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International counseling introduction.

The growth of counseling around the world is one of the major and most exciting emerging trends in the counseling profession. Although it was once thought to be primarily a U.S. phenomenon, other countries located on virtually every continent are developing counseling services to meet their unique mental health needs. The globalization of communication technology, transportation systems, and business has stimulated the initiation and growth of governmentally and privately sponsored mental health programs. Many nations throughout the world recognize that positive mental health is a valuable social/ economic asset regardless of a country's political orientation.

The American Counseling Association, the National Board of Certified Counselors, various universities, and private consultants are providing assistance to other countries to assist them in developing counseling programs tailored to meet their mental health needs. The United States has the most advanced counseling system in terms of professional associations, credentialing, number of trained counselors, and counseling programs. However, that is not to say that other countries want to simply adopt these programs. In fact, other countries warn against the wholesale application of U.S. counseling theories/techniques and programs in other countries and cultures. Most advocate the development of their own theories/techniques and programs to meet their unique needs or at least significantly tailoring existing U.S. practices to their own cultures.

The purpose of this special section of the Journal of Counseling & Development (JCD) is to describe counseling in several countries and facilitate understanding of the growth of counseling worldwide. The articles for the special section were solicited through announcements on CESNET-L (an unmoderated listserv concerning counselor education and supervision) and other communications. As a result of those announcements, more than 20 potential authors volunteered to write articles about the development of counseling services in various countries. To get broad coverage, I selected articles that represented countries from several major world regions. As a result, articles were selected from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America. Although there were many excellent recommendations for articles from countries other than the ones chosen, only eight are published in this issue due to space limitations. Others will be published in future JCD issues.

This issue contains descriptions of counseling in China, Botswana, Lebanon, Malaysia, Romania, Italy, Mexico, and Denmark. Each article contains at least three major sections: (a) a review/history of the development of counseling in the particular country, (b) current status, and (c) future trends, it was further recommended that each article have at least one author who is a native of the particular country described.

The countries represented are in many ways a divergent group. They include a range of national histories, some relatively new on the world stage and others that have been in existence for centuries. There are also significant differences in social orientation (collective vs. individualistic) and in economic and political systems. Professional counseling services have also developed among the countries in different ways. In some countries, counseling services began mostly in the schools and branched out to community programs, whereas in other countries, counseling services began in social agencies and/or private practice and may or may not have been integrated into the schools. Counselor education programs also vary widely in the various countries, from virtually none to graduate degrees in counseling and use of Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (2009) standards. Some have drawn heavily from U.S. counseling professionals and organizations in the development of their counseling service systems, whereas others have required less assistance.

Although the countries represented in this special section have unique characteristics, they have a common theme of recognizing that positive mental health among their citizens is a valuable asset. They further recognize that counseling is one of the tools that can advance the mental health of children and adults. Although the counseling profession is at different developmental stages among the different nations represented in this special section, there is significant advancement that seems to be progressing with increasing momentum. It is hoped that readers of this special section on international counseling will come away with an increased appreciation of the development of the counseling profession throughout the world.

Although all of the articles in this special issue were current at the time they were written, because of the rapid rate of change in a couple of the countries and publication lag time, some of the articles may be more reflective of the current situation in the countries they represent than others.

* References

Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. (2009). 2009 CACREP accreditation manual. Alexandria, VA: Author.

Thomas H. Hohenshil, Department of Educational Leadership and Policies Studies, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Thomas H. Hohenshil, 104 Prestwick Drive, Clayton, NC 27527 (e-mail:
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Title Annotation:Special Section: International Counseling
Author:Hohenshil, Thomas H.
Publication:Journal of Counseling and Development
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2010
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