The counseling profession has been operating without a universal definition of what it means to engage in counseling. Therefore, professionals in this field felt the need to launch initiative 20/20: A Vision for the Future of Counseling involving different organizations to come up with principles for unifying and strengthening the profession. This paper summarizes the article, 20/20: A Vision for the Future of Counseling: The New Consensus Definition of Counseling by David Kaplan, Vivian Tarvydas, and Samuel Gladding.
This article is a comprehensive description of the development process towards the creation of the definition of counseling as “a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals” (Kaplan et al., 2014, p. 366). The article also discusses the implications of this definition for the counseling profession. Specifically, the authors describe the Delphi process that was used to develop the definition. In the first round, the various involved delegates were organized into seven groups and each requested to submit a definition based on professional expertise and experience. In the second round, the same groups were tasked with creating a definition based on highly ranked terms drawn from the first round. The aforementioned definition was then created in a delegate meeting held on March 19, 2010, at the American Counseling Association (ACA) with 29 delegates in attendance. Twenty-nine (29) organizations of the 32 that were participating endorsed this definition. The implications for this initiative are many and important to the counseling profession.
The article is well written in simple language for a wide audience including professionals in the counseling practice and anyone interested in such information. Additionally, the article is divided into short and clearly labeled subtopics, which make it easy to read and understand by following what the authors are trying to say. The content is relevant to the topic being discussed and it is reliable and credible because the authors sufficiently referenced it using peer-reviewed sources. Additionally, the tables are used appropriately to help the reader understand the content better. I think that the article is written appropriately and it adds significant information to the counseling profession.
First, coming up with a universally accepted definition of counseling promotes the practice by creating a consensus on what it is that we do. I think working together under the umbrella of this definition strengthens the counseling practice. As such, the definition of counseling is no longer subjected to political arenas and manuscripts written by individuals without enough insight into the profession. As a counselor, I feel that moving forward, I know exactly what is expected from me, which gives scope to the entire counseling profession. The future of this practice is promising as practitioners seek to work together for the ultimate good of the clients who need our services.
This article gives a comprehensive insight into the process that was used to come up with the definition of counseling as being applied in contemporary times. The Delphi process allowed delegates to agree on a definition that could be applied across the board. The article’s contents are relevant and it is properly written to inform readers sufficiently. I think that having a widely accepted definition of counseling creates a platform on which the practice will continue to develop and advance as we seek to offer quality and timely services to those who need them.
Kaplan, D. M., Tarvydas, V. M., & Gladding, S. T. (2014). 20/20: A vision for the future of counseling: The new consensus definition of counseling. Journal of Counseling & Development, 92(3), 366-372.