Pastoral Report Archives:

August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014

The College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy is a theologically based covenant community, dedicated to "recovery of the soul" and promoting competency in the clinical pastoral field.

August 30, 2015

THE LOSS OF DONALD CAPPS--By Raymond Lawrence, General Secretary


The sudden death of Don Capps in an automobile accident has deprived CPSP, as well as the entire clinical pastoral community, of arguably the wisest voice of our generation in the field of clinical pastoral work. He was this generation's most prodigious and prolific writer in our field. And fortunately for us, we are left with his extensive body of literature. This, of course, is no substitute for his wise and and humane personal presence which so many of us experienced. Not to mention his colorful sense of humor and his knack for poetry, which often tested boundaries of polite society. Don was a good friend to many of us in CPSP, and to the community itself. He was the principal speaker at our Eleventh Plenary meeting in 2001, at Virginia Beach and was given the Helen Flanders Dunbar Award by CPSP in 2013.

The principal contribution of Don Capps to our field was his consistent work of correlating psychology and theology, represented most powerfully in his 2008 work, Jesus the Village Psychiatrist. In so many ways Don Capps emphasized the importance of the person of the minister as the singular therapeutic tool.

His wife Karen was also injured in the same accident, and we wish her a full recovery, and solace in her grief.

Continue reading "THE LOSS OF DONALD CAPPS--By Raymond Lawrence, General Secretary"

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 11:39 AM

August 30, 2015

A Silently Politicized Profession-- by The Reverend Dr. Belen Gonzalez y Perez, CPSP Diplomate


Ever heard it said, “There are no politics in the chaplaincy profession,” Yeah right! I would like to believe that politics is not a constituent characteristic of the chaplaincy profession. However, I submit to you that such is a fantasy that betrays a lack of understanding, as well as a propensity to remain within the infantilized protection of a quintessential inner circle of the herd. Truth be told, there are a many political forces and interests that push and pull on the chaplaincy profession.
Politics, no matter the context, is the practice of influencing others to gain and maintain power and influence in a government or an institution. The chaplaincy, as a profession, is no exception to the innate human propensity to seek to protect and secure its own professional niche within an ever growing politicized society with its many competing social constructs.

Although ordinarily thought of in terms of belonging to the clergy caste, a chaplain is in fact not only of the clergy but more frequently a non-clergy member that exercises the role and function of the chaplaincy. This is somewhat confusing to the outsider.
To the outsider the chaplain is a minister of some particular faith tradition. In some faith traditions a chaplain is exclusively a role and title reserved for the official clergy. In other faith traditions a non-clergy is able to exercise both the role and function of the chaplain. For instance, it was the traditional expectation in Lutheran clergy circles that before considering to enter a chaplaincy the cleric required a minimum of 3 years of prior experience as a pastor of a congregation. It was thought that such congregational experience would be foundational to the future chaplain`s pastoral identity, work, and practice as a chaplain representing the faith community.

There are instances where soon after completing the standard four years of graduate theological program in a Lutheran seminary that a select candidate could be placed into the chaplaincy instead of the parish. On its face and without too much difficulty, the preferential nature of such an appointment in light of the minimal prior congregational work expected of all other clergy, clearly betrays that such appointments demonstrate a politicized reality.

Continue reading "A Silently Politicized Profession-- by The Reverend Dr. Belen Gonzalez y Perez, CPSP Diplomate"

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 11:20 AM

August 21, 2015

Editor's Note; All of Us Do or will Need a Little help Along the Way

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 6:40 PM

August 17, 2015

Editor's Note: Doctors Fail to Address Patients’ Spiritual Needs by Dr ROBERT KLITZMAN, M.D


In an article posted in the NYTimes by Dr ROBERT KLITZMAN, M.D on August 13, 2015
Dr Klitzman, MD comments:

"Eventually, my patient dying from cancer did speak with a chaplain. I noticed him visiting her one day as I walked by her door. I again spotted him two days later heading toward her door. The next morning, I thought that she looked calmer, more relieved than I’d seen her in weeks. She still had unremitting fevers and died a few months later, in that room. But the chaplain had helped her, I felt, in a way that I and medical treatment could not.

I still regret my silence with that patient, but have tried to learn from it. Doctors themselves do not have to be spiritual or religious, but they should recognize that for many patients, these issues are important, especially at life’s end. If doctors don’t want to engage in these conversations, they shouldn’t. Instead, a physician can simply say: “Some patients would like to have a discussion with someone here about spiritual issues; some patients wouldn’t. If you would like to, we can arrange for someone to talk with you.”

Unfortunately, countless patients feel uncomfortable broaching these topics with their doctors. And most physicians still never raise it.

Certainly this article must encourage Clinical Chaplains to become even more proactive within their institution and with physicians to be a vital member of the medical team to provide care and counseling in such heartbreaking situations.

Let's also hope that chaplains who are called upon in this role are well trained as clinical chaplains, equally versed in matters of faith and theology but equally true, and some times even more important, they have a solid and informed utilization of the social sciences in the field of counseling and psychotherapy along with a generous amount of self-understanding and use of self in the pastoral engagement. There must be a creative tension between both disciplines and utilization of self in clinical practice.

The recent critique of chaplains in their work with patients in similar situations as described by Dr Klitzman, Raymond Lawrence in recent published articles on the Pastoral Report, calls into question how well prepared are chaplains to enter into such a clinical arena with such patients.

Continue reading "Editor's Note: Doctors Fail to Address Patients’ Spiritual Needs by Dr ROBERT KLITZMAN, M.D"

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 7:15 PM

August 17, 2015

Dates for the National Clinical Training Seminar-East Announced


Francine Hernandez, Coordinator for NCTS - East, announces the dates and venue for the gathering of the National Clinical Training Seminar-East.

Please place on your calendar the dates of November 2-3, 2015.

The venue is the Loyola Retreat Center, Morristown, New Jersey.

The NCTS training event is designed for Supervisors-in-Training, Pastoral Counselors and Psychotherapists, CPE Interns and Residents, Clinical Chaplains, Training CPE Supervisors, etc.

Howard Friedman and a portion of his team (affiliate with A.K.Rice) will provide the leadership to focus on group work at the Fall NCTS.

Further information will be provided relative to the theme of the training event.

Please use the Registration Form posted below to register.


Continue reading "Dates for the National Clinical Training Seminar-East Announced"

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 4:48 PM

August 10, 2015

CPSP Cyber Meeting of the Governing Council Announced


Editor's Note: Bill Scar, CPSP President, sent the following message to all members of the CPSP Governing Council:

To All Members of the CPSP Governing Council


We now look forward to the upcoming meeting of the CPSP Governing Council, which has been revised to become a cyber meeting. As you know this change was indeed the result of many concerns expressed about total costs to the CPSP and to individuals for this business meeting. In addition, there were those who indicated that they could not make it to New Jersey and asked us to find some arrangement for them to be "present" electronically.

The solution to these concerns was to move creatively to cyber meeting technology for the entire event. Although we cannot make everyone happy about this decision, we can ask for everyone to cooperate and help us to make the very most of this opportunity to work together using the latest in media.

Our success will depend on the good faith efforts of everyone involved, and this will move our beloved CPSP forward into the 21st century at last. Individual Chapters and committees are already using the Internet. The willing spirits and faithful example of our Governing Council members next month will redound to the benefit of future events and our future leaders. This is really about our future, at a time when other clinical organizations are stagnating or terminating their programs.

In concurrence with our General Secretary, Raymond Lawrence, I am calling the Governing Council into session to begin at 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 20th. The schedule will be organized to take advantage of the possibilities afforded by this form of meeting technology. The meeting will end no later than 3 p.m. on Monday, September 21st.

Our ethic is fulfilled when we bring together the input from all parties. Right now, the three Chapters [Chapter of Chapters, Diplomate Chapter, and Executive Chapter] that form the Governing Council, along with our Standing Committees, are meeting to complete their work, from which the agenda and schedule will be finalized. At that time, participants will be informed of the procedures for connecting to the GC meeting. We have already been testing the technology, and it is superior to what was available even just a year ago.

We are excited to initiate a new format for engaging one another and the work that must be done. Neither the meeting nor we have to be perfect. With patience, good will, and a spiritual blessing or two, we will learn and we will succeed.


Bill Scar, President

Continue reading "CPSP Cyber Meeting of the Governing Council Announced"

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 7:49 PM

August 05, 2015

EDITOR'S NOTE: A Book that Examines" Being Called" from a variety of perspectives.

Publisher described in its email announcement as:

"Scientists and scholars representing diverse disciplines and worldviews describe and interpret their experience of feeling called to a particular life path or vocation. The spectrum of perspectives represented in this collection ranges from atheist neuroscientists to agnostic psychologists to devout theologians. This collection functions as the definitive reference guide to callings, while serving as fascinating reading - especially to readers who have ever tried to make sense of a calling."

I've not yet read the book but given one of our own, CPSP Diplomate Harold Ellens, is one of the editors and contributors, it must be a substancetive examination of what it means to be "called" from a variety of perspectives, not just clergy who want to corner the market place on the idea.

One drawback is that Amazon lists the price of the book as $48. Has the publisher not heard of E-books that can be downloaded at a reasonable price?

The Pastoral Report will be interested in your response to the book.

Perry Miller, Editor

Continue reading "EDITOR'S NOTE: A Book that Examines" Being Called" from a variety of perspectives. "

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 7:27 PM

August 04, 2015

Ain't the Way to Die

No comment is needed. Please pass on to colleagues, family and friends.

Perry Miller, Editor.

Continue reading "Ain't the Way to Die "

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 8:40 PM

August 01, 2015

ANNUAL NCTS-WEST, OCTOBER 18–20, 2015--Roles, Boundaries, and Vulnerability in Care-Providing Institutions


Join us for this year’s NCTS-West at Christ the King Retreat Center in Sacramento, California.  

This will be an intensive, experiential, residential conference intended to expand your clinical awareness and deepen your capacity to provide pastoral care. Over three days we will create a temporary learning organization offering an opportunity to notice how we function in groups and the institutions in which we work—without the pressures and politics of the actual workplace. In this unique environment, insights can be developed that help increase our influence and effectiveness.

This is the first CPSP Group Relations Conference co-hosted with Grex, the West Coast affiliate of the A K Rice Institute, offering CPSP the opportunity to work with highly experienced Group Relations practitioners in a focused and reflective environment.

Due to the unique goals of this training model, the number of participants at this conference will be strictly limited. Registrants will pay a significantly reduced cost for this all-inclusive event.

> For conference fees and registration, go to the NCTS-West web site:


> What is the relationship between my personal and pastoral identities and my professional role?

> How in my role do I affect the individuals, groups, organizations, and institutions that I work in, and how do they, in turn, impact me and my ability to stay in role?

> Where do I get the authority to do my work? 

> What is my experience of leading and following?

> What does my training help me to see, and what might my training cause me to miss seeing?

> How are the human needs to belong and connect manifest in the complex environments in which we work?

Continue reading "ANNUAL NCTS-WEST, OCTOBER 18–20, 2015--Roles, Boundaries, and Vulnerability in Care-Providing Institutions"

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 1:20 PM

July 20, 2015

The Current Crisis in Healthcare Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care-- Part 3---By Raymond J Lawrence

The Current Crisis in Healthcare Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care

(An Extended Review of Spiritual Care in Practice: Case Studies in Healthcare Chaplaincy
George Fitchett & Steve Nolan, Editors)

Part Three

Raymond J. Lawrence

I The Patient

Angela is a blonde, blue-eyed, petite 17-year-old who, after a family argument, lost control of her car on an icy road and suffered a severed upper spine. She was paralyzed from the neck down, with no prospect of remedial treatment, suddenly an almost certain lifelong quadriplegic.

The female Catholic chaplain visited her for four “rapport-building visits” and then used the Spiritual Assessment Tool designed by the spirituality guru, Christine Puchalski. The Spiritual Assessment Tool recommends putting the following questions to the patient:

- Do you have spiritual or religious beliefs that help you cope during this time?
What importance do your beliefs have for you at this time?
Are you a member of a religious or spiritual community?
Are there any particular spiritual or religious activities important to your well-being while you are in the hospital?

On reading this list of four, my first thought was that if I were a patient suffering from such a catastrophic, life altering event, and a chaplain came asking me such questions, I would call security and have them removed from my room. My second fantasy was that if in the unlikely event I had any spirit left in me I might play with the chaplain and reply to the first question, "Yes. My god is a large cosmic cat who is coming soon to deliver me from this nightmare, and take me to cat heaven."

The basic Puchalski theology is that religion is something like a Swiss Army Knife, a little tool with many uses that often comes in handy in a pinch. That's what you get when you turn a physician into an expert on pastoral care and counseling.

Next, the chaplain used what she calls her own specially devised "Spiritual Assessment Tool" that leads to discussions of how patients feel centered or anchored, called or motivated, whether they feel connected to relationships beyond themselves, and contribute to the good of the world and/or the good of others in grand or small ways. It is not clear why the chaplain needed two sets of so-called Spiritual Assessment Tools. One seems about as inhumane as the other. The chaplain wrote that she weaves the questions into conversations, presumably in order that the patient will not feel surveyed.

Continue reading "The Current Crisis in Healthcare Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care-- Part 3---By Raymond J Lawrence"

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 8:52 AM

July 16, 2015

Editor's Note: CAPPT Accreditation of UAMS Clinical Pastoral Education Training Program


The following announcement appeared on the (UAMS) website:

"CAPPT Accreditation of UAMS Clinical Pastoral

Education Training Program

"On June 10, 2015, the Clinical Pastoral Education Training program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) was granted full accreditation by the Commission for Pastoral and Psychotherapy Training (CAPPT). UAMS, under the leadership of CPSP Diplomate in Supervision George Hankins-Hull, is the first College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy program to receive CAPPT accreditation. CAPPT accreditation is an acknowledgment of the strength and quality of a training program.

CAPPT accreditation is the result of a rigorous audit of a Clinical Pastoral Education Training Center’s CPSP Accreditation process, involving a review of the Training Center’s self-study materials together with the CPSP site team’s report of the site visit. CAPPT seeks to assure that the CPSP Accreditation process is entirely consistent with CPSP Standards of Accreditation, and comparable with ‘best practices and standards’ of cognate accrediting organizations involved in professional training, i.e., the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, the Association for Graduate Medical Education, and the Association of Professional Chaplains.

A successful accreditation review designates a training program as educationally and fiscally sound, with clear administrative support for the continued functioning integrity of the training center. CAPPT accreditation assures trainees and potential employers that the training program meets the most rigorous standards of the profession.

A CPSP training center which receives CAPPT Accreditation may indicate on the Training Center’s website that it has achieved this seminal industry designation.

CPSP anticipates that all of its CPE training programs will be submitting their programs to the CAPPT Accreditation process for review."

George Hankins-Hull, Susan McDougal and George Buck

Congratulations to George Hankins-Hull, Director, his CPE supervisory staff and to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences for this achievement of excellence.

Perry Miller, Editor

Continue reading "Editor's Note: CAPPT Accreditation of UAMS Clinical Pastoral Education Training Program"

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 5:34 PM

July 13, 2015

From Dover, Massachusetts: Reflections on the A. K. Rice's 2015 International Conference -- By Ruth Zollinger


<imgArriving during the midnight hours at Dover, Massachusetts for a six-day international residential training was an experience I will not soon forget.

The conference, presented by the A.K. Rice Institute, was titled “Learning for Leadership 2015: Working Across Differences” and was billed as “An International Experiential Leadership Opportunity.” The event was held at Boston College’s Connors Family Retreat and Conference Center, which dates back to the early 1900s. Boston College is situated on 280 acres of land along the Charles River, offering a variety of wonderful hiking and running trails through wooded areas, wetlands, gardens, bocce ball greens and basketball courts. The comfortable temperatures, along with pesky mosquitos, hooting owls, an orchestra of tree frogs and frequent deer sightings, all contributed to a very memorable experience.

Being an International conference, participants came from as far away as the Faroe Islands, Alaska, Hawaii, Germany, the United Kingdom and Ontario, Canada, as well as many members of the administrative staff who reside outside of the United States. Membership included a large number of working professionals and leaders in the fields of behavioral health, education, government, and business. A respectable 25% of the attendees came from CPSP.

Continue reading "From Dover, Massachusetts: Reflections on the A. K. Rice's 2015 International Conference -- By Ruth Zollinger"

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 5:24 PM

July 07, 2015

Editor's Note: Response to William Alberts' CounterPunch Article, "Prophets of the People or Chaplains of the Status Quo?"


In a recent article published on entitled: Prophets of the People or Chaplains of the Status Quo?, William Alberts, PhD launches a searing attack against the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education for its failure to live up to its mission statement as "... the first and leading self-described “multicultural, multi-faith organization devoted to providing education and improving the quality of ministry and pastoral care offered by spiritual caregivers of all faiths through the clinical education methods of Clinical Pastoral Education.”

Although his article was was written just prior to the Charleston, SC slaughter of the of those gather in Emmanuel Mother Church for prayer, Alberts' article is disturbingly and profoundly relevant to the event.


I quote:
“The Powers that be.” ACPE may fear losing its U.S. Department of Education endorsement if it becomes too political. ACPE may also avoid political issues, fearing losing the goose with the golden egg, as the Chaplain Corps uses ACPE training for military chaplains, with CPE centers also on military bases and in VA hospitals. In the latter, the supervisors may be military, but are also ACPE certified. It is the politics of religion that often keeps religion out of politics—out of risky political issues."

CPSP escapes his critical critique, although his critique, might equally apply to CPSP and other pastoral care and counseling organizations.

Stating the above, however, as Publisher and Editor of the Pastoral Report, I published position statements written by CPSP leadership related to the Iraq war, gay marriage and the Charleston, SC killings. These were not personal opinions. They were official public positions of CPSP. The first two public positions by CPSP were disturbing and criticized by some members of the CPSP community. In the face of such public and controversial stance by CPSP leadership, a number of CPSP members ended their membership with CPSP or found a way to attack the CPSP leadership on other issues as a subterfuge.

Here are links to CPSP public statements:

Continue reading "Editor's Note: Response to William Alberts' CounterPunch Article, "Prophets of the People or Chaplains of the Status Quo?""

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 4:53 PM

June 30, 2015

The Current Crisis in Healthcare Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care Part Two-- By Raymond J. Lawrence

The Current Crisis in Healthcare Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care

(An Extended Review of Spiritual Care in Practice: Case Studies in Healthcare Chaplaincy
George Fitchett & Steve Nolan, Editors)

Part Two

Raymond J. Lawrence

NOTE: See Part I
The Case

Erica is the mother of a two-year-old girl with cancer, admitted to the ER. There are several young children at home, a grown daughter, and a new husband who doesn't understand Erica's religious affections. She describes herself as a "redneck" with a faith in Jesus that was making it possible for her to cope. God has spoken to her directly and powerfully, and she relates stories about the voices. Erica is certain that God has a plan, but she is not sure why God would speak to her. She keeps all this from her husband, who couldn't understand.

Erica had requested a chaplain when admitted to the ER. She responded negatively to the first chaplain she met, a female who was 'dressed too fancy,' unlike the present chaplain who is dressed down, in blue jeans and turtleneck. The chaplain responds to Erica's sharing of her experience of God speaking to her by relating the story of God talking to Moses.

Later Erica rants over the many misleading translations of the Bible in current circulation, arguing that only the King James Version is authentic. She is vexed specifically that the new translations do not declare Mary a "virgin." In response the chaplain offers a mini-lecture on the problems of translating ancient manuscripts. It did not seem to occur to the chaplain that Erica may have some thoughts or feelings about virginity itself, or perhaps the circumstances of her own deflowering, and thus might have become fixed on this biblical text.

It appears that every chaplain visit is ended with a prayer, and sometimes at the chaplain's own request.

The chaplain reports an intuition along the way that Erica might have a substance abuse problem that she was not disclosing. This would seem to be a good guess. In response to this supposition, the chaplain decides to divulge her own past history of substance abuse. She took this action, she says, subsequent to a message from the social work department reporting that Erica had made a request there for referral to a "Christian counselor" for help with one of her older children. The chaplain discloses her knowledge of this request by advising Erica to find a competent counselor rather than a specifically Christian one. There is no inquiry and no speculation as to why Erica went to social workers for referral, and not to the the chaplain herself. One would think this would have been an insult and a negative reflection on the pastoral relationship itself, a devaluation of the chaplain's authority and/or wisdom. Yet, that is not explored.

Continue reading "The Current Crisis in Healthcare Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care Part Two-- By Raymond J. Lawrence"

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 8:47 AM

June 29, 2015

Professor Valerie Cooper Reflections on the Charleston Tragedy and the History of the Black Church


Dr. Valerie Cooper, Associate Professor of Black Church Studies at Duke Divinity School, in a recent interview on WUNC.ORG's NPR station provides a rich and thoughtful perspective on the Charleston, SC killings and the history of the black church.

Go To: WUNC's the State of Things with Frank Stasio, Host and listen to the interview.

Perry Miller, Editor

Continue reading "Professor Valerie Cooper Reflections on the Charleston Tragedy and the History of the Black Church"

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 4:08 PM

June 23, 2015

Candy and Pencils-- By Ron Evans


The purpose of my going to the Correctional Centre, aka jail, was to meet with two artists confined to the facility, individuals who I hoped might be able to do some sketching for a writing project I am working on.

Corrections? Or is it jail?

I am tempted to stick with the word jail in that it’s a much less cumbersome term and possibly the more descriptive of reality. Certainly there are forces in our government and society as a whole that are more interested in jailing a person, to hell with correcting anything. But I decided I would not give in to such an attitude and refer instead to this place of incarceration as “Corrections”. Better to pray for what has been lost than to forget it.

Right from the beginning I am reminded that I am entering a different world, one of restrictions, an environment I am not accustomed to. First, I was informed I had to “get clearance”, that is fill out a form, send it in and wait two days to hear if the powers that be deem I am a safe bet to visit the place. I was reminded of applying for visas when we went to the U.S. years back. Our son was then one year old, nevertheless we had to fill out a long questionnaire in which we assured the government he was not the owner of dangerous weapons and was not going to engage in criminal behavior. They let him in just as the authorities let me in yesterday, one old man looking for someone who can draw some sketches and who has paid all his traffic tickets. Can it be any other way? Probably not.

Continue reading "Candy and Pencils-- By Ron Evans"

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 6:06 PM

June 20, 2015

Columbia, SC CPSP Chapter Responds to Charleston Tragedy-- By Hayden Howell


Mother Emanuel AME Church, Charleston, SC

Editor's Note: Below is a Pastoral Letter to the Columbia, SC and the CPSP community from Hayden Howell, CPE Supervisor.

Dear Columbia Chapter, CPSP (other colleagues, and former members of the Chapter)

It is with heavy hearts we must address one another as well as offer our “presence” to those close to the ones who died in Charleston last night while praying at the historic Mother Emanuel AME Church. The African-American community is hurting and grieving this horrible loss. Our Columbia Chapter of CPSP joins heart and soul with our brothers and sisters in the common frailty of our humanity.

We are especially mindful of the impact this has made on those African-Americans who are (or who have been) members of our chapter. The following persons may especially be touched by this tragedy because of their heritage as African-Americans and/or their connection with the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Rosalyn Coleman, CPE Supervisor; former Chapter Convener; and, A Presiding Elder in the AME Church

James Abrams, CPE Supervisor and former Convener

Deberry Cook, Hospital Chaplain; Aspiring Clinical Certification

Jacquelyn Hurston, AME Pastor; Supervisor in Training; Specialist in Grief Counseling

Melvin Coleman, (Husband of Rosalyn; AME Pastor; Provided food; set-up space for Chapter meetings)

Charmaine Ragin, CPE Supervisor; Chaplain; and AME Pastor (moved to another CPSP Chapter)

Robert Freeman, (AME Pastor; Chaplain; Left us to become a CPE Supervisor for the ACPE, Inc.)

As that ole Democrat LBJ used to say: “Let us come together.” And then let us comfort our people.

On behalf of Gene Rollins, who called me to say we needed to say something and in the awareness of our connection to the wider community of CPSP, I am copying this to Raymond Lawrence, Perry Miller, John Robbins and Charles Kirby. The latter two are colleagues in the Asheville/Stoney Mtn Chapter.

Grace and Peace to all,

Hayden Howell
CPE Supervisor, (Retired Emeritus)

Continue reading "Columbia, SC CPSP Chapter Responds to Charleston Tragedy-- By Hayden Howell "

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 9:31 AM

June 19, 2015

Raymond Lawrence, CPSP General Secretary, Response to Charleston, SC Tragedy


The ghastly event at Mother Emanuel AME Church Thursday in Charleston, South Carolina, was an unspeakable act of violence seemingly motivated explicitly by racial hatred.

We must do all we can to counter these kinds of outrageous assaults, and to be united with those who are victimized by them.

This incident calls attention to the disturbing rise of both overt and covert hostility in this country, particularly directed against racial minorities and the poor.

We in CPSP must do all we can to be in solidarity with the abused, the assaulted, and the oppressed. This is our moral and our prophetic pastoral responsibility.

I call for all in CPSP as well as those beyond the boundaries of our community, to renew our commitment to work toward a just and loving community for all people, with special concern for racial minorities and the poor among us.

Raymond J. Lawrence, General Secretary
College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy

Continue reading "Raymond Lawrence, CPSP General Secretary, Response to Charleston, SC Tragedy"

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 1:04 PM

June 17, 2015

The Current Crisis in Healthcare Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care--By Raymond J. Lawrence


Almost a century ago Anton Boisen changed the face of pastoral work. He taught religious professionals to be healers. Listening to persons suffering mentally or physically was his central theme. To get their stories. To make connections where connections were apparent. To support self-awareness and self-discovery. "It's not what the minister says to the boy (sic) but what the boy says to the minister," he proclaimed. By the time he died his followers were legion. And they, as he, had learned much from the psychoanalytic movement. The role of the minister was transformed in Boisen's own lifetime. He was a religious giant of the twentieth century. Because of him many teachers, preachers, and evangelists morphed by the middle of the century into competent psychoanalytically informed counselors and therapists.

This year a little book containing nine clinical pastoral cases appeared under the title Spiritual Care in Practice: Case Studies in Healthcare Chaplaincy, edited by George Fitchett and Steve Nolan. If this book, and others like it, carry the day we will write fini on Boisen's clinical pastoral movement and all that it represented. Boisen and his inheritance will have been trumped by a new form of evangelism. And then it will be only a matter of what the minister says to the boy. Religious proselytizing and browbeating will have replaced pastoral care and counseling. It's not a pretty picture.

This reversal of the Boisen tradition is well documented in Chapter 1, containing the first of nine revelatory clinical cases presented in this book. It documents with specificity the new order of chaplaincy, or spiritual care, as it is unhappily being called of late.

The patient is a 12-year-old girl stricken with a daunting disease, cystic fibrosis. Her options are limited. Her life likely will be short and confined, under conditions of rather extreme isolation from peers and loved ones. Her family's home is a long distance away, and she is alone most of the day. She has had more than one hundred surgeries in her short life. The chaplain generously notes at least ten substantive visits with her over the course of a year, visits that included burdensome infection-control measures such as gowns, face masks, and gloves. In short, the patient presents a heart-rending case that is almost unbearable to read.

Continue reading "The Current Crisis in Healthcare Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care--By Raymond J. Lawrence"

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 10:48 AM

May 30, 2015

Revison in CPSP's Certification Process-- By Jonathan Freeman


At its most recent meeting, the CPSP Governing Council approved changes to the CPSP certification process. These changes are implemented to strengthen the role of the chapter in the certification process, expedite the certification process, and to contain costs.

The CPSP certification process will move to a two-phase process.

The initial phase of the review will be conducted exclusively under the auspices of the candidate’s chapter, as long as the chapter is in good standing with CPSP and has the critical mass to certify at the candidate’s level (at least 4 certified members holding the certification sought by the candidate). The Outside Reviewer will no longer be a part of the certification process. This change is intended to highlight the role of the chapter (unique to CPSP) in the certification process. The Certification Team has recognized a trend of chapters becoming less involved in the “midwifery” and review of candidates and their work. Many times it is apparent that the chapter has reviewed the candidate’s work and biography, for the first time, just prior to the review with the Outside Reviewer. This is not the intent of the chapter’s role in the candidate’s preparation for certification. The chapter is, rather, intended to be the MOST prepared to speak to the candidate’s work and preparedness for certification.

Continue reading "Revison in CPSP's Certification Process-- By Jonathan Freeman"

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 6:43 PM

May 30, 2015

Reflections on 2015 Spring National Clinical Training Seminar - East ---By Nancy Schaffe


I entered the world of CPSP in late summer of 2011 as a supervisor in training. Since that time I have attended just about every National Clinical Training Seminar (NCTS) and have come to value numerous experiences along the way. As I reflect on the Spring 2015 NCTS I find myself connecting to the movement of my own journey as well as CPSP’s.
The heart of CPSP is what I believe to be the small group experience beginning in our chapters and then expanding to NCTS and the Plenaries where we present our work and experiences in small working groups. For me this is living into our covenant as “We commit to being mutually responsible to one another for our professional work and direction.”

My first presentation in this small working group experience was at the Fall NCTS 2011. I brought with me a complex diagram of a ‘clinical rhombus’ I was subjecting myself to with me in the center holding up how multiple organizations ‘needed’ to relate, ‘balancing’ dynamics as I imagined them and being ‘responsible’ for the relationships. The group process liberated me from the monster I imagined I was responsible for managing. Each NCTS from that first experience has provided me additional opportunities to present my experience and work for feedback and processing toward my growth and development as a professional pastoral clinician. The small working group experience has been invaluable toward my certification process.

The theme of Spring NCTS-East was New Procedures in Certification and Accreditation for Members and Those Interested in The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy Credentials. As the new convener of our chapter these workshops provided me with forth coming changes in processes that affect the members of the chapter who are looking toward certification. We are engaging in how we are accountable and responsible for the candidates we produce from our chapter and what that means for each of us as we growth and develop in our clinical pastoral identity.

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Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 4:30 PM

May 27, 2015

Committee on the Promotion and Certification of Chapters ----By Miriam Diephouse-McMillan


Our covenant reminds us that chapter life is the heart of our organization. The values and commitments that we uphold each time we read this covenant – collegial professional community; mutual responsibility; personal authority and creativity; persons over institutions—are each expressed most profoundly in our individual chapters. If CPSP as an organization wants to work towards better national recognition and accountability, we can’t afford to ignore the life of the chapters. In many ways the chapters provide the foundation for our reputation as a certifying and accrediting body.

For this reason, the new “Committee on the Promotion and Certification of Chapters” has begun the work of reviewing annual chapter reports and reaching out to conveners with comments and suggestions. The goal of this process is not to enforce a set of rules or create a bureaucratic structure that prevents individuality or creativity at the chapter level. The goal is to set standards that ensure the health and strength of our chapters: to learn from the wisdom of our oldest chapters and provide guidance for those who are just beginning the journey. Our hope is also to work with the Standards committee to add more specific guidelines about what chapter life entails so that the expectations are clearly communicated.

Here are a few major themes that the committee is looking at:

Chapter Size: The Covenant and our current Standards limit chapter size to a dozen (12). This may seem arbitrary, but group dynamics begin to shift when there are more than twelve people in the room. The ability to maintain deep relationships and mutual accountability requires an intimate group. The same applies to minimum size: our suggestion is no less than six members to ensure diversity of perspectives and avoid insular tendencies.

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Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 9:39 PM

May 27, 2015

NCTS-West Announces 2015 Fall Gathering


National Clinical Training Seminar-West ( NCTS-West) announces the dates and venue of the next gathering. Please mark on your calendar the dates of October 18-20, 2015 for the event which will be held at Christ the King Retreat Center in Sacramento, CA.

Keep in mind that the NCTS-West is designed for Clinical Chaplains, Pastoral Counselors and Psychotherapist, CPE Supervisors and Supervisors-in-Training. The event represents a unique opportunity to focus on clinical work and developing further ability for the use of self in clinical practice and doing so within the context of psychodynamic group training process.

Further details will be announced. For now, set these dates on your calendar and plan to attend.

Ruth Zollinger is serving as the coordinator for the fall event. She request that we contact her if more information is needed at this point.

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Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 9:05 PM

May 18, 2015

Joanne Martindale, CPSP Diplomate, Promoted to Colonel in Army Reserve -- by Ed Luckett, Jr.


Chaplain Joanne S. Martindale, a CPSP Diplomate CPE Supervisor, member of the Nautilus Pacific Chapter, and Veterans Administration chaplain at David Grant Medical Center, Travis Air Force Base, CA, was recently promoted to the rank of Colonel in the US Army Reserve.

She received her promotion on May 2 in a ceremony at Moffett Federal Airfield, CA. The chapel was filled to capacity with members of her unit, the 351st Civil Affairs Command, family, and friends from across the country. Trainees of her current CPE group attended and Nautilus Pacific/CPSP was represented.

Chaplain Martindale, a 25-year veteran of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve, served as lead trauma counselor for Rwandan and Bosnian victims of atrocities in 1996. She was a first responder on 9-11 and served at Fresh Kills landfill for months afterwards. She also served as Division Support Command Chaplain for the 42nd Infantry Division in Iraq in 2005. She was also mobilized for 3 ½ years as Deployment Support Chaplain for the Schweinfurt and Bamberg Military Communities in Germany.

With this promotion, Chaplain Martindale joined a very select group within a select group: she is now one of three female O-6 (rank of full colonel) chaplains serving in the entire US Army (Active, Guard, and Reserve).

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Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 9:02 AM

May 06, 2015

CPSP and the Upcoming AKRI Group Relations Conference by David Roth


Whenever I talk with fellow members of CPSP, recurring themes emerge. Among the most common are struggles with pastoral identity, how the chaplain should use and work with authority, our roles on interdisciplinary teams, how to manage boundaries in our work, and the forms pastoral leadership might take when we work with groups.

It is not only trainees in CPE who struggle with these and related issues but seasoned chaplains, SITs and CPE supervisors as well.

So what can we do to address these issues?

Getting a handle not only on what is most obvious but grasping our and others’ unconscious processes – “what’s really going on” – is key.

<imgRaymond Lawrence and I have just returned from Chicago where for the first half of last week four CPSP supervisors-in-training participated in an experiential group relations conference sponsored by the AK Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems (AKRI). This event was followed by four days of seminars and workshops about group relations theory and practice, known as the AKRI Dialogues, that the two of us attended.

Over that past few years CPSP has been working with AKRI and its regional affiliates on the West Coast and in New York. NCTS-West and NCTS-East have both been venues for introducing our members to the methods of group relations. Charla Hayden and Jack Lampl, AKRI fellows and internationally recognized leaders in the group relations field, joined the CPSP community at the 2013 CPSP Plenary in Las Vegas.

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Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 1:38 PM