Pastoral vs. Secular Counseling
Each individual must decide if he or she wants to be an agent of the state or an agent of the church. If you have a divine calling on your life to counsel or minister to the hurting, then a state license will prohibit such ministry.
The N.C.C.A. licensing program is not a state license and is, in fact, distinctly different. Most states have regulatory laws governing the practice of psychology. Many of them also legislate the practice of general counseling. The laws vary from state to state. The state and federal governments also have jurisdictional boundaries. They cannot pass laws that prevent the church from fulfilling its purpose and ministering to humanity's needs. The state recognizes that counseling is one of the responsibilities of the church and its clergy. For this reason, the state does not (and must never be permitted to) interfere with the ministry of counseling.
The major difference between state-licensed professional counselors and Pastoral or Christian Counselors, who are licensed by the N.C.C.A. and under the authority of the church (Body of Christ), is clear and well defined. Counselors who have been licensed by the state are held to strict ethical standards which mandate an individual's right to be free from religious interference.
The state licensed professional counselor is forbidden to pray, read or refer to the Holy Scriptures, counsel against things such as homosexuality, abortion, etc. The only time a state licensed counselor can involve religious (Christian) principles, morals, activities, etc., is if the counselee initiates or requests counsel in this area.
Opposite from that, Pastoral Counselors are required to pray, share their faith, read from the Holy Scriptures, etc. The fact that Pastoral and Christian Counselors do these things creates a clear distinction. We do not do the things that state licensed counselors do in counseling and they do not do the things we Pastoral Counselors do.
As you can readily see, the state governs secular counselors and the Church is responsible to set standards and govern ministers who have devoted their lives to the ministry and to Pastoral Counseling. None of this to say that the Christian Counselor, Minister or Priest is not permitted to request fees and receive remuneration for the services they render.
The N.C.C.A. requires all who are certified or licensed by its Licensing Board of Examiners to:
1. Be credentialed ministers (ordained, licensed or commissioned) whose goal is to evangelize and ease the emotional pain and suffering of humanity.
2. Provide their service under the authority of a legally organized local church, a national church organization or a not-for-profit ministry.
3. Complete specialized training provided by the N.C.C.A.
4. Complete the minimum requirements for continuing education and annual license renewal.
5. Uphold the N.C.C.A. Code of Ethics.
Feasting Table Ministries, Inc. is a Certified Academic Institute of the National Christian Counselors Association.