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Lend Your Voice to CACREP Standards Review
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Ensure 'Clinical' Stays in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

By Karen Langer, LMHC
AMHCA Past President, 2013–2014

Did you know that AMHCA has a Mental Health Interest Network? 

Would you be interested in attending except that you don’t want to get tasked with a job or get up early for a 7 a.m. meeting while you’re attending a conference? Consider this: Clinical mental health counselors do intimately personal work every day, but often work in settings without colleagues or peers with whom to discuss their work. 

Participating in the Mental Health Interest Network gives you a chance to engage with other mental health counselors about issues affecting our profession. How satisfying and enriching it is to be among peers, because we understand each other and the meaning of our work. 

The Network is exactly that—a network of professionals who have a commitment to the profession—practicing clinicians, clinical mental health counselor educators, supervisors, and others interested in clinical training and supervision issues related to clinical mental health counselors.

The Mental Health Interest Network was established through the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES). Kudos to Linda Barclay, PhD, LPCC/S, LICDC, NCC, and Sandy Lopez–Baez, PhD, NCC, ACS, CCMHC, LPC for inspiring creation of the Network. 

At Network meetings—held at AMHCA conferences, ACES conferences, and American Counseling Association (ACA) conferences—participants discuss issues that impact the profession and consumers. The meetings also serve as a means of quickly eliciting action when needed. 

The first meetings coincided with the release of the first draft of the CACREP 2009 Standards, and soon the work of the Network was to establish and organize a listserv to collect feedback to send to CACREP. 

The effort was very successful: a large number of CMHCs participated in sending agreed-on feedback forms to CACREP, thus ensuring consideration of AMHCA’s perspective (via the Network) on training standards for clinical mental health counselors. This voice was heard and accounted for in the revision of the standards.

Let Your Voice Be Heard! Get Involved and Continue the Discussion

This year the focus will again turn to reviewing and submitting feedback on the 2016 CACREP Draft Standards. This review and feedback is of utmost importance to the Network. AMHCA has already given feedback on the first draft, and the second draft is expected to be released in September. 

The Mental Health Interest Network has concerns that “the clinical” is being taken out of clinical mental health counseling, and that the generalizing of counselor standards across multiple disciplines will be detrimental to progress made in areas such as the ability to assess and treat.

Current participants in the network are clinical mental health counselor educators involved in academic training and supervision of CMHCs. Practicing clinicians interested in the training and supervision of CMHCs are also welcome and encouraged to participate. 

To move forward and be able to give the necessary feedback, the listserv must be revised. Barclay has offered to update the listserv, and Lopez–Baez will collect names, email address, and institutional affiliation of those interested in participating.

Send your contact information or any questions you have to: