About ACA

The American Counseling Association is a not-for-profit, professional and educational organization that is dedicated to the growth and enhancement of the counseling profession. Founded in 1952, ACA is the world's largest association exclusively representing professional counselors in various practice settings.

What Is Counseling?

According to 20/20: A Vision for the Future of Counseling, the delegates comprised of 31 counseling organizations agreed upon a unified definition of counseling: Professional counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.

Divisions, Branches, and Regions

There are 20 chartered divisions within the American Counseling Association. These divisions provide leadership, resources and information unique to specialized areas and/or principles of counseling.  ACA has four regions, which serves members in those regions.  Lastly, ACA has 56 chartered branches in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America.  Please click the following links to get more information about ACA's Divisions, Branches, and Regions.

More About ACA

Counseling Today

Multicultural competence: A continual pursuit

  • Counseling Today
    In the September cover story, prominent figures in the field emphasize that multicultural competence in counseling involves consistent and career-long striving, not a one-time acquisition of knowledge. More

Featured Podcast

Integrated Care: Applying Theory to Practice

  • Podcast
    Dr. Russ Curtis is an LPC and associate professor of counseling at Western Carolina University; where he serves as coordinator of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. Eric Christian is an LPC, a national certified counselor, and has been working as an integrated care coordinator for the past five years.

ACA Achieves Climate Registered Status
The Climate Registry - Climate Registered logoAfter measuring its carbon footprint according to The Climate Registry's best-in-class program, having the information verified by a third-party, and reporting the data on The Registry's website, in 2012 ACA achieved Climate Registered status (view the full list of Client Registered organizations here). Measuring an entity's carbon footprint is the first step toward reducing it. Climate change is contributing to rising sea levels, floods and droughts, and the severity of adverse weather events like Hurricane Sandy.  ACA is continuing its work as a member of The Climate Registry this year, including setting goals for reducing emissions and expanding its emissions inventory.  We are proud to join a wide range of businesses, utilities, governments, and other nonprofits in leading work to address this crucial issue.

Join ACA Today

  • Maximize your Professional Development
  • Stay ahead of the educational learning curve
  • Advocate for the counseling care of tomorrow
  • Expand your networking connections

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Latest News

ACA Names Representatives to CDC Project

by Amber McLaughlin | Feb 27, 2014
Five expert members will contribute to the Safe and Supportive Schools Project, which will work with 19 state education agencies to promote the establishment of safe and supportive school environments for all students and staff as an approach to preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted infections for adolescents.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of the 19 million new sexually transmitted diseases reported each year occur in young people, ages 15-24. In 2010, young people, ages 13-24, accounted for 21 percent of all new HIV infections in the U.S.

This alarming trend clearly indicates that a change is needed in the standard national approach to addressing human sexuality. As part of its mission to enhance the quality of life in society and promote respect for human dignity and diversity, ACA supports a proactive approach to youth health and wellbeing. That’s why we have partnered with the American Psychological Association (APA) to implement the Safe and Supportive Schools Project (SSSP). 

Funded by the CDC for a five-year period, SSSP will work with 19 state education agencies to promote the establishment of safe and supportive school environments for all students and staff as an approach to preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted infections for adolescents.

ACA has selected five expert members who will review resources and provide implementation guidance for interventions that school counselors, school nurses, school psychologists, and school social workers can use in their districts.

Our representatives to the Safe and Supportive Schools Project are:

Vanessa Cantu, a school counselor at Besteiro Middle School in Brownsville, Texas.  Brownsville is currently the poorest city in the U.S. Consequently; Ms. Cantu works with many homeless students, as well as frequent drug users and students who are practicing unsafe sex.

Rick Gunsallus, PhD., who provides counseling services for schools in Broward County, Florida.  The county in which je works has the second highest number of new AIDS cases per capita in the U.S.  Dr. Gunsallus counsels homeless students, ESL students, and GLBTQ students.

Brian Law, a school counselor at Valdosta high School in Valdosta, Georgia. Mr. Law’s school has a 40% migrant population. He also has experience working in a Title I school.

Patrick Ryan Mullen, a doctoral student in Counselor Education. His dissertation is focusing on school counseling. Mr. Ryan has served as chair of the School Counseling department at Journeys Academy, an alternative and Title I school in Sanford, Florida.

Amanda Rumsey, a school counselor at McLendon elementary School in Decatur, Georgia. Ms. Rumsey enrolled in the doctoral counselor education program at Georgia State University. She has developed school-wide interventions for at-risk students.

"We are proud to play a role in this progressive initiative,” said Dr. Cirecie West-Olatunji, President of ACA.  “Facilitating empowerment for youth to make better decisions early in life, rather than solely focusing on problems after they manifest down the road, is and always will be one of the underlying values of our profession.”

For additional information about the project, please contact David Kaplan at dkaplan@counseling.org.