I was asked the other day what is the difference between pastoral counseling and Christian clinical counseling. That was such a great question I thought I would write about it today.
Clinical Counselors such as the counselors at Family Christian Counseling Center are licensed and regulated by various governmental boards and professional associations. Pastoral Counselors such as Pastors, Ministerial Counselors, Chaplains and Church Counselors are usually credentialed and regulated by various ecclesiastical governing structures.
Educational Background and Training
Clinical Counselors are required to meet certain basic educational and training requirements to maintain their license. This training is directly related to their practice and may or may not include religious content. The state of Arizona requires a counselor to pass an exam before one can be licensed. Typically, the exam taken is the NBCC’s National Counselor Examination. Before you can be credentialed as a Licensed Professional Counselor, you need to work full-time for two years (or the equivalent as a part-time worker) under supervision. In order to maintain your license, you need to do continuing education: thirty contact hours every two years. This must include three clock hours each of 1) mental health law or behavioral health ethics and 2) cultural competency and diversity. Pastoral Counselors may have equal or distinctly different educational and training backgrounds, depending on the requirements of the ecclesiastical authority that they are under. The American Association of Pastoral Counselors is the major association of pastoral counselors in the United States. The association used to certify its members but it no longer does (as of summer 2016), a member now is required to fill out the membership form and pay yearly dues. One of the sentences in the statement of compliance is “I agree that I will not make any representation that my AAPC membership constitutes an endorsement or qualifies me to provide pastoral counseling or any other kind of professional service.” The American Association of Christian Counselors also does not certify its members. The National Christian Counselors Association does certify its members but one does not need an undergraduate degree.
Family Christian Counseling Center
The Center believes that clinical and Christian counseling are not incompatible with each other. Every therapist at the Center has at least a Master’s degree in counseling from an accredited graduate school. Therapists at the center have advanced training in:
- Attachment therapy
- Neuro-sequential Model of therapeutics
- EMDR training
- Play therapy
- Sensorimotor psychotherapy
- Equine assisted therapy
- Nutritional therapy
- Canine-assisted therapy
The Center also believes that humans are not just physical beings but are made in the image of God. Because of this we believe that the spiritual dimension is important to address in the counseling room. Our desire is to help anyone who walks through our door find mental, physical and spiritual healing.
The spiritual integration imbedded in our counseling process makes our program a truly unique and transformative experience. We pray for God to carefully direct you as you consider the options you have. If you would like to know more about the Center please click on this link.