to work, home life, and community involvement.
2) Career Development, including skills to investigate the world of work; employ strategies for achievement of career success and satisfaction; and understand the relationship between personal qualities, education, and the world of work.
3) Personal/Social Development, including attitudes, knowledge, and interpersonal skills to understand and respect self and others; make decisions, set goals, and take action to achieve goals; and understand safety and survival skills.
California Association of School Counselors (CASC)
The School counseling profession provides a common language and a vision of the scope and complexity of the school counseling profession. With these standards, all counselors can define and develop their practice. The standards address the diversity of California’s student population and reflect a system of support services that connects all students to activities and opportunities for academic, career, personal and social development. In promoting the success of all students, school counselors
1) Engage, advocate for, and support all students in learning.
2) Plan, implement, and evaluate programs to promote academic, career, personal, and social development of all students.
3) Utilize multiple sources of information to monitor and improve student behavior and achievement.
4) Collaborate and coordinate with school and community resources.
5) Promote and maintain a safe learning environment for all students.
6) Develop as a professional school counselor.