Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master of Arts

Professional Organizations

Professional Organization Information (e.g., OCA, ACA, AMHCA, etc.): Aside from ACA membership, students are strongly encouraged to join one or more of ACA’s 20 established divisions. These divisions enhance professional identity and are organized around specific interests and practice areas. The divisions provide professional strength and satisfy the diverse needs of the counseling community. Information regarding each is provided below:

  • Association for Adult Development and Aging (AADA): Chartered in 1986, AADA serves as a focal point for information sharing, professional development, and advocacy related to adult development and aging issues; addresses counseling concerns across the lifespan. The association Web site is: www.aadaweb.org.
  • Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling (AARC): Originally the Association for Measurement and Evaluation in Guidance, AARC was chartered in 1965. The purpose of AARC is to promote the effective use of assessment in the counseling profession. The association Web site is: aarc-counseling.org.
  • Association for Child and Adolescent Counseling (ACAC): ACAC is the American Counseling Association’s newest division. ACAC serves as a support and information network for counselors who work with children and adolescents. The association Web site is: acachild.com.
  • Association for Creativity in Counseling (ACC): ACC is a forum for counselors, counselor educators, creative arts therapists and counselors in training to explore unique and diverse approaches to counseling. ACC’s goal is to promote greater awareness, advocacy, and understanding of diverse and creative approaches to counseling. The association Web site is: www.creativecounselor.org.
  • American College Counseling Association (ACCA): ACCA is one of the newest divisions of the American Counseling Association. Chartered in 1991, the focus of ACCA is to foster student development in colleges, universities, and community colleges. The association Web site is: www.collegecounseling.org.
  • Association for Counselors and Educators in Government (ACEG): Originally the Military Educators and Counselors Association, ACEG was chartered in 1984. ACEG is dedicated to counseling clients and their families in local, state, and federal government or in military-related agencies. The association Web site is: acegonline.org.
  • Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES): Originally the National Association of Guidance and Counselor Trainers, ACES was a founding association of ACA in 1952. ACES emphasizes the need for quality education and supervision of counselors seeking entry-level preparation for all work settings. The association Web site is: www.acesonline.net.
  • Association of Humanistic Counseling (AHC): AHC, a founding association of ACA in 1952, provides a forum for the exchange of information about humanistically-oriented counseling practices and promotes changes that reflect the growing body of knowledge about humanistic principles applied to human development and potential. The association website is:  afhc.camp9.org.
  • Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues in Counseling (ALGBTIC): ALGBTIC educates counselors with regard to the unique needs of client identity development, and promotes a non-threatening counseling environment by aiding in the reduction of stereotypical thinking and homoprejudice. The association Web site is: www.algbtic.org.
  • Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD): Originally the Association of Non-White Concerns in Personnel and Guidance, AMCD was chartered in 1972. AMCD strives to improve cultural, ethnic and racial empathy and understanding by programs to advance and sustain personal growth. The association Web site is: www.amcdaca.org.
  • American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA): Chartered in 1978, AMHCA represents mental health counselors, advocating for client access to quality services within the health care industry. The association Web site is: www.amhca.org.
  • American Rehabilitation Counseling Association (ARCA): ARCA is an organization of rehabilitation counseling practitioners, educators, and students who are concerned with enhancing the development of people with disabilities throughout their lifespan and in promoting excellence in the rehabilitation counseling profession’s practice, research, consultation, and professional development. The association Web site is: www.arcaweb.org.
  • American School Counselor Association (ASCA): Chartered in 1953, ASCA promotes school counseling professionals and interest in activities that affect the personal, educational, and career development of students. ASCA members also work with parents, educators, and community members to provide a positive learning environment. The association Web site is: www.schoolcounselor.org.
  • Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Values in Counseling (ASERVIC): Originally the National Catholic Guidance Conference, ASERVIC was chartered in 1974. ASERVIC is devoted to professionals who believe that spiritual, ethical, religious, and other human values are essential to the full development of the person and to the discipline of counseling. The association Web site is: www.aservic.org.
  • Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW): Chartered in 1973, ASGW provides professional leadership in the field of group work, establishes standards for professional training, and supports research and the dissemination of knowledge. The association Web site is: www.asgw.org.
  • Counselors for Social Justice (CSJ): CSJ is a community of counselors, counselor educators, graduate students, and school and community leaders who seek equity and an end to oppression and injustice affecting clients, students, counselors, families, communities, schools, workplaces, governments, and other social and institutional systems.
  • International Association of Addictions and Offender Counselors (IAAOC): Originally the Public Offender Counselor Association, IAAOC was chartered in 1972. Members of IAAOC advocate the development of effective counseling and rehabilitation programs for people with substance abuse problems, other addictions, and adult and/or juvenile public offenders. The association Web site is www.iaaoc.org.
  • International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors (IAMFC): Chartered in 1989, IAMFC members help develop healthy family systems through prevention, education, and therapy. The association Web site is: www.iamfconline.com.
  • National Career Development Association (NCDA): Originally the National Vocational Guidance Association, NCDA was one of the founding associations of ACA in 1952. The mission of NCDA is to promote career development for all people across the lifespan through public information, member services, conferences, and publications. The association Web site is: ncda.org.
  • National Employment Counseling Association (NECA): NECA was originally the National Employment Counselors Association and was chartered in 1966. The commitment of NECA is to offer professional leadership to people who counsel in employment and/or career development settings. The association Web site is: www.employmentcounseling.org.

In addition to the national associations and divisions, students are strongly encouraged to join the Oklahoma Counseling Association (OCA) and its state divisions. Information regarding OCA and its divisions may be obtained from its Web site (www.oklahomacounseling.org) or by emailing the membership chair at membership@oklahomacounseling.org. A list of OCA state divisions includes the following:

  • Oklahoma Association for Addiction Counselors (OAAC)
  • Oklahoma Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (OACES)
  • Oklahoma Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in Counseling (OALGBTIC)
  • Oklahoma Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (OAMCD)
  • Oklahoma Association for Play Therapy (OKAPT)
  • Oklahoma Christian Counselor Association (OCCA)
  • Oklahoma Mental Health Counselor Association (OKMHCA)
  • Oklahoma School Counselor Association (OSCA)
  • Counseling Association for Military, Oklahoma Veterans and Families (CAMOVAF)

Similar to ACA, the Oklahoma Counseling Association offers a variety of different membership categories. These categories include the following:

  • Student Membership: using the same definition as the ACA student membership (provided above) with significantly discounted rates.
  • Associate Membership: for individuals in a counseling-related employment role who hold less than a master’s degree.
  • Professional Membership: using the same definition as the ACA professional membership category (provided above).
  • Retiree: for retired counselors in the state of Oklahoma.

Student membership in OCA provides a number of benefits as well. For example, OCA allows student and retired members to attend the Midwinter Conference at no additional charge (aside from membership). In addition, OCA membership offers the following to all categories of membership:

  • Organizational leadership, assistance and communication
  • Cooperation and involvement with The State Department of Education and The State Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse personnel
  • Organizational involvement and cooperation with college and university personnel
  • Local, regional, and state meeting workshops as well as special interest sessions
  • National Certified Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor continuing education units
  • Leadership, involvement, and support on the local, state and national legislative levels
  • The OCA quarterly newsletter (Counseling in Oklahoma)
  • A directory of OCA members including name, address and phone number, counseling specializations, and the regions where they live (to afford opportunities for local networking)
  • An opportunity to present and/or participate in four annual state conferences
  • Legislative updates via email per the Oklahoma Public Policy and Legislation Chairperson and a dedicated state lobbyist
  • A community of positive individuals dedicated to supporting fellow Oklahoma counselors, students, and retirees