Toward a Comprehensive Plan for the Continuing Education of Certified Biblical Counselors, Part 2

By Dr. Wayne A Vanderwier

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
(2 Pet. 3:18)

In Part One of this article, I described “one of the worst-kept secrets and, in my opinion, one of the most glaring deficiencies in the modern biblical counseling movement: the requirement of continuing education for certified biblical counselors is practically non-existent.”

I also detailed some of the reasons that biblical counseling certification is important, summarizing many of the benefits of certification in the phrase “quality control.” Finally, I explained that creating a comprehensive and required protocol for maintaining certification compliance could be costly—literally and figuratively—for a certifying organization.

Part Two of this article is simply a copy of the certification maintenance protocol that has been created and is being enacted by Biblical Soul Care Philippines, one of the by-nationals, for-nationals, culture-specific, biblical counseling certification organizations created through the work of Overseas Instruction in Counseling in fulfillment of its strategic objective.

A Plan for Certification Maintenance through Continuing Education

For a biblical counselor to maintain their certification, they will be required to be involved in various counseling-relating activities.

More importantly, to encourage growth as a biblical counselor, they will be given the opportunity to increase their certification “level” through continuing involvement in and self-reporting of counseling-related activities.

Each of these counseling-related activities has a point value:

1. Counseling (2 points/meeting)

  • The main counseling-related activity of a certified biblical counselor should be to counsel.
  • For the purpose of certification maintenance, a counseling meeting will be defined as a series of intentionally-scheduled, biblically-directed, grace-saturated, heart (motives)-focused meetings that include prayer, biblical instruction, and the assigning of between-meetings “normal-means-of-grace”-type assignments (what we call “Projects for Growth”) designed to restore broken believers to intimacy with Jesus.
  • To receive credit for this activity, the counselor must submit a Counselor’s Record.

2. Reading/Reporting (5 points/book)

  • A certified biblical counselor should also be regularly reading biblical counseling books.
  • For the purpose of certification maintenance, a “book” will be a treatise of about 200 pages, around 50,000 words.
  • Neither a blog article, an internet posting, nor a (32 or 64 page) topic-specific “booklet” will qualify as a book.
  • To receive credit for this activity, the Book Review Guidelines document must be completed and submitted for each book.

3. Attending (1 point/hour of instruction)

  • As a part of their ongoing training, certified biblical counselors should attend biblical counseling-focused seminars and conferences.
  • Watching the live stream broadcast of conferences like those held by ABC, ACBC, CBCD, CCEF, IABC, or IBCD is acceptable.
  • To receive credit for this activity, an outline or summary of each hour’s instruction must be submitted.

4. Teaching (2 points/hour of teaching)

  • Every certified biblical counselor should be training biblical counselors.
  • To receive credit for this activity, the certified biblical counselor will develop and teach biblical counseling concepts.
  • The teaching must be conducted in the context and under the authority of a local church.
  • The teaching sessions must include at least 7 students.
  • The counselor must develop and submit a visual presentation (PowerPoint, Keynote, or similar).
  • The teaching sessions must be evaluated by those who were taught using the evaluation tool provided by the certifying organization.

5. Writing (10 points/certifying organization board-approved, published article or blog of 1,000-1,200 words)

  • Continuing learning and counseling experience will lead certified biblical counselors to desire to share their insights in writing.
  • To receive credit for this activity, the counselor must follow the style guidelines prescribed by the certifying organization and submit their manuscript to the organization for approval prior to publication.

Some Explanatory Notes:

  • Each activity is valued at approximately 1 point/hour of activity.
  • Doing counseling and teaching counseling are valued more highly than the other activities.

Examples of Potential Achievement through Various Activity Levels:

Minimal activity (the person who merely wants to maintain their certification)

  1. Counseling (2 points/meeting)

30 meetings/year = 60 points

  1. Reading/Reporting (5 points/book)

1 book = 5 points

  1. Attending (1 point/hour of instruction)

0 seminars or conferences = 0 points

  1. Teaching (2 points/hour of teaching)

0 teaching = 0 points

  1. Writing (10 points/BSCP Board-approved, published, article or blog of 1,000-1,200 words)

0 writing = 0 points

      Total: 65 points

Moderate activity

  1. Counseling (2 points/meeting)

50 meetings/year = 100 points

  1. Reading/Reporting (5 points/book)

2 books = 10 points

  1. Attending (1 point/hour of instruction)

10 seminars or conference hours = 10 points

  1. Teaching (2 points/hour of teaching)

5 teaching = 10 points

  1. Writing (10 points/BSCP Board-approved, published, article or blog of 1,000-1,200 words)

0 writing = 0 points

Total: 130 points

Consistent, Engaged Activity

  1. Counseling (2 points/meeting)

60 meetings/year = 120 points

  1. Reading/Reporting (5 points/book)

4 books = 20 points

  1. Attending (1 point/hour of instruction)

20 seminars or conference hours = 20 points

  1. Teaching (2 points/hour of teaching)

20 teaching = 40 points

  1. Writing (10 points/BSCP Board-approved, published, article or blog of 1,000-1,200 words)

2 writing = 20 points

Total: 220 points

Certification Maintenance Requirements:

  • Minimum to maintain certification = 50 points/year or 150 over three years.
  • Certification level is advanced every 200 points.
  • If certification maintenance is not achieved, a one-year probationary period will be offered so that the certified counselor can return to compliance.
  • If compliance is not achieved in one year, the counselor’s certification will be suspended.

Questions for Reflection 

What other categories could be added to the protocol required for certification maintenance through continuing education? How might you suggest changing the “weighting” of the five continuing education elements? Could this kind of plan be adopted—or adapted—by US-based certifying organizations?

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