Statutes and Bylaws
On this page you will find the up to date Statutes of the WAPCEPC.
Note, that for the purpose of registration process in Austria German version of the Statues have been used.
Pre-2020 Statutes are available here
The Association was founded on July 8th, 1997 on the occasion of the Fourth International Conference on Client-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy (ICCCEP) in Lisbon, Portugal. The Statutes in their present form were agreed by consensus at the General Assembly in Chicago on June 29th, 2000 and amended at the General Assembly in Potsdam, 2006 and at the General Assembly (Zoom Meeting) on July 25, 2020. In 2020 WAPCEPC was registered as a non-profit association in Austria.
The terms "Person-Centered" and "Experiential" and the concepts and processes they encompass have an extensive, rich and evolving history. The choice of the phrase "Person-Centered and Experiential" is intended to promote continued dialogue and development; it is not intended to favor any particular understanding of these approaches and their relationship.
- Name, Location and Activity
- The name of the Association is “World Association for Person Centered & Experiential Psychotherapy & Counseling (WAPCEPC)". Hereinafter referred to only as "WAPCEPC"
- It has its headquarters in Vienna and extends its activities worldwide.
- The accounting year is equivalent to the calender year.
- As an NGO the Association, whose activity is not profit-oriented, aims to promote personal development and the humanization of interpersonal and social relationships in private and public life. It wants to disseminate and promote the person-centered and experiential approaches in individual, societal and cultural life, especially in the areas of counselling and psychotherapy.
- According to its statutes, the association pursues exclusively and directly charitable purposes and is therefore a non-profit association in the sense of the applicable tax regulations (§§ 34 to 47 of the Federal Fiscal Code – BAO).
- The aim of this Association is to provide a world-wide forum for those professionals in science and practice who:
- have a commitment to the primary importance of the relationship between client and therapist in psychotherapy and counseling;
- hold as central to the therapeutic endeavor the client's actualizing process and phenomenological world;
- embody in their work those conditions and attitudes conducive to therapeutic movement first postulated by Carl Rogers;
- have a commitment to an understanding of both clients and therapists as persons, who are at the same time individuals and in relationship with others and their diverse environments and cultures;
- have an openness to the development and elaboration of person-centered and experiential theory in light of current and future practice and research.
The association has the following goals:
- to further cooperation between associations, organizations, institutions and individuals on an international level, in the field of person-centered, client-centered and experiential psychotherapy and counseling;
- to support/facilitate person-centered and experiential associations, organizations, institutions and individuals in their work;
- to promote person-centered and experiential perspectives and to support and encourage the scientific study as well as the improvement of practice, specifically in the field of psychotherapy and counseling;
- to engage in socio-political processes to ensure the continued contribution of the paradigm in health, education, academic contexts etc.;
- to exchange ideas with other psychotherapeutic orientations and to stimulate cooperation in the field of psychotherapy and counseling;
- to have a commitment to the organization and support of international conferences, in particular the World Conference for Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counseling (abbreviated as PCE Conference; formerly ICCCEP) and possible future developments of it;
- to produce a high quality journal and to foster the exchange of research, theory and practice among language groups through existing journals and other means.
- Means to achieve the purpose of the Association
- The purpose of the association will be realized through idealistic (paragraph 2) and material (paragraph 3) means.
- as idealistic means serve:
- Lectures, conferences, publications, the creation of a website and other electronic media to promote, disseminate and further develop the person-centred and experiential approach;
- stimulating, promoting and supporting personal initiatives and self-help groups;
- reflection and development of practice, theory and research and promotion of scientific work and publications in the field of the person-centred approach;
- statements on health policy issues and on topics of psychosocial care and other publicly relevant issues related to the purpose of the Association;
- cooperation with institutions, associations and groups pursuing similar objectives, on national and international level.
- as material means serve:
- annual membership fees,
- income from events,
- donations, subsidies, conference fees.
- If it serves the purpose of the association, the association is further entitled to
- use vicarious agents in accordance with § 40 (1) of the Federal Fiscal Code (BAO) or to become active as vicarious agent itself
- make funds available for prizes and scholarships, according to § 40b BAO.
- Membership and structure
- The structure of the organization is grounded in person-centered principles.
- The Association is open to ordinary members (both organizational and individual members) and associate members (supporting members) as well as Honorary Members.
- Individual membership is open to helping professionals, trainees and other persons who wish to further the goals of the Association.
- The Association invites into its membership existing associations, organizations and institutions within and outside the university system which embrace its principles and goals (see § II and § III) and have clearly defined and published ethical standards.
- Persons or organizations, who, through personal or organizational effort and/or financial support, promote the interests of the Association, can become Honorary Members on decision of the General Assembly.
- At all levels of membership (see § V 2.) the principle of local autonomy is maintained. The authority of the Association can only be applied to its composition, to cooperation in the Association and to its external relationships. The Association must not interfere with the rights of national and international organizations or individuals.
- Rights and Obligations of Members
- All ordinary members of the Association promote the aims of the Association in theory and practice. They have a seat and vote(s) in the General Assembly. Individual members also have the right to stand for election. Supporting members have only seat.
- Ordinary members (individual and organizational members) are obliged to pay the membership fees determined by the General Assembly in due time, supporting members pay a self-determined support fee.
- Termination of Membership
- Membership expires by death, voluntary resignation, cancellation and exclusion.
- Voluntary resignation is only possible at the end of the calendar year.
- The exclusion of an individual member from the Association is possible by decision of the board for particularly important reasons, such as gross violation of the obligations as a member or dishonorable behavior. The reason for exclusion must be communicated to the member in writing. Any objection must be submitted to the board within six weeks.
- The suspension of membership of an organizational member is possible by decision of the board for particularly important reasons. The exclusion of an organizational member from the Association is possible by decision of the General Assembly for particularly important reasons, such as gross violation of the obligations as a member or dishonorable behavior. The reason for exclusion must be communicated to the member in writing. Any objection must be submitted to the board within six weeks.
In order to support the development of the PCE approaches in various regions of the world, and in support of shared goals, a Regional Chapter of the World Association can be formed by Organizational Members and/or Individual Members of the WA in a particular region. The philosophy, aims and objectives of the proposed Regional Chapter must be fully consistent with those of the WAPCEPC.
- Organs of the Association, Committees
Organs of the association are
- the General Assembly (§ X);
- the Board (§ XI);
- the Auditors (§XII);
- any other committee installed by the board.
- General Assembly
- The ordinary General Assembly meets every two years, usually in connection with the PCE Conference.
- The General Assembly consists of the Individual Members and the Delegates of the Organizational Members of the Association.
- Each Organizational Member can send one Delegate.
- The General Assembly takes all essential decisions with regard to the nature of its work. Striving for consensus and compromise is an essential part of the self-understanding of person-centered principles in action. Decisions only become effective if a majority both, the Individual Members and the Organizational Members, is achieved.
- The participation of a member in the General Assembly via electronic media is possible. In exceptional cases, the General Assembly can be held as a pure online meeting.
- A quorum is constituted regardless of the number of members present.
- The Board consists of a minimum of three and a maximum of nine persons formed with an effort to reflect the diversity of the membership in terms of geography and theoretical approach.
- The legal representation of the Association to the outside is carried out by the chair of the board, in case of being prevented by the treasurer.
- Board members are elected by secret ballot for a term of two years.
- Only three consecutive re-elections are possible.
- The legally binding signature for the Association is made by the chair of the board and the secretary. In financial matters up to EUR 1,000.00 by the treasurer and above EUR 1,000.00 by the chair of the board and the treasurer together.
- The functions of the Board are:
- to steward the Association;
- to develop and propose policies to the General Assembly;
- to implement the decisions and policies agreed in the General Assembly;
- to manage administrative matters;
- and to deal with matters which may arise between meetings of the General Assembly.
- The tasks of the Board include:
- preparing the General Assembly;
- admitting new Members who have fulfilled the membership requirements (see § V 2.);
- presenting a statement of the accounts of the last period (since the last ordinary General Assembly) and determining the budget for the next period, subject to the approval of the General Assembly;
- presenting a report of its work during the last period to the General Assembly.
- The General Assembly elects two auditors from different member associations.
- The auditors are elected for a term of 2 years.
- Their task is to examine all the financial affairs, including the financial statements of the Association.
- Membership dues
- The Members pay a membership fee to meet the expenses of the Association.
- The membership fee is suggested by the Board and must be approved by the General Assembly.
- The Board may make exceptions in case of financial hardship, on written request.
- Disputes arising from the Association relationship shall be settled by the Association's internal "Arbitration Committee". It is a "conciliation body" in the sense of the Association Act 2002 and not an arbitration court according to §§ 577 ff ZPO.
- The Arbitration Committee shall be composed of three ordinary members of the Association. Each party to the dispute shall nominate one arbitrator to the Board. After notification by the Board, the two Arbitrators nominated shall agree within 14 days on a ordinary member to chair the Arbitration Committee. In the event of a tie, the winner will be drawn by lot from among the nominees. The members of the Arbitration Committee may not belong to any body – except for the General Assembly - whose activity is the subject of the dispute.
- The Arbitration Committee shall make its decisions by simple majority vote after hearing the parties to the dispute in the presence of all members of the Arbitration Committee. It shall decide to the best of its knowledge and belief. The decision of the Arbitration Committee shall be made in writing to all parties to the dispute. Its decisions are final within the Association.
- The dissolution of the Association needs a two thirds majority in the General Assembly.
- In the event of the dissolution of the Association all money, goods or property owned by the Association, after satisfaction of all proper debts and liabilities, within the meaning of sections §§ 34 ff BAO, is transferred to (a) non-profit oriented association/s with like-minded goals.
- Name, Location and Activity
Below are an actual version of the Bylaws approved by the WAPCEPC GA in the year 2022.
Pre-2022 Bylaws can be found here.
The Bylaws were agreed by consensus at the General Assembly in Chicago on June 29, 2000, and amended according to the decisions made at the GA on 13th July 2006 in Potsdam, the GA on 7th July 2008 in Norwich, the GA on July 25, 2020 (Zoom Meeting), and the GA on 6th July, 2022 in Copenhagen.
- Membership, Delegates, Guests
- All applications for membership must be submitted to the Board online.
- Membership of the Association will be terminated after a year if the membership dues have not been paid after two notifications of the annual payment.
- Organizational Members have to nominate a Delegate/contact person, in writing, and notify the Board of this nomination and any subsequent change.
- Persons can be delegated to the GA by up to two Organizational Members.
- Members can give their proxy vote in writing to one other Member or Delegate for a specified meeting of the General Assembly.
- Persons can accept the proxy vote of only two other Members. Persons present at the meeting of the General Assembly may not have more than four votes altogether (including proxy votes and votes as Delegates of Organizational Members with more than one vote - see III.8.).
- In order to vote at the General Assembly, in other ballots organized by the Association and in the Board election, members must have paid their dues for the relevant year.
- It is the responsibility of the Organizational Members to reimburse the expenses of their own Delegates.
- Honorary Members and Guests can be invited to the General Assembly or other meetings, or parts thereof, on the decision of the Board or the General Assembly. They have no vote.
- General Assembly
- The General Assembly meets every two years, usually in connection with the PCE Conference.
- On demand of at least ten percent of the Individual Members or at least ten percent of the Organizational Members an Extraordinary General Assembly has to be convened by the Board within a period of six months. The Members have to be informed about the date at least four months in advance.
- If an important matter arises in the period between General Assembly meetings, an e-mail ballot may be held. 10% of Individual or Organizational Members may instigate such a vote or the Board may instigate such a vote.
- Items for the agenda, which can be proposed by any Member, must be sent to the Board not later than four months before the meeting in order to be put on the first provisional list of agenda items. The Members will be informed about this first provisional agenda not later than three months prior to the General Assembly along with all necessary supporting information, including the invitation to the next General Assembly. Later suggestions, which can be proposed right up until the beginning of the meeting, are put on a second provisional list. The final list of items for the agenda is decided by the General Assembly.
- If an item was part of the first provisional agenda the Delegates of the Organizational Members are expected to have their organizations' mandate on the subject by the time of the General Assembly. If an item was not part of the first provisional list the Delegates are free (a) to decide or (b) to decide provided that the association ratifies the provisional decision.
In the latter case the vote becomes definite if the Board is not notified otherwise in writing or by fax or email within three months of the General Assembly. If the definite votes change the decision, all Members are informed.
- The Board is responsible for the organization of the meeting of the General Assembly.
- The General Assembly decides on the subjects and in the ways as stated below.
- Voting and Elections
- Prior to any voting there will be an opportunity for dialogue.
- Elections for the Board are done by vote of all eligible members through the means of a ballot.
- Board elections will be coordinated by an Election Committee appointed by the Board. The election will be conducted according to the procedure accepted by the GA
- Votes on the Statutes, the Bylaws and basic policies are taken at the General Assembly. The decision of the General Assembly on these matters has to be communicated to all members within a period of two months after the General Assembly. Within a period of two additional months a third of the total number of eligible members can suspend the General Assembly's decision pending another process of decision which has to be introduced by the Board.
- All other decisions are made by vote at the General Assembly.
- Decisions at the General Assembly are made unanimously by consensus whenever possible. If a consensus (a result without a vote against) cannot be realized a further dialogue and vote will be necessary. In the second vote on the same subject a majority decision of the eligible members voting is accepted.
- The Delegate of an Organizational Member has one vote, if the organization has up to 50 members, two votes, if the organization has 51 to 100 members and three votes if the organization has more than 100 members.
- As stated in the Statutes (V.3.), decisions only become effective if a majority of both the Individual Members and the Organizational Members, is achieved. This applies to all decisions and elections including votes concerning the formal processing of the meeting.
- Votes concerning the formal processing of the meeting including the agenda are done by simple majority vote. If a consensus cannot be reached when changing the Statutes, the Bylaws or on basic policies a two thirds majority is required.
- The Board Members are elected for a period of two years.
- Board Members may be re-elected for a maximum of three consecutive terms.
- If no new Board is elected the present Board continues until the next election.
- The Board can delegate tasks to other Members.
- The following roles of the Board are assigned to specific members of the Board on decision of the Board immediately after its election:
- the chair of the Board
- the treasurer of the Association
- the secretary of the Board
- communication with members and dissemination of the minutes of the General Assembly
- external relationships
- relationships with umbrella organizations
- financial management
The Board meets whenever necessary and at least once a year. Meetings may take place electronically.
Decisions of the Board are to be made in a way that is congruent with the procedures and philosophy of decision-making followed by the General Assembly.
Voting can also be done by e-mail, mail or fax.
The treasurer has to present the revenue and expenditure account and balance sheet to the board within five months after the end of the accounting year
- Members of the Board are granted a contribution towards expenses incurred in fulfilling the Board roles and responsibilities, provided that the Association’s financial situation can afford it and the member is an actively contributing member of the Board.
Members are expected to play a supportive role during PCE Conferences.
- The auditors
- The auditors must not belong to the organization of the treasurer.
- They submit a report to the General Assembly with a proposal to accept or reject the financial statement and the budget.
- Communication within the Association
All information about the Association, including the invitation to the General Assembly and its minutes, is done by e-mail and internet.
Members have to notify the Board of an e-mail address.
The Board may, upon written request, decide about exceptions.
- Admission and membership dues
- The membership dues are decided by the General Assembly at the suggestion of the Board. If no decision is made the membership dues remain unchanged.
- The dues have to be paid during the first three months of the calendar year, or upon registration as a member of the Association
- Dues can be paid up to a period of three years in advance.
- Money transfer costs have to be paid by the Member.
- Formation of regional chapters
- A region is defined as a part of the world where there is a distinct tradition or current development of the PCE approaches.
- A Regional Chapter can be normally formed and maintained by a minimum of 10 organizational and/or individual members (of the WA) in a region. The Chapter should be representative of the variety of Organizational and/or Individual Members of the WA in its region.
- The chapter is responsible for its own finance and administration; the relationship between the WA and Chapter will be financially neutral in respect of all administrative matters.
- Arrangements may be made between a Chapter and the WA regarding the provision or sharing of specific services and resources.
- Members of the WA in a region are free to choose whether they want to be a member of the Regional Chapter.
- A Chapter is autonomous in its decisions and free in defining its regulations as long as they are in line with the Principles, Statutes and Bylaws of the Association. The Chapter maintains its own procedures for admissions to its membership and continues to have responsibility for the organization of their meetings and events.
- The Chapter will agree to report annually to the WA board on their activities and will inform the WA membership through regular contributions to the WA newsletter.
- To form a Regional Chapter, a proposal must be made to the WA Board. The proposal statement includes:
- the names of the founding members
- the name of the Chapter
- its goals, including its plans for the development of PCE approaches in its region
- the structure of its (organizational and/or individual) membership
- how its formation could benefit the WA and how the WA could support the Chapter.
- The terms of the relationship between Chapter and WA, practical arrangements, rights and mutual responsibilities will be agreed in negotiation, taking into account specific factors related to the Chapter's regional and economic context.
- The board will consult with organizational and individual members in the region.
- The dissolution of a Chapter can be done by the members of a Chapter, in accordance with its regulations, or by the GA of the WA if a Chapter violates the Principles of the Association or its agreements with the WA.
- In exceptional circumstances, the board may suspend a chapter until the next GA.
- Membership, Delegates, Guests