In many different specific fields, counselors can provide their clients with valuable mental health services that can have a positive and profound impact on personal health and well-being. But sometimes, those without proper training, education, and experience are allowed to practice professionally in situations that may be misleading or dangerous for potential clients. In an effort to create a standard of quality for counseling and to ensure that professionals receive the resources and background they’ll need to effectively meet their clients’ needs, many public administrations are considering tighter regulations for counselors. In the state of Oklahoma, it was recently announced that certified drug and alcohol addiction counselors will soon be subject to a new set of regulations that the state says is designed to improve the quality of care and create a rational schedule of pay rates.
The regulations are set to come into effect at various intervals, some as early as July of 2010, and focus on the need for certified counselors to provide only basic services, allowing those with more advanced degrees and qualifications to offer more involved treatment. In particular, the regulations describe a need for counselors hoping to provide psychotherapy services to obtain licensure, which itself requires a master’s degree. Some opponents of the measure suggest that the move is merely a problem of semantics and will prevent local clients from receiving the care they need as specialists become more rare and many area professionals return to their schooling. But supporters note that a higher level of understanding, experience, and knowledge can only ultimately be of benefit to those who receive help from counselors.
With other states and regions considering the establishment of changes in training, education, and licensing requirements, the mental health fields are likely to experience a significant boost in the coming years.
© Copyright 2009 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.