Interim Psychotherapy Commission: A Season of Transition Continues
By Joann Heaney-Hunter, M.S., Ph.D., LMHC, NCC, Chair  |  June 21, 2019

Last week I had the pleasure of conversations with colleagues from the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC) who have made the transition or are thinking about moving to our new professional home, ACPE. They were powerful conversations, focusing on how we move to this new home:  What does the transition to ACPE mean for pastoral counselors? How might our professional lives change because of this transition? On everyone’s mind was movement from a well-known home, AAPC, to a different home, ACPE. 

Our conversation also led people to reflect on other changes in their lives – professional license requirements, status as they move from full-time work into retirement, and family situations. I recalled the young people who graduated from my university last month, and the families coming to campus this week to celebrate their children’s high school graduations. I looked at a wedding invitation hanging on my refrigerator and thought about the young couple making a transition to married life. I remembered the mentors and family members who have died in recent years. These transitions are familiar to many of us; some cause us sorrow, some lead us to joy, all lead us to questions.

Transitions can be unsettling. We may experience a time of uncertainty where everything is not worked out fully, and where we don’t know all the answers.  As professional psychotherapists, we spend so much time helping others make transitions. Here, we face a major transition for ourselves!  How could we be surprised at feeling a bit uncertain about the future? 

As challenging as transitions might be, they also can be exciting and life-giving. They give us opportunities to look beyond our comfort zones to new and interesting places. They may help us evaluate where we are going as professionals, and maybe even who we are as people. How can we thrive in a time when we’re asked to take the risk to try something new?  

If I’m honest with myself, there are times I’d rather stay with the familiar than have to face the uncertainty of the transition. But when the transition is complete, I am grateful to be in a new place, experiencing new insights and perhaps even a new path forward in my life. When I look back on them, transitions in my life have often led to growth.  

As AAPC members move into our new home, we learn about its opportunities and benefits. We can join and build communities of practice, take advantage of many continuing education opportunities, benefit from services that support us in our practices. Many welcoming ACPE members have told me how they look forward to benefiting from our expertise and knowledge.  Together, we can be stronger than we might be in our separate organizations. I have great hope that we will bring our many strengths to this new professional home, ACPE.

Finally, I have an update to share with all former AAPC members: Support through the Mission Advancement Program (MAP) Fund will be available this year for spiritually integrated psychotherapy projects. Please be on the lookout for the Call for Applications that will be announced in the ACPE newsletter later this summer.
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