"The goal is for counselors to be able to move to any state" and yet not face tedious new licensure application processes.
The second issue is medical insurance reimbursement: according to the Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy, there has been a great deal of "anger and frustration" and confusion over whether or not licensed professional counselors will be (or are now) able to be recognized as eligible for medical assistance (MA) reimbursement. This is a problem that is not unique to Minnesota, but in fact boards across the country are dealing with MA reimbursement issues. In the case of the Minnesota board, rumors have been circulating that insurance companies are not credentialing professional counselors; but the truth is, most insurance companies will indeed issue credentials to those professionals recognized as Mental Health Professionals under applicable state and federal laws. It may mean extra effort on the part of the individual to prove he or she has the required number of hours of supervised practice, and to access other appropriate documents, but if that is what will be necessary, then that is the bottom line; bureaucratic paperwork and red tape is part of a professional's life.
The third issue is advocacy against psychologists and social workers. Psychologists and professional counselors both provide important services to people, helping them deal with "emotional stress"; but the licensed clinical, counseling, or education psychologists are required to have a PhD in psychology. That degree requires "5-to-7 years of postgraduate work," according to All Psychology Schools (www.allpsychologyschools.com)(APS). The professional licensed counselor, on the other hand, most generally has a master's degree, "which requires 2-to-3 years of postgraduate work"; some "...counseling specialties require only an associate's degree," APS explains. And social workers most often need just a four-year college degree.
One other issue facing the professional counseling sector involves ethics. In their book Developing Counsellor Supervision, Colin Feltham and Windy Dryden point out (112) that in recent years "there has been a great deal of exposure of counsellors who seriously and blatantly abuse their position and undermine public confidence" in the counselling profession. And while "sexual abuse" gets the headlines, Feltham et al. write that several other issues are considered ethical misdeeds. They mention "transgressing confidentiality," "exploiting clients financially...or emotionally," among some of the most obvious.
There are also ethical abuses such as being five minutes late to a counselling session (113), or "the failure to respect clients' autonomy and personal and cultural values." It is also possible, Feltham writes, to engage in "religious proselytizing" or "unwittingly sway clients towards certain moral, religious, political or other ideological views" on issues like abortion, sexual orientation, among others. Further, other ethical abuses include: "the failure to adapt to the individual needs of clients" (114); and a supervisor who is "dogmatic...because that is likely to inhibit supervisees' development and creativity in the service of clients."
In conclusion, the American Counseling Association's Web site announced in February, 2007, that it is being designated "an official nongovernmental organization (NGO) of the United Nations" (Kennedy 2007). This is an indication that the recent history of leadership in professional counseling has gained the level of international respect it deserves.
All Psychology Schools. (2006). Become a Psychologist: Psychology Careers, Psychology
Degrees: Common Q & a. Retrieved 11 Feb. 2007 at http://www.allpsychologyschools.com/faqs/becoming.php.
American Association of State Counseling Boards. (2006). Counselor Portability. Retrieved 12 Feb. 2007 at http://www.aascb.org.
Chi Sigma Iota. (2006). Principles and Practices of Leadership Excellence. Retrieved 11 Feb. 2007 at http://www.csi-net.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=79.
Kennedy, Angela. (2007). Department of labor, United Nations latest to tap association as voice of the counseling profession. American Counseling Association. Retrieved 12 Feb. 2007 at http://www.counseling.org/publications/counselingtoday.aspx.
Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy. (2005). Health Insurance and MA
Reimbursement. Retrieved 12 Feb. 2007 at http://www.bbht.state.mn.us/default.aspx?tabid=1055.
Pennsylvania Counseling Association. (2006). Professional Counseling Credentials. Retrieved 11 Feb. 2007 at http://www.pacounseling.org/pcalic.htm.
State of Wisconsin Department of Regulation & Licensing. (2005). Professional Counselor. Retrieved 11 Feb. 2007 at http://drl.wi.gov/prof/coun/def.htm.