This week’s website review is of the American Counseling Association (ACA) website and the benefits they provide to both mental professionals and members of the public.

About American Counseling Association

The ACA website includes extensive information on the history of ACA, membership, ACA’s mission, knowledge for professional counselors, government affairs, continuing education, publications, careers, upcoming conferences, and ways to stay connected with the ACA community. They are also the governing body for both Associate Licensed Counselors (ALC) and Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC).

American Counseling Association Website Resources

  • About ACA: This section of the website hosts information on ACA’s background and history, mission, and values. The ACA was originally founded in 1952 as the American Personnel and Guidance Association (APGA), which was later changed to the American Association for Counseling and Development (AACD). In 1992, the organization was renamed the American Counseling Association (ACA). The founders of the APGA were a group of counseling professionals who wanted to establish a professional organization to promote the growth and development of the counseling profession. As the governing body of all counselors, the American Counseling Association has the mission to enhance the quality of life in society by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing the counseling profession, and using the profession and practice of counseling to promote respect for human dignity and diversity. ACA strives to promote values of diversity and inclusion, integrity, proactive leadership, professional community, scientific knowledge and practice, and social justice and empowerment.
  • Membership: The membership section of the site provides users with the ability to sign up and subscribe to be an ACA member, which provides numerous benefits and opportunities to many different types of professional counselors and even graduate students in the process of pursuing a related career. Users can gain access to a plethora of resources, including informative publications, professional development opportunities, exclusive research, career advancement tools, networking opportunities, and even savings/discounts on things like liability insurance and education.
  • Knowledge Center: The knowledge section includes information about counseling ethics, license requirements, mental health resources, the school counselor connection, and the counseling compact. Users can read guidelines and best practices to ensure the provision of ethical and responsible counseling services, as well as explore ethical decision-making models and case studies that help navigate complex ethical dilemmas. Information on the requirements and processes for obtaining professional counseling licenses in various states and latest updates on licensure regulations, examination details, and continuing education requirements is also available. Something specific to watch out for is the information on the “counseling compact”, which is the legislature allowing LPCs to practice in states other than their home state/where they are originally licensed. Each state must approve the legislation; unfortunately, Alabama has not joined this compact officially yet. Aside from this information, numerous mental health resources for a variety of mental health issues are available, as well as resources specific for school counselors. Here the ACA provides the latest research advancements, evidence-based practices, and theoretical frameworks shaping the counseling profession. This also includes helping counselors provide services that are ethical and culturally sensitive.
  • Government Affairs: This section is dedicated to keeping professional counselors and the broader mental health community informed about legislative and policy initiatives related to mental health. This is the location of the site where one can find latest legislature related to mental health, opportunities to be an advocate for the community and field, view federal and state issues, and browse resources like grants, loan forgiveness, statistics, and occupational information.
  • Continuing Education: All professional counselors need to obtain continuing education credits in order to maintain their licenses. The ACA website provides various opportunities for counselors to obtain continuing education credits whether it’s for license renewal/maintenance, career development, or increasing job opportunities. Continuing education, aside from necessity for license, is vital to being up to date and constantly improving competence as a professional for various scopes of practice and mental health related issues.
  • Publications: This section provides professional publications, journals, and periodicals offered by the ACA. This includes research findings, theoretical perspectives, clinical insights, scholarly discussions, and practical strategies. Users can view book releases, journals like Counseling Today, newsletters, and electronic access.
  • Careers and Conferences: These sections of the website have resources for job seekers, employers, and practicing professionals for professional development. This includes webinars, workshops, conferences, and training programs covering a wide range of counseling topics. You can access things like tips, tools, job listings, the virtual career fair, and get information on the annual ACA conferences. Being in a network of other professional counselors helps counselors to ensure that the services that they are providing are top-tier.
  • Other Resources: The website offers general directories to assist you in your personal search for a counselor. Some of the directories include NBCC, Therapy Den, Alma, TherapyTribe, ZenCare, First Session, Mental Health Match, Headway, Open Path Psychotherapy Collective, and Psychology Today. ACA also provides directories for specific types of counselors that you might be interested in. Some of the directories include Pride Counseling, InnoPsych, Melanin and Mental Health, South Asian Therapists, and Therapy for Latinx. When it comes to seeing a counselor, representation matters. These specific directories can support you in locating a therapist who will be able to connect with you through some shared cultural experiences and background. They also offer tips for coping with stress, managing anxiety, and improving relationships. The ACA website provides information on various issues like stress, anxiety, and relationships. The information that you receive on various topics could supplement what you are receiving in therapy or help to guide you on what issues you might want to address in therapy.

Hear From Our Team

“There are many benefits to joining the American Counseling Association. Personally, I appreciate receiving a copy of the Counseling Today magazine and access to a free CE credit each month. Membership may also provide various discounts on insurance, car and hotel rentals, and books. The membership grants access to numerous community connections for counselors to share information related to the profession.” – Licensed Counselor and ACA member, Holley

“I have used the ACA for assistance with CEUs (training), assistance reviewing my resume, professional development, and their legal help desk. I had a series of meetings with a wonderful counselor who had a passion to help me reach my goals. I highly recommend using any of their services. I’ve found it extremely helpful.” – Licensed Counselor and ACA member, Kara

“The ACA is a wonderful one-stop resource for counselors, mental health professionals, and community members. I particularly enjoy the membership benefits including access to continuing education, recent publications, and advocacy efforts.” – Licensed Counselor and ACA member, Lynsey

“The ACA is a wonderful one-stop resource for counselors, mental health professionals, and community members. I particularly enjoy the membership benefits including access to continuing education, recent publications, and advocacy efforts.” – Licensed Counselor, Shalonda 

“There are so many benefits to maintaining the professional membership with ACA. Continuing education opportunities at free and discounted prices, access to resources such as research journals, publications, and online libraries, and my most used is the ethical guidance. ACA provides a free ethical hotline where you can obtain free ethical consultation.” – Garrett Counselor director and ACA member, Dr. Ashley Garrett, PhD, LPCS

“Free CE a month is a big perk! Getting emails about updates of what is happening for our profession. Counseling Today the magazine, is helpful with updated topics and research. Discounts are available for insurance and many other things!” – Licensed Counselor and ACA member, Leah

As you can see, the American Counseling Association website provides great resources for counselors, but also for those looking for mental health information and support. Check back next week for another review in our series!

For previous reviews: