Practice Guidelines

Practice Guidelines

AMHCA Practice Guidelines provide technical assistance, identify best practices and highlight lessons learned on successful positioning strategies for practitioners on a range of areas related to the delivery and financing of mental health services in the era of health care reform and implications on clinical practice.

Through the individual practice guidelines, AMHCA provides strategies and approaches that CMHCs can implement to better position their practices to advertise and promote their experience and expertise as “primary mental care providers” and mental health promotion and wellness, and assist employers, unions, insurers and payers in implementing mental illness prevention programs.

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COVID-19 Resources for Mental Health Counselors

Publication Date: 2020

Resources and information from the AMHCA community for mental health counselors. Continue to share and tag (use hashtags #Coronavirus #COVID-19 #Telementalhealth, #Telemedicine, #Telehealth) the resources you share so the entire membership can benefit.

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The AMHCA Ethical Decision-Making Model

Publication Date: 2020

AMHCA members are encouraged to consult with the AMHCA Ethics Committee regarding processes to resolve ethical dilemmas that may arise in clinical practice. Members are also encouraged to use commonly recognized procedures for ethical decision-making to resolve ethical conflicts. The AMHCA Ethics Committee has developed a tool for licensed clinical mental health counselors seeking a model for ethical decision-making.

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Considerations for Supervisors Related to Ethical Supervision

Publication Date: 2020

Supervisors provide informed consent/contract prior to beginning a supervision relationship. In addition to the recommended contract, there are practice guidelines for clinical supervision that should be communicated between supervisors and supervisees.

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Behavioral Health Counseling in Health Care Integration Practices and Health Care Systems

Publication Date: 2016

Many CMHCs already possess the training and experience in the promotion of wellness, a key component in successful integrated systems. The assessment and treatment of psychiatric disorders are understood from a mental health perspective. CMHCs are trained to assist clients towards achieving optimal human functioning and away from emotional and mental distress. Moreover, CMHCs frequently work as members of multidisciplinary treatment teams. They are able to provide more comprehensive interventions and treatment services. Treatment teams benefit from this unique perspective of prevention, wellness, and personal growth.

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Thriving in a New Era of Neuroscience: Understanding How Brian Science Can Inform Clinical Practice

Publication Date: 2015

In recent years the concept of neuroscience - the study of the brain and nervous system - has quickly made its way into Clinical Mental Health Counseling vernacular. In the Journal of Mental Health Counseling, references to neuroscience have increased nearly threefold since 2009 as compared to the five years prior. Assisting clinical mental health counselors in developing a deeper understanding of neuroscience can enhance both clinical effectiveness and long-term outcomes. This clinical practice brief provides an introduction and initial discussion regarding the significance and application of neuroscience to clinical mental health counseling.

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Quality and Performance Measures: The Role of Clinical Mental Health Counselors in Improving Mental Health Services

Publication Date: 2015

Under the changing health care landscape, clinical mental health counselors (CMHCs) and other mental health providers now have the opportunity to integrate behavioral health metrics into measurement systems across payers. This is especially true as purchasers and payers are implementing integrated care delivery systems and payment reform strategies, especially efforts emanating from the Affordable Care Act such as accountable care organizations (ACOs). The concept of performance measurement is well established in the medical sector where most purchasers, clinicians and policymakers, and increasingly some consumers now take for granted and indeed expect that performance measures for medical conditions will be calculated, published, and scrutinized.

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Conversion Therapy, An AMHCA Position Statement Related to Ethical Practice

Publication Date: 2014

AMHCA recommends that counseling around sexual orientation or gender identity follows the framework of an “affirmative therapeutic intervention.” This approach means that the therapist addresses the stress inducing stigma experienced by sexual and gender minorities with interventions designed to reduce that stress, including helping the client overcome negative attitudes about themselves. Reparative therapy reinforces negative attitudes about sexual minority status and has been shown to increase stress by reaffirming stigma.

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The Need for Early Mental Health Screening and Intervention Across the Lifespan

Publication Date: 2014

An estimated four million young people will develop a severe mental disorder, such as schizophrenia or bipolar affective disorder. In addition to its enormous economic costs, serious mental illness has devastating effects on young people and their families. Over 75 percent of people with schizophrenia go on to develop a disability and fewer than 25 percent are gainfully employed. Nearly 25 percent of U.S. hospital admissions and disability payments are for people with severe mental health disorders.

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Integration of Mental Health and Primary Care Services

Publication Date: 2014

Persons in the U.S. public mental health system with serious mental illness are dying 25 years earlier than the general population. Consumers, who have a dual diagnosis of mental illness and substance abuse, on average, die nearly 32 years earlier than their fellow citizens. In the general population, individuals with a mental illness die nearly 9 years sooner than those without a mental health disorder. The leading solution to address this problem is to integrate behavioral healthcare and primary healthcare services.

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Mental Illness Prevention

Publication Date: 2014

This white paper explores the Affordable Care Act's impacts on mental health care and discusses a framework for understanding how to promote mental health and prevent illness that can be utilized by CMHCs and by public health entities. This framework focuses on primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention efforts as it relates to mental health and illness. Included is a list of actions for CMHCs to aid in preventing mental illness.

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Understanding Suicide Prevention

Publication Date: 2013

This white paper is a preliminary look at the needs of persons at-risk for suicide or suicide attempts. Readers are encouraged to pursue the plentiful evidence-based practices and best practices that are reviewed in widely available publications and sites. It includes a list of "Top 10 Things to Know about Suicide Prevention and Intervention." #Suicide

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Treating Trauma and Chronic Distress

Publication Date: 2013

Effective treatment helps an individual resolve trauma-related memories and feelings. In doing this, they process underlying self-beliefs, learn how to regulate strong emotions, and establish trusting relationships. CMHCs offer individuals and families the hope that they can recover. The effective treatment of trauma, chronic distress, developmental trauma, traumatic reenactment should be a hallmark of ethical practice.

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9 Ways to Build Your Practice

AMHCA past president Tom Ferro, LCPC, offers valuable guidance from decisions on getting started to developing a niche, from using the power of word of mouth to selecting a billing service, and from giving presentations to taking care of yourself. #PrivatePractice

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