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Council for Accreditation of Counseling Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and 2008 Standards Revision Process

Editor's Note:

This is a campaign to address the special needs of counseling gifted children in the standards for graduate counseling programs beginning in the year 2008.  We need your support, both as an individual, and as a member or head of any organization related to gifted children.

Please send personal letters of support and testimony for this need to CACREP (by September) at CACREP Standards Review Committee, CACREP, 5999 Stevenson Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304.  If you belong to or head an organization, please send formal letters of endorsement.  Please copy all correspondence to Andy Mahoney ASMahoney@aol.com for coordination of efforts.

Dear Colleagues,

This letter is being written to request your help and support on a very exciting opportunity that will profoundly impact the future of counseling services in schools, community agencies and private counseling related services provided to our gifted children.  As you may or may not be aware at this time school counselors, mental health professionals and counseling related professions have virtually no professional training on the graduate level in addressing the unique and complex needs of our gifted children. Over the years counseling related graduate programs have expanded their curriculum to include training and specialization in a variety of multicultural and diverse populations. To this day the gifted population is not one of those considered populations. This void in training is extremely apparent in our current counseling services for the gifted. One of our many problems in this area is finding appropriate mental health services that do not make pathological the behaviors of gifted children. Another problem that faces gifted children is academic underachievement and the complexity of intervention that is required to reverse that pattern. We are also in need of specialized career counseling service that would address our school age gifted and beyond. These are just a few of the concerns that are behind this initiative I am putting forth to you today.

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the independent accrediting arm for the American Counseling Association, a membership organization for over 50,000 practicing counselors is currently in the process of revising the standards for graduate programs for the year 2008. CACREP has approximately 180 graduate institutions that currently adhere to these standards of practice and curriculum.  This type of standards revision would mean that every accredited institution in this country meeting those standards would need to include some form of curriculum to graduate students of counseling that would address the special needs of counseling gifted children (yet to be determined by this initiative). The impact would be tremendous both for the advancement of counseling gifted children and also the education of gifted children.  For example school counselors would be educated not only in areas related to social-emotional wellbeing,  but in the area of career development for the gifted and the unique needs related to counseling gifted children to achieve academically in the school setting.  Mental health professionals would be given the opportunity to learn the differences between gifted behavior and pathology, which currently impacts so many of our children when they require therapeutic services outside the school setting. This change in standards may eventually impact other organizations to see the need and adopt standards for this type of education, such as the American Psychological Association and the field of social work.  School counselors could then become one more advocate for our children because they would now have the tools to support the necessary services both related to counseling and to education. These are just a few of the numerous benefits that could become possible if these curriculum standards were put into place.

Now what is required of us?  I am asking for support in a variety of ways to make this endeavor occur. I have started by sending this letter to all members of the Counseling and Guidance Division, The NAGC leadership and all state affiliate Presidents / Chairs etc. of gifted related organizations. 

Starting with State affiliates I am asking that you send a letter of support from your affiliation endorsing this need for standards to address the special counseling needs of gifted children. Your letter needs to be more of an official endorsement than a supportive document of research findings.

For members of the Counseling and Guidance division and any interested supporters, I am asking that you send letters of support sighting any relevant research, anecdotal experience and or data from you, your schools, and personal experience or otherwise that could document this need.  Please reach out to your children’s parents and clientele and encourage them to write supportive letters and document situations that would show need for such education of counselors. We need as much documented experience for this initiative as possible, since there are relatively small amounts of available research data.

I am asking the leadership of NAGC to assist me in preparing a formal submission to go to the Standards Review Committee at CACREP. This would entail the following: Provide an overview and review of the development of this need and the field of counseling the gifted. Creating a statement of rationale and a need for change by gathering data on current graduate programs that offer courses related to the counseling and or social-emotional needs of gifted children. Put together any existing research, current text materials etc. that would be relevant to supporting this initiative. Design appropriate curriculum and a methodology to implement this addition of curriculum standards into existing graduate programs that would not overwhelm or be inconsistent with the current curriculums. For example Jean Peterson and Sidney Moon at Purdue have already designed a prototype related to this and are willing to contribute. There will be specific forms provided by CACREP to guide us which will be available on their web site WWW.CACREP.ORG or in the CACREP newsletter Connection. 

I am also asking that if anyone belongs to another association that has any relevance to this cause please contact that association and solicit their support.  I was told by CAREP that the more related associations that support this effort the more likely the need will be recognized.  Please share this information with as many people as possible. The Standards Revision Committee is beginning this process in September of this year so timing is crucial here.  These letters do not have to be perfect, they just need to manifest and accumulate.  Please send all letters of support to CACREP attention of the Standards Revisions Committee at 5999 Stevenson Avenue Alexandria, VA 22304.   Any persons interested in helping me prepare or do follow up on this project please contact me via Phone 703-318-6621 or email at ASMahoney@aol.com  I need all the help I can get on this and will need you. There are specific people out there currently who are aware of the CACREP process, you are the ones that I specifically need your support.

In closing I want to thank you for taking the time to consider this initiative. I am also looking forward to hearing from you.


Andrew (Andy) Mahoney
Chair Counseling and Guidance Division, NAGC

Counseling the Gifted
IN PLEIN AIR | Pastel artwork by Andrew Mahoney

Last updated December 01, 2020

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