The Higher Certificate in Christian Counselling is an outstanding programme for training lay counsellors. It is designed for pastoral counsellors and for lay counsellors serving in the context of churches or parachurch organisations. The programme was written by Prof. Mervin van der Spuy, the former head of the Association of Christian Counsellors in South Africa. The programme is extremely comprehensive. Prof. van der Spuy believes that counsellors are best trained through an integration of theology and psychology.

Students enrolling for this programme will first need to complete the compulsory course for all SATS students: THE1120 Introduction to Theology.

Do I Qualify?

To register for the Higher Certificate in Christian Counselling, you need to have a school-leaving certificate. In South Africa, this is a National Senior Certificate (NSC). If you have an accredited tertiary qualification, we accept that in lieu of a school-leaving certificate.

If you do not have a school-leaving certificate, you may be admitted to the HCCC on the basis of RPL. You will be asked to complete the first five courses on probation as stand-alone subjects. If you pass them, demonstrating that the ability to study at this level, you may enrol for the HCCC.

If you complete the Higher Certificate in Christian Counselling and wish to enrol for the Bachelor in Theology, 60 credits from the HCCC may be transferred to the BTh

What Textbooks Do I Need?

Whereas most SATS programmes do not require you to purchase textbooks, the Higher Certificate in Christian Counselling is written around these books, which you will use in all the courses:

Students are required to purchase the following textbooks. Please acquire them before you start your first counselling course:

  • Collins, G. 2007. Christian Counseling: a Comprehensive Guide (Third Edition). Thomas Nelson.
  • McMinn, M.R. & Campbell, C.D. (2007) Integrative Psychotherapy: toward a Comprehensive Christian Approach. IVP Academic
  • Meier, Minirth, Wichern & Ratcliff. 1999. Introduction to Psychology and Counseling: Christian Perspectives and Applications. 2nd Ed. Baker Books.
  • Tan, S. & Scalise, E.T. 2016. Lay Counseling: Equipping Christians for a Helping Ministry. (Revised & Updated). Zondervan.
  • Tan, Siang-Yang, 2011. Counseling and Psychotherapy: A Christian Perspective. Baker Publishing.

What Are The Courses?

Compulsory courses

  • CCC1120 Biblical Basis and Introduction to Christian Counselling
  • CCC1121 Human Development and Christian Counselling
  • CCC1128 Theoretical Foundations of Christian Counselling
  • CCC1127 Ethical and Legal Issues for Christian Counsellors
  • CCC2121 Psychopathology and Spiritual Conflicts
  • CCC2129 Counselling Skills (Practicum-1)


  • CCC1123 Crisis & Trauma Counselling
  • CCC1124 Domestic Violence and Abuse
  • CCC1125 Wellness, Personal & Spiritual Growth
  • CCC1126 Introduction to Addictions
  • CCC2122 Marriage and Family Counselling
  • CCC2128 Child & Adolescence Counselling

HCCC Timetable

How Long Does It Take?

The minimum duration is one year, but the average completion time for part-time students is two years. You have a maximum of three years to finish.

Please note: You are required to complete 48 credits every twelve months, commencing with the date of enrolment.

Complete our online application form, or contact us.