Richard Yep

Each month, I share with you some thoughts, update you on what the American Counseling Association is doing and, sometimes, offer some personal reflections. This month, I am asking for a favor.

In some respects, I think ACA is one of the “best kept” secrets from those who could stand to benefit the most. The past 12 months have been critical in laying the groundwork for new endeavors, as well as following through on leadership decisions made in previous years. ACA is clearly “new and improved” — something we must continue if we are to maintain our position as the world’s largest body of organized professional counselors.

Our clout at the legislative and regulatory level, as well as the impact we are making in terms of delivery of services and resources to professional counselors, remains strong. However, we need something else, and that is why I am asking for a favor.

We need to increase our numbers, and not just to raise more revenue. More members will mean even greater clout in the public policy arena. It also means that those who join agree to abide by the ACA Code of Ethics, something that points to professionalism and protection of the public. Increasing our membership
means reaching a greater audience with the information, services and resources that ACA provides.

As some of you know, we recently launched a series of “members-only” podcasts on the ACA website ( We were also overwhelmed by the response to the call for programs for the ACA Annual Conference & Exposition in Charlotte, N.C. (March 19-23, 2009). Our efforts to realize counselor licensure in all 50 states came closer to reality when a California Senate committee recently allowed us to clear yet another hurdle. Our efforts at the federal level in terms of mental health parity, Licensed Professional Counselor recognition and the largest-ever allocation of funds for the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program ($52 million) also demonstrate that we are on the move.

We can do even more, but we need to increase our membership in ACA. That is why I am asking each of you to do me a favor. Find one colleague (not five, not 10, not 100 — although that would be nice) who you think would be a good candidate for ACA membership and ask them to join. This won’t cost you a cent (unless you sponsor them!), and it is a great way to invite them to be a part of the larger
professional counseling community. Let your special invitee know how important this decision is, both to the profession and for them as a professional counselor, counselor educator or emerging counselor. In addition, tell them about the opportunities that await them if they choose to join any of the 19 ACA divisions as well.

I know the economy is forcing people to look more carefully at how they spend their money. People want to know there is value in what they are purchasing, so I think we need to give them a guarantee. Let your “one” person know that if they are not satisfied with what they receive from their one-year membership in ACA, then they can contact me personally for a full refund of their dues. If your colleague needs more information about what ACA has to offer, send them to our website at to browse.

Last but not least, thanks to all of you for your support of ACA. Our members are our most important asset, and I look forward to our being able to meet your professional needs.

So please help me with this one favor I have requested. I would very much appreciate your efforts in this endeavor so we can make ACA a little less of a well-kept secret!

As always, I hope you will contact me with any comments, questions or suggestions that you might have. Please contact me via e-mail at or by phone at 800.347.6647 ext. 231.

Thanks and be well.