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nccashield3In 1981, Dr. Richard and Dr. Phyllis Arno established the National Christian Counselors Association (NCCA) as a non-profit corporation in order to conduct research and develop a therapeutic procedure based on Scripture. The procedure would accomplish three essential goals:

1.   Enable the candidate to learn the system easily and relatively quickly 

2. Save pastors and Christian counselors precious time in counseling sessions 

3.  Produce effective, positive, and more immediate results with those being counseled 

The Arnos developed the system over seven years through systematic research with over 5,000 individuals. The counselees sought help for depression, inter/intra-personal conflict, marriage and family dysfunctions and anxiety.

The purpose of the research was to:  

1.   increase the effectiveness of the NCCA’s therapeutic procedure 

2.   measure the percentage of success within a controlled environment 

3. develop an accurate clinical testing procedure for initial identification of the counselee’s temperament (spiritual genetics) 

In-depth studies were conducted on all current psychological tests and/or behavioral inventories. For many reasons, the NCCA selected the FIRO-B, which was developed by Dr. Will Schutz, as its initial measuring device or questionnaire. The NCCA named its analysis procedure the Temperament Analysis Profile (TAP), which reveals the "hidden problems" that normally take the counselor seven or eight sessions to identify.  

In November 2000 the NCCA changed the name from the Temperament Analysis Profile to the Arno Profile System (APS) in honor of the Arnos. Presently, over 4,000 pastors and professional counselors use the Arno Profile System to aid them in their counseling efforts. These counselors report an accuracy rate of over ninety percent (90%) in identifying an individual’s correct (in-born, God-given) temperament.

How the NCCA Credentials Help You Personally and Professionally 

Potential counselors often ask about the benefits of the training and obtaining certification or license from the NCCA. Of course, the main benefit is knowledge. The training you receive provides a deep spiritual insight into understanding human behavior and relating to others. This knowledge is valuable in every area of life, including your ability to help those who are hurting. 

Having NCCA credentials ensures that you are recognized within your community as a qualified Christian/Pastoral counselor. The community can be assured that your credentials are authentic and current.  

Other benefits available to NCCA members include qualifying for professional liability insurance, networking with other counselors and the opportunity to earn continuing education credits at seminars and conferences. In addition, the NCCA offers assistance to its members with regard to degree transfer work and fulfillment of academic goals. 

Advantages of the Arno Profile System

As a licensure candidate, you will learn the Arno Profile System (APS) for counseling. The APS is an easy-to-learn counseling technique used by thousands of lay counselors, professional counselors, and pastors throughout the United States and in several foreign countries.

The Christian counselor administers a questionnaire, which takes fewer than ten minutes for the counselee to complete. The questionnaire measures the counselee’s needs, natural traits, strengths, and weaknesses according to temperament. These are identified in the computerized Arno Profile System report, providing the counselor with in-depth information and the best way to counsel the individual. The system enables a qualified counselor to identify the counselee’s temperament problem swiftly and accurately.  

Who Can Benefit From NCCA Training? 

The training adjusts to meet the needs of Christians with different goals, including: 

·  Christians who want to be better equipped to minister to those who need counsel 

·  Pastors who want to learn how to counsel members of their community who are experiencing problems  

·  Christians who want to be credentialed and enter the field of counseling as a part-time or full-time ministry 

·  Professional counselors who want to become A.P.S. certified and learn a Biblically-based counseling model with proven success  

Christian Certification/Licensing 

Each individual must decide if he or she wants to be an agent of the state or a servant of the Church (Body of Christ). If you have a Divine call on your life to counsel and minister to the hurting, then a state license may inhibit such ministry. 

The National Christian Counselors Association 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. For example, some states have a counselor category called "Licensed Professional Counselor." Therefore, the National Christian Counselors Association requires its counselors to clearly identify their license, e.g., "National Christian Counselors Association Licensed Pastoral Counselor" or "National Christian Counselors Association Licensed Clinical Christian Counselor." This ensures that the NCCA counselor is operating within legal and ethical standards, and maintaining the public’s trust and confidence. 

State regulatory laws help to protect the public and ensure professionalism within the counseling profession. The NCCA strives to attain a similar goal within the Christian community and, at the same time, operate within compliance with state laws. 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 not interfere with the Ministry of Counseling. 

The major difference between state-licensed professional counselors and Pastoral or Christian counselors, who are licensed by the NCCA 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 influence. The state licensed professional counselor is forbidden to pray, read or refer to the Holy Scriptures, counsel against things such as homosexuality, abortion, etc. Initiating such counsel would be considered unethical by the state. In most states in the U.S., state licensed counselors "must not promote their personal religious beliefs" according to the code of ethics in each respective state. The only time a state licensed counselor can involve religious (Christian) principles, morals, activities, instruction, etc., is if the counselee initiates or requests counsel in this area. The state-licensed counselor may not have the education, experience and knowledge of Scripture that the NCCA counselor provides.

Opposite from that, Pastoral and Christian counselors are required to pray, share their faith, read the Holy Scriptures, etc. The fact that Pastoral and Christian counselors do these things creates a clear distinction. We are two distinct professions and govern ourselves accordingly. 

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 is to say that the Christian counselor, minister or priest is not permitted to request fees and receive remuneration for the services they render, as long as they remain adherent to the state laws governing such procedures. 

The NCCA 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 501(c)(3) not-for-profit ministry. 

3.       Complete specialized training provided by the NCCA 

4.       Complete the minimum requirements for continuing education and annual license renewal. 

5.       Uphold NCCA’s Code of Ethical Standards.  

NCCA’s published "Code of Ethical Standards" outlines all of the procedures involved in dismissal, revocation, probation, and reinstatement of an individual’s membership, certification, and/or license and is available for review at

Explanation of Ministerial Credentials and Clergy 

Are you "called" by God to counsel and want to be licensed? 

Many individuals who inquire about the NCCA’s licensing program are already accountably ordained ministers whom are under the authority of their local church or denomination. These individuals can complete the requirements and be licensed as a Licensed Pastoral Counselor or as a Licensed Clinical Christian Counselor. In many states, they can counsel and accept remuneration for this service (in accordance with state and local guidelines) without being affiliated with any state agency or without being state licensed. Some states will require the clergy counselor to carry out their counseling under the sponsorship of a church or denomination to which they remain accountable. This is because the laws governing counseling in most states exempt "Clergy" from submitting to its (the state’s) authority. You will need to make sure that your ministerial credentials and relationship to your church or denomination meet the requirements of licensing exemption in your state. 

What about the others – those individuals who are not credentialed ministers or pastors? The call to counsel is just as real for them. They do not want to be state licensed and most certainly do not want to relinquish their right to represent Jesus Christ in their counseling ministry. They just want to answer and fulfill God’s call on their lives. 

Indeed, some are called to the high office of the pastorate. These persons should be credentialed (set aside) by a church or a denomination and approved to perform all the duties of the pastorate, including the dispensation of the sacraments (giving Holy Communion and Baptizing). 

However, there are many other types of Ministers or Clergy. For example, Ministers of Music, Chaplains, Ministers of Administration, Missionaries, Youth Ministers, Evangelists, Pastoral Counselors, Bishops, etc. All of these offices are understood by the state and federal government to be "Clergy." 

The Ministry of Counseling is a valid ministry which is instituted by God. The call into this ministry is an awesome call which cannot be easily ignored.