Fordham’s Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education has received accreditation from the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) for its pastoral counseling and spiritual care program.

The University’s pastoral counseling program was one of 16 programs across the country that were officially recognized under the Masters in Counseling Accreditation Committee (MCAC) standards for integrating science-based training in their professional psychology and counseling curriculum.

“We’re excited to receive this accreditation,” said Mary Beth Werdel, Ph.D., associate professor of pastoral counseling and director of the program.

“It not only recognizes the work of our program and our faculty, but also helps us to serve our students better. This allows us to work towards our mission of providing training that prepares students to be of service to others and provides them with a multicultural understanding.”

Werdel said MPCAC’s commitment to promoting counseling programs that are culturally responsive and dedicated to social justice is line with what the school’s pastoral counseling program stands for.

“Our program is one of the only programs in the country that trains people to become competent and ethical mental health counselors who have the ability to examine the ways that spirituality and people’s experiences of spirituality can help them to flourish psychologically,” said Werdel.

To be a certified pastoral counselor, candidates in the 60-credit master’s program must be a licensed mental health counselor.

“There’s a growing body of evidence that suggests that spirituality and psychology are related in important ways, and our program recognizes that,” said Werdel.

In addition to courses in spirituality, pastoral ministry, theology and religious education, students receive traditional counseling training focused on clinical intervention, counseling theory, psychological assessment, and diagnosis, which provides them with a holistic approach to treating clients from different spiritual and cultural backgrounds.

“We’re training our students to be men and women in service of others through the practice of pastoral counseling,” said Werdel. “Part of what the MCAC accreditation does is help us to become the best possible counseling program we can be.”