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DSM Is Approved for May 2013 Release

The American Psychiatric Association’s latest version of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) passed a major milestone on Dec. 1 when its board of trustees approved the manual’s final diagnostic criteria. 

The decision marks the end of the manual’s comprehensive revision process, which has spanned over a decade and included contributions from more than 1,500 experts in psychiatry, psychology, social work, psychiatric nursing, pediatrics, neurology, and other related fields from 39 countries. 

AMHCA’s DSM–5 Task Force, chaired by Gary Gintner, PhD, LPC, a past president of AMHCA and an associate professor and program leader in Counselor Education at Louisiana State University, contributed feedback on theDSM–5 revisions on behalf of AMHCA and clinical mental health counselors. 

A nationally recognized trainer on the DSM and “best practice” guidelines, Dr. Gintner will be presenting a pre-conference workshop on “DSM-5: A User’s Guide,” on July 18, 2013, at AMHCA’s Annual Conference.

“Our hope is that the DSM–5 will lead to more accurate diagnoses, better access to mental health services, and improved patient outcomes,” wrote APA President Dilip Jeste, MD, on Dec. 1.

Noting “the double-edged sword of underdiagnosis and overdiagnosis,” Dr. Jeste observed that, “Narrowing diagnostic criteria may be blamed for excluding some patients from insurance coverage and needed services, while expanded efforts to diagnose (and treat) patients in the early stages of illness to prevent its chronicity are sometimes criticized for increasing its prevalence and potentially expanding the market for the pharmaceutical industry.”

Review of the criteria and text describing the disorders will continue to undergo final editing and then be published in May 2013.

For more information about the DSM–5, visit or

Apply for an NBCC Minority Fellowship by Feb. 28

Fellowships of up to $20,000 are available to doctoral-level professional counselors. The National Board for Certified Counselors and Affiliates (NBCC) is providing up to 24 fellowships to help increase the number of professional counselors who have received advanced training and who are skilled in providing effective services to underserved populations. 

This program is made possible by a grant awarded to NBCC by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 

Core requirements for fellowship eligibility include:

  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens or have a permanent resident status
  • Applicants must not receive any other federal funds or work for a federal agency
  • Applicants must currently hold the National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential* in good standing 
    * NOTE: Individuals who do not hold the NCC credential may apply if they can document all of the following:
    • A full state license as a professional counselor;
    • A passing score on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE), the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) or an NBCC-accepted state licensure examination; and
    • A commitment to obtain the NCC within three months if awarded a fellowship.
  • Applicants must be enrolled full time and in good standing in a CACREP-accredited doctoral-level counseling program
  • Applicants must have demonstrated knowledge and experience with racially and ethnically diverse populations
  • Applicants must commit to provide mental health and substance abuse services to underserved minority populations in the private nonprofit and public sectors
  • African Americans, Alaska Natives, American Indians, Asian Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders are especially encouraged to apply

Documents Required 

  • Doctoral program: An official transcript from a CACREP-accredited doctoral-level counseling program documenting current full-time enrollment and good standing
  • Master’s degree: An official transcript from your master’s degree program
  • Legal status: Proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent U.S. residence status
  • Proof of National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential
  • Reference Letters: All three (3) letters of reference must be in one PDF


The NBCC MFP deadline is Feb. 28, 2013. Applications must be received on or before this date in order to be considered. The first fellowships will be awarded in April 2013.

For answers to questions, please call 336.547.0607, or email, subject line: “NBCC MFP Fellowship.” For more information and to apply, visit

With Professional Gratitude
“Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude 
of those who have lighted the flame within us.”   
—Albert Schweitzer 

As you think about all that you are thankful for this holiday season, we invite you to consider your career as a clinical mental health counselor. If you’re grateful to be working in a field that helps others, if you’re thankful to those who guided you along your professional path, please consider expressing your gratitude with a contribution to the AMHCA Foundation. The AMHCA Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization; all donations are tax deductible.

The AMHCA Foundation aims to improve the mental health of all Americans through public education about mental health issues, mental health research, access to mental health services, and promoting high standards for mental health practitioners. It also provides scholarship grants to graduate students in Mental Health Counseling.

Please consider a contribution to help our field continue to thrive!
Promoting Your Practice Online: Tip #13
How to accept online payment for your services

By Sara Sims, Director of Business Development

With online sales growing faster than in retail stores by 50 percent, it is important for clinical mental health counselors to offer online payments on their website, even if the counseling they provide is face-to-face. 

If your website doesn’t accept online payments, you could be missing out on business. Let me show you how to get started accepting credit card payments on your website.

First, choose one of the many electronic payment methods that are available. I recommend PayPal, a reliable, secure Internet service that allows money transfers to be sent through the Internet. PayPal allows you to make purchases and receive payments directly from your website into your business bank account. Your clients do not need to have a PayPal account in order to make a purchase right from your website.

To start using PayPal, go to and select one of the three business plans (Standard, Advanced, or Pro). All the plans allow you to:

  • Accept credit cards on a website
  • Add PayPal as a payment option
  • Email your invoices for online payment
  • Swipe credit card orders in person (2.7% per transaction)

I recommend PayPal’s Standard business plan, its most popular one. This plan has no monthly fees and a transaction rate of 2.9 percent, plus 30 cents per transaction, which is standard among credit card processors. The 2.9 percent rate is based on monthly sales of $3,000 or less; the rate goes down if your online sales are higher, after you have been a PayPal member for more than 90 days.

After selecting your plan, follow the PayPal prompts to create your PayPal account. Your account gives you access to your PayPal information, payments received, privacy settings, and banking information. 

Once your PayPal account is set up, you need to install it into your website. makes this process easy. Simply add your PayPal button in the editor toolbar to add payment features to your website. For websites created elsewhere, contact your web developer and inquire about adding your PayPal button.

By enabling your website to receive credit card payments, you will be making it convenient for your clients to pay you for your services, and giving them a choice about how to pay. With 59 percent of customers preferring online bill payment to alternative options, your website will be current and meeting clients’ needs. 

Being able to accept payments online also allows clinical mental health counselors to sell books, CDs, and recommended readings directly off their website, as well as provide additional resources to their clients, including therapy specials and packages. Your website will give your clients an additional place to buy your products and a way for you to make more money while offering clients convenience. 

Sara Sims is the director of Business Development at TherapySites offers a comprehensive website service designed for mental health professionals that includes domain, hosting, design, content, SEO, credit card processing, online appointment requests, and more. There are no set-up fees or long-term contracts, and the service costs only $59 a month. 

AMHCA members receive their first month free! Visit to get started.