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responses to adverse life experiences (Remley & Herlihy, 2001). Juxtaposing the “illness” and developmental models, Ivey and Ivey (1998) report that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association “describes pathology as located ‘in an individual’” while developmental counseling and therapy “considers distress (rather than ‘pathology’) as the logical result of biological and developmental insult. The stressor may be located within the individual, in broader systemic and historical factors, or in both.” (p.335) Consequently, assessments in professional counseling include the individual and his or personal and family history, as well as their environment and cultural factors (Ivey & Ivey, 1998; Myers, 1991).

In recent years, however, the emphasis on wellness and prevention has been at odds with efforts to bring the profession of counseling to an equal footing with other master’s level mental health professionals such as clinical social workers or clinical nurse specialists. As professional counselors increasingly became employed in community agencies or private practice, some have sought to add training in “pathology” to counselor education programs in order to be better equipped to gain third-party reimbursement (Myers, 1991). The American Mental Health Counselors Association, a division of ACA that was founded in 1976, has represented those professional counselors whose practice encompasses “the developmental, preventive, and educational as well as the traditional remedial aspects of mental health care” (Smith & Robinson, 1995).

There is evidence that, despite these seeming contradictions in approach to mental health practice by different segments of the professional counseling field, members of the profession have resolved their differences sufficiently to maintain a united front. In 1997, the ACA adopted a definition of professional counseling that incorporates both the historical roots of the profession and the more recent emphasis on conventional mental health assessment and treatment modalities. According to the ACA (no date), the definition of professional counseling practice is “The application of mental heath, psychological or human development principles, through cognitive, affective, behavioral or systemic intervention strategies that address wellness, personal growth, or career development, as well as pathology.” Credentialing

The first certification of counselors occurred during the 1940s and 1950s when school counselors’ certification was tied to the certification of teachers (Forest & Stone, 1991). Virginia became the first state to license professional counselors in 1975 and since then, 45 states and the District of Columbia have established legislation to certify or license professional counselors (ACA, no date; Bradley, 1995). One of the defining characteristics of professional counselor


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