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As I look into my clouded crystal ball to predict the direction of the counseling profession over the next decade, I realize that even though the profession of counseling is more than 100 years old and ACA is celebrating its 60th birthday, counseling as a profession is just coming into its own in terms of parity and respect among peer professions, legislators and the public.

We have achieved licensure in every state, but there are over 40 different titles for professional counselor licensees and trainees.

Other professionals, such as physicians, dentists, social workers and psychologists, realized this simple truth long ago and have become strong, respected advocates for their professions and the public. Governments around the world have recognized the importance of mental health and wellness.

As a result, numerous counseling organizations have sprung up in nations around the globe looking for guidance related to accreditation, credentialing and organization-building.

Finally, as professional counselors, we need to firm up the scientific foundations of counseling effectiveness.

Perhaps the biggest threat to professional unity comes from within.Snyder, who is also a contributing editor to — not just through — their computers.The significance for counselors, he says, is that computers will be loaded with software enabling the machines to answer their owners’ questions — including questions that people today often go to see a counselor to discuss.Instead of a live counselor being the first stop for someone with mental health, career, relationship or other issues, Snyder believes that person will initially ask the personal avatar “counselor” on his or her computer for feedback and advice.The personal avatar counselor will be stocked full of good health information, so it will offer constructive and helpful advice, according to Snyder.

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