|Action||Requirement for CACREP accreditation for educational programs|
|Comment Period||Ends 7/1/2015|
I do understand that having an agreed upon standard for training has the potential to elevate the field of counseling to that of social workers and give it the clout that it deserves. CACREP is a good standard, but the way it's being pushed on the profession and marketed erroneously as the best standard is disenfranchising thousands of counsellors, many with veteran status.
I graduated from a school accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (same as Loyola and University of Chicago) that teaches to the NCE content, which CACREP is modeled after. I was aware that CACREP existed but had no idea it would be the only plausible standard. Who could foresee that?
I am currently seeking licensure in the state of Maryland after just moving here from Illinois, where I practiced as an LCPC. I'm alarmed to hear about this legislation. I've spent years studying and working to obtain and maintain my credentials with a desire to serve vulnerable and underserved populations, while also trying to make a living. We all have, CACREP and non-CACREP alike. Both of these are put into jeopardy with this unjustified CACREP take-over.
All mental health counselors take national exams for licensure, so if we need to "protect" our citizens as some CACREP proponents claim that it (CACREP) does—if counselors are not performing adequately, then why not make the exams more rigorous? Why not require a more stringent licensure process that includes a video or recording of sessions to be included with the application? This is the level the state should be working at—not mandating a particular brand of education. It doesn't make sense that we are protecting the public interest through CACREP-only policies. We are not.
CACREP-only policies are harmful to the public and to counselors. The public will be divested of too many competent and ready counsellors who want to do the work, and instead of being invited to demonstrate our competency, we are losing opportunities to work and losing hard earned respect. This is not the right way to proceed. We do need to unify the profession, but in a way that gives counselors credibility based on merit--not because some of us have stars on our belly.
Scott Hollenberg, LCPC