The need for pastoral work
South Africans suffer from spiritual wounds and stress. The causes are many - the lack of reconciliation, poverty, HIV/AIDS, unemployment, ongoing violence, crime and transformation in the workplace. Problems in the family, marriage and relationships are compounded by the issues such as debt and work-related stress.
An overwhelmed society needs trained caregivers to actively become part of the healing process.
Pastoral workers, although they may be highly trained and competent, are not always recognised as professionals.
We are clearly in need of a unified and consistent approach to pastoral and spiritual health care.
The Southern African Association for Pastoral Work (SAAP) recognises the pastoral counsellor’s unique perspective on spiritual and emotional problems.
It is an ecumenical, non-racist, non-sexist association accommodating people with a variety of pastoral styles and theoretical backgrounds.
It was founded in 1991 to bring together all the role-players interested and actively working in the pastoral counselling field in Southern Africa.
SAAP is affiliated with the African Association for Pastoral Studies and Counselling, as well as the International Council for Pastoral Care and Counselling.
SAAP aims to associate, affiliate and represent people who are interested in the study of, training in and responsible exercise of pastoral work in Southern Africa.
By applying standards and adhering to its Code of Ethics, SAAP assists pastoral counsellors and therapists active in this field to effectively contribute to the healing of our country.
Who are members?
SAAP draws its members from a wide range of disciplines and areas of application, varying from lay pastoral workers, counsellors, chaplains, pastors, ministers and specialist counsellors to private practitioners, family and marriage counsellors, trauma counsellors and mediators.
Areas of work include congregations, hospitals, counselling centres, help lines, the Correctional Services, SA Police Service and the SANDF.
Anybody interested in or involved with pastoral work may apply for SAAP membership.
Recommendation from a church or a professional in the counselling field is required.
Groups of counsellors and counselling centres can also join SAAP.
Why join SAAP?
There are many benefits:
- Being part of a network and peer group that share with and assist each other.
- Being invited to the SAAP open day seminars where knowledgeable specialists present topics for general discussion.
- Receiving the quarterly SAAP newsletter with counselling related news and articles.
- Being kept informed of current counselling related events and training opportunities.
- Being part of an umbrella organisation for pastoral counsellors that is internationally affiliated and has the best interests of its members at heart.
Accreditation emphasises the professional nature of pastoral work. A SAAP member qualified for pastoral work with relevant knowledge and practical training can be accredited either as Pastoral Counsellor or Pastoral Therapist in one of five categories, corresponding with the appropriate NQF level. A learning pathway is defined for achieving higher levels of accreditation.
Pastoral counsellors (Category 1 to 3) are typically doing counselling under guidance and supervision in any of a number of pastoral settings. Examples are students, lay workers in hospitals, field workers in community projects, school counsellors, church members and community leaders.
Pastoral therapists (Category 4 and 5) have post-graduate qualifications or equivalent higher education training towards professional certification in counselling and therapeutic occupations. The contact details of pastoral therapists and counselling centres are published on the SAAP website for referencing purposes.
Registration with SAAP
The process of registration includes two aspects. A counsellor may apply to be a member and, additionally, to be accredited.
Membership entitles a person to be included in all SAAP activities such as conferences and training courses and to receive the regular newsletter (SAAP Notes) with relevant and useful information. Anybody with an interest in pastoral work may become a member. Membership is a condition for accreditation.
A SAAP member qualified for pastoral work and with relevant knowledge and experience can also apply for accreditation with SAAP. Accreditation empowers a counsellor to publicly announce his or her membership of SAAP, which provides credibility to the clientele. SAAP has a Code of Ethics, which clearly outlines the values and practices of accredited counsellors.
Accreditation can be considered in 5 different categories.