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About Pastoral Counseling


Organized in 1963 to ensure standards for the practice of pastoral counseling, the American Association of Pastoral Counselors is an international, interfaith organization of professional pastoral counselors, parish clergy and other mental health professionals. We seek to advance understanding of the mind-spirit connection. AAPC members are at the forefront of practicing the interface between spirituality and emotional well-being. For more information about the mission and goals, Bylaws, publications and articles or referral to a counselor in the AAPC, please go to: AAPC.org


What is Pastoral Counseling?

Pastoral counseling is a unique form of counseling that uses spiritual resources as well as psychological understanding for healing and growth. It is provided by individuals who are not only mental health professionals but persons who have had in-depth religious and/or theological training. Most pastoral counselors are ordained clergy or persons otherwise endorsed by a religious faith group.


Our Tradition

At the local level, AAPC members can be found in many work settings, including pastoral counseling centers, hospitals, community mental health centers, churches and synagogues. Drawing on faith and religious resources, AAPC members assist persons who are struggling with depression, grief, marital and family conflict, substance abuse and other issues. They also work with persons who are seeking a more meaningful and fuller life experience.

As interest has grown in spirituality in recent years, our members have expanded their services beyond counseling and treatment for mental disorders to include wellness programs, spiritual direction, consultation to corporations, consultation to congregations and community education.

As we seek to serve the public good, the Association has established rigorous standards for the practice of pastoral counseling, including education and clinical supervision as well as certification and accreditation. Our members adhere to a Code of Ethics to ensure the delivery of high-quality counseling, psychotherapy and other related services.



If you are looking for a counselor, select a webpage above to contact a local certified pastoral counselor or general membership counselor.  To find a pastoral counselor in another geographical region, please search by name or location the National AAPC Referral Directory at  www.aapc.org/civicrm/profileTo simply read more about pastoral counseling, click on the following brochure:  What is Pastoral Counseling?.


If you are interested in reading about pastoral counseling, check out: Sacred Spaces: The E-Journal of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors