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History and Development of Cmhc

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History and Development of CMHC

Capella University


April 21, 2013

Dr. Abbott


The purpose of this paper is to discuss the history and development of clinical mental health counseling. This paper will also discuss how clinical mental health counseling has contributed to current philosophical foundations of counseling, education, licensing and credentialing.

History and Development of CMHC

Sometime in the 18th century the idea of mental illness and caring for the mentally ill came to the forefront of the people's conscious. The first asylum for the mentally ill was opened at ST. Luke's in London in 1751. Towards the end of the 18th century the ideas of asylums changed to an idea of curability of the mentally ill.

19th Century to Present

Mental illness continued to grow and more individuals were being diagnosed with mental illness. In 1909 Clifford Beers assisted in the creation of the National Committee for Mental Health after is published memoirs of life as a patient in an institution garnered interest (Smith & Robinson, 1995). The committee was essential in providing improvement in the lives from individuals who were suffering from a mental illness. In 1946 the National Institute of Mental Health was established, which provided a structure for the treatment of individuals with mental issues. It wasn't until 1955 that patients who were determined to be mentally ill were being reintroduced back into society.

Education for community counselors started in 1965. The change in education shifted from clinical psychology and community health to community psychology. According to Smith and Robinson, (1995) "by the 1970s, mental health counselors found themselves a loosely defined profession without a clear identity or a professional organization around which to rally or form the nucleus of an organizational structure for support or networking capabilities". By adhering to the concept of community psychology the mental health counselor is able to focus on promoting a healthy lifestyle, understanding of behaviors and the restorative abilities of one's mental health. The focus of the mental health counselor also allows the counselor to treat the entire person and not just the mental health issue.


"By the late 1980s, it had become obvious that mental health counselors would not be recognized for reimbursement by third-party payers without standards of preparation and practice (Smith & Robinson, 1995)". A part of the education of a counselor is the assessment of the client. Licensed Mental Health Counselors are required by



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