Asia Christian Counselling Association Handbook (Version 8)

© 2019 ACCA

Revised and © 2023 ACCA


      1. Background of ACCA

    1.1 Vision

    1.2 Mission

    1.3 Core Values

    1.4 Core Activities

    1.5 Definition of Christian Counseling

    1.6 Theoretical Orientations of Christian Counseling

    1.7 ACCA Position on Various Counselling Approaches

    1.8 Summary

    2. Membership

    2.1 Applying for Membership of ACCA

    2.3 Funding of ACCA

    2.4 ACCA Board Members

    2.5 Member Nations

    2.6 Benefits of membership

    3. Maturing ACCA

    3.1 PACC Case Study: Growth to Maturity

    3.2 Growing Mature National Christian Counseling Associations in Asia

    1. Background of ACCA

    1.1 Vision

    The vision of ACCA is to incorporate Christian counseling as an integral part of Christian practice, ministry and service in Asia to facilitate people across Asia to grow in behavioral, mental, emotional, social and spiritual integrity through professional and lay Christian counseling.

    1.2 Mission

    Our mission is to promote and equip the body of Christ in Asia in Christian counseling through networking, events and publications. ACCA will achieve this by:

        • Promoting the development and advancement of Christian counseling as a publicly recognized discipline in Asia;

        • Promoting the appropriate equipping of professional Christian Counselors in Asia through teaching, training and professional development in Christian counseling;

        • Equipping lay Christian counselors in churches;

        • Encouraging cooperation amongst professional and lay Christian counselors, pastors, leaders and the body of Christ in helping those who are needy and hurting;

        • Promoting high standards in the theory and practice of Christian counseling in Asia through respective national code of ethics;

        • Encouraging Christian counselors in Asia to teach, research and write in areas unique to Asian Christian counseling;

        • Fostering unity through sharing of information and experiences among Christians of different counseling approaches and specialties;

        • Initiating and promoting care and counsel as mission for Christ.

      1.3 Core Values

          • Interfacing Biblical theology, principles and values with counseling theory and practice that is consistent with the Bible;

          • Promoting ongoing growth in spiritual maturity and professional excellence, integrity and accountability;

          • Leading, empowering, networking and partnering;

          • Being a distinctive Christian presence and voice in the field of counseling in Asia.

        1.4 Core Activities

            • Promoting and enhancing the setting up and running of a national association of Christian counseling in every country in Asia;

            • Encouraging the organizing of annual national conferences in Christian counseling by the respective national associations;

            • Encouraging the organizing of regular workshops, seminars, training programs and promotional events by the respective national associations;

            • Coordinating the organizing of an Asian Summit and Conference of Christian counselors by a national association once every two years.

          1.5 Definition of Christian Counseling

          Christian counselling is a Christ-centred relationship between two or more persons in which one person seeks to help another person or persons on how to cope, recover and grow using the knowledge, techniques and skills of Christian counselling developed with the following salient features:

              • An interface between theology and psychology with the Bible as the final authority;

              • A perspective from the Christian view of personhood in which mankind’s basic problem is sin and our ultimate goal in life is to know God, relate closely with Him and be Christlike in character;

              • The counseling process involves guidance from the Holy Spirit and may include spiritual resources like prayer, deliverance, forgiveness, inner healing and the operation of spiritual gifts.

            1.6 Theoretical Orientations of Christian Counseling:

            Integration Seeks to fuse the domains of theology and psychology.

            Levels-of-explanation Maintains that psychology and theology have separate levels of reality and both disciplines are correlated in counseling.

            Biblical counseling Sees the Bible as self-sufficient and psychology is not needed.

            Christian psychology Strives to have a psychology that is derived from the Christian view of the person rather than simply taking it from modern psychology’s humanistic view.

            Transformational psychology Focuses on spiritual formation, with each generation allowing the reality of faith and love to shape the endeavor of doing the work of psychology in the Spirit

            (Ref: Eric Johnson. (2010). Five Views.)

            Spiritual Direction

            For a Christian who needs guidance around experiences that will draw the person closer to God, or if he or she felt like there are obstacles along the way, that person may seek Spiritual Direction on mostly monthly sessions with a Spiritual Director who has a certain knowledge, insights and skills that are needed to attune, journey alongside and guide the Spiritual Directee in a deep and open relationship. Spiritual Direction is also recognized as a very valid way of sharing the whole Christian Journey, not just during times of challenge, but as a way of life long understanding and encouragement of the God journey with fellow pilgrims. ACCA recognizes this discipline.

            Other Areas/Disciplines Recognized by ACCA



            Counselling Education

            Pastoral Care

            Member Care

            Counselling Research

            Writing on these above areas.

            1.7 ACCA Position on Various Counselling Approaches

            ACCA adopts an inclusive position to accept the different Christian counseling theoretical orientations and approaches, namely:

                • Integration

                • Levels of explanation

                • Biblical counseling

                • Christian psychology

                • Transformational psychology

                • Christian Spiritual Direction

              ACCA encourages all its national member bodies to adopt an inclusive position to accept the different Christian counseling theoretical orientations and spiritual approaches mentioned above.

              1.8 Summary

              ACCA seeks to set the direction, scope and pace of Christian counseling in Asia through equipping and strengthening the existing national Christian counseling bodies and facilitating the set-up of new national organizations in the rest of the 53 Asian countries where they are not already existent.

              ACCA seeks to promote Asian Christian counseling that is authentic to God’s Word and contextualized to local needs.

              ACCA seeks to move Christian counseling beyond just clinical practice to informal individual, group and communal counseling that is not just a profession but also a ministry, incorporating spiritual resources into our counseling knowledge and skills for mission outreach.

              2. Membership

              2.1 Applying for Membership of ACCA

              Members of ACCA are not individuals but they comprise the Christian counseling national bodies of Asian countries.

              To apply as a member, you need to first form a formal national association of Christian counselors in your Asian country.

              At least two key leaders of the new organization (preferably the President and Secretary) must have are advised to have attended the ACCA Annual Consultation before obtaining the approval for membership.

              2.2 ACCA Board and Exco

              When a national organization joins ACCA as a member, that association is allowed to appoint one person to serve as a Board Member of ACCA to represent that country for a three-year term in the ACCA Board until the next General Meeting.

              Every three calendar years, existing ACCA Board Members will elect individuals to serve in the ACCA Executive Committee. These individuals may or may not be an existing Board Member of ACCA.

              ACCA recognizes only one national organization in a country to be the ACCA member and representative of that country.

              2.3 Funding of ACCA



              Biennial Asian Conference (historically 50-50 share of profits with host nation or as agreed by both parties at the time of a nation commencing to conference hosting preparations)


              Membership fee from member nations (USD100 for two years)

              An example of how to funding sources for the ACCA:

              Membership fees



              Basic Christian Counseling Courses


              2.4 ACCA Leadership 2021-2023

              Dr. Edmund Ng, from Malaysia, was the founding president of ACCA and led the association from 2017-2021. Joy Laverinto, from the Philippines, is interim president until next election, which will be carried out upon transfer of registration of the association and accounts to Singapore.

              Executive Committee
              Joy Laverinto Interim President Philippines
              Rev. Sam Kuna Secretary Singapore
              Mrs. Grace Shim Treasurer Thailand
              Dr. David Nikles Regional Coordinator Thailand/Australia
                  • Member Nations








                Sri Lanka

                South Korea



                2.6 Benefits of Membership

                Like any organization there is always room for growth. Membership benefits to individuals within their national agencies include:

                    1. Personal and Professional transformation –as individuals access mentoring, supervision, & counselling.
                    2. Potential for role modelling.
                    3. Acculturalization – providing a place where people can gain attitudes and philosophies of Christian Counselling not available in secular settings.
                    4. Skills training and development.
                    5. Guidelines for national counselling accreditation processes.
                    6. Research – both contributing to and hearing research findings which speak into the future of Christian Counseling within the Asian context.
                    7. Resource Sharing – we don’t all have to invent the wheel: cross cultural sharing of useful resources, knowledge, findings.
                    8. Policy guidelines for nations as they develop their own ACCs.
                    9. Ethics guidelines as a template or base from which to work in Asian context.
                    10. Mentoring nation to nation.
                    11. Networking and the myriad of benefits this offers to all involved.
                    12. Kingdom building – as we share all these things the Kingdom of God is closer at hand.
                    13. Shared educational facilities and a place to raise awareness of these.
                    14. Biannual conference which pulls so many of these things together in a face to face setting (except when COVID or other global issues make it impossible).
                    15. Prayer for national bodies, their growth, development, activities.
                    16. Public witness and opportunities to speak into national and regional issues from a Christian Counseling (respected) position.
                    17. Development of relevant trainings and resources specifically for Asia.
                    18. Social influence via media for example radio, TV and social media platforms.
                    19. Obedience to Christ as we share our journeys together as the healing body of Christ.
                    20. Support to churches seminaries pastors in their roles in growing disciples.
                    21. Shared ministry opportunities across professional groups, nations.
                    22. Opportunities to participate in and explore together the broader issues that relate to counselling beyond the 1:1 context: national and regional mental health, education, research, multidisciplinary interactions, publications and so on.
                    23. Services – especially supervision opportunities.

                  3. Maturing ACCA

                  ACCA comprises many nations. PACC has been in existence for many years, has seen harvest and drought times, and is still serving its national members and nation effectively. This case study is presented as an encouragement for what God has done through faithful courageous people. May we all be blessed and challenged as we see what has been achieved. May each of our national stories become recorded at some stage in the annals of ACCA history. And may we seek God as each national association to ask what is on His heart for our association, and also for ACCA itself, and be willing to take the steps of faith as the Filipino brothers and sisters have.

                  3.1 PACC Case Study: Growth to Maturity

                  Ms. Joy Laverinto

                  PACC was involved in the brainstorming of professionalizing the counselors in the Philippines to update our members regarding licensure matters. PACC partnered with other Professional Organization such as Integrated Professional Counselors of the Philippines (IPCAP), Philippine Guidance Counselors Association, friendship with Dr. Edmund Ng, and ACCA.

                  Conducted seminars to continually invite new members

                  Created the Standard Operating Procedures of PACC

                  Removal of the inactive PACC Board Officers & Members

                  Attended the 1st ACCA Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

                  Conducted seminars in partnership with Heal for Life Australia; Christian churches, Rotary Club, community mission works by helping the victims of Natural Calamity/Disaster

                  Applied Continuing Professional Development (CPD) provider accreditation from the Government agency, Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

                  Partnered with ACCA

                  Experience Dry Season: Last quarter of year 2015 up to year 2016 because of licensure requirements, leadership crisis, and financial crisis.

                  YEAR OF FAVOR: Year 2017 – 2018

                  PACC was granted by the Philippine Government agency called Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Accreditation as one of the providers of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) – to conduct seminars to the registered Guidance counselors with CPD units as a requirement to renew their licenses;

                  Founding member of ACCA – it facilitates us to grow and empowers us to gather our members during ACCA conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand

                  Creation of official PACC Web site & PACC FB page

                  Hiring of part time paid staff


                  Working hand in hand with ACCA in the international mission works by mentoring on how to establish a national association;

                  The advent of Mental Health Law of the Philippines – the increase of suicidal/depression cases in our country

                  Providing updated seminars/workshops to equip and strengthen our members and seminar participants on how to deal the current social issues that our country is now facing.


                  Source of Funding

                  Membership fees


                  Seminars and workshops

                  Gifts and donations

                  3.2 Growing Mature National Christian Counseling Associations in Asia

                  Dr. David Nikles

                  This item encourages us each as a national association to evaluate where we have come from, we are now, and where God may be calling us together towards greater maturity as a national association. Please feel free to use it as a guide or compass potentially each year with your national association leadership team.

                  What Brings us Together?

                  The scriptures draw counselors together in a profound way. Whether Pilipino, Malaysian, Chinese, Indian, where ever, we hear the common calling from the word of God. Scriptures that call us include:

                  II Corinthians 1:3-4


                  Comforts us

                  So we can comfort others

                  A profoundly deep comment on making sense of suffering is contained within this simple concept.

                  Isaiah 61:1-4

                  Bind up the broken hearted

                  The broken become

                  Oaks of Righteousness who we are to

                      • Rebuild

                      • Restore

                      • Renew

                    Resonating with II Corinthians above, so many of us were broken; yet Jesus in His mercy saw us, reached out through His people, and bound up our wounds. As per II Corinthians – He doesn’t just leave us there, but invites us to join His team of healers, and go find others who are broken, comforting them, helping them mourn and become restored, and then again inviting them, investing into them, that they too become Oaks like us, rebuilding, restoring, renewing the devastated cities communities and people for His glory.

                    Revelation 22:2b

                    “And the leave of the tree of life are for the healing of the nations”

                    In eternity there will be no more tears or crying or pain. Earth in its renewed restored state is to be an image of what is to come. Healing starts here. And we, the leaves of the tree of life, the oaks of righteousness, are none other than His vessel to bring that healing to people we know, or even don’t yet know, today, every day.

                    Looking back for a minute at our ACCA purpose statement. Have a look at each concept contained there-in.


                    God-Centered Bible-Based Spirit-Led Counseling

                    Through-out Asia


                    Psychology Theology Spirituality and Missions

                    Pretty gutsy! Great vision. But how do we get there?

                    As we hear stories of how various nations’ ACC developed, we can track common issues and themes. We can even assess where a certain nations’ ACC is up to developmentally. We will introduce three phases of development.

                        • Commencement

                        • Consolidation

                        • Maturity

                          ACCA Core Activities are to encourage /facilitate

                          • Setting up and running of national ACC in every Asian nation

                          • Annual national conferences

                          • Biannual Asian Conference

                          • National training and professional development programs

                        Focusing now on the first core activity: this is to

                        To start => to commence, pioneer, establish

                        To run => to consolidate, bed down, solidify and

                        To bring => to maturity, flourishing, blessing others

                        Where are You Now?

                        Let’s look at the key defining features of each phase, in terms of the processes one would observe, and the actual logistical practical issues that are being addressed. You can use this table as an ACC to assess your own Association using these questions.

                        As a leadership group of nationals from a given country, ask yourselves these questions.

                            1. Where are we up to right now? Identify where you are, in both process and content.

                          Process means where you are at regarding say developing relationships if trust with each other, praying with each other about the way ahead. Content refers more to what things you are or aren’t doing that flow out of your relational process.

                              • What are our major challenges?

                              • How can we build on what we have and move more towards maturity?

                            We have mentioned content issues partly because these are there for most agencies in some way or other, and as a kind of check list because it is unlikely you will move to the next step without completing the required issues for that step. Obviously, there will be differences between nations depending on the geo-social-political environment. You may as a team decide to review this assessment annually or so to assist with continued further growth.

                            Phase Process Content Key Questions

                            Led by God

                            Meeting each other

                            Build Relationship.

                            Shared Dreams & Visions for your nation


                            Key Issue: Take the jump: the leap of faith. who when where how; and what, do we start?

                            Sharing Vision.



                            Selecting leadership team.

                            Forming vision and

                            Communicating w others/raising awareness.

                            Conferences: Requiring both Logistics and Program oriented people to develop well.

                            What are 2-3 key challenges you face now in commencing or developing such an agency?

                            What are some significant resources you have?

                            How can ACCA help?

                            What could be some next steps for you?

                            Phase Process Content Key Questions
                            Consoli- dation

                            With God and each other





                            Legal and Logistics

                            Membership and Referral



                            Logistics Statement of Faith





                            Bank Accounts

                            Name & Logo




                            Sharing Resources.

                            What are the 2-3 main challenges you are currently facing now?

                            How could you begin or continue to work on these?

                            How can ACCA help?

                            What do you see as next steps towards maturity?


                            With Him, each other, thus impacting many.

                            Effective and efficient.

                            Strong relationships.

                            Reaching out.

                            Together in unity.

                            Gaining dominion over darkness and brokenness.


                            Professional Development
                            – Conferences and Training
                            – Strengthen and Diversify
                            – Supervision


                            Tertiary Level Training




                            What are your 2-3 most difficult challenges?

                            How can ACCA help?

                            What are 2-3 vital next steps to fuller maturity?

                            How can we reach out to our neighbors?

                            As ACCA may we bring comfort and care, plant and build oaks of righteousness, and offer healing in the nations. With the love of God, walking with Jesus, led by the Spirit, holding each other with hands linked in prayer and fellowship. For His Glory!