Welcome to ARCA

American Rehabilitation Counseling Association

ARCA is an organization of rehabilitation counseling practitioners, educators, and students who are concerned with improving the lives of people with disabilities. Rehabilitation Counselors are counselors with specialized training and expertise in providing counseling and other services to persons with disability.

Its mission is to enhance the development of people with disabilities throughout their life span and to promote excellence in the rehabilitation counseling profession.

ARCA’s goal is to provide the type of leadership that encourages excellence in the areas of rehabilitation counseling practice, research, consultation, and professional development. ARCA is equally interested in eliminating environmental and attitudinal barriers so that more opportunities are available with regard to education, employment, and community activities to people with disabilities. These goals are addressed by ARCA through public education and legislative activities.

One of ARCA’s primary goals is to increase public awareness of rehabilitation counseling and to extend its influence by encouraging members to become involved in the association’s outreach and educational efforts. Other goals are to help members develop their leadership skills through participation in ARCA’s organizational activities and to work with state officials to develop appropriate licensure requirements.

Scope of Practice for Rehabilitation Counseling

I. Assumptions
• The Scope of Practice Statement identifies knowledge and skills required for the provision of effective rehabilitation counseling services to persons with physical, mental, developmental, cognitive, and emotional disabilities as embodied in the standards of the profession’s credentialing organizations.
• The several rehabilitation disciplines and related processes (e.g., vocational evaluation, job development and job placement, work adjustment, case management) are tied to the central field of rehabilitation profession with counseling as its core, and is differentiated from other related counseling fields.
• The professional scope of rehabilitation counseling practice is also differentiated from an individual scope of practice, which may overlap, but is more specializing than the professional scope. An individual scope of practice is based on one’s own knowledge of the abilities and skills that have been gained through a program of education and professional experience. A person is ethically bound to limit his/her practice to that individual scope of practice.

II. Underlying Values
• Facilitation of independence, integration, and inclusion of people with disabilities in employment and the community.
• Belief in the dignity and worth of all people.
• Commitment to a sense of equal justice based on a model of accommodation to provide and equalize the opportunities to participate in all rights and privileges available to all people; and a commitment to supporting persons with disabilities in advocacy activities to achieve this status and empower themselves.
• Emphasis on the holistic nature of human function which is procedurally facilitated by the utilization of such techniques as:
1. interdisciplinary teamwork.
2. counseling to assist in maintaining a holistic perspective.
3. a commitment to considering individuals within the context of their family systems and communities.
4. recognition of the importance of focusing on the assets of the person.
5. commitment to models of service delivery that emphasize integrated, comprehensive services which are mutually planned by the consumer and the rehabilitation counselor.

III. Scope of Practice Statement
Rehabilitation counseling is a systematic process which assists persons with physical, mental, developmental, cognitive, and emotional disabilities to achieve their personal, career, and independent living goals in the most integrated settings possible through the application of the counseling process. The counseling process involves communication, goal setting, and beneficial growth or change through self-advocacy, psychological, vocational, social, and behavioral interventions. The specific techniques and modalities utilized within this rehabilitation counseling process may include, but are not limited to:
• assessment and appraisal;
• diagnosis and treatment planning;
• career (vocational) counseling;
• individual and group counseling treatment interventions focused on facilitating adjustments to the medical and psychosocial impact of disability;
• case management, referral, and service coordination;
• program evaluation and research;
• interventions to remove environmental, employment, and attitudinal barriers;
• consultation service among multiple parties and regulatory systems;
• job analysis, job development, and placement services, including assistance with employment and job accommodations; and
• the provision of consultation about access to rehabilitation technology.