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Week 2 Assignment

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Assignment: Professional Preparation and Credentials

Professional counselors with expertise in marriage, couples and family counseling, like other professional counselors, adhere to standards that guide and inform their practice. Accrediting bodies like the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) developed guidelines for professional preparation. These guidelines are tied to specific knowledge, practice, and skill areas that include set information on coursework, professional experience, client contact hours, and supervision. Often, these accreditation standards are used to develop requirements for professional licensure. Because marriage, couple, and family counseling is a specialty area for professional counseling, licensure requirements are often the same as or similar to other areas of professional counseling.

In addition to licensure, counselors often seek professional credentials to enhance their credibility with clients, gain recognition as a specialist in a given area, and to demonstrate adherence to a set of professional standards. Similar to other areas of counseling, certifications exist that are specific to marriage, couple, and family counseling.

According to the International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors (IAMFC), a division of the American Counseling Association (ACA), professional counselors with expertise in marriage, couples, and family counseling practice in a variety of settings, including independent practice, community mental health agencies, managed care organizations, hospitals, employee assistance programs, and houses of worship. In these settings, professional counselors with expertise in marriage, couple, and family counseling may provide any of the following services:

  • Assessment and diagnosis
  • Individual, couples, and family counseling
  • Prevention programs and parent education programs
  • Crisis management
  • Multi-couple or multi-family groups

In this Assignment, you will consider licensure requirements demanded by your state or locale in order to practice as a professional counselor with expertise in couples and family counseling. In addition, you examine various marriage, couple, and family certifications that are available through professional organizations. Finally, you consider possible practice challenges that you may encounter.

Write your paper on professional preparation, credentials, and scope of practice, using the instructions below as a guide:

  • Explain your understanding of the scope of practice of a counselor with expertise in marriage, couple, and family counseling.
  • Discuss how professional counseling organizations germane to counseling with an expertise in marriage, couple, and family counseling such as the International Association for Marriage and Family Counselors (IAMFC) might support your professional practice pursuits.
  • Describe licensure requirements you intend on seeking in the state or locale in which you intend to practice.
  • Describe the licensure process/procedure in your state or locale as it pertains to counselors with expertise in marriage, couple, and family counseling.
  • Describe at least one certification that might enhance your practice as a counselor with an expertise in marriage, couple, and family counseling.
  • Describe what might be a challenge to obtaining licensure in the state or locale in which you intend to practice. Potential challenges might include lack of required supervision and/or lack of opportunities to complete post-masters clinical experience hours.

Submit your paper by Day 7.

Format your paper according to APA guidelines.

Suggested length: 3–4 pages, not including title and references.

Required Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.
  • Gladding, S. T. (2015). Family therapy: History, theory, and practice. (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
    • Chapter 1,  “The History of Family Therapy: Evolution and Revolution”
  • American Counseling Association. (n.d.). What is professional counseling? Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org/aca-community/learn-about-counseling/what-is-counseling/overview
  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs. (2013). Getting licensed after you graduate. Retrieved from http://www.cacrep.org/for-students/getting-licensed-after-you-graduate/
  • International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors. (2013). Counselor credentialing. Retrieved from http://www.iamfconline.org/public/counselor-credentialing.cfm
  • Myers, J. E., Sweeney, T. J., & White, V. E. (2002). Advocacy for counseling and counselors: A professional imperative. Journal of Counseling & Development, 80(4), 394–402. 
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases
  • Myers, J. E., & Sweeney, T. J. (2008). Wellness counseling: The evidence base for practice. Journal of Counseling & Development, 86(4), 482–493. 
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases
  • Myers, J. E. (1992). Wellness, prevention, development: The cornerstone of the profession. Journal of Counseling & Development, 71(2), 136–139. 
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases
  • Smith, R. L., Carlson, J., Stevens-Smith, P., & Dennison, M. (1995). Marriage and family counseling.Journal of Counseling & Development, 74(2),154–157.
    Retrieved from the Walden Library databases
  • Laureate Education (Producer). (2013c). Professional Practice Perspective [Multimedia file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu 

    Four counselors share their perspectives on what it means to be a counselor working with couples, families, and children. They also provide insight into what it takes to become a licensed counselor. 

    Note: The approximate length of each video within this multimedia piece is 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Laureate Education (Producer). (2013a). History of Counseling Timeline. [Interactive media file]. 

    This resource allows you to explore the history of counseling throughout the 20th century.

Please proceed to the Discussion.

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