Virginia Virginia Association of Clinical Counselors (VACC), and
Northern Virginia Licensed Professional Counselors (NVLPC)
Virginia is a geographically, politically, educationally, and economically diverse state, with 95 counties and 39 independent cities. Although most members of NVLPC live in the two northernmost counties, which have the highest per-capita income in the United States, the other 93 counties bring very different issues and agendas to our state government in Richmond.
Our profession, both nationally and locally, may be facing an important crossroads that has the potential to affect our practices and our incomes. It is very important, during these difficult economic and political times, that members of NVLPC are aware of how our profession and our organization came into existence and the direction we need to head.
In 1976 Virginia was the first state to license professional counselors as the result of the hard work of a few individuals dedicated to proving the legitimacy of our training and our profession. In 1979 they established the Virginia Mental Health Counselors Association as a state affiliate of both AMHCA and ACA. Both ACA and VCA (ACA’s state chapter) focused primarily on school counseling issues and so, in 1989, the name was changed to the Virginia Association of Clinical Counselors with the purpose of protecting and advocating for the needs of clinical mental health counselors.
One of the most important tasks AMHCA and VACC took on was creating legislation that allows LPCs to diagnose mental health conditions, which is required for consideration for insurance coverage. Virginia led the way, and the bills presented in Arkansas and Texas legislatures are modeled after the Virginia legislation. You may be surprised to learn that some states still do not consider LPCs capable of diagnosis.
Thanks to the hard work of both AMHCA and ACA, as of last year when California came on board, clinical mental health counselors are now licensed in all 50 states (although they are not called LPCs in every state). Each state has its own organization for mental health counselors, similar to VACC, chartered by AMHCA. Each state has the ability to charter local organizations, and NVLPC is the largest and most active local organization in our state.
As a state organization, VACC has always seen its mission as one of advocacy and protection of our profession. Although 35 years have passed since these initial victories, VACC finds itself facing some of the same challenges it had before along with some new ones.
Click here for more information about VACC and here for information about NVLPC.