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History and Development of Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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History and Development of Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Clinical mental health counseling is a distinctive profession with national standards for education, training and clinical practice. Clinical mental health counselors are skilled professionals who provide malleable, client-focus therapy. They combine traditional psychotherapy with a practical, problem-solving approach that creates a path for change and problem resolution. Counseling has evolved into a profession that provides treatment that is much more client focus and humanistic than in any other time in history. Through specialization and credentialing clients are assisted and protected, counselors are trained and certified to provide the highest quality of care.

Counseling has evolved over the years from various disciplines, But its roots date back to early writings in the eras of Socrates, and one may even consider religion as a early means of a counseling discipline.

Counseling as a profession grew out of the progressive guidance movement in the early 1900s. The primary focus was on prevention and guiding individuals with making good choices, finding direction and purpose.

In 1889 the social justice movement gave birth to the counseling profession.1908 - Clifford beer published a autobiography of his experience as a mental health patient that started a reform to create better condition and care in mental health hospitals.1917-1918 - The U.S. Army began using psychological instruments to screen soldiers. During the World War II war, the government used psychologists and counselors to help select specialists for industry and the military.

1981 - CACREP formed The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. CACREP brought standardization to counselor education programs at the master's and doctoral levels. The National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) formed and began to certify counselors at the national level.

Counseling did not formally have a definition for years. In 2010, 29 counseling associations defined counseling as follows: "Counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals" (Erford)

The counseling field evolved from a system of exale where patient had few rights and were confined and horribly treated to be help by trained professionals to obtain a better quality of life through theory based counseling and standardization of education and practices in the field.


Gladding, S. T., & Newsome, D. W. (2014). Clinical mental health counseling in community and agency settings (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill. ISBN: 9780132851039.

Mellin, E. A., Hunt, B., & Nichols,



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