The International Council came into existence in 1979 at the first International Congress of reflective practitioners of pastoral care and counseling held in Edinburgh, Scotland. Various European and American practitioners had been gathering from as early as 1972, but it was in Edinburgh where over four hundred people from every continent gathered, providing a watershed moment for pastoral care and counseling networks and organization.

Working together over the decades, ICPCC members and congress participants have endeavored to become aware of and effectively respond to issues stemming from a diversity of contextual, cultural and spiritual expectations and understandings, as well as the impact this multiplicity has on the practice of pastoral care and counseling.

Embracing a once every four year cycle of international congresses, the ICPCC has now facilitated ten congresses, in different regions of the world. Regional congresses are held in the interim biennial years. Drawing from the local context the congress themes seek to address the current and emerging topics in pastoral care and counseling within our global context.

For a detailed reflection on ICPCC’s development and history read Dr. Ulrike Elsdoerfer’s paper, Approaches to a History of Care & Counseling in Europe and British psychiatrist Dr. Irene Bloomfield’s paper on The European Movement for Pastoral Care and Counseling.

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