Monthly Archives: September 2015

CACREP Confusion in the States and the Impact on Already Licensed Counselors

As of 9:30pm tonight 9/27/15 (or earlier) the following message thread which was posted yesterday on ACA Open Forum no longer appears. As of this time no notice of its removal or a reason for such has been provided.  This material is posted with permission of the original author.

From: James Reeder

Posted: Saturday September 26, 2015 3:04 PM

Subject: CACREP Confusion in the States and the Impact on Already Licensed Counselors


One of the state counseling associations recently sent out an email blast asking all their members to write legislators in support of CACREP-Only legislation. A Concerned member of theirs wrote back expressing consternation about what such a position will do to non-CACREP counselors.

The state association responded expressing confusion as to how that counselor could even be concerned given that:

“The legislation does not in any way effect those who are currently licensed.”

“In the future… all programs… are or will soon be CACREP.”

I find this response both unsettling and hopeful. Its unsettling because it has a chilly almost lock-step similarity to the exact positions I keep seeing espoused by CACREP-Only partisans on several forums. Do they have shared talking points? I find it hopeful because – if taken at face value – it suggests that many CACREP-Only supporters are innocently ignorant of the damage such proposals will cause. Maybe there is some hope at education. I’ll take another stab at this now:

Regarding no current non-CACREP counselors being hurt:

Some problems with the “generous grandfathering” proposed:

  1. Your non-CACREP license will be increasingly worthless if insurance plans, the public, and government entities see you as something less than the gold standard. Especially if more plans join TRICARE and the VA in adding CACREP-related requirements on top of valid state licenses.

As an example, I posted to ACA Open Forum a current example of a North Carolina company that is advertising a job opening that is only open to CACREP graduates. (The ad also lets people take an alternate exam but their website says they only hire CACREP grads!)

  1. A comprehensive, well-funded plan to maintain equality in PR and marketing and messaging between CACREP and non-CACREP counselors is needed to be executed on by our associations including ACA. ACA is clearly promising to advocate for your equality as a non-CACREP counselor. I wonder how this lovely message will get through as ACA revives its gold standard rhetoric in their latest FAQ and gears up to lobby all 50 state licensing boards to change regulations to CACREP-Only. However, I remain hopeful that ACA will pull this off.
  1. License portability plans remain very much in flux with competing plans proposed. Your ability to switch states is in question in the years ahead. Hopefully the AASCB plan will prevail.
  1. I’m hearing from worried school counselors. Apparently its common for school counselors to work 7-8 years as a school counselor, and then go back for some additional coursework to become licensed clinical counselors. Depending upon the initial training or subsequent additional coursework, school counselors frequently have strong or acquire strong clinical skills. Its an open question how all of those non-CACREP school counselors will be able to retool mid-career to clinical work if licenses require CACREP-Only.
  1. What if your license lapses? Maybe, gods forbid, you get sick for a few years. A kind and thoughtful licensing board will take such into account. A licensing board imposing new CACREP-Only regulations might not. I do believe that most licensing bodies have common sense, but this is a concern.

Regarding all schools soon being CACREP:

Does this state have any counseling psychology masters programs?

CACREP partisans have conveniently re-defined the definition of professional counseling to not include counseling psychology masters programs. They can then use skewed statistics leaving them out entirely.

There are dozens and dozens of these programs and CACREP will not accredit them no matter what they do!

Plans will be announced shortly as to some organized ways to advocate for all counselors. There will be advocacy for any accreditations approved by CHEA and the MCAC program accreditation is currently going through the CHEA process and will compete with CACREP. CACREP partisans are trying to lock-down a monopoly while they can.

It’s all a crying CACREP-Only shame.

Virginia CACREP-Only Regulations Stalled!

We are writing to report on some hopeful news!


Recently several hundred professional counselors took time out of their busy schedules to write letters in opposition to proposed regulations to change Virginia licensing to a CACREP-Only affair:

Virginia Regulatory Town Hall List Comments

Around 300 comments and letters, overwhelming in opposition, were posted.  Please take a moment to look through the sound reasoning as well as strong passions raised against the CACREP-Only movement.

These Virginia regulatory changes were/are largely championed by Dr. Gerald Lawson – a faculty member at a Virginia program, current President of ACA division ACES, and no doubt one of the ACA Governing Council members partly responsible for the new CACREP-Only ACA official positions on licensing.

Petitions for Rulemaking, Vol. 30 Iss. 23 Jul 14, 2014

ACA FAQ on Licensure:


At the Virginia Board of Counseling meeting on 09/11/15 a resolution to adopt CACREP-Only regulatory language was averted at least temporarily!

Virginia Regulatory Town Hall View Meeting

In the words of one person present at the meeting:

“The VA. licensure board had a very lively spirited debate with a packed audience on the CACREP-only regulation.    Vote to advance to next step FAILED on a 6 to 6 vote. It will be back on agenda Nov 13 at 10:00.”


We can only imagine what a normally dry administrative meeting must be like when 300+ comments are posted and the room is packed with counselors concerned about the issue!

According to reports and to the draft meeting minutes (linked to above), the resolution to advance the CACREP-Only regulations was voted on and the Board deadlocked 6 to 6.  At that point a move was made to put the issue back on the agenda for November.

We have not won this battle yet and Virginia may very well go CACREP-Only in the near future.  What we have shown is that showing up and being heard COUNTS.  We’ve also shown that even in a CACREP stronghold like Virginia, half of the Board had enough reservations to vote NO.  Half of the Board members voted NO despite a letter sent in support of the resolution from ACA.

It is possible to turn around the CACREP-Only movement and reinstate a vision of professional counseling that is inclusive and kind and has high standards.  We can do this.

ACA’s Problematic FAQs on Licensure Policies

It will be very important to somehow take back control of ACA in the next election.  Please pay attention to how your elected representatives for ACA offices and Governing Council reps from the various ACA divisions are voting on CACREP-Only policy issues.

Today the American Counseling Association (ACA) came out with an FAQ about licensing which you can access here.

This FAQ solidifies ACA’s official positions against non-CACREP counselors, with the important exceptions of some grandfathering and time to adapt.

In the attached public policy statement ACA officially:

1.    Restates their new Governing Council licensure policy

2.    Directly states that ACA is opposed to MCAC

3.    Directly states that ACA does not consider graduates of master’s programs in counseling psychology to be professional counselors.  They should “focus on licensure within the profession of psychology”.

4.    Has revived the “gold standard” language they abandoned for some months.

The “gold standard” rhetoric should be of great concern to already licensed non-CACREP graduates as we would need a comprehensive, well-funded, priority-level campaign from our national associations to undo the damage in the public mind that not being up to the “gold standard” will do to our careers.  Please see the many recent messages on employers requiring CACREP in job announcements and the efforts of CACREP-Only partisans to get CACREP language inserted in Medicare, TRICARE, the VA and who knows where else.  You may have a license as a non-CACREP counselor after 2020, but the messaging as to your value MATTERS.

MCAC is an up-and-coming accreditation standard, steadily winding its way through the CHEA national accreditation process (accreditors have to be accredited apparently).  Several graduate programs have already joined it, their emphasis on social justice is worthy, and their inclusion of counseling psychology programs gets rid of this strange distinction that CACREP-Only partisans have trumped-up which threatens to kill dozens and dozens of fine graduate programs.

ACA FAQ on licensing available here.