IMHCA and ACA Joint Statement

Joint Statement of Collaboration
American Counseling Association of Iowa (ACA of IA) and the Iowa Mental Health Counselors
Association (IMHCA)
As part of the 2022 Counseling Awareness Month, The American Counseling Association (ACA) of Iowa
and the Iowa Mental Health Counselors Association (IMHCA) are pleased to share that the two boards
will begin working closely together for the betterment of ALL counselors in Iowa.
The History and Professional Identity of Counselors
Counselors are behavioral health professionals whose identity originated from guidance and vocational
counseling at the beginning of the 20th century and has developed into professional specializations and
educational requirements we have today (see below for additional details). Counselor education
continues to develop, and counselors look to the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) and
accreditation bodies such as The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Program (CACREP)
for their professional and educational standards. Counseling specialty areas have also changed over the
113 years to include: addiction, mental health, rehabilitation, school, marriage and family, career, and
college counseling. Counselors in all specialty areas have fought not only for their professional identity
but to be recognized as capable and equal to our sister professions such as social workers and
psychologists. Today, we still fight for our professional identities to be recognized both at the state and
federal levels.
Counselors’ Values and Ethics
The ACA of Iowa and IMHCA recognize that all counselors are responsible for upholding the values and
ethical principles of our profession which include, but are not limited to:
● Counselors’ identity as agents for positive social change.
o This means counselors use their education and professional experience to empower
individuals, families, and groups in achieving their goals
o Counselors honor diversity and embrace a multicultural approach in support of the
worth, dignity, potential, and uniqueness.
● Counselors are advocates.
o Counselors advocate through professional activities and associations.
o Counselors advocate for the rights of their clients and for the profession
● Counselors are gatekeepers
o Gatekeeping is not limited to the sole responsibility of counselor supervisors or
counselor educators. “Gatekeeping refers to the responsibility of all counselors, including
student counselors, to intervene with colleagues and supervisors who engage in
behavior that could threaten the welfare of those receiving services.”
What Iowa Counselors can Expect Moving Forward
○ National Level Advocacy Efforts
● Medicare Recognition
● Title IVa- school counseling funding
● Federal grants for counseling
● Increase VA hiring
○ State Level Advocacy Efforts
■ Licensure Portability/Counselor Compact
■ Supervision/Supervisor Requirements – proper standards for licensing and
■ Anti LGBTQIA+ legislation
■ Conversion therapy bans
We look forward to celebrating Counseling Awareness Month with all of our members. More information
will be available on our Facebook pages and through membership emails.
IMHCA 2021-2022 Board ACA of Iowa 2021-2022 Board
on behalf of the ACA of IA and the IMHCA membership and our respective organizations.

To learn more about the information shared in this statement:
ACA Code of Ethics:

AMHCA code of Ethics:

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Program (CACREP):

Why should I choose an accredited program?

Licensure Portability and Compact:

National Leglislative Issues:

State Legislative Issues:

Advocacy and Gatekeeping:

Tricare Mental Health Provider Requirements:

NBCC Veterans Affairs:

ACA- Medicare Reimbursement:

AMHCA Medicare Inclusion: