The Counseling Profession
The counseling profession consists of practitioners who work in educational, mental health, healthcare facilities, and other settings to help people make decisions, solve problems, establish or improve relationships, and reach life goals. Although professional counselors work in different settings with seemingly dissimilar missions, they are united by an understanding and command of basic helping skills and a common knowledge of approaches to counseling, human development, measurement and assessment, and psychological, social and cultural theories.
Major professional associations include the American Counseling Association (ACA), its 17 divisions, and its state chapters. Some of the prominent divisions of the ACA are the American School Counselor Association (ASCA); American College Counseling Association; American Mental Health Counselors Association; the International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors (IAMFC); and the National Career Development Association.
The counselor education program at East Carolina University provides a foundation in counseling theory, helping skills, assessment, and developmental theories. It offers graduate students, who come from varied undergraduate backgrounds, an opportunity to study and develop their own personal style and approach to professional counseling. Students are encouraged to focus their elective study on course work that best meets their career interests. The program has three career options that include: school counseling, counseling in higher education, and agency counseling.