Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Health Professions
Board of Counseling
Regulations Governing the Practice of Professional Counseling [18 VAC 115 ‑ 20]
Action Requirement for CACREP accreditation for educational programs
Comment Period Ended on 7/1/2015
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6/20/15  6:56 pm
Commenter: Gabriella King, University of Baltimore

STRONLY OPPOSE limiting LPC licensure to CACREP graduates

I am an Applied Psychology-Counseling graduate student at the University of Baltimore who would someday like to practice in Virginia.  Although I am by no means opposed to accreditation, I do urge you to reject any regulatory changes in Virginia that would limit LPC licensure to graduates of master’s programs accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).  

At a time of rising mental health needs, Virginia needs more, rather than fewer, mental health providers.  According to the National Association for Mental Illness (NAMI), only 19 percent of Virginians with serious mental illness are receiving treatment from Virginia’s public mental health system. And, as of 2013, Virginia had 47 federally designated mental health care professional shortage areas (Signer, 2014).

Graduates of CACREP and non-CACREP programs can help fill the void and do it well! While I can very much appreciate the need for impeccably trained and unimpeachably competent counselors, there are superior CACREP and non-CACREP programs in and near Virginia and beyond.  My own program at the University of Baltimore is not a CACREP program, but does encompass all of the CACREP requirements and more.  For example, given the burgeoning importance of neuroscience, my colleagues and I are required to do coursework on The Biological Basis of Behavior.  Closer to home  the counseling program at George Mason University is renowned—and not affiliated with CACREP.  In 2013, this program was awarded the Outstanding Master’s Program award by the Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision.  CACREP is not the only path to accreditation of counseling programs. The Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) accredits counseling programs and requires that programs meet a standard that in some respects exceeds the rigor of CACREP standards.    

There is no empirical evidence to suggest that CACREP graduates are more effective or more ethical providers.  The commonly cited evidence to the contrary—which I have read carefully-- is methodologically unsound    

I respectfully recommend that the Commonwealth of Virginia not approve this change. In my view, Virginians will be better  served by a diverse body of LPCs, than solely by those with degrees from programs affiliated with CACREP.  




Gabriella King

CommentID: 40329