The following explanation is quoted from the
“From the President” column by Samuel T. Gladding, titled "Counseling or Counselling: Internationally Speaking," in Counseling Today,
April 2005, a publication of the American Counseling Association.
--I was unable to find this material available on the Web, so I have
reproduced the applicable portion here--Webmaster.
“Tradition has it (whether true or
not) that the spelling of the word ‘counseling’ and ‘counselor’ is due primarily
to a pioneer in the profession—Frank Parsons—who was employed in a number of
jobs, one of them being a ‘counsellor-at-law.’ Parsons liked the sound of the
word ‘counsellor.’ But when he changed vocations and began working with young
people, he spelled ‘counselor’ with one ‘l’ to make sure those whom he knew did
not get his present work confused with his former profession.
“In the United States, we have
inherited the spelling of counselor and counseling with one ‘L.’ As professional
counselor in numerous specialties, we are not confused with attorneys. However,
since the American public seems to love the word ‘counselor,’ we do sometimes
have to explain how we differ from other ‘counselors’ in our county—camp
counselors, carpet counselors, financial counselors, pest-control counselors,
etc. That means we also have to explain what counseling is.
“The reasons for such a
consideration are twofold. First, by spelling our title as 'counsellors,’ we will
be much more in step with our fellow professionals in other countries….we might
be wise to adopt the spelling of the rest of the English-speaking world….
“A second reason for changing the
spelling of our name is recognition. Attorneys usually put the words ‘at law’
after the word ‘counsellor.’ They even hyphenate the term ‘counsellor-at-law.’
On the other hand, any modifier we might place before or after the word
‘counsellor’ would clearly distinguish us from those practicing law. Even if we
didn’t add anything, it might be more gratifying to be mistaken for a lawyer
than an exterminator (though there are those who would beg to differ).
“So, even though one letter seems
like a small distinction, it could make a big difference. By becoming
counsellors instead of counselors, we might also become more international in
our outlook and more connected with our fellow professionals….”
* * * *
How is "Counseling" (Counselling)
defined by Washington State law?
And what is a psychotherapist?