NANC Certification

Among the communications I received this past week were some I had not been acute enough to anticipate. I realize now, however, they were a natural result of my blogs last week. Each of these communications involved unique circumstances but they had in common the fact that they were from those who were either in the midst of the certification process with NANC or anticipated beginning soon.

The common question was, “What do I do now?” Each was excited about nouthetic counseling and were grateful to Dr. Adams for “turning on the lights” for them with his books. They just did not want to invest the time and money in a certification process that was not going to lead to certification as a nouthetic counselor.

If this is your situation I offer my advice with the understanding it is simply that—advice, an opinion which you should carefully weigh in light of your specific circumstances. My advice:  Stay the course. Continue working toward certification but do so wisely and invest your time in training that will have benefit for you whether you eventually decide to become certified with NANC or not.

This next year will tell us much about what NANC is to become. I said in an earlier blog that I believe its trajectory is irremediable—but I hope I am wrong. NANC will have a new Executive Director this year who tells me he understands there needs to be change. Let’s give him a chance to make those changes and reevaluate in one year.

Let me offer some specific advice about the certification process. The first phase is training. Do not settle for three weekends of classes or a one week conference. You would not go to a barber, let alone a counselor, who had only three weekends of training. If a new certifying organization for nouthetic counselors arises it will certainly require that you have better training than that. Of course the best place to get your training in nouthetic counseling (shameless plug alert) is through the Institute for Nouthetic Studies where you can study under Dr. Adams himself. There are other fine training options as well.

Second, spend the necessary time to do a good job on your exams. The NANC exams have been only slightly altered over the years and will be a good exercise for you. Be sure to help your grader in the way you lay out your answers on paper (so to speak). No typos, consistent margins and formatting, clear and complete answers, and proofread!

My most important advice, however, concerns the third phase—supervision. Because there are no guidelines for Fellows about how they conduct their supervision every Fellow largely does that which is right in his own eyes. Most will do a good and thorough job of leading you through this phase. Not all, however, are thoroughly nouthetic. Ask questions of your Fellow and be sure you partner with one who understands what Nouthetic counseling is and is committed to teaching it.

2 thoughts on “NANC Certification

  1. I totally agree with this, especially your caveats regarding the training phase. The 185 hours of lectures (plus demanding course syllabus) we had with INS is a whole different ballgame than the “fast track”. When my church had a counseling ministry (it has since been dismantled by politics,) some of our members did the 3-weekend track, then were advised NOT to even try reading all the textbooks as they would “never retain” all that information; but rather to write the NANC exam by looking up the answers as they went along. I was horrified, having done it the old-fashioned way (yes, I actually READ all those books you and Jay told us to). I would not go to a surgeon who got through medical school by “looking up” the answers before doing surgery.

    I wrote the NANC exam and worked really hard on it, but never submitted it because I wouldn’t have been able to do the requisite 50 hours of supervised counseling in my own church. The supervision of the NANC Fellows is important, but we also (as “newbies”) need someone in our own local church (where presumably we’d be doing the counseling) to come along side us. It is frustrating when things don’t work out, but I’m very glad I invested in the INS studies – beneficial on all counts.

  2. Donn, Thanks for the clarification as this is where I am. I missed the last two NANC conferences due to distance and expenses. Richard and I will be there in Oct. Looking forward to seeing you and reporting in on my progress.
    Blessings to you and your family,