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Training the saints to certification in biblical counseling

ACBC Standards of Conduct

(Statement taken from ACBC at biblicalcounseling.com. See that page.)

STANDARDS OF CONDUCT

Adopted October 1, 2001

ARTICLE 1. CHRISTIAN VALUES OF THE BIBLICAL COUNSELOR

SECTION A. RELATIONSHIP TO GOD’S WORD

The Biblical counselor, by definition, is committed to the Old and New Testaments as the only authoritative rule of faith and practice. Both the beliefs and conduct of the biblical counselor, as well as his counseling theory and practice, are formed by the standards of Scripture.

SECTION B. RELATIONSHIP TO STATEMENT OF FAITH

The ACBC statement of faith contains the beliefs necessary for certification as a biblical counselor by the Association.

SECTION C. RELATIONSHIP TO THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH

The biblical counselor performs his service as part of the ministry of the Christian church, embracing thereby the values of historic Christianity. He upholds and supports the common bond of fellowship, faith, and unity as prescribed in the Scriptures and seeks to establish a relationship between the counselee and a loving God within the framework of the church. Certification by the Association is contingent upon continued membership in good standing in a church subscribing to the doctrines contained in the above statement of faith. A person so certified will always seek the approval, recognition and oversight of his counseling ministry by his church.

ARTICLE II. STANDARDS FOR COUNSELING BIBLICALLY

The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors certifies the member as a biblical counselor in accordance with the standards and principles described in this document. The biblical counselor is committed to maintain these standards and principles and to seek to enhance the total ministry of the church and the public good.

  1. The biblical counselor does not represent himself as having qualifications, affiliations or experience that he does not possess, nor will he represent himself as licensed by the state, unless he is so certified.
  2. The biblical counselor does not use his knowledge, experience or position for unfair personal benefit or gain, nor does he use or allow his affiliation with the Association to be used for unethical and unbiblical purposes.
  3. The biblical counselor provides his service as a ministry of the Christian church or a faith group. There shall be no exploitive representation of these services in any type of inappropriate listing or advertising. No claims are to be made verbally, or in writing, that are not in accord with the standards of the association.
  4. The biblical counselor recognizes the need in many instances for early medical evaluations to determine whether the counselee’s behavior may result from organic dysfunction.
  5. The biblical counselor recognizes the total health needs of the counselee. He will cultivate a knowledge of professional internal medicine and general medical practitioners and health care specialists and centers.
  6. The biblical counselor, since he performs his service as a ministry of the Christian church or of a faith group, does not practice privately apart from the church or other recognized ecclesiastical service or educational organization that bears the endorsement of his church.
  7. The biblical counselor, if a minister or clergyman, may serve at a certified training center where charges are made, (1) when his services are for or under the auspices or sponsorship, individually or if conjunction with others, of an established and legally cognizable church, denomination or association of churches or denominations; and (2) when he is accountable to the established authority thereof.
  8. The biblical counselor may make a referral to other biblical counselors, pastors or teachers who are grounded and trained in Biblical thought, perspective, methodology and conduct. Referrals should be acknowledged and significant information obtained, and/or made available, that may assist in the counseling process.
  9. The biblical counselor shall maintain in an accurate manner all notes, records and information pertaining to the counselee. Records shall be confidential and secure. It is recognized that confidentiality does not prohibit the counselor from providing information for the utilization of church and/or state authorities where necessary.
  10. The biblical counselor encourages the counselee to maintain membership and faithful participation in a local church.
  11. The biblical counselor recognizes the need for internal medicine for physiological disorders but will seek to help a counselee refrain from taking drugs that lead to dependence or that substantially affect or alter the mind or behavior. The biblical counselor recognizes that there are occasional circumstances where medication that may alter behavior is required.

ARTICLE III. RELATIONSHIP OF THE BIBLICAL COUNSELOR TO THE COUNSELEE

The biblical counselor has no preconceptions concerning the needs of a counselee other than those already stated. The integrity of the counselee, and statements by the counselee, are accepted at face value as a truthful description of the problem. Confidentiality is respected where possible, information is safeguarded, and the best interest and well being of the counselee is preserved.

Section A.

It is a commitment on the part of the biblical counselor to maintain his conduct and relationship with the counselee above reproach and in accord with the highest standards of Biblical ministry.

Section B.

It is scriptural to offer hope. However, the biblical counselor does not offer a quick panacea, but maintains a reasonable reservation until the full needs of the counselee have been identified and analyzed.

Section C.

The biblical counselor stresses those requirements clearly stated in the Scriptures. His role as a biblical counselor consists of:

1. Showing the counselee that in order to be relieved of his problems biblically, his motives, thinking and behavior must conform to the concepts and standards of the Scriptures;

2. Pointing out clearly the requirements of the Scriptures as applied to everyday life and practice;

3. Helping the counselee change his life-style, habits and conduct as motives, thinking and behavior to that which God has instructed in the Scriptures.

ARTICLE IV. CHURCH OR CHRISTIAN MINISTRY RELATIONSHIP

The biblical counselor shall have a continuing membership in good standing within a Christian church. A letter of certification must be submitted from an official representative of the church or a Christian ministry indicating a satisfactory ministry in which counseling skills are utilized. The letter of certification is to be renewed every year. The office of the Executive Director will review circumstances departing from this procedure.

ARTICLE V. CONTINUING STUDY

The biblical counselor accepts the commitment to pursue his study of the Scripture and its application to all phases of spiritual growth, personal living, conduct, behavior and interpersonal relationships. He will continue to participate in developmental seminars sponsored or endorsed by the Association.

ARTICLE VI. COMMUNICATIONS AND REPRESENTATION

The biblical counselor will exercise care in public utterances and writings not to associate ACBC with his private views and denominational theological positions.

1. The biblical counselor will prepare himself to train and assist pastors, elders and laypersons to learn and employ the elements of biblical counseling in support of Christ’s church.

2. The biblical counselor shall exercise restraint in spoken or written evaluations, results or conclusions relating to individual cases or the general biblical counseling ministry.

3. The biblical counselor shall not imply either directly or indirectly, without the approval of the Board of Trustees, that he represents or speaks in behalf of the Association.

4. Members shall seek in every area of life to exemplify and otherwise promote the principles and practices of biblical faith and behavior with loving concern, and assist others to do the same.

5. Members shall seek association and fellowship with those who support the purposes of the Association. They shall encourage Christian churches and Christian ministries to institute training in the use of the Scriptures in order to help one another overcome the problems of life.

6. Members shall counsel, teach and write in accordance with the Scriptures. ACBC will neither accept nor maintain the membership of counselors who integrate secular ideas or systems of counseling with biblical concepts.

ARTICLE VII. FAILURE TO COMPLY

The biblical counselor accepts the Standards of Conduct as stated herein when he is accepted for membership in the Association.

  1. If a member is reported as failing to comply with the Standards of Conduct, and the Executive Committee establishes that the principles of Matthew 18 have been followed, in regard to private matters and there proves to be reasonable grounds for the report then two members appointed by the Board shall speak with him and others involved, in private consultation and in a spirit of gentleness, to determine if there has been failure to comply.
  2. If the matter is resolved satisfactorily after appropriate review, the two members shall report findings to the Board and the matter will be concluded.
  3. If the matter is not resolved satisfactorily, a written statement of the findings shall be made to the Executive Committee and a copy provided to the member in question.
  4. The Executive Committee shall meet with the member in question and seek to restore him in accordance with Scriptural procedure. If this procedure fails, the Executive Committee shall make written recommendations to the Board with a copy to the member in question.
  5. The member in question shall be fully informed regarding every procedure.
  6. The Board of Trustees shall make the final decision. If the matter is not resolved in accord with Scriptural precept, the membership of the member in question shall be terminated.
  7. Discipline may be administered by admonishment, reproof, reprimand or termination of membership.
  8. If membership is terminated, bodies which provided letters of recommendation will be informed of said action.
  9. If the member in question fails to comply: review, investigation and any potential resultant discipline are considered matters of spiritual fellowship and biblical consequence.
  10. Restoration shall not include probation.
  11. The biblical counselor understands and agrees to submit to the above “Failure to Comply” provisions as a part of his membership covenant. These provisions are subject to mediation pursuant to the rules of the Institute for Christian Conciliation.

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. . .exists to equip churches to strengthen the saints to live above sin, suffering, and circumstance through sanctification (greater conformity to Jesus) unto satisfaction (greater capacity to enjoy Jesus) Soli Deo Gloria. . .