Introducing ACPE's Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy (SIP) Program
By Russell Siler Jones, ThD, LPCS, Psychotherapy Commission Member |  January 27, 2020

2020 marks the official launch of ACPE’s Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy (SIP) Program. The ACPE Board approved this new initiative in November 2019, and work is now underway to grow this program from dream to reality. In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing news about the SIP Program here in the newsletter – including news about our first Train the Trainer weekend event – but here are some high-level “things to know” about the SIP Program.

What It Is
The SIP Program is envisioned as a multi-disciplinary, inter-spiritual, multi-racial community of persons gathered for education, connection, and formation in the work of spiritually integrated psychotherapy. The Program will consist of:

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A 30-hour continuing education curriculum, offered face-to-face by SIP Trainers in the communities where they live and work
A post-curriculum certification process (involving consultation with a local SIP Trainer, long-term engagement with a Community of Practice, and Peer Review)
A Train the Trainer program to develop and support SIP Trainers
The SIP Program is in alignment with ACPE’s commitment to multicultural competence, particularly spiritual and religious competence. It will help therapists increase their knowledge and skills for working with their clients’ spirituality, as well as helping therapists learn ethically appropriate ways of drawing upon their own spirituality in the therapeutic relationship. The SIP Program recognizes that high-quality therapists become high-quality therapists over time, in formative relationships, and it will also give emphasis to personal integration, development of professional identity, and growth in a distinctive way of being. 

What Are the Goals?
The SIP Program has four primary aims: 
  1. Teach spiritually integrated psychotherapy to mental health providers across a variety of disciplines and licenses. The ACPE program combines wisdom from the AAPC tradition with contributions from outside the AAPC tradition, with the intention of helping therapists do better work with their clients. 
  2. Build a national infrastructure for training. The former AAPC training paradigm was built on a network of training centers. Once states legislated that therapists be licensed to practice (rather than certified by organizations like AAPC), the training-center paradigm no longer served the needs of most persons entering the psychotherapy field, and the network of training centers gradually evaporated. ACPE’s SIP Program is a new paradigm, built on a continuing education model that serves the needs of psychotherapists in the age of state licensure. The SIP Program will train and support SIP Trainers, who will offer continuing education workshops and support Communities of Practice in the communities where they live.  
  3. Increase ACPE visibility and membership.  Over the next four to five years, the SIP Program will introduce ACPE to psychotherapists who did not train AAPC training programs and who likely have no awareness of ACPE. The introduction to ACPE will happen through local continuing education events, and these introductions will be relational doorways for deeper engagement (with colleagues and mentors) and for membership.
  4. Develop thriving psychotherapy-related Communities of Practice within ACPE.  The SIP Trainings offered, community by community, will be seedbeds for establishing new Communities of Practice that will support connection, learning, and ongoing formation. 
What’s the Current Status?

During 2019, under the care of the Interim Psychotherapy Commission, ACPE piloted the 30-hour Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy curriculum four different times: once in Atlanta, once in Cincinnati, and twice in Winston-Salem. Interest in these pilot offerings was strong – there was a wait-list of 60 people for the first Winston-Salem training – and feedback from participants was highly positive. The curriculum developers gathered extensive feedback from pilot participants and instructors and used that feedback to revise the curriculum.

Now, in 2020, we are hard at work developing the infrastructure to support the SIP Program, producing Training Manuals for Participants and Trainers, planning the first Train the Trainer event (look for an announcement about this in the next few weeks), and getting the word out.

If You Want to Thank Somebody . . . 

There are plenty of people who deserve it. Early collaborators in developing the SIP Program include John Eddinger, David Harris, John Mokkosian, Dayl Hufford, Ron Baard, Bill Roozeboom, Bill Harkins, Steve Scoggin, Jill Snodgrass, and Russell Siler Jones. From that number, Jill Snodgrass and Russell Siler Jones guided efforts to write the 30-hour curriculum, supported the Pilot Trainings, and worked with Steve Ivy and members of the SIP Task Force (Joann Heaney-Hunter, Doug Thorpe, and Wally Fletcher) to solidify the vision for the program. And don’t forget the brave souls who led Pilot Trainings in 2019 -- Flo DeWitt, Clark Echols, Nan Fox, Judy Kroger, and Stephanie Tunison in Cincinnati; Bill Harkins, Flo DeWitt, John Eddinger, and Beth Toler in Atlanta; Jill Snodgrass and Russell Siler Jones in Winston-Salem – not to mention all the participants who provided valuable feedback through their evaluations. 

Stay Tuned

I’ll share more next week, including some detail about the SIP Curriculum. For now, if you or someone you know has interest in a future SIP Training, add your name to the interest list. And if you have particular questions or comments about the SIP Program, email Ruth McPhail-Ubaldo or Russell Siler Jones.