(mostly all) Counseling related Acronyms and Abbreviations

(Plus Acronyms related to client mental or physical problems)



GAF = The Global Assessment of Functioning
The Global Assessment of Functioning scale is used to rate how serious a mental illness may be. It measures how much a person's symptoms affect his or her day-to-day life on a scale of 0 to 100. It's designed to help mental health providers understand how well the person can do everyday activities.   

"The scale was included in DSM-IV, but replaced in DSM-5 with the WHODAS (WHO Disability Assessment Schedule), a survey or interview with detailed items. The WHODAS is supposed to be more detailed and objective than a single global impression.  The main advantage of the GAF would be its brevity."[Wikipedia]

GAL = Guardian Ad Litem
An attorney or other trained person who is appointed by the court to represent the interest of a child or disabled person in a pending court case--commonly used to represent children in a divorce there are allegations of domestic violence or child abuse or custody is contested.


GC-C = Grief Counselor, Certified
(Certified Grief Counselor), American Academy of Grief Counseling, American Institute of Health Care Professionals.


GCMH = Global Council for Mental Health
(A new WHO organization, 2004).


GIRD = Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (or just “reflux”)
A digestive disorder affecting the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle connecting the esophagus again the backflow of gastric acid from the stomach.  Some contributing factors: Digestive abnormalities, weight, Pregnancy, age, certain foods and drinks, eating patterns, and some medications. For more information, see “A Harvard Medical School, Special Health Report, The Sensitive Gut.”


GMHS = Geriatric Mental Health Specialist
Defined by WAC 388-865-0150 which applies to an agency that is licensed by the Mental Health Division as a Community Mental Health Program. This would not apply to an individual in private practice. [Thanks to Washington State DSHS, Mental Health Division, (360) 902-0787.] While the mental health professional is employed by the agency the meaning is as follows: WAC 388-865-0150 Definitions. "(2) A 'geriatric mental health specialist' is defined as a mental health professional who has the following education and experience: (a) A minimum of one hundred actual hours (not quarter or semester hours) of specialized training devoted to the mental health problems and treatment of persons sixty years of age or older; and (b) The equivalent of one year of full-time experience in the treatment of persons sixty years of age or older, under the supervision of a geriatric mental health specialist."


GSA-NCC = Graduate Student Application for the National Certified Counselor
Allows advanced students in participating counselor preparation programs at colleges and universities to to take the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) and start the certification process while their "book learning" is fresh. [Thanks to The NCC, Spring 2007, page 20, a publication of the NBCC.]


GWSCSW = Greater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work
Located in the Washington D.C. area serviing District of Columbia, Maryland, and Northern Virginia


HBLU = Healing from the Body Level Up
A brief therapy technique "that engages a mind/body/spirit methodology to help clients struggling with grief and loss, along with other physical and emotional conditions." Developed by Judith A. Swack, Needham, Mass. [Thanks to ACA "Counseling Today" July 2003.]


HCA = The Washington State Health Care Authority.

WSHA works closely with the state Health Care Authority on a broad variety of issues, especially around opportunities to improve the health of Washington residents through innovation. Between the state’s Apple Health (Medicaid) program and coverage for public employees, the HCA provides health insurance for almost a third of Washington State residents.


HDL = High-density lipoprotein is considered “good” cholesterol because this type of cholesterol carries bad cholesterol away from the arteries. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is considered “bad” cholesterol because it can build up on the walls of the arteries, forming fatty deposits known as plaque. Plaque can build up on the walls of your blood vessels and make it difficult for blood to flow through to where your body needs it—like your heart and brain.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance in your blood that helps your body build new cells, insulate nerves, and produce hormones. Normally, the liver makes all the cholesterol the body needs. But cholesterol also enters your body from food, such as animal-based foods like milk, eggs, and meat. Too much cholesterol in your body is a risk factor for heart disease.

Foods that help Increase HDL levels include nuts, olive oil, legumes, high-fiber fruits, red wine, fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and trout are full of omega-3 fatty acids -- good fats unlike the bad saturated fat you find in most meats). , soy foods, leafy green vegetables, walnuts and flaxseed, beets, red and purple grapes, red wine and black tea, contain flavonoids that have shown to be protective against heart disease. Decreasing refined carbohydrates such as white sugar, white bread and pasta products, as well as sweetened beverages can help to raise HDL cholesterol levels, notes the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. To decrease refined carbohydrates in the diet, focus on consuming more fiber-rich, complex carbohydrate sources such as whole grain breads, pastas and cereals. In addition, replace juice and soda with water or unsweetened tea to reduce the refined carbohydrates you consume through beverages. Data from,,


HERE = The Washington State Department of Health's Health Education Resource Exchange

An online clearinghouse of public health education and health promotion materials, events, resources, and news in the State of Washington. H.E.R.E. is designed for people who perform population-based health promotion activities in a variety of settings, primarily state and local health departments, tribes, community organizations, clinics, hospitals, and schools. 


HHS = US Department of Health and Human Services []
On October 9, 2019, the President issued Executive Order (EO) 13891 entitled Promoting the Rule of Law through Improved Agency Guidance Documents (84 FR 55235). The EO requires HHS to establish a single, searchable, indexed database that contains links to all of HHS's guidance documents currently in effect. Guidance documents come in a variety of formats, including interpretive memoranda, policy statements, manuals, bulletins, advisories, and more. []


HIPPAA = Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
The primary goal of the law is to make it easier for people to keep health insurance, protect the confidentiality and security of healthcare information and help the healthcare industry control administrative costs.


HITECH = The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act 
HITECH is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 and creates incentives related to health care information technology, including incentives for the use of electronic health record (EHR) systems among providers.

"Because HITECH legislation results in an expansion in the exchange of electronic protected health information (ePHI), it also widens the scope of privacy and security protections under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), including increasing legal liability for non-compliance and more enforcement actions..."

Also see: Behavioral Health Clinical Quality Measures


HRT = Harm Reduction Therapy
The Center, founded by leaders in the Harm Reduction Therapy movement, is a certified drug and alcohol treatment program staffed by mental health professionals.  Our program offers pragmatic, proven solutions to substance abuse, and has an impressive record of positive results.
Mental Health Articles
How Drugs and Alcohol Affect the Brain and Body
Race Relations Articles

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