Acronyms, Certifications, Degrees, and Licenses: Part One

A Ridiculously Brief History

Acronyms are everywhere – you see them at restaurants, in business meetings, in insurance, in stocks, in your kiddo’s classroom. They are also prevalent in the world of medicine and mental health. And let’s be real, it can be overwhelming. In the mental health world alone – they are abundant – LCDC, LPC, LMFT, LCSW, BCBA, RBT, RPT, RYT, AADC, PRSS, MHPS, RSPS…and that does not even begin to scratch surface.

In an attempt to mitigate some of that confusion, and in an effort to inform people so that THEY feel confident to decide what the correct path is for THEIR journey – I’ll be writing a few posts with some of the BASICS with a sprinkle of history. This is not meant to be an exhaustive explanation, but I hope it will spark some curiosity in you to do some more research as well. Whether you’re interested in earning a certification or finding

a certified mental health clinician, maybe a brief introduction can assist your journey.

*IMPORTANT TO NOTE* This is NOT mental health ADVICE, and reading this, along with any other posts made here or on social media, does not constitute entering into a therapeutic relationship. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please call 9-1-1 or the appropriate Emergency Services line in your country.

The history of counseling as we have now come to know it, has not been around all that long. In fact, up until almost the 1980’s, regulations on what counseling was and who could call themselves a counselor were almost non-existent. This is NOT to say that the exploration between mind and body is new. It’s probably safe to assume that a study or keen observance of behaviors, relationships, and other facets of what we now consider psychology have been around for almost as long as humans have. The supportive role that we now recognize as that of a “counselor” was less formal and could be found in communal groups, close friends, family, and others.

However, with two shifts following the Industrial Revolution 1) more people working away from homes and 2) a need for more vocational guidance beyond what families and local communities could provide, counseling started appearing as a targeted and specific role for some. In the 1800’s, psychology also became recognized as science allowing opportunities for research and experiments. This deepened the understanding of theories and there was a rise in the structured practice of what we now call “counseling.” This combined with the rise in disseminating information due to the efficiency in printing photographs, research, and theories sparked a pivotal turning point in the development and advancement of many professions including counseling.

Next time – we will explore Ethics and Regulations.



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