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Revista Electrónica Educare

On-line version ISSN 1409-4258Print version ISSN 1409-4258


VILLAFANE SANTIAGO, Ángel A.; VELAZQUEZ ALTAGRACIA, José Lionel  and  BAEZ LEBRON, Maribel. Evolution of Rehabilitation Counseling in Puerto Rico: Organizational and Legislative Efforts. Educare [online]. 2013, vol.17, n.3, pp.117-136. ISSN 1409-4258.

The purpose  of this paper  is to explain a) the  historical, organizational, and  legislative efforts  that  have  contributed to  the  development of the  Rehabilitation  Counseling  profession, b) how  these  efforts  have  contributed to  the  development of the  professional  identity  of the rehabilitation counselors and c) how these events have contributed to the development of programs and  the  provision of quality services to people  with special needs  in Puerto  Rico. Through oral history and literature review, it is possible to recognize the importance of the establishment of the federal legislation that promoted the first program  of services to people  with special needs  in the United States and Puerto Rico. Those legislative mandates have also promoted the development of the Rehabilitation Counseling profession in the 20th Century and the development of professional organizations that have been determinant for the professionalization. This paper illustrates how at the end of 1960, in Puerto Rico, the creation of the Rehabilitation Counselors Association (Asociación de Consejeros en Rehabilitación, ACER by its Spanish acronym) was critical for the transformation of the profession and for the creation of the Puerto Rico’s Professional Society of Rehabilitation Counselors (Colegio Profesional de los Consejeros en Rehabilitación de Puerto Rico) at the beginning of the 21st Century. The study refers to the subsequent legislative efforts and the approval of new mandates as the amendment to the Puerto Rican Law of Mental Health made  to include the Rehabilitation Counseling professionals  among  the  professionals  authorized  to provide such services to people with mental health conditions in the country. After this theoretical  historical review, it is concluded that  although more  marketing  is required  in terms  of promoting the  profession, this innovative profession has kept up-to-date over time, and that is a guarantee of the professional commitment to continue  providing quality services to the persons with special needs.

Keywords : Rehabilitation counseling; legislation; history; professionalism.

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