Frequently Asked Questions

Regarding ACPE-AAPC Consolidation

ACPE knows well that uncertainty and questions can accompany significant change. We are committed to seeking clarity together throughout this process of consolidation and transformation. We hope you will find the FAQ to be a helpful resource. We also encourage you to look for regular updates in our weekly newsletter, “This Week @ ACPE.”

Why haven’t I heard back yet from ACPE about my membership status?
Former AAPC members were invited to apply to transfer their membership to ACPE between February 25th and March 25th. As the applications came in, ACPE staff verified membership expiration dates and Fellow/ Diplomate status for those applying for Psychotherapist Membership. Now that all the applications are in, ACPE staff are working on entering each verified member into ACPE’s database, setting-up membership profiles, and - for ACPE Psychotherapists, Practitioners, and Retired Professionals - creating online Microsoft SharePoint and “” email accounts. You can expect to receive an email from ACPE at the end of April with your membership details. Thank you for your patience! 

Tell me about the timing of the consolidation. Why did the regions dissolve at the end of March?
When AAPC’s membership voted to dissolve in February, this catalyzed a legal process that resulted in the dissolution of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors in March. This meant the regions had to dissolve then as well. With this in mind, the deadline for the transfer of operations from regional leaders to ACPE staff was set for April 1, 2019.

What can I expect from ACPE staff?
ACPE staff members are now your staff. While ACPE members drive the direction, policy, and priorities of the association, the staff is here to support implementation and logistics. Please email the ACPE staff when you would like assistance with event planning and registration, identifying and applying for grants, and sending out communications to the membership.

Why haven’t I been asked to pay my first membership fee yet? 
ACPE has decided to bill according to the following schedule:
  1. If your AAPC membership expired prior to January 2019, your membership will renew as of January. The 2019 membership fee will be due by June 30th. Your membership next renewal period will begin January 1st, and that fee will be due by January 31, 2020.
  2. If your AAPC membership expired or is set to expire between January 1st and June 30, 2019, your membership fee will be due by June 30, 2019. Your next membership period will be through May 31, 2020.
  3. If your AAPC membership expires between July 1 and November 30, 2019, your membership fee will be due by December 31, 2019. Your next membership period will be through November 30, 2020.
  4. If your AAPC membership expires in the month of December, 2019, your membership renewal period will begin January 1st, and the fee will be due by January 31, 2020.
You can expect to receive an invoice from ACPE on the first day of the month in which your membership fee is due.

I am excited about the consolidation and want to get involved. How can I participate in the life of the association? 
First and foremost, Communities of Practice (CoPs) provide rich opportunities for members to cultivate connections with members in both similar and disparate spiritual care and education contexts. These learning communities facilitate the sharing of stories, insights, and information and lead to the development of a shared practice.

Second, ACPE’s annual conference every May provides opportunities to meet with colleagues in person, to learn from the plenaries and workshops, and to contribute through poster presentations and workshop leadership.

Third, ACPE hopes that members from AAPC will consider running for various leadership positions during each election.

I just graduated with an advanced theology degree and want to become a pastoral counselor. Can I become certified through ACPE?
ACPE does not certify pastoral counselors at this time. Because more and more states require licensure rather than certification, the American Association of Pastoral Counselors actually stopped certification altogether several years before our consolidation. In the future, the Psychotherapist Commission will have the opportunity to consider what the benefits of certification for psychotherapist and practitioner members might be and determine whether ACPE should pursue this as a priority. In the meantime, we hope to develop resources this summer with referrals for individuals interested in becoming pastoral counselors. We also encourage you to watch for upcoming continuing education opportunities that might be of interest, like our webinar series on responding to domestic violence and situation grief.

I am interested in ACPE’s Communities of Practice (CoPs) and want to know more. How will new CoPs be formed for members from AAPC? Can I join existing CoPs?
Please see the update about CoPs from the Chair of the Interim Psychotherapy Commission. ACPE will create additional educational resources about Communities of Practice for incoming members from AAPC. For now, we encourage you to read the definition and purpose of a Community of Practice and Etienne Wenger’s Communities of Practice, A Brief Introduction.

Will there be opportunities for former AAPC members to serve in leadership positions within ACPE?
Yes! Elections for ACPE’s committees and commissions are just around the corner. The interim Psychotherapy Commission will send out details about how ACPE’s election process works along with a Psychotherapy Commission “job description” to help new members discern whether they might be interested in running for this role. ACPE will also share details about the other positions for which new members are eligible to run.

Regarding election timing, members are invited to share their interest in leadership positions in late May or early June, as the Leadership Development Committee vets candidates in the summer. Ballots are finalized in September, and the vote takes place in October. All elected candidates will assume office in January 2020.

I used to purchase professional liability malpractice insurance through American Professional Agency, Inc. at a special rate through my AAPC membership.  Will this still be possible?  
Yes, ACPE is happy to be able to offer the same arrangement for our members through a partnership with American Professional Agency, Inc. To learn more, please see APA’s website:

I was a former Diplomate or Fellow in AAPC and applied to become an ACPE Psychotherapist. Is this a membership category or a credential? 
For now, this is a membership category, albeit one open exclusively to those who had previously attained Fellow or Diplomate status through AAPC. As you know, AAPC had stopped certifying several years ago. It will be up to the Psychotherapy Commission and the membership to determine if certification is a priority they would like to pursue in the future.

I was a Student Member in AAPC, but I would like to become a Practitioner Member now. What can I do?
At this time, all former AAPC members are being grandfathered into the ACPE category that correlates directly to that to which they belonged in AAPC. That being said, the interim Psychotherapy Commission is launching a Membership Taskforce to draft membership requirements for new members, student members, practitioner members, and psychotherapist members. The commission will work on this issue when they meet in person at the annual conference this May and hope to announce opportunities for membership changes into the student and practitioner membership categories within the next six months. Any updates to membership eligibility requirements will be shared in “This Week @ ACPE.”

I was a Regular Member in AAPC, but I am interested in Psychotherapist Membership. What can I do?
At this time, ACPE Psychotherapist membership is reserved exclusively for former Fellows and Diplomates. The Membership Taskforce will look into potential processes to demonstrate eligibility for this category. However, this process is likely to take longer than the other types of membership changes and might not be finalized until the elected version of the Psychotherapy Commission begins work in January 2020.

I’m an ACPE Educator, but I was also an AAPC Fellow/ Diplomate. Is dual affiliation possible? What steps should I take?
At the moment, ACPE recommends that you maintain your status as an educator and continue to watch for psychotherapy-related updates from ACPE. The Psychotherapy Commission and the Membership Taskforce will look into this question once membership eligibility requirements and the question of certification have been addressed.
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