Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Counseling, Support, and Education Services Definition


Individuals and families who participate in Counseling, Support, and Education Services identify and build on strengths, develop skills to manage situational change, access appropriate community support and resources, and improve functioning in daily activities at home, at work, and in the community.


Counseling, Support, and Education Services are community-based, prevention-focused programs and activities to help families and individuals of all ages cope with the stresses of daily living. Services emphasize personal growth, development, and situational change. Services may include: 

Counseling and Support Services offer non-clinical supportive counseling, including guidance, coaching, and support, to help individuals and families achieve personal growth and manage situational change. 

Education and Support Groups provide educational, supportive, and preventive services in a group setting to improve emotional well-being, and promote self-sufficiency, personal growth, development, skill-building, resilience, and wellness. Services can include classes, support groups, workshops, health and wellness groups, and educational sessions.

Information and Referral Services connect individuals and families to appropriate community resources.

Peer Support includes non-clinical services delivered by individuals with lived experience (e.g. certified peer specialists, peer support specialists, recovery coaches, etc.) who can serve as advocates, facilitators, or coaches. Services are designed to assist individuals in achieving their life and/or recovery goals through one-on-one relationships; peer recovery groups; family and youth support programs; and community building activities.


Viewing: PA-CSE - Counseling, Support, and Education Services


Note: Counseling, Support, and Education services can be offered in a variety of settings within the community, including schools, and may utilize electronic interventions to deliver services through technologies such as videoconferencing, online chat platforms, texting, and mobile applications. 

Note: Agencies providing Counseling and Support Services will complete PA-CSE 1, PA-CSE 2, PA-CSE 3, and PA-CSE 4.

Agencies providing Education and Support Groups will complete PA-CSE 1, PA-CSE 2, PA-CSE 3, and PA-CSE 5.

Agencies providing Information and Referral Services will complete PA-CSE 1, PA-CSE 2, PA-CSE 3, and PA-CSE 6.

Organizations providing Peer Support services will also complete PA-CSE 7.

Note: PA-CSE is assigned to agencies providing counseling programs in which services are provided by non-clinical personnel, and while there is a screening and intake process, assessments and service plans are not required. Agencies that provide this service most likely will not be receiving third party reimbursement for their services.

Examples of services that are reviewed under PA-CSE include, but are not limited to:
  • life skills education programs;
  • family life education programs; 
  • mental health and/or drug and alcohol education; 
  • health promotion and wellness activities;
  • family and/or intimate partner violence interventions; and
  • anger management programs. 
Counseling programs reviewed under PA-CSE are distinct from clinical counseling programs reviewed under  Mental Health and/or Substance Abuse Services (PA-MHSA), which focus on treatment for diagnosable conditions. In clinical counseling programs, therapeutic evidence-based interventions are provided by appropriately trained and licensed/credentialed personnel.

Counseling, Support, and Education (PA-CSE) is also distinct from services reviewed under Child and Family Development and Support Services (PA-CFD), which focus on child and family development, family functioning, and parent education. Due to the nature of the services provided under PA-CFD, assessments and service plans are required. 

Note: Please see PA-CSE Reference List for the research that informed the development of these standards.

Note: For information about changes made in the 2020 Edition, please see the CSE Crosswalk.