The curriculum for the Pastoral Counseling Certificate Program fulfills all necessary requirements to effectively implement and maintain a Christian counseling ministry within the local church or other para-church organization. The program includes all lectures, course materials, exams, certificate, and one full year of professional membership in the North America Christian Counselors Association. Due to the interactive nature of this program, an online version is unavailable.

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Friday Evening

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm  ·  Check-In & Late Registration

During this time, students will arrive to check-in, receive their materials, and visit with TVMI staff and other students. If there are any remaining seats available, individuals may complete the late registration process for an additional $10.00 fee.

6:00 pm - 6:45 pm  ·  Introduction to Pastoral Counseling

In this introductory session, the student is provided with the definition and mandate for the ministry of Christian counseling. Effective listening skills and the importance of empathy are discussed as critical requirements for anyone serving in this capacity. Biblical principles of Christian counseling, along with common mistakes of lay counselors and pastoral considerations are also addressed within the session.

6:45 pm - 7:30 pm  ·  Counseling Models & Techniques

A variety of counseling models are taught in this session, with particular emphasis on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and why it is perhaps the most sound model for those working within a counseling ministry. Various techniques of counseling are also addressed to teach the student effective methods of building client rapport and meeting prescribed goals. The student is also introduced to documentation procedures.

7:30 pm - 8:15 pm  ·  Legal & Ethical Issues, Part One

In the first part dealing with legal and ethical issues, the student is introduced to important considerations such as the boundaries of confidentiality, mandatory reporting, duty to warn, the legal consequences of various types of misconduct, strategies for risk management as applied to a counseling ministry within the local church, key points regarding the implementation of a counseling ministry, and more.

8:15 pm - 9:00 pm  ·  Legal & Ethical Issues, Part Two

In the second part of legal and ethical issues, the discussion moves from legal issues and focuses primarily on the variety of ethical considerations that a Christian counselor should be aware of and adhere to. The topic of a dual relationship is defined and addressed, as is a myriad of other ethical issues that apply to both personal and professional scenarios. In addition, the student is introduced to client termination stipulations.

Saturday Morning

8:00 am - 8:45 am  ·  Individual Counseling, Part One

In the first session on individual counseling issues, the student is introduced to common scenarios that are seen within this context. These include addictive behaviors, anger management, and anxiety disorders. In addition to the definitions and discussion of these struggles, there is also an examination of the causes, characteristics, and treatment goals for the client. Utilizing the CBT model for these problems is addressed.

8:45 am - 9:30 am  ·  Individual Counseling, Part Two

In the second session addressing issues among individual clients, some common problems addressed include topics such as depression and grief. Once again, the definitions are presented. For example, the student will learn the differences between reactive depression and endogenous depression, and how to recognize warning signs. Causes, characteristics, and treatment goals are once again presented.

9:30 am - 10:15 am  ·  Marriage & Family Counseling, Part One

During the first lesson dealing with marriage and family counseling, the student is introduced to a variety of statistics related to marriages among both Christian and non-Christian couples alike. Other topics include common marital problems such as infidelity and domestic violence. Within these subjects, particular attention is given to how to facilitate reconciliation following an adulterous relationship and how to deal with abuse.

10:15 am - 11:00 am  ·  Marriage & Family Counseling, Part Two

The second part of marriage and counseling begins with a discussion of pornography and the various consequences it has on the individual, couple, family, and church. Bonding principles of marriage are presented, as are destructive properties within marriage. Principles of effective marriage counseling are also presented. Family counseling models and techniques are also taught, along with an introduction to genograms.

11:00 am - 11:45 am  ·  Counseling Children & Adolescents

The ninth session addresses counseling children and adolescents. The introduction includes critical considerations and techniques when dealing with this client population. Reasons why children receive counseling, along with changes to recognize in children are presented. Techniques for counseling adolescents who are resistant to the counseling process are taught, as are counseling models for children and adolescents.

11:45 am - 12:30 pm  ·  Lunch Period

When taking a course at our Decatur campus, all students will be served a box lunch on site (at other locations, students can either bring a lunch or be dismissed to travel to a local establishment.) This is an excellent opportunity for fellowship and review the study materials in preparation for the final examination.

Saturday Afternoon

12:30 pm - 1:15 pm  ·  Crisis & Trauma Counseling

This topic begins with definitions of both crisis and trauma, along with key elements which need to be considered. There is also discussion of both Type I and Type II trauma situations and noteworthy statistics dealing with trauma. Working within a large scale trauma environment is also discussed, and the boundaries that exist in this type of situation. Other topics include unrecognized loss and crisis intervention techniques.

1:15 pm - 2:00 pm  ·  Group Counseling

In the second to last session in the program, a wealth of information is provided on the topic of group counseling. Reasons for group counseling, types of groups, group leadership styles, potential problems in group counseling, Stages of groups, leadership goals within a group, required leadership skills, problem member types within a group (and how to deal with them,) and therapeutic factors are all addressed.

2:00 pm - 2:45 pm  ·  Recognizing Mental Illness

The final session deals with the issue of recognizing mental illness and begins with an introduction to the DSM and classification procedures. Detailed information on disorder types (anxiety, mood, psychotic, developmental factitious, personality, and neurological) are provided to the student. The lesson concludes with an informative section on psychopharmacology, along with counselor self-care challenges and strategies.

2:45 pm - 3:30 pm  ·  Final Examination

The final examination consists of 120 multiple choice and true/false questions - ten from each of the twelve sessions. This is an open-book test which allows you to refer to your training materials at any time. A minimum score of 70% on each portion of the exam is required for successful completion of the program.