Criteria for accreditation

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SAAP Category


Knowledge & Experience

Minimum Qualification

Training pathway


Pastoral Counsellor (Basic Level)

  • General knowledge and experience of pastoral work.
  • Listening skills and empathy
  •  Twenty (
  • Under general supervision of a qualified professional

Certificate level

Secondary study beyond entry level


Pastoral Counsellor (Post Basic Level)

  • Relevant theoretical and practical knowledge of pastoral counselling
  • Listening skills and an emphatic understanding of a situation
  • 30 hours practical pastoral counselling and 15 hours of supervision
  • Significant responsibility for quality and quantity of output; under general supervision of a qualified professional

Diploma level

Continuing secondary study


Pastoral Counsellor (Intermediate Level)

  • An advanced knowledge of at least one theory of pastoral counselling and its practices/methods, as well as a general knowledge of two others
  •  50 hours practical pastoral counselling and 25 hours of supervision
  • Self-directed activities under broad guidance and evaluation

Bachelors degree

Entry to honours or equivalent higher education training


Pastoral Therapist (Advanced Level)

  • In-depth knowledge of at least three theories on pastoral counselling and experience of its practices and methods
  • Detailed knowledge of the theory of a specific pastoral counselling methodology and  model
  • 75 hours practical pastoral counselling and 30 hours of supervision
  • Self-directed and sometimes directive and managing

Honours degree or equivalent

Entry to masters or equivalent higher education training



Pastoral Therapist (Specialist Level)

  • Specialised and in-depth knowledge of a specialized and complex pastoral counselling/therapy discipline
  • Proven ability to integrate pastoral counselling theories in practice
  • 160 hours practical pastoral counselling and 40 hours of supervision
  • Complete accountability for determining, achieving, evaluating and applying all personal and group output

Masters degree or doctorate

Entry to doctoral and further research education; professional practice and/or senior counselling management


* Before application overseas qualifications have to be evaluated by SAQA (Directory Foreign Qualifications).

* Supervision is used in counselling, psychotherapy, and other mental health disciplines, as well as many other professions engaged in working with people. It consists of the practitioner meeting regularly with another professional, not necessarily more senior, but normally with training in the skills of supervision, as well as a qualification on a higher academic level, to discuss casework and other professional issues in a structured way. This is often known as clinical or counselling supervision or consultation. The purpose is to assist the practitioner to learn from his or her experience and progress in expertise, as well as to ensure good service to the client or patient and personal safety.

Practical counselling hours refers to actual counselling that has been done and accumulated as hours of 'experience' in order to receive accreditation with SAAP. These practical hours of counselling experience is then what the counsellor would take to supervision to discuss as “casework”.


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What is SAAP?

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.

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Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow.” - Mary Anne Radmacher