Member DMG + American Association of Christian Therapists

Membership & Certification

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The American Association of Christian Therapists

Celebrating Continuous National & International Certification, License
And Education of Biblical & Christian Counselors & Therapists + 1995 - Present


Membership & Certification

Gary W. Barkman, Ph.D., D.C.C.
President, The American Association of Christian Therapists

Dear Pastoral & Christian Counselor:


Greetings in the Name of Christ! Thank you for your inquiry about AACT.


Why be certified? The public demands it. The Christian public has a right to require some level of training or proficiency, or at least to know a person has been trained properly if he/she has a wall document that reads, Professional, Certified, or Licensed. To some extent the word Certified doesn't eliminate some of the questionable practices in our Christian counseling ranks today, but with the high standards of the AACT we have a good beginning.

The AACT does not compete with state licensing. In fact we recommend that you pursue state licensing. We do however offer an alternative for those "Pastors" and other Ministers who choose to make counseling their "ministry" and cannot for some reason pursue state licensing.


We encourage you also to check in your state to determine the use of the words "clinical," "Therapist," and the term "licensed." If your state does not allow you to use these terms you need to know this information. We offer here at this website these and other guidelines that outline membership, registration, certification, and licensing requirements at all levels of ministry. All of these suggested guidelines are intended to offer opportunity for growth while insuring competence in the area of pastoral care, counseling, and therapy and protection for you while you serve our Lord in your Pastoral Counseling Ministry.


All Membership, Registration, Certification, and Licensing, is applicable to Pastoral Care, Counseling, and Therapy performed under the covering of a church, ministry, or other religious non-profit corporation. Proof of organizational or professional liability insurance is required prior to the first anniversary date for level of Registered Pastoral Care Provider, and above.


A.A.C.T. now strongly encourages all members be either licensed or ordained ministers. This is for your protection. If you are not licensed or ordained, we can suggest a fellowship or church through which you may become licensed or ordained. (the E.C.C. is a part of Dayspring Ministries International, as is the A.A.C.T.). This standing is also required by the first renewal anniversary date for all members. (See requirements for ministerial licensing and ordination.


The information we send you, or that is presented on this website, will help answer many of your questions. Although AACT will be celebrating it's 10th birthday in 2005. In its growth through the last 10 years AACT has become the recognized pace-setter in the field of Christian Counseling Certification throughout the world.

Please take the time to CHECK US OUT . After you have studied all of the information, please complete the application form on this website, or the one you have received in the brochure we have sent, and mail it to us. Once we receive your completed application and your membership fee, we will contact you by email or phone.


Sincerely, Because of Christ

Dr. Gary Barkman, President, AACT







Ethics and accountability are today's buzzwords, yet many Pastoral Counselors have not met even the minimum requirements in counseling education, direct supervision, and "hands on" experience. Conflict between state licensed practitioners and Pastors who are called to counseling as a ministry, whether certified or uncertified, continues to grow. Yet few, if any have attempted to solve the problems of just how to help hurting Christians get in touch with a well-trained, certified pastoral counselor. We have special concern for the local Pastor who, for lack of a better alternative, must refer people to a secular counselor.



The AACT doesn't claim the perfect solution; we simply propose to implement criteria which would meet or surpass those set forth by various state agencies. This criteria will guarantee training for our Pastors so that they can better work with those who are state licensed... PLEASE READ THIS WEBSITE IN DETAIL, OR WRITE OR CALL FOR MORE INFORMATION ON AACT REQUIREMENTS FOR CERTIFICATION

Dr. Gary Barkman, "NOW is the time to Show your members and clients your qualifications for the work you do." "Become a member and if you have the qualifications become certified."