Original Research - Special Collection: Practical Theology

Developing pastoral therapy as a professional qualification in South Africa: Rationale and motivation

Juanita Meyer
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 76, No 2 | a5659 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v76i2.5659 | © 2020 Juanita Meyer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 July 2019 | Published: 12 May 2020

About the author(s)

Juanita Meyer, Department of Practical and Missional Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


The professional training of pastoral therapists has been a topic of controversy for many years in South Africa. Up to date, the training of pastoral workers has been limited to the study of ministry and as such is limited by the primary aims and outcomes of this curriculum. In a post-apartheid, post-colonial South Africa, the need for pastoral workers is intensified by the needs of community- and faith-based organisations for trained and registered therapists to alleviate the counselling needs of their beneficiaries on all social levels. This article discusses the current state of affairs of the training and curriculum related to the profession of pastoral therapy in the context of South Africa, the various sociopolitical and religious needs that are still left unanswered in the field, and makes recommendations for the registration and accreditation of the profession with a specific curriculum focused on multicultural, multi-spiritual and post-modern nuances. The author argues that such a curriculum, accredited by a statutory body, can operate as a national health resource, will be more cost-effective than other related health services and may transform the social justice landscape related to both the providers and beneficiaries of this type of care.


Professionalisation of pastoral therapy in South Africa; Statutory body versus professional council or body; CPSC; SAAP and HPCSA; Ministry training; Social justice


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