History of IAC

The International Association for Counselling (incorporating the International Round Table for the Advancement of Counselling - IRTAC) is an international association with scientific and educational aims and is concerned with the interdisciplinary study of counselling and guidance.


A decision to set up an organisation to encourage the exchange of ideas, research findings and personal experience in this field led to the formation of the International Round Table for the Advancement of Counselling (IRTAC) and found practical expression in the first International Seminar on Counselling held at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland in 1966. This seminar brought together people from many different countries who were involved in counselling and guidance, in training counsellors and guidance advisers or in various related academic fields.

Since Neuchâtel over thirty international conferences for counselling have been held in twenty countries covering many and diverse topics. The standard pattern is the International Counselling Research Seminar followed by an inaugural session involving leading figures of the host country and representatives of UNESCO and other international, inter-governmental, and non-governmental organisations. The inaugural session is followed by plenary sessions and discussions in working groups which are of interest to specialists in a wide range of activities including counselling, youth work, social work, psychology, education and training, medicine, nursing and occupational and other therapies. The conference usually ends with co-ordinators' reports on the working groups, a general discussion on counselling policy and a summing-up by the President. Alongside these conferences IRTAC has welcomed the founding of the International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling and of the International Research Seminar.

The success of these activities in helping to ensure a general acceptance of the value and importance of counselling is one reason why in April of 1997, the Executive Council of IRTAC decided it was no longer so important for the Association to refer to the Advancement of Counselling in its title. Consequently, IRTAC has now become the International Association for Counselling (IAC).


Through the sponsorship of over thirty consultations, seminars and conferences and through publishing the results of these exchanges, IAC has played a significant role in the development of counselling services in many parts of the world. IAC has offered advice and information to governmental and non-governmental organisations both international and national, in industrial and developing countries alike, on the application of counselling in education, health and social services and other fields.


IAC is administered by an Executive Council of fifteen members drawn from many countries and is governed by its General Assembly of paid up members meeting biennially under the chairpersonship of its President.

IAC is registered in Belgium as an international association with charitable status. Its official languages are English and French. It has consultative status with the United Nations, ECOSOC, UNICEF, UNESCO, ILO, and the Council of Europe.


  • School Counselling, Educational and Vocational Guidance
    Neuchâtel, Switzerland, 1966
  • Counselling in School and Non-school Situations
    Salzburg, Austria, 1967
  • Counselling and Guidance of the Student in Higher Education
    Turin, Italy, 1968
  • The Implications of Counselling
    The Hague, Netherlands, 1970
  • The Counsellor and his Environment
    Paris, France, 1972
  • Counselling, the Community and Society
    Cambridge, UK, 1974
  • New Trends and Perspectives in Counselling
    Würzburg, Germany, 1976
  • Counselling Educationally Disadvantaged Young Adults - Members of Minority Groups
    Chelmsford, UK 1978
  • Challenges to Counselling from a Society in Change
    Oslo, Norway, 1978
  • The Place of Counselling in the Continuum of Helping Relationships in Different Cultural Settings
    Thessaloniki, Greece, 1980
  • Counselling for the Integration of the Handicapped in Society (UN International Year of Disabled Persons)
    Florence, Italy, 1981
  • Career Guidance in Higher Education
    Cambridge, UK, 1981
  • Counselling in a World of Crisis
    Lausanne, Switzerland, 1982
  • The Disabled and Their Families - Counseling and Guidance
    Vienna, Austria, 1983
  • Career Guidance in Further, Higher and Continuing Education
    London, UK, 1983
  • Youth Counselling
    Aarhus, Denmark, 1984
  • Counselling and Ethnic Minorities
    Utrecht, Netherlands, 1985
  • New Roles for Men and Women in the Family and in Work
    Lund, Sweden, 1986
  • Counselling Disabled People and their Families
    Vienna, Austria, 1987
  • Changing World, Changing People Counselling and Global Health Concerns
    Calgary, Canada, 1988
  • Counselling: the Profession and the Community
    Dublin, Ireland, 1989
  • Youth in the 1990s - Challenges and Opportunities For Counselling and Education
    Helsinki, Finland, 1990
  • Counselling Women and Girls in Education and Employment and Counselling in Academic Life
    Oporto, Portugal, 1991
  • Counselling the Disabled in their Social Environment (UN International Decade of the Disabled)
    Budapest, Hungary, 1992
  • Counselling towards 2000 Reducing the Distance: psychological, social and cultural
    Auckland, New Zealand, 1993
  • Counselling for the Family (UN International Year of the Family)
    Munich, Germany, 1994
  • Counselling for Tolerance (UN International Year for Tolerance)
    Valetta, Malta, 1995
  • Counselling in the Global Community
    Vancouver, Canada, 1996
  • Counselling in Medical Settings
    Cambridge, UK, 1997
  • Counselling as a Profession: Status, Organisation and Human Rights
    Paris, France, 1998
  • Counselling Children and Youth at the Edge of the Third Millennium
    Bratislava, Slovakia, 1999
  • Counselling in the New Millennium: Meeting the Challenges of Diversity and Promoting Peace and Social Inclusion
    Thessaloniki, Greece, 2000
  • Families in Transition-Counselling in Transition: Meeting the Challenges Ahead
    Mumbai-Lonavla, India, 2001
  • African Conference on Guidance and Counselling
    Nairobi, Kenya, 2002
  • Counselling in the new Millennium Facing Differences: Respectful Practice
    Auckland, New Zealand, 2002
  • A World of Change – A World in Crisis : The Counsellor and Social Responsibility
    Geneva, Switzerland, 2003
  • Crossing Boundaries in Counselling: Global Issues – Local Context
    Runaway Bay, Jamaica, 2004
  • Expanding the Counselling Profession within a Context of Profound and Ongoing Change
    Buenos Aires, Argentina 2005
  • Creating, Connecting and Celebrating
    Brisbane, Autralia 2006
  • Promoting Wellness Across the Lifespan
    Cork, Ireland 2007
  • Counselling: A means of Bridging Differences
    Malta, Qawra 2008
  • Counselling and the Challenge of Social Transofmration: Promoting Dignity Across the Lifespan
    Warwick, UK 2009
  • Counselling for a World in Crisis
    Bucharest, Romania 2010
  • No Nation Left Behind: Challenges and Opportunities of Counselling and Education for All
    Montego Bay, Jamaica 2011
  • Counselling and the Advancement of Human Rights
    Manila, Phillipines 2012
  • Counseling and Technology Use: Real Lives, Virtual Contexts
    Istanbul, Turkey, 2013
  • Communicating, Connecting and Collaborating on a Global Stage
    Victoria, Canada 2014
  • The Counselling Profession: Building Bridges toward Wellbeing
    Verona, Italy 2015
  • From Fate to Hope and Clarity: IAC Fifty Years on, Malta 2016
  • Active Counselling for Social Development, Buenos Aires, Argentina 2017
  • Counselling Issues and Processes Across Ages and Cultures, Rome, Italy 2018
  • IAC/CCPA Conference, Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada 2019



Countries Represented at IAC/IRTAC Conference
  • Afghanistan
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belgium
  • Benin
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Czech Republic
  • Czecho-Slovakia
  • Denmark
  • Egypt
  • Estonia
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • France
  • Gabon
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Grenada
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Ivory Coast
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Mali
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Morocco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • Norway
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Samoa
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Syria
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Uganda
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen
  • Yugoslavia
  • Zambia