Counseling programs and reading lists?

A woman recently asked us this question privately, and we thought asking here might generate some helpful advice:

I was looking at the M.A. in Counseling program at CTS and looking for a reading list since I don’t want to move to St. Louis and came across your article on the problems in 2019 with seminary and their involvement with a conference…

My real question is, where to go for reading lists for the areas where psychology and sociology are in agreement with the Word/Truth and where they are not?

Is there a truth based college for studying history, psychology, sociology that has the Schaeffer modernity and depravity understanding that has not drifted?

I can name two programs you might consider: ACBC or the Association of Certified
Biblical Counselors
, and CCEF or the Christian Counseling &
Educational Foundation
. Both of these can be done from home, for the most part.

ACBC does not grant degrees but they do certify counselors and their program, from what I have heard from people I know who have been involved with them, is sound and quite Reformed. They have QUITE a reading list and you can read it here.

CCEF does not grant degrees themselves - only certificates - but they do have a linkage to Westminster Seminary Online that allows them to teach their coursework as part of Westminster’s fully online Masters of Arts in Counseling degree. I must note that I have no knowledge as to how Westminster is faring doctrinally now.

Hope this helps, and if nothing else, take a look at that ACBC reading list!



I second both of the above for the most part. I took the 11-week course at Faith Church in Lafayette that is part of the ACBC certification program. I found much of the content helpful long-term.

I particularly have found David Powlison to be pastorally helpful and Ed Welch to have more of a clinical side. Both are CCEF. Welch’s book Depression is very helpful, especially for anyone who has never been depressed themselves. Welch’s Blame It on the Brain? deals with brain disorders, diseases (dementia, etc.), and sin.

Much of Jay Adam’s writing is also helpful.

Dan Allender has useful things to say in his books The Wounded Heart and Healing the Wounded Heart about sexual sin and their effects. I was introduced to his work at pastors college (now New Geneva Academy.)

Reading the Diagnostics and Statistics Manual (DSM) is also helpful. Modern psychology is basically worthless at helping people - but it is very useful in seeing patterns of sin that are common. This may help you put together things in people’s lives that look disconnected but are actually related. For instance, you may know one or two things about someone and knowing that those are commonly found alongside other problems you may be able to dig out issues faster. Go to the library for this one.