Phase 1: Learning


Helping others to live a transformed life begins with a Gospel-centered, biblical approach. The first phase of ACBC certification includes a fundamentals training course, counseling observations, and reading requirements. To begin ACBC certification, simply start working on the requirements outlined below!

Before You Begin the Certification Process

All ACBC Certified counselors sign their agreement on the following documents. Please read them carefully before you begin:


1. Complete a Fundamentals Training Course

Engage in 30 hours of training from ACBC certified counselors to understand the basics of biblical counseling. Choose one of the three options below:

This 30 hours of training is comprised of the following topics:

  • I. Orientation to and Dynamics of Biblical Counseling

    A. Basics of Biblical Counseling
    1. The Need for Biblical Counseling
    2. The Definition and Goal of Biblical Counseling
    3. Progressive Sanctification
    4. Process of Biblical Change
    5. Qualifications of a Biblical Counselor
    6. Getting to Heart Issues

    B. Key Elements in Biblical Counseling
    1. Gathering Data
    2. Discerning Problems Biblically
    3. Establishing Involvement with Counselees
    4. Giving Hope
    5. Providing Instruction
    6. Giving Homework

  • II. Critical Reflection on Various Theories in Counseling

    A. Secular and Integration Theories
    B. What Makes Biblical Counseling Biblical?

  • III. Husband and Wife Relationships

    A.  God’s Purpose for Marriage
    B.  Roles of the Husband and Wife
    C.  Communication
    D. Biblical Sexuality

  • IV. Parent and Child Relationships

    A. Goal of Parenting
    B. Parental Instruction
    C. Parental Discipline

  • V. Frequent Issues in Counseling

    A. Guilt and Repentance
    B. Forgiveness
    C. Trials and Suffering
    D. Fear and Worry
    E. Anger
    F. Depression
    G. Sexual Sin

  • VI. Medical Issues in Counseling

    A. Physical Illness and Biblical Counseling
    B. Psychotropic Drugs and Biblical Counseling

  • VII. Case Study

    A. A session devoted to walking through a case study for real-life application

Tip: The Fundamentals Training Course is good for ACBC Certification purposes if you apply for certification with ACBC within 4 years of taking the course. For example, if an individual finishes the Fundamentals Training Course in 2016, they will need to apply for ACBC Certification by December 31, 2020.

2. Observe an ACBC Certified Counselor

Observe 10 biblical counseling sessions in action to learn from ACBC Certified members. You can complete the 10 hours of observing an ACBC Certified Counselor in one of two ways:

Find a Counselor

Search for a counselor to observe in your area

Purchase Observation DVDs

You can purchase observation videos from IBCD or Faith

Tip: As you are observing counseling during this part of Phase 1, be sure to log these hours on the ACBC Observation Log in order to save time during the Application process.

3. Grow Through Reading

Increase your understanding of biblical counseling and theology by reading 1,000 pages from our Approved Reading List. At least 300 of the 1,000 pages will need to be from the “Biblical Counseling and Theology” category on the Approved Reading List.

Tip: Be sure to select at least one Systematic Theology from the list to read from. This will be very helpful for you when you write Theology Exam. Also, track your reading as you go by completing the ACBC Reading Log.