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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.

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March 31, 2005

Are We Becoming A Soulless Profession? by Perry Miller


Although writing as a clinical psychologist to clinical psychologists, Phyllis Watts, Ph.D. gives voice to the provocative question: "Are we Becoming A Soulless Profession" in her article forwarded from SocialWorkPractice Listserve.

Many of us who earn our living as a psychotherapists have long ago walked away from managed care as a source of reimbursement for services rendered. It is too invasive, and it's an unethical way to treat people who live with the awareness that managed care might pull the plug on the therapeutic relationship and treatment without thought or care for the patient and the treatment process. Managed care is counter productive to the creation and the nurturing of the therapeutic alliance upon which substantive care and healing of soul is grounded. Without the formation of a deep and profound relationship that becomes sacred and beyond what words could even attempt to convey, not much happens in the psychotherapy journey. Managed Care is a theological corruption that will poison the integrity of the therapeutic relationship and enterprise.

Apart from the issue of managed care addressed by the author, a reading of her article will provoke reflections for all of us who function as clinicians daily caring for those troubled in body and heart.

Below is an excerpt of her article. The full text can be found at:

-Perry Miller, Editor

So how do we invigorate the soul of our profession? First we must
remember our roots and shift to a broader paradigm of psychological
functioning. This is essential. Then understand that it is through the
replication of ideas . . . how things are defined, described and
repeated . . . that attitudes, opinions and values change. Our market
isn't managed care--it is the general public. But how we are positioned
in the minds of the general public is problematic. Psychology must come
to people in a much more direct, personal and non-stigmatized way. At a
cultural level we must work to develop the value of psychological
understanding and awareness. This is done through workshops, articles
and lectures on issues outside of "mental illness." It is done through
developing public relations campaigns that let people get to know us in
human ways. It is done through using research to shape public policy in
regard to its impact on psychological well being. It is done through

writing, faxing, e-mailing and phoning media representatives when we see
our profession or the value of psychological awareness being denigrated
or misrepresented and when we see it valued. It is done through
developing a creative matrix at local, regional and national levels out
of which we stimulate ideas, actions and support. It is done through not
losing heart.

I truly love psychology. But I believe we have lost our way and are in
danger of losing much more if we forget to remember our roots, to know
our responsibility and for each of us to find where we stand . . . then
to have the courage to act from that stance.

-Phyllis Watts, Ph.D.

Posted by Perry Miller at 11:48 AM

March 30, 2005


This is a reminder that each registrant to the CPSP Plenary will be
assigned to a small group, and will be allocated at least 45 minutes in
which to present a clinical case or something of their life or work for
consultation. There is no restriction on what individuals may present. -Jim Gebhart and Plenary Planing Group

Posted by Perry Miller at 8:01 PM

March 27, 2005

Robert Powell, MD, PhD is

Robert Powell, MD, PhD is the preeminent historian of the clinical pastoral movement. His thinking and writing as a historian of the clinical pastoral movement is always influenced by the wisdom gained as a practicing psychirist providing care for the "living human document" in his clinical practice.

Powell's wisdom and profetic voice sounded a clarian note directed to the CPSP commmunity when he accepted the First Annual Helen Flanders Dunbar Award for Significant Contributions to the Field of Clinical Pastoral Training at the 2002 CPSP Plenary.

The Continued Ability to Create and Invent: Going for One Hundred Years of Clinical Pastoral Transformation

The Continued Ability to Create and Invent: Going for One Hundred Years of Clinical Pastoral Transformation is best read in its entirity.

Below are two paragraphs that deserves our attention. This is especially true in light of CPSP's drift towards standardization, rule keeping and a cooperate mentality. This drift, if unchallenged, will cripple and kill the spirit of creativity and new life within the CPSP community and its mission. CPSP can not, as you will see from Powell's words, fall in to the hands of who will use rules and standards over the spirit of creativity and boldness to risk being different and out of the mainstream.

Posted by Perry Miller at 1:43 PM

March 22, 2005


Barbara McGuire, CPSP Registrar announces the completion of the 2005 CPSP Directory and that it is now published on CPSP's website, CPSP.ORG. The document is a downloadable PDF file. It will require you have an up-to-date free copy of Adobe Reader on your computer to view the Directory.

One easy way to search and locate the name of a member is to go to your EDIT menu and click on FIND. This brings up a window where you enter the persons name and with a click of the mouse it well search the Directory and locate the person's contact information.

Given CPSP's commitment to travel light CPSP will not go to the expense of publishing a hardcopy of the Directory. Those who want a hard copy can download the file and print their own. Given the growth of the CPSP community and the constant changing of contact information, once published the Directory is out of date. Our Registrar is committed to keeping the Directory as up-to-date as possible. All changes and additions to the Directory are to be e-mailed directly to Barbara McGuire.

The completion of the CPSP Directory has been a major task. Barbara McGuire with the able assistance of Krista Argiropolis, page layout designer and Raymond Lawrence have provided us with a valuable tool. The Directory will not only help us be connected to one another in the community, it will enable others outside the community to contact us and our service and clinical training centers.

The publication of the CPSP 2005 Directory required hours beyond measure provided by Barbara, Raymond and a few others. Just in case we forget, the CPSP owns no central office and we have no paid staff. What gets done in CPSP, such as the completion of the Directory, gets done by its members. We care that much about this very special community dedicated to the Recovery of Soul in the clinical pastorial movement. -Perry Miller, Editor

Posted by Perry Miller at 9:53 PM

March 17, 2005



Dr. Robert C. Dykstra, associate professor of pastoral theology at
Princeton Theological Seminary will be awarded the CPSP Helen Flanders
Dunbar Award for Contributions to the Field of Clinical Pastoral
Training. The award will be given on the basis of Dyskstra's new book,
Images of Pastoral Care: Classic Readings.This award will be presented
at the 2005 Plenary in Columbus, Ohio. This announcement was made today
by James Gebhart, chair of the host committee and Richard Liew,
President, CPSP.

Posted by Perry Miller at 9:03 AM

March 15, 2005



Spring has already begun to bud in its own joyous way. Despite the gray snow lining our curbs, there are signs of new life and growth peeking up between the concrete slabs of the city sidewalk.

Our National Clinical Training Seminar this March 3-4 held at Carmel Retreat House in Mahwah, New Jersey was an opportunity to witness signs of spring within our CPSP community as well as reflect on our personal growth as pastoral caregivers.

Supervisors-in-Training and Supervisors from different centers gathered in small groups to offer their own life experiences as a resource to help support encourage and provide feedback on their colleague's work. Some would use the small group setting to present themselves and ask the group to offer feedback on their professional journey or a personal issue that seemed to keep them from new growth. It was clear from the report back in the large group, that all members had gleaned a new insight, a different perspective, and a word of encouragement and support for their work.

Our featured speaker for the seminar was Dr. Perry Miller who facilitated a two part talk and discussion on The Theory and Practice of Supervision. Perry's talk on Thursday evening focused on the goal of supervision as inviting the trainee into the Fall. The Fall, for the trainee is the trainee's confrontation with his/her own unconscious and the experiencing of raw primitive pain of early childhood in the service of the patient's work. Supervision should afford the trainee the opportunity to explore where his/her suffering is held in tension with his/her professional life; the supervisory process must make use of both. The supervisory role is one of courage as well as compassion as the supervisor must be willing to take on the projections of the trainee and feed these back to the trainee in a way that is not toxic. Such supervision is life changing and transformative for the trainee; wanting less for our trainees is failed supervision and theologically corrupt. Perry invited the group to reflect on how their own practice of supervision might be enriched through a deepened relationship of mutuality with their trainee's in which transferences and counter transferences, mutual resistances and feedback on the process are part of the supervisory relationship.

Perry's discussion on Friday centered on the selection and interview process of trainees for CPE programs as well as his views on how technology can play a role in expanding our view of how supervision can be offered. Given Perry's talk on the practice of supervision on Thursday, it was no surprise to learn that Perry encouraged the community to explore ways in which the trainee interview and selection process might be seen as a significant first step in the budding supervisory relationship. Perry encouraged the group to consider the interview process as more than a singular interview but several in which the supervisor's goal is to determine if the candidate is one who is willing to take the risk and rigors of entering into a life transforming process or merely seeking a set of skills. In Perry's view, mutuality should extend to the selection process of which trainees are matched with which supervisors; the process, supervisory relationship and the clinical training program itself can only benefit from an attentive and deliberate selection and interview process.

The conference also gave us an opportunity to gather as a community for a Tavistock group experience with Dr. Raymond Lawrence serving as consultant. Tavistock allows the community to see for itself what issues are being acted out on an unconscious level within the group that might otherwise go unnoticed. The choices that group members make on where to sit, when to speak, what to say or how it is spoken all are valuable windows into the unconscious at work. Hidden agendas for power and authority, race and gender and similar issues are brought to the group's consciousness by the consultant who raises them up for the group to examine. Our group experience would raise some provocative issues for the community to reflect on as well.

NCTS was an opportunity for us to gather to reflect on our individual work, to meet new friends and get re-acquainted with peers from other centers. It was a bit of spring for all those who attended a chance to seek and celebrate our growth as pastoral caregivers among fellow pilgrims.
Bonnie McDougall Olson is a Supervisor in Training, New York Presbyterian Hospital: Columbia Medical Center

Posted by Perry Miller at 4:13 PM

March 1, 2005


Persons attending the Gathering of the Community in Columbus on April 6-9 can make advance ticket reservations for four major events scheduled in Columbus on those days. These events are:

The Columbus Symphony at The Ohio Theatre: Hayden’s The Creation.
Peter Pan at The Palace Theatre.
John Hancock Champions on Ice at The Nationwide Arena (Friday only).

These three events are all within 2-6 blocks of our conference setting.

The other major event is The Final Four of NCAA Hockey at The Ohio State University, Schottenstein Value-City Arena.

Further details are as follows:

I. The Columbus Symphony received rave reviews last season at Carnegie Hall. On April it will be joined by the Columbus Symphony Chorus in a performance of Joseph Hayden’s The Creation. The guest conductor will be Bernard Labadie, most recently of L’Opera de Quebec, and recognized as a specialist in the Baroque and Classic repertoire. He has conducted many major symphony orchestras in the United States and Canada.

The home of the Columbus Symphony is The Ohio Theatre, the beautiful historic baroque palace which is treasured by the entire state.

For ticket information call (614) 228-8600 or (614) 228-9600. Prime Orchestra seating is highly recommended.

II. The stately Palace Theatre will feature a performance of Peter Pan in its Broadway in Columbus series. This will be the farewell performance of the Tony Award nominee Cathy Rigby as she takes flight in the 100th anniversary of the immortal James M. Barrie tale of Peter Pan, Captain Hook and the alligator.

For ticket information call (614) 431 3600 or (614) 469 0939.

III. At the Nationwide Arena, home of the Columbus Blue Jackets, there will be a Friday night only performance of the 2005 John Hancock Champions on Ice tour. This event will feature many champions including five-time World Champion Michelle Kwan and Olympic medalists Sacha Cohen, Timothy Goebel, Irina Slutskaya and Evgeni Plushenko.

For ticket information call (614) 246-2000.

IV. The NCAA Final Four of Hockey, known as The Frozen Four, will be held April 9-10 at the Schottenstein-Value City Arena on Ohio State campus. The teams who will play for this championship are not yet known but you can inquire about advance tickets. Contact (877 429 3934 or (404) 843 1344.

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 9:13 PM