United States



Counselling Associations

Professional Bodies, National Associations (e.g. Mental Health, School, Guidance, Addiction, Faith-based etc.) and Accrediting Organisations

American Counseling Association (ACA)

  • Website: https://www.counseling.org/ 

Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES)

  • Website: https://acesonline.net/

American Psychological Association (APA)

  • Website: https://www.apa.org/

American Psychiatric Association (APA)

  • Website: https://www.psychiatry.org

American School Counselor Association (ASCA)

  • Website: https://www.schoolcounselor.org/

Background & Context

Counseling in the US has been a robust field for about a century. Professional counseling began with a career counseling focus in 1908, when Frank Parsons founded Boston’s Vocational Bureau. Around the same time, mental health advocate Clifford Beers was working to expose and remedy the inhumane treatment of mental health patients. The National Vocational Guidance Association was founded in 1913, and published the first issue of the National Vocational Guidance Bulletin in 1915. This bulletin was eventually renamed the Journal of Counseling and Development, which is one of the most prominent counseling publications in the US today. Since the beginning of the 20th century, American counselors including Carl Rogers, Albert Ellis, Virginia Satir, Murray Bowen, Erik Erikson, Lawrence Kohlberg, Jean Baker Miller, and other theorists have contributed to a rich professional field of counseling.

The American Counseling Association (founded in 1952) is “dedicated to the growth and enhancement of professional counseling” (https://www.counseling.org/)

Practice Settings

Counselling services in the United States are available in settings such as:

  • Online tele-counselling
  • University counselling centers
  • Private Practices
  • Government centers
  • Marriage and family counselling centers
  • Schools

Current Regulatory Status / Level of Recognition:

Professional licensure is based on individual state requirements in graduate-level courses, training in specific professional areas such as suicide prevention, and a required number of supervised counseling hours after graduation from a counseling graduate program.

United States
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