The mission of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors is to bring healing, hope, and wholeness to individuals, families, and communities by expanding and equipping spiritually grounded and psychologically informed care, counseling, and psychotherapy.
Service and Values
The Association lives out its mission by serving:
- Our world
- Our profession
- Our Association
The Association is guided in its work by these core values:
- Integration of spirituality and psychology in all we do.
- Holistic understandings of human life as spiritual, biological, psychological, social and cultural.
- Excellence in practice, accountability and ethics.
- Justice and wholeness for individuals, families and communities in life, work and relationships.
- Respect for the rich diversity of human life and human understandings of religion and spirituality.
- Intentional lifelong personal, spiritual, and professional formation.
- Collaborative partnership with religious institutions and faith communities.
- Ongoing critical analysis and revision of our practice and our organization.
- Responsible stewardship in our use of resources.
A. AAPC will foster healing, hope, and wholeness among individuals, families, and communities by encouraging excellence in the delivery of spiritually integrated care, counseling and psychotherapy.
- Provide leadership in establishing standards for and promoting the practice of spiritually integrated care, counseling and psychotherapy.
- Provide leadership in establishing standards for and promoting the development of training programs in spiritually integrated care, counseling and psychotherapy.
- Offer educational workshops, conferences, and other resources that expand and deepen skills in providing spiritually integrated care, counseling and psychotherapy.
- Demonstrate congruence between spiritually integrated psychotherapy and various mental health modalities in order to strengthen and expand the availability and effectiveness of this healing work.
- Recognize and respect the rich diversity, needs, patterns, and resources of the people we serve, working to ensure that members are trained in multicultural competencies.
B. AAPC will expand the availability of spiritually integrated care, counseling and psycho-therapy in diverse cultural contexts, especially to those who are uninsured and poor.
- Join with strategic partners in working to ensure universal access to adequate mental health services for all people.
- Partner with the Samaritan Institute and similar organizations to support the deployment of effective faith-based counseling centers that deliver spiritually integrated counseling and psychotherapy.
- Seek to ensure that pastoral counselors can be licensed as counselors and credentialed as providers of mental health services to all people wherever appropriate.
- Create, join, improve, and sustain effective systems of care that foster wellness and bring healing to individuals, families, and communities, giving special attention to the inclusion of spiritually integrated care, counseling and psychotherapy in those systems.
- Position AAPC as an understood, trusted, and respected resource among the general public, faith communities, mental-health professionals, and healthcare professionals;
- Deploy appropriate staff to market services provided by AAPC members and optimize use of electronic media.
- Facilitate public access to members through directories, websites, and other means.
- Develop publications interpreting AAPC's work for the general public and for faith communities.
- Strengthen connections with denominations, judicatories, and faith communities.
- Provide and promote education and training in spiritually integrated counseling and psychotherapy for four primary groups:
- Clergy and theologically educated lay people who wish to specialize in the ministry of pastoral counseling;
- Mental health professionals who wish to incorporate spiritual, religious and theological perspectives into their counseling practice;
- Leaders of faith communities who wish to upgrade their skills in counseling and care;
- Workers in community health who wish to engage faith communities as partners in health care delivery on local and system-to-system levels.
- Provide and promote education and training in six contexts:
- Seminaries and divinity schools;
- Center-based training programs in spiritually integrated counseling and psychotherapy;
- Degree-granting programs in pastoral counseling;
- AAPC national and regional conferences;
- Mental health training programs such as medical schools and secular counseling programs with an interest in spirituality.
- Continuing education workshops and seminars.
C. AAPC will advocate for the profession of pastoral counseling in the public sphere through strategic alliances with community and collaborative partners.
- Develop collaborative relationships and contracts with managed care and wellness organizations to increase access to spiritually integrated counseling and psychotherapy for commercial clients.
- Work to ensure that AAPC members may be Medicaid providers in their respective states.
- Continue relationship with the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), to enhance AAPC's capacity to participate in the development of models of community care, clinical service delivery and training.
- Work with collaborative partners to enhance the capacity of faith leaders to engage and care for individuals and families impacted by mental health issues, serious mental illness and substance use.
- Form working relationships with collaborative partners to expand availability of spiritually integrated care, counseling and psychotherapy, e.g., National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, National Association of County Behavioral Health Directors, and National Association for State Medicaid Directors, National Association of Behavioral Health Organizations and Wellness, American College for Mental Health Administration and Collaborative Family Healthcare Association.
- Continue AAPC's strategic alliance with the National Association for Children of Alcoholics and the Clergy Education and Training Project.
D. AAPC will support the development and operation of service and training centers for spiritually integrated care, counseling and psychotherapy.
- Provide workshops and training in models of center organization and governance.
- Promote collegial support for center and training program leadership.
III. VISION FOR SERVING OUR ASSOCIATION
A. AAPC will recruit new members while retaining and serving current members through active promotion of membership, opportunities for collegial connection,growth, and leadership in the Association, excellence in publications, and effectiveness in electronic communications.
- Communicate to potential members the positive impact AAPC can have on their lives and work, including personal and professional development, training and education, national/state advocacy, and networking
- Communicate to individuals and training programs representing diverse populations the benefits of affiliation with AAPC.
- Give particular attention to recruiting members of groups historically under-represented in AAPC.
- Encourage our members toward renewed and increased commitment to joining and shaping the mission and vision of AAPC.
- Continue to support and enhance collegiality among all our members.
- Offer programs and workshops that encourage members to share professional concerns and support each other.
- Promote dialogue and sharing of programs and ideas within and among regions.
- Increase the participation and leadership of persons of diverse cultural, faith, spiritual, and ethnic backgrounds.
- Employ multiple media for publications that attract and serve members.
- The Board of Directors, through its President, will appoint a Task Force to review the structure, governance, and operations of the Association on both Association and regional levels and bring recommendations to the Board.
- The Task Force shall evaluate these aspects of the association with regard to their effectiveness, cost-efficiency, and role in promoting justice in our work and within the organization.
- The Task Force shall be guided in its work by those recommendations of the Racial Justice Task Force approved by the BOD that pertain to structure, governance and operations.
- The Task Force shall also evaluate the current name of the Association and recommend changes as appropriate.
- The Board of Directors will review and act upon the recommendations of the ByLaws Revision Task Force.
- The Board of Directors, through its President will appoint a Task Force to review the Certification and Accreditation standards and procedures of the Association and bring recommendations to the Board.
- Registration Now Open for AAPC 2017:The AAPC 2017 Conference in Decatur, GA, March 23-25 will explore the theme: Vision and Opportunity: The Future of Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy and Care.+more
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- Expansion of Mental Health Care Hits Obstacles When access is scarce:LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Terri Hall's anxiety was back, making her hands shake as she tried to light a cigarette on the stoop of her faded apartment building. She had no appetite, and her mind galloped as she grasped for an answer to her latest setback. +more