Category Archives: State Action

ACA Deletes Its Own Thread and Latest News Post on North Carolina CACREP-Only Bill

ACA had posted a discussion thread yesterday entitled “ACA Affirms Commitment to Nondiscrimination, Expresses Disappointment in the NC Legislature’s Decision to Coopt Counselor Licensing Bill”.

In it they expressed some confusingly-worded sentiment about the grandfathering for non-CACREP counselors not being enough, and disappointment with the discriminatory add-ons tacked to the bill by the NC legislature which had nothing to do with the original bill.

Apparently ACA is censoring itself now.

As of 4:35pm EST 10/08/15, not only did they remove their own discussion thread, they also killed the article in the “Latest News” section of their website. (Perhaps the Open Forum thread will be reposted later… this has happened before.)

It used to be at this link and was removed:
https://www.counseling.org/news/updates/2015/10/07/aca-affirms-commitment-to-nondiscrimination-expresses-disappointment-in-the-nc-legislature-s-decision-to-coopt-counselor-licensing-bill
Makes us wonder at what was objectionable:
1. The sentence in which they wished for better grandfathering for non-CACREP counselors?
2. They decided that they were not committed to non-discrimination after all? (honestly we don’t really think this)
3. They just don’t want to talk about it until after the governor signs it? (our best bet for the sudden removal)

We are attaching what we can retrieve of it below.

The bill on the governor’s desk can be seen here:
http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/2015/Bills/Senate/PDF/S279v5.pdf

This would be a good time to write the governor and ask him not to sign this legislation:
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory
116 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC 27603-8001
Fax:(919)733-2120
Tel:(919)733-4240
email: governor.office@governor.ncmail.net
Email/Webform: http://governor.nc.gov/contact/email-governor

~~~~~

Oct 7, 2015 2:55 PM
[ACA Staffer]

Last week, ACA received notification that a bill pertaining to the licensing of counselors in North Carolina, Senate Bill 279, had been scheduled for an immediate vote in the House after passing out of a joint conference committee the day before. A version of S279, a bill pertaining to “Amending Qualifications/Practice of Counseling,” has been sent to the Governor’s desk to be signed.

ACA is glad to see that CACREP standards have been legislated in the state of NC to be included in the state’s licensure requirements. However, ACA is disappointed in the lack of clear pathway for those LPCS with non-CACREP degrees. ACA is committed to supporting adequate grand-parenting for those with degrees from non-CACREP accredited programs.

Read more here.

——————————
[ACA STAFFER]
American Counseling Association
Alexandria VA
——————————

2. Re: ACA Affirms Commitment to Nondiscrimination, Expresses Disappointment in the NC Legislature’s Decision to Coopt Counselor Licensing Bill

Oct 7, 2015 4:55 PM
James Michael Reeder

My quick read of the bill sent to the governor for signature (see below) is that it DOES have grandfathering of non-CACREP applicants through 2022. While my opinion is that grandfathering in general is inadequate, I don’t yet see what is lacking in this bill in terms of the grandfathering that is desired by ACA and CACREP. Maybe I am missing something here?

I am also not sure if the ACA is worried about adequate grandfathering for LPCs (regular counselors) or LPCS (supervisors). Clarification welcome, thanks.

To the extent that grandfathering in this bill does not meet ACA hopes, this speaks to my earlier points about it being nearly impossible to maintain the equality of non-CACREP counselors while simultaneously pushing for CACREP-Only in new licensing. Things have a way of getting out of control. (The loudest message sent is that CACREP is better.)

I’ve also expressed hope that ACA efforts to protect non-CACREP counselors will be as vigilant and well-funded as planned efforts to get CACREP-Only licensing language passed in all 50 states. Such a large campaign implies funding and coordination – which I hope will be applied to somehow convincing people that currently licensed non-CACREP counselors should be treated equally. Happily ACA has the grace to cognizant about this issue in regards to this North Carolina legislation.

NC BILL SENT TO GOVERNOR:
http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/2015/Bills/Senate/PDF/S279v5.pdf

North Carolina Legislature Passes CACREP-Only Legislation

[5:00pm EST 10/08/15 edit — ACA has deleted its Open Forum post and the news item on their website.  Some of the links in this story will not work anymore.  Read this story first, then click here for the update.]

The bill is apparently on governor’s desk.

Contacts expressing the damage that this bill will do to professional counseling should be addressed to:

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory
116 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC 27603-8001
Fax:(919)733-2120
Tel:(919)733-4240
email: governor.office@governor.ncmail.net
Email/Webform: http://governor.nc.gov/contact/email-governor

The ACA is doing damage control about how disappointed they are that the bill lacks adequate grandfathering measures.  See below.  I guess it’s impossible to control all bills everywhere, but this gets to our earlier points about it being nearly impossible to maintain the equality of current non-CACREP counselors while simultaneously pushing for CACREP-Only in new licensing.  We’ve also expressed hope that ACA efforts to protect non-CACREP counselors will be as vigilant and well-funded as planned efforts to get CACREP-Only licensing language passed in all 50 states.  Such a large campaign implies funding and coordination – we hope more such legislative slips will be few and far between.

HOWEVER — Our read of the bill (see below) is that it DOES have grandfathering of non-CACREP applicants through 2022.  We don’t yet see what is lacking in the grandfathering as desired by ACA and CACREP (other than the whole idea of grandfathering being inadequate).  What are we missing here?  Not sure if the ACA is worried about adequate grandfathering for LPCs (regular counselors) or LCPS (supervisors).

ACA PAPER:

https://www.counseling.org/news/updates/2015/10/07/aca-affirms-commitment-to-nondiscrimination-expresses-disappointment-in-the-nc-legislature-s-decision-to-coopt-counselor-licensing-bill

[5:00pm edit – This link no longer works.  Deleted by ACA]

NC BILL SENT TO GOVERNOR:

http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/2015/Bills/Senate/PDF/S279v5.pdf

~~~~

ACA Affirms Commitment to Nondiscrimination, Expresses Disappointment in the NC Legislature’s Decision to Coopt Counselor Licensing Bill

Oct 07, 2015

Last week, ACA received notification that a bill pertaining to the licensing of counselors in North Carolina, Senate Bill 279, had been scheduled for an immediate vote in the House after passing out of a joint conference committee the day before.

A version of S279, a bill pertaining to “Amending Qualifications/Practice of Counseling,” has been sent to the Governor’s desk to be signed.

ACA is glad to see that CACREP standards have been legislated in the state of NC to be included in the state’s licensure requirements. However, ACA is disappointed in the lack of clear pathway for those LPCS with non-CACREP degrees. ACA is committed to supporting adequate grand-parenting for those with degrees from non-CACREP accredited programs.

While S279 was written to make amendments to the licensure process, the bill was utilized for other political agendas. In mid-September, the House amended the bill to include significant provisions regarding sex education in North Carolina’s schools, an issue that is unrelated to the licensing of counselors. These provisions, if signed into law, will mandate the promotion of abstinence-only education and write into statute sex education curricula, without including the expertise of educators in the field.

The conference committee version of the bill bore fruit to an even more egregious version of the bill. This version included sections regarding local governance that took away the authority for local government to pass laws raising the local minimum wage, ensuring fair housing, and enforcing non-discrimination in employment practices. As counselors, we understand how important it is that we empower local communities to make the decisions that best serve the people who live there. Local government decisions foster innovation and local control exists to reflect the unique values and needs of different communities.

ACA stands firm in our commitment to nondiscrimination. It is against the 2014 ACA Code of Ethics (section C.5.) and antithetical to the nature of the profession, a profession that is committed to improving the lives of all people. ACA actively fought against the inclusion of these provisions and remains disappointed at those in the North Carolina legislature whom utilized this opportunity to advance other agenda items, distracting from the need to promote and improve access to qualified mental health practitioners in the state.

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

Message:

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.

CACREP Update–Restricting the Practice of LCPCs

[Posted for Larry Epp — President of Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors of Maryland]

Dear Colleagues,

As President of the Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors of Maryland, I do not usually reach out to you on a professional issue unless it is very important. Some of you may have been following the developments with the accrediting agency, CACREP, whose supporters have been trying to restrict the practice of LCPCs who have not attended their accredited programs in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Right now, supporters of this organization have instituted a campaign to close practice in Virginia to LCPCs from non-CACREP schools, counseling psychology, school psychology, clinical psychology, art/creative therapy master’s programs in seven years. While veteran LCPCs from Maryland can transfer their license to Virginia as the laws are currently constructed, the underlying concern is that the CACREP restriction will enter insurance regulations such as in Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance plans, as has already occurred in Tricare, the Veterans Administration, and Department of Defense schools and programs.

Those who believe in the CACREP only standard have an ideological belief in separating psychology from counseling to create a pure and independent “mental health counseling profession.” Whatever the merits or pitfalls of their argument, the fact is that the changes they are promoting could potentially restrict the practice of many Maryland LCPCs in the future, especially if their thinking enters the recently introduced Medicare Bill on Capitol Hill or in the qualifications to practice in a Federally Qualified Behavioral Health Center under the Excellence in Mental Health Act. I do not have a crystal ball to know what will happen precisely, but this movement is certainly concerning and demands a response from those who favor the protection of existing practice rights and greater inclusivity in the future.

I urge you to weigh in on this important issue. I have attached the link below to the Virginia Board of Counseling’s website, who is for 30 days accepting comments on this issue. Virginia is a battle ground state, as it was one of the first to license professional counselors; and it is the headquarters for three national counseling associations. Thank you for considering my suggestion.

Larry

Here is the Virginia Board comment area that can be found online:

http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/comments.cfm?stageid=7071

Virginia Protest Letter Help File and Background

Your assistance is needed to defeat proposed CACREP-only regulations for Virginia licensing.  The Virginia Board has posted a NOIRA (Notice of Intended Regulatory Action) for public comment, after which it will likely issue new CACREP-only license regulations.

The purpose of the proposed regulation states: To require graduation from a clinically-focused counselor preparation program accredited by CACREP or an approved affiliate of CACREP that includes a minimum of 60 semester credits (90 quarter hour credits) of curricular experiences and a practicum of at least 100 hours and an internship of at least 600 hours.  Allow a grandfathering of programs that meet current requirements for seven years from the effective date of the regulations.

Virginia is a particularly vulnerable state because it has far more than usual CACREP accredited programs. There are a few carrots being thrown to the non-CACREP counselors.  One is the 7 year grandfathering period.  After which the doors will be slammed on non-CACREP counselors in the state.  Another is that apparently Virginia does have some sort of process for accepting non-CACREP counselors licensed in other states wishing to move to Virginia.   These carrots are helpful, but really only soften the blow that CACREP is being forced as the superior standard and only standard.  One is also left to wonder at what point the regs allowing out-of-state transfers with non-CACREP backgrounds will be tightened?

Suggested Letter Text:

Please write your own letters, and feel free to cut and paste selections from the suggestions below into your letters.

“Counseling” vs. “Counseling Psychology”

The NOIRA states: “In recent years, the Board of Counseling has worked towards greater professional identity for counseling to help the public understand the clinical services a licensed professional counselor is qualified to provide… the Board continues to review applications for licensure from students whose educational programs are not clearly “counseling” in their identity. The lack of clarity in its regulations has been frustrating for the Board and very problematic for some applicants who have obtained a post-graduate degree that may or may not qualify them for a residency and ultimately licensure”

This innocent-sounding section of the NOIRA appears like it is about professional identity and qualification for licensure.  It would actually seem to be about the ongoing crusade of CACREP advocates to forcibly excommunicate graduates of “counseling psychology” masters programs in favor of “counseling” masters program graduates. One of the primary problems with CACREP is the inability of counseling psychology programs to obtain accreditation under CACREP. The differences, if any, between “counseling psychology” and “counseling” programs quickly fall apart upon examination.  The theories and techniques of “the talking cure” are the same regardless of label.  Most counseling psychology programs utilize the ACA ethics code in coursework (and the APA code is not that different).  There may perhaps be a greater reliance upon testing and medical model in some counseling psychology programs (some would applaud this).  CACREP advocates would like the American Psychological Association (APA) to rescue masters-level counseling psychology graduates (they only license at the Ph.D. level).  Counseling psychology graduates have been licensed as professional counselors and members of the ACA since the beginning.  This is in part a ridiculous petty squabble between Ph.D. level counselor educators versus Ph.D. psychologists dating back decades. Regardless – from the point of view of the public good – this has absolutely nothing to do with competence or public safety, but has great potential to impact the numbers of available counselors.  Booting “counseling psychology” graduates out of the licensing pool for Virginia in no way helps Virginia! (It’s doubtful that even professional identity is seriously different as counseling psychology graduates have always considered themselves professional counselors.)

Factual Corrections to the NOIRA (NOIRA original text in italics.)

“CACREP was established in 1981 to achieve some consistency in counseling educational programs.”

– True.  CACREP spent much of its early history accrediting school counseling (school psychology at one point) and has only accredited larger numbers of mental health counseling programs recently.  In fact CACREP is still in the process of converting even CACREP-accredited 48-credit Community Counseling programs to their newer 60-credit CMHC standard (see http://www.cacrep.org/for-programs/ ).  The point being that when CACREP indirectly gives the impression that they are a very old and very established standard, this is not the case.

“CHEA recognition also assures the public that the programs that achieve CACREP accreditation are legitimate degree programs”

– The majority of non-CACREP programs in this country are also regionally accredited by CHEA and must maintain high quality standards.  This sentence implies that non-CACREP programs are usually not CHEA accredited and are illegitimate.

“One of the goals of CACREP is to establish a uniform set of educational requirements across the United States to facilitate portability of licensure from state to state.”

– True, but other methods of state-to-state portability would include an interstate agreement between the member Boards of AASCB, a simple choice to recognize out-of-state licensed counselors, or even CACREP-equivalent coursework and preparation.

“Three federal agencies have made graduation from a CACREP accredited program a requirement for independent practice in counseling.”

– This is not a reason to make the same mistake elsewhere.  Such requirements place a burden on counseling business owners and on clients who are looking for easy access to counselors in their communities.

“With a large military presence in Virginia, there is a need to equate graduation from a CACREP-accredited program with licensure to avoid public confusion and give licensees access to federal agencies.”

– This is exactly what should NOT happen for the good of both counselors and the public. Thousands of competent seasoned non-CACREP counselors throughout Virginia face increasing public confusion as to their competence.  A public which expects CACREP (despite no evidence of its superior quality) will start demanding CACREP and start discriminating against counselors without this accreditation in their past.  This will result in lack of employment for non-CACREP counselors even in situations where they are licensed and eligible to help with our burgeoning mental health community needs.  The likelihood of public confusion of CACREP with license eligibility and with competence is exactly why grandfathering provisions for non-CACREP counselors fall short of acceptable.

“The Board of Counseling has found that it has neither the resources nor the expertise to examine counseling programs across the country to assess the quality of the education in that program.”

– Plenty of Boards across the country do just this.  They typically require regional CHEA accreditation (for quality) and then require coursework in a variety or required categories.  Sometimes they choose to look for “CACREP-equivalency”.  When state Boards cede control of their standards to an outside entity they lose control over serving the needs of their state constituents.  Furthermore, several professions have two or more recognized accrediting authorities.  With variety comes a greater opportunity for a diversity of training to ensure a flexible and responsive (counseling) workforce for the unique needs of individual clients.  The Virginia Board might also avail itself of discussions amongst the various state Boards at the AASCB association – in which case it could at least have a strong voice in whatever national standards are enacted for standardization and license portability.

“Consistency and quality in educational preparation for professional counselors will provide greater assurance to clients seeking their services that they have been adequately prepared and appropriately licensed to protect public health and safety.”

– CACREP advocates have created a mostly false narrative of a public endangered by poor quality counselor preparation.  No doubt they can find isolated examples of such.  There is no epidemic of poor quality counselor preparation – controls and standards are already in place to protect the public without locking down the profession to one privately controlled gatekeeper.

Requested Public Participation in the NOIRA: The agency is seeking comments on this regulatory action, including but not limited to 1) ideas to be considered in the development of this proposal, 2) the costs and benefits of the alternatives stated in this background document or other alternatives and 3) potential impacts of the regulation. The agency is also seeking information on impacts on small businesses as defined in § 2.2-4007.1 of the Code of Virginia. Information may include 1) projected reporting, recordkeeping and other administrative costs, 2) the probable effect of the regulation on affected small businesses, and 3) the description of less intrusive or costly alternatives for achieving the purpose of the regulation.

Costs of the NOIRA proposal include the nearly $4500 in program application fees, and $2600+ annual maintenance fees charged to each CACREP accredited program (see http://www.cacrep.org/for-programs/cacrep-accreditation-fees/ ) which are paid for in some fashion by state school budgets, counseling students, and ultimately the public. Costs are also paid in terms of flexibility of curriculum in a field with MANY theories of psychology, loss of employment opportunities in CACREP programs for educators with slightly different qualified backgrounds than Ph.D.s in counselor education, and locking counseling psychology graduate students out of future licensure for no discernable reason related to competency to the public good. The future effects of CACREP on small businesses are murky and troubling. Many counselors in private practice are sole proprietors or at small clinics which would qualify as small businesses.  In the short-term under this proposal, these non-CACREP counselors will continue to be licensed and new graduates will be license-eligible until 2022.  However, the CACREP-only push creates a false perception of CACREP quality that is likely to impact these small businesses in the future.  The public may look for CACREP graduates in the false belief that they are more qualified.  Government programs (and private insurers?) may follow the bad TRICARE example and start requiring CACREP for licensure.  Employers may start only hiring CACREP graduates.  There is a potentially devastating longer term effect on small clinics and sole proprietors at risk of being cut out of the market. To the extent that non-CACREP counselors are cut out of the market, the public may experience counselor shortages or have to settle for newer counselors with less experience. Other Points: A careful look at the data will reveal that counselors who have graduated from CACREP programs are not more effective in their work with clients or in their service to their communities. A regulation limiting practice will not serve the people of Virginia well given that a majority of master’s level counselor training programs in the USA are not CACREP-accredited. A regulation limiting practice will not serve clients in Virginia given that the majority of currently practicing counselors graduated from schools free of CACREP accreditation. A restriction such as this would negatively impact current students and alumni from non-CACREP affiliated VA programs; negatively impact the public by reducing access to qualified counselors; negatively impact relocation of qualified and competent counselors from non-CACREP programs; reduce overall services available to VA residents; and increase cost of graduate education. Even the American Counseling Association (ACA), the largest national counseling association, opposes the CACREP-only restrictions highlighted in the rationale for this regulatory change. The people of Virginia need a strong Board that protects their rights to access quality mental health care.

Comments Needed Against Virginia CACREP-Only Regulations for Future Licensed Counselors!

Dear LCPCM Members:

Virginia is about to enact a regulatory change that would only permit CACREP graduates the right practice mental health counseling in the Commonwealth of Virginia. If you disagree with this regulatory change, the Virginia Board of Counseling is accepting comments for 30 days at
http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/comments.cfm?stageid=7071

Veteran practitioners are generally given reciprocity in Virginia after practicing for 5 years in Maryland, but the greater concern is the potential negative perception of non-CACREP and counseling psychology graduates that may follow this change. It seems to emphasize an unproven belief that non-CACREP and counseling psychology graduates are inferior in their educaitonal preparation.
Larry Epp, LCPC

President, LCPCM

CACREP-Only Assault on Virginia Counselor Licensing

The Virginia Board of Counseling has accepted a petition calling for the adoption of CACREP-only licensing in Virginia.

This should be of concern to all professional counselors as restrictions on our ability to practice make moving around the country increasingly difficult.  The continual drumbeat of CACREP as the “gold standard” also subtly undermines public and employer confidence in your abilities even if your practice is not immediately effected.

The language of the petition states:

To require graduation from a clinically-focused counselor preparation program accredited by CACREP or an approved affiliate of CACREP that includes a minimum of 60 semester credits (90 quarter hour credits) of curricular experiences and a practicum of at least 100 hours and an internship of at least 600 hours.  Allow a grandfathering of programs that meet current requirements for seven years from the effective date of the regulations.

This issue is available for public viewing at:

http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewPetition.cfm?petitionid=210

The petition comment period closed on August 13th with only 11 comments, most in favor.  The Board voted on September 19th to “submit a Notice of Intended Regulatory Action (NOIRA) to initiate rulemaking and receive further information and comment.  Once the NOIRA is approved by the Governor, it will be published and a 30-day comment period will be opened.”

If given the go-ahead by the governor, we will see proposed new regulations from the Board with one more public comment period.  (If anyone is more familiar with the regulatory process in Virginia, please improve upon my understanding.  It may be that there is a legislative approval process required for regulatory changes to take effect.)

The petitioner was Dr. Gerald Lawson – the primary CACREP contact for VA Polytechnical Institute and State University:

http://www.cacrep.org/organization/virginia-polytechnical-institute-and-state-university/

 

Of the 11 comments made on the petition, 8 were in favor of it.  Of these 8 favorable comments, every single blessed one of them was made by faculty at a CACREP or CACREP-pending program in Virginia.  At least two of these professors have published papers specifically concerning CACREP.

 

What we appear to have here is a small group of CACREP partisans rather quietly working a CACREP-only agenda on Virginia licensing.  How quietly is in some dispute.  At least one professor at one of the non-CACREP schools in Virginia (George Mason) claims that their faculty were largely left out invitations to a state-wide discussion of the issue whereas CACREP school faculty were invited.

 

Virginia is a particularly vulnerable state because it has far more than usual CACREP accredited programs.  Which means more CACREP new graduates.  However, where does this leave all of the currently licensed practitioners?

 

For that matter, should such debates on the future of the profession be taking part largely in academia?

 

There are a few carrots being thrown to the non-CACREP counselors.  One is the 7 year grandfathering period.  After which the doors will be slammed on non-CACREP counselors in the state.  Another is that apparently Virginia does have some sort of process for accepting non-CACREP counselors licensed in other states wishing to move to Virginia.

 

These carrots are helpful, but really only soften the blow that CACREP is being forced as the superior standard and only standard.  One is also left to wonder at what point the regs allowing out-of-state transfers with non-CACREP backgrounds will be tightened?

 

As for current licensed Virginia non-CACREP counselors they are safe, right?  Most likely.  But then who among us has never had an unforeseen circumstance strike?  Counselors for a variety of good and bad reasons have their licenses temporarily lapse.  I’m just waiting for the first story of a Virginia counselor diagnosed with cancer who lets his license lapse in the face of life and death concerns, and then a year later finds out that he is locked out of the profession forever unless he leaves the state.

 

There is little to no evidence of CACREP being a superior standard.  Yet the approximately 70% of current counselors from non-CACREP schools are to be forced onto ever shrinking islands of practice , with an increasingly skeptical public left to wonder if they are really competent or not.

 

As Dr. Larry Epp wrote elsewhere:

 

“The Institute of Medicine Study on our profession could find no differences in clinical outcomes among the mental health professions, nor between masters prepared and doctoral level therapists, nor between CACREP and non-CACREP counselors. There is no scientific or clinical justification to ban permanently non-CACREP counselors from practice in the Commonwealth.”

 

We are currently assessing what the next steps are in the Virginia fight and consulting with people close to the situation.  In the meantime, please sign-up for our listserv on our website at www.concernedcounselors.org so we can keep in touch on action items.