A History of Professional Counseling

  • First Use of Systemized Guidance

    Jesse B. Davis, superintendent of the Grand Rapids school system, implements the first systemized guidance program in public schools
  • "Father of Guidance" Founds 1st Vocational Bureau

    Frank Parsons, the "Father of Guidance" made a major step in the institutionalization of vocational guidance by founding Boston's Vocational Bureau, which helped young people making career decisions by matching knowledge of self and work
  • Mental Health Reforms

    Clifford Beers exposed the horrors of mental institutions in his book "A Mind That Found Itself" and advocated for reforms in mental health facilities and in the treatment of the mentally unwell.
  • First Counseling Association Founded

    The National Vocational Guidance Association was founded, publishing literature and uniting professionals in the field.
  • Psychological Screening Utilized

    During WWI, psychological testing was used to screen soldiers, which was then utilized in civilian populations (basis for psychometric movement).
  • First Certification of Counselors

    In New York and Boston, counselors were able to become certified.
  • First Professional Marriage Counseling Offered

    A marriage and family counseling center was established in NYC
  • First Theory of Counseling Developed

    Parsons' theories were modified and used to work with students and the unemployed--emphasized teaching/mentoring/influencing skills of a counselor
  • Carl Roger's Revolution

    Carl Roger's publication of "Counseling and Psychotherapy" challenged previously-held tenants, focusing on a client-centered approach for the first time
  • Increased Funding for Counselor Education Programs

    The George Barden Act of 1946 was passed, which allocated vocational education funds for counselor training programs
  • Counseling Associations Founded

    1952 saw the establishment of the American Personnel and Guidance Association (APGA), the establishment of Division 17, the Division of Counseling Psychology of the American Psychological Association, and the founding of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). A year after ASCA was founded, it became a division of the APGA.
  • Greater Funding For Community Counseling via the Community Mental Health Act

    Federal funding was provided to create a community-oriented counseling approach.
  • Licensure for Counselors Addressed

    Thanks to a task force started by the APGA, licensure for counselors was addressed. The first successful licensure legislation was passed in 1976
  • CACREP Formed

    The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP) was formed; counselor training/education programs were standarized.
  • NBCC Formed

    The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) was formed; developed a standardized test for accreditation.
  • AACD changed name to ACA

  • Multicultural Counseling Standards and Competencies Created

  • Supreme Court Ruling

    The Supreme Court ruled that communications between psychotherapists and their clients are privileged and protected from forced disclosure
  • Unified Definition of Professional Counseling Developed

    ACA Governing Council developed a unified definition of professional counseling.
  • First Professional Identity Initiative

    The first professional identity initiative to involve all 30 professional counseling organizations (including all ACA divisions and regions), 20/20: A Vision for the Future of Counseling was initiated as a co-sponsored project between the American Counseling Association and the American Association of State Counseling Boards.
  • 50th State to License Counselors

    California becomes the 50th state to enable licensure of professional clinical counselors (ending 30 year push from the ACA for 50 state licensure requirement)
  • Telecounseling and COVID-19

    The COVID-19 pandemic causes telecounseling to become mainstream.