Become A Certified Catholic Counselor or Life Coach–Holy Apostles College & Seminary Offers 2 New Programs

Pastoral Counseling

Would you like to discover how to apply the timeless wisdom of our Catholic faith and cutting-edge insights from contemporary psychology to help the faithful lead more graceful and abundant lives?

According to an American Association of Pastoral Counselors/Greenberg Survey, 34% of Catholics in the US would prefer to receive counseling from a therapist who was knowledgeable about their faith and knew how to employ faith-based techniques in their clinical work.  That’s almost 25 million potential consumers of mental health services in the US alone whose needs are not being met by available community and church-based mental health resources!

Holy Apostles College and Seminary offers two new, online programs to help you meet Catholics’ needs for faithful guidance in facing life’s challenges.

The Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies with a concentration in  Catholic Pastoral Counseling


the Graduate Professional Certificate in Catholic Pastoral Counseling for Licensed Mental Health Professionals  (scroll down on page past Youth Ministry Cert)

Developed and directed by Dr. Greg Popcak, both distance-learning programs are intended to give learners the skills they need to help people lead more fulfilling, healthy, and godly lives and relationships. Students will acquire the skills necessary for fostering the emotional, spiritual, and relational development of people-of-faith, in addition to being able to develop ethical and effective psycho-spiritual interventions to assist people in crisis.


These programs are an excellent fit for…

people in church ministry who would like to sharpen their psycho-spiritual/pastoral intervention skills and be more effective, first-line responders to people needing emotional and relational support.

any person who wishes to become a Christian Life Coach and/or Board Certified Professional Life Coach.

licensed mental health counselors who wish to engage in ethical and effective faith-integrated approaches to professional counseling.

Although this program is not intended to prepare learners to practice as state-licensed mental health professionals, all graduates (whether or not they are currently licensed mental health providers) will have advanced standing to become a Board Certified Coach through the Center for Credentialing and Education.

To learn more about how you could become a Catholic Pastoral Counselor or Pastoral Life Coach, visit  Holy Apostles College and Seminary.  We are currently accepting applications for these programs which begin in the Fall of 2017.

Holy Apostles College Appoints Dr. Popcak Concentration Chair in Master of Pastoral Studies Program

Holy Apostles College Seal

                     Holy Apostles College Seal

Holy Apostles College and Seminary announced today that their hiring committee has unanimously approved Dr. Greg Popcak to serve as the Chair of the Marriage and Family Concentration in their Master of Pastoral Studies (MAPS) program.

The MAPS program is a fully accredited, online masters degree program intended to prepare individuals who wish to serve the faithful as pastoral counselors, marriage and family life ministers, spiritual directors, and other ministry professionals.  In addition to teaching courses in the program, Dr. Popcak will be working with the Interim Program Director, Dr. Daniel Van Slyke, to develop new courses and programs to help prepare priests, religious, and lay students to more effectively serve the souls in their care.

Dr. Popcak is the author of over 20 books and programs integrating contemporary insights from counseling psychology with the timeless wisdom of the Catholic faith.  He directs the Pastoral Solutions Institute, an internationally-recognized,  pastoral tele-counseling practice that provides faith-integrated marriage, family, and personal counseling services to Catholics around the world. Together with his wife, Lisa, he hosts More2Life Radio  a call-in advice program heard across the US on the Ave Maria Radio Network.   A Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work and a Fellow of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, he has held several academic appointments, serving as adjunct faculty in both the undergraduate psychology and graduate theology departments at Franciscan University and the doctoral program in Counseling Studies at Capella University.  His books have been translated into 7 languages.

For more information on the Holy Apostles College Master of Pastoral Studies program, including its concentrations in General Pastoral Studies, Marriage and Family Studies, and Spiritual Direction, please visit the Holy Apostles College and Seminary MAPS Program website.




Dr. Popcak Named Fellow of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors

Image Shutterstock.

Image Shutterstock.

I am honored to be able to announce that I have been welcomed as a Fellow of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.

The AAPC fellowship process involves a lengthy review, by an interfaith committee of established AAPC Fellows, of the applicant’s curriculum vitae, spiritual autobiography, clinical/theological integration paper, and a recommendation by an AAPC supervising Fellow.  Once this process is completed, applicants must defend their application to a committee of fellows charged with evaluating their ability to articulate their own faith tradition in a clinical context, demonstrate their ability to work effectively with people of different faiths and no faith, show their capacity to make an effective contribution to the field of pastoral counseling, articulate a thoughtful plan for continued spiritual and professional development, and other professional criteria.

I am truly humbled and honored for my work to have been recognized by a group of pastoral counselors who represent a variety of faiths and spiritual traditions.  I am grateful for their affirmation and I hope that this process will enable me to both serve my clients and associate counselors more effectively and contribute more substantively to the development of the pastoral counseling profession.


Catholics and Protestants Look for Different Skills in their Counselors.

A few years ago, I published a study examining the different attitudes religiously committed Catholics and Protestants had toward counseling.  In particular, I was curious, considering the number of Catholics who go to generically “Christian” counselors, if Catholics were being well-served by Protestant counselors.  The study revealed some interesting results.  In a survey of over a 1000 respondents drawn from every diocese in the US, it was shown that, given the choice, religiously committed Catholics would prefer to go to a Catholic counselor than a Protestant one.  Likewise, the study showed that Protestants and Catholic want different things from their counselors.

For religiously committed Protestants, the most important counselor competency was “Scriptural Knowledge.”  While both religiously committed Catholics and Protestants wanted therapists who were aware of Christian approaches to treating problems related to marriage, parenting, depression, anxiety, and drug and alcohol abuse.  Catholics strongly preferred therapists who were also expert at secular treatments to the same.  In other words, religiously committed Catholics, much more than religiously committed Protestants, would prefer to go to a therapist who was both a well-formed professional and knew how to integrate Christian approaches into that professional framework.  Religiously committed Protestants prefered therapists who eschewed secular approaches to treating problems and concentrated on Biblical and Christian treatments only.

Additionally, Catholics wanted a therapist who had knowlege of moral theology, issues related to Christian views of marriage, annulment, and divorce, issues related to larger families and stay-at-home moms, and natural family planning.

In the end, the study showed that compare to religiously committed Protestants, religiously committed Catholics valued 11 different competencies from their counselors than Protestants did.  The breakdown is below.  The upshot is that Catholics really do expect–and deserve–something very different from their counselors.


Counselor Competencies Valued More Highly By Protestants

Competency                           % Prot    % Cath

1. Scriptural Knowledge           75.4       60.6


Counselor Competencies Valued More Highly By Catholics

Competency                                  % Prot  %  Cath

1. Natural Family Planning         14.9       62.7

2. Christian moral teaching**      83.6       90.3

3. Issues related to families

w/Stay-at-home mothers             44.6       60.5

4. Christian Views on divorce,

annulment, and remarriage         62.6       74.2

5. Issues with large families         23.2       50.9

6.  Developments in general

counseling theory/practice.         34.9       49.7

7. General school probs.               41.0       61.2

8. Gen Approaches

to parenting                                     44.1       56.9

9. Gen. Approaches to

Drg & Alc. Treatment                    34.8      47.4

10. Gen. Approaches to

Treating Depression                       52.8      64.2

11. Gen Approaches to

Treating Anxiety &Stress.            50.2      64.0