What Is the History and Mission of the American Counseling Association?

The American Counseling Association (ACA) is a professional organization that represents and supports counselors in the United States. Founded in 1952, the ACA has a rich history of advocating for the counseling profession and promoting the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.

The Mission of the American Counseling Association

The mission of the ACA is to enhance the quality of life in society by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing the counseling profession, and using the profession and practice of counseling to promote respect for human dignity and diversity.


One of the primary functions of the ACA is advocacy. The association works to promote policies that support counseling professionals and improve access to mental health services for all individuals. The ACA also advocates for social justice issues such as equality, diversity, and inclusion.

Professional Development

The ACA provides numerous opportunities for professional development for its members. This includes continuing education courses, conferences, webinars, and publications. The ACA also offers certification programs in various areas of counseling to help members enhance their skills and advance their careers.


Research is an essential component of advancing any profession. The ACA supports research efforts in counseling through its funding opportunities for researchers and publishing research in its journals.


Maintaining high ethical standards is critical in any helping profession. The ACA has established a code of ethics that outlines ethical principles and standards for professional counselors to ensure that they provide competent and ethical services to clients.

The History of the American Counseling Association

The American Counseling Association was originally founded as the American Personnel and Guidance Association (APGA) in 1952. At that time, it was primarily focused on promoting guidance services in schools.

In 1983, the APGA changed its name to the American Association for Counseling and Development (AACD) to reflect the broader scope of the profession beyond school settings. In 1992, the AACD became known as the American Counseling Association (ACA) to better communicate its mission and purpose.

Today, the ACA represents over 56,000 professional counselors in various settings, including schools, mental health clinics, private practice, and government agencies.


The American Counseling Association has a rich history of advocating for the counseling profession and promoting the well-being of individuals and communities. Through its mission of promoting professional development, research, advocacy, ethics, and social justice issues, the ACA continues to be a vital organization for counselors in the United States.