June 2001, Louisville, Ky.
- The Committee on Accreditation for the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC) has accredited Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary as an AAPC-approved training program in pastoral counseling, following an accreditation site visit in April.
Initial remarks by members of the visiting evaluation team identified Louisville Seminary’s program in pastoral counseling as “spectacular,” “one of the top two or three programs in the country” and one that demonstrates “rich administrative support” and is “intent on pastoral formation.”
The visiting team, comprised of top pastoral counselors and educators in the field, examined specifically the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy (MAMFT) and the Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) in Pastoral Counseling programs. They met with full-time faculty, adjunct supervisors and faculty, MFT and D.Min. students and the Seminary’s Dean and President.
The evaluation team recognized the leadership of the faculty as “outstanding and superb.” And they commented that MFT and D.Min. students are “strong and well-grounded” in basic theological studies, the behavioral sciences and clinical practice.
“AAPC approval benefits students in two ways. First graduates will be allowed to apply more readily for clinical membership in AAPC (the primary guild for pastoral counselors) and to qualify for state certification and licensure where these exist. Second, they will have improved access to jobs and leadership positions in pastoral counseling centers and programs across the country,” stated Dr. Loren Townsend, professor of pastoral counseling and coordinator of the AAPC accreditation application and on-site visit.
The Seminary’s Master of Divinity (M.Div.) students also benefit from this accreditation. With access to all MAMFT classes, those wishing to earn certification as a pastoral care specialist through AAPC can fulfill the requirements while at seminary.
Already accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), as an approved AAPC training center, Louisville Seminary will be one of five seminaries and colleges in the United States with such approval.
“This approval sets us apart as a seminary committed to quality training in pastoral counseling and to providing leadership in the future direction of the discipline of pastoral counseling,” continued Townsend. “By our participation, we will expand the work of the church in specialized ministry as we prepare qualified pastoral counselors for ministry in a variety of church-related contexts.” Instead of training students for private practice or other health-care related agency work, AAPC approval clearly identifies that Louisville Seminary is training ministers of the church. “This will have a direct impact on the future of family pastoral care in the church and will provide a fulcrum for more intentional integration between ministry, theology, pastoral counseling and marriage and family therapy,” he said.
Louisville Seminary Dean Dr. Dianne Reistroffer commended each member of the pastoral counseling leadership team for the skills and gifts they bring to the MFT program. They are Dr. Nancy J. Ramsay, a clinical member of AAPC, Dr. Loren Townsend, Dr. Carol Cook and Sheri Ferguson, program director and also a clinical member of AAPC, “This accreditation of our pastoral counseling program positions us well to be recognized as a training program of the highest caliber,” she said.
The Marriage and Family Therapy Degree program at Louisville Seminary was initiated in 1993. Since then, 85 individuals have graduated from the program, three of those with a D.Min. degree and 23 of the total with another seminary degree (22 M.Div. degrees and one M.A.).
Contact Michelle Melton
, 1 800 264-1939, ext. 497.