24 April, 2013 by James Hoh CM-
National Association of Christian Counsellors (NACC) Malaysia will hold the third conference on June 14 – 15 at the Bible College of Malaysia, Petaling Jaya.
The theme of the conference is Effective Christian Counselling which seeks to integrate psychology and theology for effective counselling across the life-span.
It aims at equipping Christians with effective counselling approaches and enable them to understand the developmental needs of people in their various stages of life.
Dr Edmund Ng, the President of NACC and his committee are now busy with the preparations for the conference.
Dr Ng only caught the idea of organizing such a conference locally when he was invited to speak on grief at The World Conference of Christian counsellors in Nashville, USA in 2009.
The conference, organized by the American Association of Christian Counsellors, was one of the biggest he had ever seen. The event was attended by some 7,000 people from all over the world.
He was having a discussion with International Network of Christian Counsellors that the idea of starting a similar one in Malaysia came to him.
“When I came back, I approached National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF) to support my plan and it did.
“A few of us started to pray. But to form a national society, we must have at least 10 members from all the states of Malaysia. Finally we had the 10 people in place and we applied to the Registrar of Societies. It took us some months to get it registered,” he added.
“NACC was registered us on 9th of May, 2011 and we had our first conference four months later officially launched by Rev Sam Ang, Chairman of NECF in October, 2011.
“It was held at the New Life Restoration Centre in Petaling Jaya. Since then we have about 400 members.”
Explaining the need for such an association, he said, “Many pastoral staff is interested in counselling. They are only qualified theologically through seminaries but lacked counselling skills.
“In order to be effective counsellors, they need to equip themselves with counselling skills. It is an emerging trend and society values are changing. We need counselling skills that also tap on psychology and not to treat every human problem as a spiritual problem.”
Dr Ng who is the only certified Thanatologist (Grief Therapist) in Malaysia, backed up by some experience in pastoral ministry said that pastors cannot only pray for those who lost their loved ones, they need to be able to walk through with them and help them to confront their grief and comfort them.
“Pastors cannot solve their problems by just dealing with the spiritual side while neglecting the psychological aspect as both are usually intertwined. We need to minister to the soul, will and behavior,” he added.
“Therefore, I saw the importance and the need for such training. The Association’s mission is to promote and equip pastors and lay Christians for such work for the betterment of the community,” Dr Ng said.
Those interested to be trained in this discipline must undergo 30 contact hours. If one sits through the association’s two-day annual conference, he or she would have gained 10 contact hours. If they attended three annual conferences, they would qualify as members.
In addition, members could attend workshops and seminars for 10 contact hours at NACC office in Sunway Mas Commercial Centre, Petaling Jaya.
“But if you have the relevant degree, a Psychiatric or a psychology or is a certified counsellor, membership is automatic,” Dr Ng said.
Each year, the conference was attended by more than 450 participants. They comprised pastors, elders and Christians from all denominations, from Malaysia and Singapore.
The first one was held at New Life Restoration Petaling Jaya, the second at Grace Assembly of God, Petaling Jaya.
For those needing more information or are interested to attend this year’s conference in June, they are requested to visit NACC Malaysia website: http://www.nacc-malaysia.org
For those who seek counseling help, please visit the same website and find the list of agencies that maybe able to provide professional help.
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