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Discussion of the "Essentials of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Profession" publication

Clarity results in guidance, pride, and effective partnerships!

Mental health counseling is an honorable profession and vital to the health of society.  Mental health providers offer a unique skill set to clients and healthcare teams. Since there are so many titles used for mental health professionals (LMHC, LPC, LPCC…) and similar types of mental health professionals (Counselors, Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, Psychologists, Psychoanalysis, …), there is often confusion about the specifics of the profession. Because of this, the mental health counseling profession has been in need of an official and unified statement that defines its values, unique characteristics, and qualifications.

In March 2020, the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) released the “Essentials of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Profession” publication.  The introduction states that the publication’s purpose is to: 

  • Provide career guidance to all individuals who have chosen to become licensed in clinical mental health counseling. 
  • Offer information for those who may consider a vocation in clinical mental health counseling. 
  • Inform members of the public about the profession of clinical mental health counseling. 
  • Explain the distinctive characteristics of the profession to those in government, health services, and other allied associations, organizations, and stakeholders.

Reference: Miller, J., & Otis, G. (2020). Essentials of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Profession. Alexandria, VA: American Mental Health Counselors Association.

You can find the publication here:

Our CEO, Raymond Barrett, LMHC, discusses this new publication with Eric T. Beeson. Eric is the 43rd President of the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA). AMHCA is the only professional association advocating exclusively for the clinical mental health counseling profession. Founded in 1976, AMHCA's vision is to position clinical mental health counselors to meet the healthcare needs of those they serve while advancing the profession. Their mission is to set the standard for collaboration, advocacy, research, ethical practice, and education/professional development. Their mission is to CARE!

Head shot of Eric BeesonEric Beeson, Ph.D., LPC

This publication serves three audiences:

  • Those considering a behavioral health profession
  • Current clinicians at different stages of their career
  • Other healthcare professionals
  • Policymakers

The publication instills a great sense of pride and direction for mental health counselors.  It informs other healthcare professionals how mental health counselors can best serve healthcare organizations.  Additionally, it clarifies for those making legislative and reimbursement decisions the qualifications of mental health counselors to serve the public.