Distinguishing Counseling

In the 1960s and 1970s, as the number of counselors particularly in private practice grew, they were seen as a competitive threat by some licensed social workers and psychologists. Since there was no counselor licensure at this time, some counselors were sued for practicing psychology without a license. In the case Weldon v. Virginia State Board of Psychologists Examiners of 1974, the court ruled that Weldon, a counselor in private practice, was not practicing psychology because counseling is a separate profession and should be recognized (Vacc & Loesch, 2000). This opened the door for licensure attempts, resulting in Virginia passing the first law that licensed counselors in 1976. Since then, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have passed laws licensing counselors. In many states licensed counselors are able to perform duties and provide treatments similar to licensed psychologists. Counselor licensure and credentials will be covered in greater depth in chapter 9.

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