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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 March 31, 2005 11:48 AM

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