Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

Accreditation Standards for University and College Counseling Centers. (Practice & Theory)

Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

Accreditation Standards for University and College Counseling Centers. (Practice & Theory)

Article excerpt

University and college counseling services have played a vital role in higher education for many years. (Note. For the purposes of this document, the terms services and centers are interchangeable.) In the last three decades, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of campus counseling services and the multiplicity of functions that are performed. Guidelines for university and college counseling services were first developed in 1970 by a task force of counseling center directors chaired by Barbara Kirk (Kirk et al., 1971). Its work originated from an earlier draft developed by a committee of the Canadian University Counselling Association chaired by Robert I. Hudson. Guidelines were extensively revised in 1981 by a committee of the University and College Counseling Centers Board of Accreditation of the International Association of Counseling Services (IACS) chaired by Kenneth F. Garni (Garni et al., 1982). The 1981 revision reflected the evolving role, functions, and changes in the professional practices of university and college counseling services in the preceding decade. The revision of 1991 (revised in 1991 and published in 1994; Kiracofe et al., 1994) marked a change from providing accreditation guidelines to the establishment of standards for accreditation. It also updated professional practice changes that have occurred in counseling centers in recent years. This present revision of 2000 amends the Standards to include (a) a provision on counseling services merged with other campus units, such as career services and health services; (b) a provision on the ethical use of more recent technology in counseling services; and (c) further specification, elaboration, and clarification of the Standards.

A. RELATIONSHIP OF THE COUNSELING CENTER TO THE UNIVERSITY OR COLLEGE COMMUNITY

Counseling services are an integral part of the educational mission of the institution and support the mission in a variety of ways, such as consultation, teaching, preventive and developmental interventions, and treatment. They provide clinical and counseling services to clients who are experiencing stress due to academic, career, or personal problems that may interfere with their ability to take full advantage of the educational opportunities before them. Counselors are also involved in consultation with faculty and staff, student needs advocacy, program development, teaching, outreach programming, retention activities, and research and evaluation that support the efforts of faculty and staff in enhancing the university environment.

Although the relationship of the counseling service to other units within the institution will vary according to organizational structure and individual campus needs, it is critically important that the service be administratively neutral. If it is perceived as being linked with units that are involved in making admissions, disciplinary, curricular, or other administrative decisions, this can severely restrict the use of the service. Such perceptions may prevent students from seeking services for fear that information they disclose may negatively affect their college careers.

Typically, counseling services are administratively housed in the student affairs unit of the institution and are acknowledged as a valuable component of the overall student services effort. To achieve this recognition, counselors must develop an extensive network of institutional and community relationships. Close linkages should be forged with academic units, campus student service offices, and sources of referral and consultation. Solid working relationships must be maintained with campus and community medical services and with community mental health services, in order to accommodate clients who have medical problems or who require hospitalization. Counseling service professionals should work with faculty and administrators to promote the goal of psychological and emotional development in the many aspects of campus life. …

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