Last night, Diane Langberg, myself, and AACC hosted a small meeting of friends interested in starting counseling associations in their home countries. We had visitors from Romania, Ukraine, Lebanon, Brazil, Ghana, Nigeria, and Rwanda. Each representative gave a bit of a status
update for their country. Each of these countries has Christian counseling activities (counseling, training, etc.) underway in their country and each wants to be better able to hold these counselors to a higher standard of skill and ethics. Some of the countries have formed associations and are applying for government recognition. Others are in the process and are looking for more help in developing association standards.
But the problem of isolation may not be solved by an association. Each person who spoke raised 2 serious concerns:
- Our secular colleagues think we are not professionals but merely faith healing quacks
- Our pastor friends think we are not really Christian because we have studied psychology and counseling
It is apparent that we need to do a better job to communicate and illustrate how Christian counseling can be biblically AND psychologically sound. If we do not, any association built will merely become a ghetto. This is not to say that we shouldn’t build associations. The opposite is true. But, unless we learn to speak theologically about the nature and purpose of counseling, we likely won’t get very far.
Reducing Isolation with Technology?
I’m curious if anyone might have ideas about the best way to have these friends stay in contact and to share documents that might help each other develop their own associations. We have a number of ethics codes here in the US but I imagine that some significant portion of those codes may not be appropriate in other contexts. If our friends in Ghana develop an ethics code, wouldn’t it be great if they could easily share it with associations in other African countries. So, is there an existing, SIMPLE, low-bandwidth, platform out there that works best for staying in touch and sharing items and yet is protected by login?
I long for the day when those who are resource rich (content) will be willing to freely distribute to brothers and sisters around the world, and that day when we all eschew holding tightly to those resources in order to build our own kingdom. I am indeed grateful for the leadership AACC is taking in bringing these individuals together and to resource them in some very generous ways! May we all follow suit!