Unifying the Profession
It should be noted that these historic events could not occur without significant individual and organizational collaboration. It is my belief that our ability to work collaboratively toward common goals is essential to future successes and is an important indicator of our overall health as a profession. It is through cooperation we have answered fundamental identity questions about who counselors are and what makes us distinct from other professions. There is no question that counseling will face challenges both in terms of external threats and internal differences. There is also no question our profession is most effective in facing these challenges when we work together.July was a historic month for CACREP and for the counseling profession! On July 20th, 2015, CACREP and CORE signed a merger agreement (effective July 1st, 2017), creating the pathway for a single accrediting body for all counseling programs. On the very next day, the American Counseling Association Governing Council passed motions that ACA endorse, support, and advocate for graduation from CACREP/CORE accredited programs, both as the pathway for independent practice and as part of ACA’s legislative advocacy efforts. These events strengthen advocacy efforts for all counselors by clearly communicating that counseling is one profession; a profession in agreement regarding the importance of a common set of educational and training standards for its members. This message will create new opportunities for counselors at state and federal levels and expand our capacity to serve the public.
As we work together to solidify our identity as counselors and unify our profession, it is important to recognize the uncertainty that this process may bring to individuals who graduated from non-CACREP programs. The recently passed ACA Governing Council motions included language that ACA advocate for grandfathering for counselors licensed “on or before July 2020, as qualified independent practitioners with the same professional privileges and practice options as graduates from CACREP and CORE programs.” CACREP fully supports reasonable grandfathering as a way of protecting long-standing members of the profession who may not meet current educational and training requirements. Such an approach shows respect for the contributions of all counselors and allows for a measured approach to the unification of our profession.
It is also important to recognize that, as CACREP accreditation becomes increasingly desirable, non-CACREP accredited counseling programs may have questions about perceived barriers to accreditation. As an organization, CACREP is aware of these concerns and continues to work on ways to increase the public’s understanding of pathways to accreditation, and benefits and opportunities inherent in the accreditation process.
This is an exciting time for CACREP and the counseling profession! It is a time of increasing unity, cooperation, and collaboration! It is also a time for reflection and celebration as we consider the opportunities before us as a profession.