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AMHCA Releases Updated Version of It's Professional Standards
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AMHCA Releases Updated Version of Its Professional Standards


Since 1976, AMHCA has been committed to establishing and promoting vigorous standards for education and training, professional practice, and professional ethics for clinical mental health counselors. The first education, training, and practice standards were introduced in 1979 and were last updated in 2003. The 2011 revision, “Standards for the Practice of Clinical Mental Health Counseling,” is available for purchase in printed form and is available to read on our website.

These 2011 professional standards and the 2010 AMHCA Code of Ethics constitute the basis from which AMHCA advocates and advances the practice of clinical mental health counseling.

Notable Updates and Changes

The new AMHCA standards recognize the core standards for counselor education and the importance of clinical mental health counselor training in the biological bases of behavior, specialized assessment, trauma, and co-occurring disorders. For the first time, the standards also identify substantive faculty and supervisor knowledge and skills needed for training clinical mental health counselors.


Structure of Standards Document

The 2011 Standards contain five main sections: Introduction; Educational and Pre-Degree Clinical Training Standards; Faculty and Supervisor Standards; Clinical Practice Standards; and Recommended AMHCA Training.

Part I addresses both scope of practice and standards of practice and research. Part III addresses knowledge and skills for both faculty standards and supervisor standards. Part IV includes sections on post-degree/pre-licensure; post-licensure; peer review and supervision; continuing education; and legal and ethical issues. Part V focuses on the knowledge and skills necessary in four areas: biological bases of behavior, specialized clinical assessment, trauma training standards, and co-occurring disorders.


Thanks to the Members of AMHCA’s Professional Development Committee

Stephen Brady, PhD, chairs the committee, which completed the standards revision. Other committee members include: Linda Barclay, PhD, PCC-S, LICDC, NCC; AMHCA President-Elect Karen Langer, LMHC; Carol Lewis, PhD, NCC, ACS; Gail Mears, PsyD, NCC, LCMHC; and Daryush Parvinbenam, PCC.