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AMHCA Election: Candidate for President-Elect
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AMHCA ELECTION: Candidate for President-

Karen Langer, LMHC

Current Employment
  • Counseling Center Director, City University of Seattle
  • Adjunct Faculty, City University of Seattle (courses include Lifespan Development, Mental Health Law and Ethics)
  • MEd, Counseling and Guidance, University of Arizona
  • BS, Child Development and Family Relations, University of Arizona

Licensed Mental Health Counselor, State of Washington

Recent Professional Experience

My passion has always been clinical work, specifically with underserved populations. Through my work for the past 13 years in my current position—and nine previous years in a community mental health agency working with substance-abuse prevention and recovery and the seriously mentally ill (outpatient, partial care and residential) doing both direct service and supervision—I have found a balance between public service and clinical work/training.

The CityU Counseling Center serves primarily the local community as an outpatient clinic working with clients who have a wide variety of clinical issues, including adjustment disorders, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizo-affective disorder, as well as couples and career counseling. We operate as a public service through a sliding fee scale and have become a valuable community resource in tough economic times. This has been a rewarding union of my passion for working with clients, with the mentoring, supervision, and training of interns and new clinicians.

Association Experience
  • AMHCA Western Region director 2008–present
    • Successfully led effort into the online arena to develop a regional Web presence allowing for connectivity, networking, and document storage
    • Held two successful Regional Workshops, which included CEU opportunities, regional development,    and networking
    • Successfully utilize Web tools for more interactive region-director calls
  • Member, AMHCA Conference Planning Committees, 2009 and 2011
  • Member, AMHCA Professional Standards Committee, 2010–2011
  • AMHCA Professional Development Committee chair, 2006–2008
  • Past president, Washington Mental Health Counselors Association (WMHCA)
  • President of WMHCA, 2004–2007
    • Doubled membership during tenure
    • Placed more emphasis on smaller CEU opportunities
    • Developed Regional Groups within the organization
  • President-elect of WMHCA, 2003–2004
  • Academic Liaison of WMHCA, 2001–2003

The role of president comes not only with the tasks of the position, but with the responsibility of representing mental health counselors.

First and foremost, AMHCA needs to continue an aggressive campaign for Medicare reimbursement for mental health counselors. One of the critical challenges in this effort is the need for strong, professional identity as mental health counselors. If we cannot clearly state who we are, we cannot advocate for our profession. By developing consistent standards and a distinct identity, we provide an opportunity for better mobility and better reimbursement, and we create and maintain a strong voice to advocate for the needs of mental health counselors and our clients.

Secondly, AMHCA needs to monitor and continue advocacy efforts as the new healthcare programs are unrolled. Mental health counselors are well-trained, and it is critical that reimbursement be adequate and consistent with other mental health professionals. 

We are beginning to address what it means to be a Professional Clinical Mental Health Counselor through our Professional Standards Committee, development of the Diplomate Status, and our continuous push for recognition in the legislative arena. 

In addition we need to look to the future and continue our efforts to:

  • Use available technology to connect to our members, stay relevant, and to use resources wisely.
  • Increase online CEU opportunities for members.
  • Create an environment where members feel they can make a difference in their profession and have a responsibility to do so.
  • Train and support our future leaders.
  • Work collaboratively with other organizations to meet the needs of the clients and members we serve.
  • Increase the connectivity of the regions and chapters.
  • Increase the involvement of members by providing and encouraging opportunities to get involved.
Community Service
  • Girl Scouts: I have volunteered one week each year for the past 10 years as a unit leader for Trail and Sail Community Camp.
  • Board member, Citizens for Snohomish Schools, 1998–2008. This committee works with the teacher’s union, school board, and district administration to pass school bonds and levies.
  • Member, Governor’s Registered Counselor Task Force, 2006
  • AMHCA 1st Western Region Conference, 2006, presented a supervision model focused on work with students.
  • 2007 AMHCA Leadership Training, workshop presenter with Debra Lee Carr, JD, LPC, on “Governing the Chapter.”
  • 2010 AMHCA Leadership Training, workshop presenter on, “Building and Sustaining Enthusiasm in Your Chapter.”
  • Simultaneous webcast presentation for those unable to attend the conference.