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 has consultative status with the United Nations, ECOSOC, UNICEF, UNESCO, ILO, and the Council of Europe.
IAC provides unique access to a community of counsellors, educators, and researchers with an interest of counselling around the world.
IAC meetings provide members with opportunities to develop themselves personally and professionally. It shares a newsletter, active international research groups, notices of international meetings, and affiliations with many international organizations, including UNESCO. Although these benefits are valuable, many members note the greatest resources of IAC is its people and the international relationships fostered through its meetings and notices.