Regent University’s School of Psychology & Counseling (SPC) is celebrating a significant honor for its counseling department chair, Dr. Jacqueline Smith. The accrediting body for counseling, CACREP, invited Smith to serve as a member of its Board of Directors for a five-year term. The move made by the highly selective organization means Regent’s SPC now has faculty on accrediting bodies for both psychology and counseling in the same department.
“I am dedicated to preparing future counselors to practice ethically and competently,” said Smith. “I hope to advance the public perception and respect for the counseling profession as a legitimate mental health profession with specific training, professional ethics, standards of care and best practices, and credentials.”
Its wellness-based, developmental approach to mental health, Smith says, makes professional counseling unique, although it may not be as widely known as psychology, psychiatry and social work. Through service on the CACREP Board, Smith plans to use her platform to professionally advocate for the field. She also desires to promote licensure portability to ease the burden of varying counseling license requirements counselors face as they move between states.
“The original request for applicants indicated that the board had a preference for members outside of the southern region as our region is already well represented,” said assistant dean and psychology and counseling professor Dr. Jim Sells. “However, it appears that her outstanding qualifications and experiences prompted the board to invite her to join them.”
Smith graduated from a CACREP-accredited program, and she has been a counseling practitioner, started a counseling program, directed counseling programs at public and private universities, and now holds an administrative position. She has also served as a site-team chair and a site-team member of CACREP for several years.
“I believe the board recognizes my ability to represent, support, and evaluate different aspects of counselor competency,” said Smith. “No doubt, they heard the passion of my heart; I believe in the need for professional counselors’ services in order to promote optimum health well-being for all people of our society.”
As a member of its board of directors, Smith will have a vocal and noticeable presence at CACREP, where policies that shape marketplace practices and impact the counseling profession at state and national levels are crafted. There she plans to start conversations that represent Regent’s institutional needs.
“Regent will always be aware of the changes and current trends in accreditation, licensure, certification, counselor preparation, and best practices,” said Smith. “I can help the SPC accurately interpret and implement the accreditation guidelines. As the University goes through accreditation and our Counseling programs grow and expand, I certainly see the strategic hand of God in this five-year appointment. I am honored He found me worthy.”
Regent is the only Christian institution to offer doctoral programs accredited by both the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) in the same academic department. Through its distinctively Christian approach, the SPC seeks to elevate the standards for the entire counseling field.