Professional organizations for counseling professionals offer special benefits to both members and the public. They offer members support, advocacy and opportunities for networking. These professional organizations advocate for counseling professionals before law-makers and the public. They keep their members aware of current counseling issues and act as a quality assurance program. Counseling organizations facilitate internal discourses that may translate into external dialogue with community groups and government agencies. Professional development is available through educational opportunities to earn credentials and continuing education credits.
American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA)
The AMHCA is for licensed practitioners who provide clinical-level mental health counseling. They offer advocacy, education, leadership and collaboration for members. They promote national training standards for the licensing and credentialing of clinical mental health counselors. The AMHCA often collaborates with other national and regional professional organizations to advocate for clinical mental health practitioners and patients. Their research and education activities are important parts of their organization’s mission. Mental health counseling interventions are a l focus of sponsored conferences and workshops. Their regular professional publications serve as one of the academic foundations of mental health counseling.
American Counseling Association (ACA)
The ACA is the largest professional counseling organization in the country and the world. This organization represents all types of counselors in all fields of practice. The ACA offers a plethora of resources that include webinars, podcasts, conferences, educational sessions and digital journals, newsletters and publications. They maintain a continuing education program, monitor upcoming legislation and provide career support. For example, the ACA posts job openings and mentoring programs. Their online Knowledge Center is popular among members because it offers excellent resources regarding licensure requirements and counselors’ best practices.
American School Counselors Association (ASCA)
The ASCA represents and helps counselors who deal with students in public and private school settings. These counselors help their clients with social, career, academic and emotional problems. The ASCA’s membership is quickly growing and the organization is becoming more prominent because the public and legislators are slowing acknowledging that children and teens need proactive mental health support. The ASCA offers members research resources, career advocacy, job development and professional assistance benefits. This national organization actually maintains a global presence because they support counselors who work in foreign schools and organizations. The ASCA is a primary source of information for parents and school administrators.
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT)
The AAMFT promotes the well-being of family life and marital relationships through member education, policy lobbying and scientific research. Marriage and family therapists play an important role in helping clients adapt and deal with changing social, cultural and career trends. Today’s families must openly deal with many new problems that were traditionally suppressed, such as domestic violence, child abuse and lifestyle choices. Marriage and family therapist support the well-being of the community as they improve the functioning of small family units every day. This professional organization focuses on increasing mutual emotional support among family members.
National Employment Counseling Association (NECA)
The NECA is specifically designed for career counselors who assist students and adults seeking new employment, career changes and professional development. This organization focuses on the comprehensive improvement of employability. They offer employment guidelines, education standards and professional development help. They offer many online webinars, journals and newsletters for professional enhancement. They also offer a combination of conferences, publications, counseling techniques and guides for obtaining credentials.
The professional organizations for counseling professionals also include the American Association of State Counseling Boards (AASCB), the Association for Counselors and Educators in Government (ACEG), the Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling (AARC) and the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD).