AAPC Pastoral Counselors

AAPC Northwest Region


Welcome to the website of the AAPC Northwest Region of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC). Membership is open to all who support the AAPC mission to bring healing, hope and wholeness to individuals, families and communities by expanding and equipping spiritually grounded and psychologically informed care, counseling and psychotherapy.

AAPC Northwest 2018 Fall Conference Feedback

We are about a month out from our Fall Conference at Gig Harbor.  I was so very pleased with our gathering this year.  We had better attendance then in the past.  There were 30 participants over the two days with one coming from as far away as Texas.  Our speaker Dr. Carrie Doehring was outstanding and the fellowship was warm and lively.

During our business meeting we had a spirited discussion about where we are headed with AAPC and ACPE in the near future.  Elizabeth Denham-Thompson, our AAPC Treasurer and a central part of the process was able to fill us in on what is happening and answer many of the questions that were raised by the group. A motion was made and passed to support the process with the request that there be a way to value previous AAPC training.

There is a meeting of the process group in December to take the next steps and hopefully put together a Memorandum of Understanding to define what the new relationship will be. I hope to share more concrete details of where we are in the Winter Newsletter that will be coming out in January. 

Paul Shoup
AAPC NorthWest Region Chair

Summary of Evaluations

The program received high marks from the attendees in the program evaluations. On a scale of 1-9 (9 being the highest), the program received an average of 8.77 when attendees rated the speaker, the relevancy of the content, and the conference facilities. 

Some of the highlights from comments by attendees:

“Thank you so much for one of the best AAPC Events I have ever attended”!

“We must have her back again”!

“Very useful! I am glad I came. The materials and content are very relevant to what we are facing in our nation today”.

“I learned a language for this element of life and a different perspective”.

“I found myself writing client initials next to ideas”.

“A wonderful integration of theology, care psychology and personal internal conflicts”.

A Trifocal Lens - by Greg Johanson

One of the joys of having Carrie Doehring as our conference speaker is the simple, eloquent and effective way she deals with postmodern issues.  In my own 1,500 page dissertation (that everyone should run out and read immediately), I spilled a lot of ink dealing with postmodern epistemology and how it could allow for the on-line pastoral care and counseling many of us do.  In her 2006 Westminster-John Knox Press book The Practice of Pastoral Care:  A Postmodern ApproachDr. Doehring deals with such subjects in a beautifully efficient, practical, and powerful way.  We will have opportunities to have some wonderful conversations with her over this matter.  Just to give a quick preview of what we can expect, I am copying a paragraph from her book.

In my approach to pastoral care I invite pastoral caregivers to view their ministry through trifocal lenses that include premodern, modern, and postmodern approaches to knowledge. Using a premodernlens, pastors assume for the moment that God, or that which is sacred, can be glimpsed and apprehended to some degree through sacred texts, religious rituals and traditions, and religious and spiritual experiences—the way transcendent realities seemed to be known within the ancient and medieval church prior to the use of critical approaches to knowledge introduced by Enlightenment thinkers.  Using a modernlens, pastoral caregivers draw upon rational empirical methods, like biblical critical methods, medical knowledge, and the social sciences, in offering pastoral care.  A postmodernlens brings into focus the contextual and provisional nature of knowledge, including knowledge of God. (page 2)

See you at the conference; an important special event!

Pastoral Psychotherapy as Lectio Divina

- Anthony Terndrup, PhD, LMHC, AAPC Fellow

Every other year for the past five years, I have enjoyed the honor and privilege of teaching a course in Pastoral Care to the Pastoral Ministry graduate students at the University of Portland.  One of the texts I assign the students to read is Caring Ministry:  A Contemplative Approach to Pastoral Care(Continuum, 2005).  The author, Sarah A. Butler, is an Episcopal priest, spiritual director, retreat leader, and interim pastor. I first introduced myself to her work when I myself was a Pastoral Ministry graduate student at the University of Portland and was writing a research paper on Centering Prayer during the Fall Semester of 2007.

In the first chapter of Caring Ministry, titled Pastoral Care as Contemplative Journey, Butler parallels the dynamics of Lectio Divinaand pastoral care, the latter of which pastoral psychotherapy is a particular expression.  She reminds us “lectio divinais the Christian contemplative tradition’s way of reading and praying with the Holy Scriptures” (p. 19) before she continues:

Lectio divinabegins in reading and reflecting.  From there it moves into a dialogue with God and our emotional responses.  It eventually ends with our resting in the silence of divine presence.  This movement echoes the rhythms of pastoral care.  Out of this “conversation,” through which we learn the care receiver’s story emerges the intimacy that allows self-disclosure.  The dynamic of intimacy and self-disclosure allows caregivers to move into the peace when they can offer a quiet presence, the contemplative dimension of caregiving (p. 19).

In diagrammatic form, Butler outlines these parallel dynamics (p. 20).  Consider my following application of her comparisons to pastoral psychotherapy as a particular expression of pastoral care:



Lectio Divina


Pastoral Psychotherapy




Read the sacred story.


Listen to your client’s sacred story.




Reflect on your inner experience of the sacred story.


Reflect your “reading” of your client’s inner experience.




Freely express the outpouring of your reflection.


Allow your client to respond to your reflection.




Relinquish all reflections and responses.  Allow God to speak in the mystery of silence, stillness, and presence.


Relinquish your need to know the outcome.  Offer hope, silence, or simply your presence. 

According to Butler, “another striking comparison between lectio divinaand pastoral care is the value of the repetition of the story” (p. 19).  Reading sacred stories and listening to those our clients share with us over and over again allow us to uncover and elicit a range of reflections and responses.  In pastoral psychotherapy, healing happens as both counselor and client “express multiple feelings, ask difficult questions, and listen to God’s call to reorder that which was in disorder” (pp. 19-20). 

Reference:  Butler, Sarah A.  (2005). Caring Ministry:  A Contemplative Approach to Pastoral Care.  New York:  Continuum.

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