Agencies | Governor
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 Ends 7/1/2015
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6/5/15  12:00 pm
Commenter: Doug Sawitzky, George Mason University Student


I am writing in opposition to the proposal for Virginia to require CACREP accreditation for educational counseling programs in Virginia.  The negative ramifications strongly outweigh the positive.

In reading through this comment section it is evident this legislation will be both a disservice to the people of Virginia and current practicing counselors.  Across the country there is far more non-CACREP counseling programs than CACREP ones.  Both non-CACREP and CACREP programs meet criteria required by respective states and regional accreditation agencies for licensure ensuring high quality standards.  There is no evidence whatsoever that CACREP counseling graduate students provide better counseling and services than non-CACREP students despite what some people may believe.  Despite CACREP’s narrative that they are trying to protect the public the fact is that the necessary controls already exist and there are not issues with the current counseling preparation programs that CACREP would correct. 

While I understand that current practicing professionals and students will be grandfathered in and it will not affect immediate licensure, to the general public it sends the false message that not having a CACREP education means the counselors are lacking something or less competent.  This can negatively affect business for many current community counselors threatening their livelihood in this profession.  It will also limit the amount of future counselors that move here and get licensed limiting the counseling pool to the residents of Virginia.  Less counseling options surely is not what the people of Virginia need. 

Many of the best counseling programs in the country are not CACREP including many of the Ivy’s.  Being a student at George Mason University I am quick to point out that the program and professors have won many outstanding awards and I regularly hear from employers that GMU counselors are among their favorite to hire based on the preparation we receive, and this is us being compared to CACREP schools. 

What I see here in the forum is overwhelming opposition and concern as CACREP is using their massive resources to try to negatively sway legislation.  It is very sad that some pro-CACREP legislation has passed at the federal level based on ill-informed decisions.  At a state level similar legislation was struck down in New Jersey and I hope my state of Virginia does the same instead of perpetuating a dangerous myth and precedent.

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