What is the Largest Counseling Organization?

The American Counseling Association (ACA) is a not-for-profit professional and educational organization that is devoted to the growth and advancement of the counseling profession on a global scale. Established in 1952, ACA is the biggest association in the world that solely represents professional counselors in various practice settings. Its publication, The Journal of Counseling and Development, is considered to be the leading professional journal in the field of counseling. Membership with ACA provides counselors with a range of benefits, such as free continuing education credits, updates on legislation that affects counseling, and access to current research and practical innovation through training programs, academic and practical publications, and an annual national conference.

Additionally, ACA membership fees support ongoing legislative lobbying efforts on behalf of professional counselors. ACA members can choose to join one or more of the 18 ACA divisions that offer a home for counselors interested in specific counseling specializations. These divisions often sponsor their own conferences, publications, and other activities to support their members. It is important for counselors to maintain an active commitment throughout their careers to other people, ideas, and experiences within the counseling profession in order to stay up-to-date with advances in the practice of knowledge and the profession itself. This article will identify 10 career counseling organizations that may have particular relevance to a wide range of professional counselors and others who are considering a career in the counseling field. The International Association for Counseling Services (IACS) acts as the professional accreditation organization for college and university counseling centers and community clinics.

People interested in joining counseling organizations in their state should search the Internet for their organization's contact information. Membership and participation in professional organizations also allow counselors who wish to assume a leadership role in the counseling profession to do so by assuming leadership positions in organizations of their choice. ACES membership is also open to psychologists who advise and to members of professions related to mental health. Larger professional counseling organizations, such as the American Counseling Association and its divisions, publish peer-reviewed journals, which are made available to members. The book also analyzes in detail the multicultural considerations that affect counseling, along with the importance of personal care, including stress management and the management of aggressive client behaviors. The International Association of Addiction and Offender Counselors (IAAOC) advocates for the development of effective practices in substance abuse treatment, counseling for juvenile offenders and counselors working in correctional facilities. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues Counseling Association (ALGBTIC) educates counselors about the concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clients. The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) was unified in 1998 to support the development of the therapeutic use of music in counseling and therapy.

With a strong focus on counseling as a specific professional identity, the book includes new information on how to develop a proper approach to counseling and supervision, maintain satisfactory work relationships with supervisors and colleagues, develop good writing and record keeping skills, and managing crises and trauma. The first step in choosing one or more professional counseling organizations to participate in is to know what organizations exist. With so many options available it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you. It is important to research each organization thoroughly before making a decision.

Heath Teruel
Heath Teruel

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