Mission

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The mission of the Virginia Association of Clinical Counselors is as follows:

A)  To promote the counseling profession and the practice of clinical counseling.

B)  To exchange information pertinent to clinical counseling concerns with members and other appropriate persons through newsletters, regional groups, educational programs, and other mediums of communication.

C)  To promote professional development activities for clinical counselors to expand or renew skills and help satisfy various requirements for re-certification.  To advocate for high standards of professional preparation and development.

D)  To monitor and take positions regarding legislation which affects clinical counselors or the practice of clinical counseling and to educate clinical counselors about legislative issues.

E)  To coordinate and ally with other organizations and counselors to promote the counseling profession and address matters of concern related to clinical counseling.

F)  To monitor third party payment issues and initiate action as appropriate to represent the interests of clinical counselors.

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Promotion of the clinical counseling profession

Item A:  Promotion of the clinical counseling profession –

The Virginia Association of Clinical Counseling has actively been promoting the clinical counseling profession since our inception in 1980.  VACC has done so in collaboration with the Virginia Counselors Association, the Board of Counseling, the American Mental Health Counselors Association, and assorted other organizations.  We have participated in the now defunct Virginians for Mental Health Equity, which was an organization comprised of a multitude of provider groups that addressed issues of concern to the mental health professions.

VACC has promoted the profession by attending Board of Counseling meetings and assisting the Board with legislative endeavors. VACC operates several committees that serve to promote the profession. Among such committees are the Legislative Committee, the Professional Advocacy Committee, The Public Relations Committee, the Conference Committee, the Ethics and Standards Committee, the Fellowship Committee, the Membership Committee, and the Communications Committee.

To exchange information pertinent to clinical counseling concerns with members and other appropriate persons through newsletters, regional groups, educational programs, and other mediums of communication.

The portion of the VACC Mission lies largely within the province of the Communications Committee.  VACC has one of the most comprehensive websites of any of the AMHCA state chapters. We use the website to announce conferences, legislative issues, advocacy action, job opportunities, and much, much more.  E-mail is also utilized to keep our membership informed of pertinent concerns or opportunities.  Newsletters, more frequent lately than in the recent past, serve to keep the membership informed.  We also provide the newsletters on the website after they have been circulated to our membership.

Educational programs will be addressed in a later section.  Regional groups, of which there are two at present, provide an opportunity to exchange information between the state and local concerns.  VACC bylaws stipulate that the president of regional groups sit on the Executive Board of VACC.

To promote professional development activities for clinical counselors to expand or renew skills and help satisfy various requirements for re-certification.  To advocate for high standards of professional preparation and development.

Professional development involve the Conference Committee and the Ethics and Standards Committee.  VACC has produced two to three conferences/workshops a year, always with a discount to our members.  We announce them in statewide mailings, e-mailings, newsletters, and on our website. VACC tries to sprinkle them around the state, and provides a variety of content as described below. Our conferences bring in new membership and an average of $2000 net per workshop.  For some time, we specialized in clinical supervision workshops because there was such a market for them, but now have returned to a variety of topics.  Upcoming workshops can be found on our events web paeg. The following is a list of the major workshops over the last few years:

11/05/04              Lynchburg                             Building A PowerHouse Practice

05/13/05              Virginia Beach                       Building A PowerHouse Practice

04/16/06              Alexandria                             Building A PowerHouse Practice

09/22/06              Charlottesville                      The Essence of Clinical Supervision

06/15/07              Virginia Beach                       The Last Minute Ethics Workshop

10/19/07              Lynchburg                             Professional Training Seminar in Clinical Supervision

02/15/08              Richmond                              PTSD/Diagnosis

06/20/08              Norfolk                                  The Last Minute Ethics Workshop

01/09/08              Richmond                              The Competencies and Ethics Of Clinical Supervision

03/27/08              Richmond                              The Skills of Providing Clinical Supervision

09/19/08              Richmond                              The Competencies and Ethics of Clinical Supervision

10/23/09              Richmond                              The Relationship: The Core of Clinical Supervision

11/13/09              Richmond                              The Skills of Providing Clinical Supervision

01/09/09              Virginia Beach                       Building a PowerHouse Practice

05/21/10              Virginia Beach                       Building a PowerHouse Practice

01/28/11              Richmond                              Borderline Personality Disorder

To monitor and take positions regarding legislation which affects clinical counselors or the practice of clinical counseling and to educate clinical counselors about legislative issues.

VACC has a Legislative Committee.  Our committee receives alerts from national organizations such as the American Mental Health Counselors Association, the American Counseling Association, and the National Board for Certified Counselors, and passes them on to our membership via e-mail.  We also keep in contact with the Board of Counseling. Our committee members monitor Virginia legislative activity each year to be aware of bills that may potentially affect clinical counselors.  We have recently developed more formal links with the Virginia Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and the Virginia Society for Clinical Social Work to assist each other in watchdogging legislative action.

As described earlier, the Legislative Committee has advanced, lobbied for, and successfully shepherded through bills that changed the face of Virginia’s counseling profession.  As referenced previously, such initiatives have included those that provided mandatory third party reimbursement for LPC’s, the expansion of our scope of practice in 1993, the ability to receive Medicaid reimbursement, the requirement for mandatory continuing education to renew one’s license, and the development of stiffer supervision requirements.  We have also rallied our members to support the initiatives of our national organizations, particularly those that address TRICARE and Medicare reimbursement.

The Legislative Committee has also led attempts to stop legislation that VACC feared would harm the profession.  When marriage and family therapists were trying to pass a bill that would establish a new licensure in 1994 (LMFT), VACC challenged the bill for many reasons, among them that another licensure would take business away from professional counselors. There were also objections to some of the language in the bill that, as originally written, could have been interpreted to restrict the right to perform marital and family counseling. We eventually obtained important concessions, but at the cost of nearly $40,000 in legal and lobbying fees.  Fortunately, such situations rarely arise, but VACC stands ready to defend our profession if they do.

To coordinate and ally with other organizations and counselors to promote the counseling profession and address matters of concern related to clinical counseling.

ACC has developed cordial relationships with the Virginia Association of Clinical Social Work and the Virginia Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. Our organizations often invite representatives of the other organizations to attend each other’s Board meeting, and are considering a joint conference hosted by all three groups. We are the state branch of the American Mental Health Counselors Association and endeavor to work for both state and national issues whenever possible.  Our current president, Lynessa Glass, forged some connections with the representatives of neighboring states when she attended the AMHCA Leadership Conference.  Through VACC’s annual Linda Heacock Memorial Fellowships, we endeavor to relate to the academic world as well.  From time to time, the topic is raised of working collaboratively with the VCA clinical group that replaced us when we disaffiliated (Virginia Clinical Counselors Alliance) but we have never chosen to act on that possibility.

To monitor third party payment issues and initiate action as appropriate to represent the interests of clinical counselors.

This item is among those close to the heart of VACC’s mission – to promote the clinical counseling profession and to protect the clinical counseling profession. Economic viability via third party payment was finally achieved in 1987 after much effort in the years preceding.  Passing the revision to Virginia law is one of VACC’s proudest accomplishments (with due credit to the Board of Counseling and the Virginia Counselors Association for their roles). Redefinition of sections of the Virginia Code in 1993 was another important accomplishment, allowing for enhanced scope of practice.  Medicaid reimbursement was another one of our initiatives.  We also fought against the licensure of additional provider groups.  VACC stands ready, with our Legislative Committee and substantial reserve funds, to initiate legislation to promote the viability of our profession or to protect against threats to it. We are also buoyed by our recent affiliations with VAMFT and VSCSW, who have agreed to collaborate on watching for legislation that would affect either one of our professions.

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