Prof. Lawrence H. Gerstein
College of Health
Department of Counselling Psychology, Social Psychology & Counselling
Ball State University
This article discusses the historic and potential future roles, functions, and settings of counsellors in the United States (U.S.) and Hong Kong. The “turf war” in the mental health professions in the U.S. around the recognition and regulation of the title, professional counsellor or mental health counsellor, and the practice of counselling also will be presented including some activities (e.g. accreditation of training programmes, licensure & certification for professional counsellors) that were pursued in an attempt to resolve it. The “turf war” in Hong Kong will be discussed as well along with a rationale for why the title, counsellor, and the practice of counselling now warrants formal recognition and regulation so that there is parity among the various Hong Kong mental health professionals. It will be argued that achieving these objectives in both the U.S. and Hong Kong is beneficial to the emerging global importance of multidisciplinary integrated health care and providing a diverse group of potential clientele (e.g. individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations) with a broader array of qualified mental health care professionals, particularly in more rural and underserved communities.
Recognizing, regulating, mental health profession