(mostly all) Counseling related Acronyms and Abbreviations

(Plus Acronyms related to client mental or physical problems)



SAC = Substance Abuse Counselor
Substance abuse counseling is a demanding form of community outreach that requires patience, compassion, and a keen desire to help others who in crisis. A good portion of the addict population are people who need help in many areas of their lives.


SAHM = abbreviation for stay-at-home mom.


SAMHSA = Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration handles the application process for practitioners who want to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid addiction treatment. A DEA Controlled Substances Registration is required to apply. In addition, typically, unless a physician holds the appropriate board certifications, an 8-hour training course is required to qualify for the waiver. Once a physician has either taken the required training or received the appropriate board certification, they may apply for a waiver to begin treating 30 patients with buprenorphine. Certain practitioners may immediately begin treating up to 100 patients if they hold certain board certifications, or if they provide medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder in a qualified practice setting.  Learn about ASAM's Treatment of OUD Courses here!


SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. Call: 1-800-662-HELP (


SAP = Substance Abuse Professional
(A national certification) defined by US Department of Transportation rules to be a licensed physician (Medical Doctor or Doctor of Osteopathy), a licensed or certified psychologist, a licensed or certified social worker, or a licensed or certified employee assistance professional (EAP). In addition, alcohol and drug abuse counselors certified by the NAADAC Certification Commission, a national organization that imposes qualification standards for treatment of alcohol-related disorders, are included in the SAP definition. All must have knowledge of and clinical experience in the diagnosis and treatment of substance abuse-related disorders (the degrees and certificates alone do not confer this knowledge).


SAY = Stuttering Association for the Young
Stuttering is a complex and often-misunderstood communication disorder that can cause interruptions in a person’s speech. Children who stutter often have feelings of guilt, shame, anxiety, or discomfort about their speech.  SAY was founded to help support these children and the world around them.  We help children understand that every voice matters—even if you stutter. []


SBA = Small Business Administration U.S.
Local Assistance
SBA and our network of partners offer free or low-cost business counseling and training in your area.


SCA = Seattle Counselors Association
Seattle Counselors Association is a non-profit professional community of mental health providers serving the entire Puget Sound region. We are a networking organization for counselors and provide referrals for people looking for a counselor.
Message on SCA site June 2022: "Seattle Counselors Association has reached a critical need for future leadership and may be pausing or possibly ending our time as an organization at the end of our programming season in June. To continue, we need mental health professionals and students with an interest in leadership and the future of this organization to reach out to us now. Radical change and QTBIPOC- centered overhaul enthusiastically encouraged. Please email to connect.

SC-C = Spiritual Counselor, Certified
Offered by AICHP, the certification does not require a degree. Applicants must complete a minimum of 340 hours of university and college based courses, continuing education seminars, retreats, self-study and distance learning programs, etc. completed within a five year period prior to the date of application. [Thanks to Rita McFadden Lofgren.] (re: reincarnation and past lives regression.)


ScD = Doctor of Science (degree)


SCORE = The Service Corps of Retired Executives 
A non-profit organization with members who provide free consultation services and advice to entrepreneurs. There is no membership requirement to receive SCORE counseling; any small business owner can call and make an appointment with their local SCORE chapter. [New counselors please see]


SEA = "What is the abbreviation for Seattle?"= SEA, as in SEAHAWKS


The mission of the SEC is to protect investors; maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets; and facilitate capital formation. The SEC strives to promote a market environment that is worthy of the public's trust. Don’t fall for glowing testimonials. Investment scammers hire celebrities and social-media influencers to talk up questionable schemes, and the pay actors to portray “everyday people” and deliver fake reviews. 


SED = Serious Emotional Disturbance

Also known as emotional behavioral disability EBD, or ED.


SEL = Social and Emotional Learning, a curricula used in schools throughout Washington, including Seattle, Tacoma, Lake Washington, Kent, Bellevue, Federal Way, and Spokane school districts according to the Committee for Children,  --involves assessments and training aimed at strengthening students' empathy and resilience.
Schools are trying to help kids recover from the pandemic and have seen a reduction in behavior issues and incidents in the several years since the schools started using the curriculum.


SFBT = Solution-Focused Brief Therapy
Emphasizes clients’ existing strengths and skills instead of problems and psychopathology. However difficult or desperate the client's situation appears to be, by tapping into the clients' internal resources, the counselor can help clients make positive changes in their lives.  Counselor connects with the client, using his/her language, tracking how the client frames his/her problems, and mirroring skills and assets. Solution focused brief therapy (SFBT) believes clients are the experts in their lives, and therefore the experts on the solutions as well.


SIBO = Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth, is the presence of excess bacteria in the small intestine—usually a secondary diagnosis, because of another health issue, usually one that interferes with gut motility, the wavelike contraction of the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract moves food and bacteria along to the colon.


SIV = Special Immigrant Visas (US State Department)
Persons who qualify for a special immigrant visa must have at least one year of employment with the U.S. government. They must have been employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government; or alternatively, they must have been employed by the ISAF (or a successor mission) as a translator or as an assistant to the U.S. military.  (SIVs) for Iraqi and Afghan Translators/Interpreters. This is one Special Immigrant Visa program available to persons who worked with the U.S. Armed Forces or under Chief of Mission authority as a translator or interpreter in Iraq or Afghanistan. This program, which offers visas to up to fifty persons a year, remains active.


SKEWL = South King Emotional Wellness League
SKEWL aims to bring community mental health care to local communities of color by providing virtual, free group and individual sessions. While the program is focused on King County (WA.) residents, it's open to anyone. Sign up for listening session at


SLIFE = Students with limited or interrupted formal education


SOLER is a memory guide for a counselor's basic focus and attending skills.
S = Sit at a comfortable angle and distance from the client.
O = Open posture with arms and legs uncrossed.
L = Leaning forward from time to time, looking genuinely interested. Listening attentively.
E = Effective eye contact without staring.
R = Remaining relatively relaxed.


SOTP = Sex Offender Treatment Provider
"Certified sex offender treatment provider" or "provider" defined in WAC 246-930-010  “(2) "Certified sex offender treatment provider" or "provider" means an individual who is a licensed psychologist, licensed marriage and family therapist, licensed social worker, licensed mental health counselor, or psychiatrist as defined in RCW 71.05.020, who is certified to examine and treat sex offenders pursuant to chapters 9.94A and 13.40 RCW and sexually violent predators under chapter 71.09 RCW.’


STOP STIGMA NOW refers to is a group of experts in the field of addiction treatment determined to eliminate the stigma against medication assisted treatment for opioid addiction which negatively impacts anyone taking methadone and other medications used to treat opioid addiction.


STI =Sexually Transmitted Infection (same as STD)
Bacteria, viruses, and other parasites can enter the body as a result of sexual contact with another person who carries these pathogens (fancy word for germ). People can pass these pathogens around without even knowing it, because in many cases there are no symptoms. These pathogens get into the body and multiply in numbers, but do not yet cause any visible or recognizable symptoms.”Infection” most accurately describes the situation where sexual partners do not have symptoms and may not be aware that they have an infection. Depending on the strain of the bacteria, virus, or protozoa, these infections can cause physical damage, or a disease. (


SUPDs = Substance Use Disorder Professionals (new certification category as of 4/17/19)
If you have questions regarding SUDPs please contact Ted Dale at


SW = Social Worker


SWABH Southwestern Washington Association for Behavioral Therapy
An organization for mental health counselors--primarily in the Lacey, Olympia, Rainier, and Tumwater, Washington area--SWABH offers support and monthly networking and educational opportunities, bringing in local experts to speak on topics of interest.


SYA = Shout Your Abortion
"aimed at humanizing, normalizing and de-stigmatizing the procedure. It had spread from Seattle across the nation, and resulted in a book of personal essays by abortion clients, and providers..."


Mental Health Articles
How Drugs and Alcohol Affect the Brain and Body
Race Relations Articles

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