Pastoral Report Archives:

March, 2005

February, 2005

January, 2005

December, 2004

November, 2004

October, 2004

September, 2004

August, 2004

July, 2004

June, 2004

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.

« March 2005 | Main | May 2005 »

April 27, 2005



Raymond J. Lawrence

The clinical pastoral movement that emerged early in the 20th century was another chapter in the long history of the cure of souls, both in Christianity and other religions. This particular manifestation of the cure of souls grew out of the conflicted triangle of Anton T. Boisen, Richard C. Cabot, and Helen Flanders Dunbar. In this triangle is the whole story of the movement right into the present. In the dance of these three is distilled and encapsulated all the richness and pathology of this movement of which CPSP is merely a part.

Boisen's position in the triangle was as an advocate of his theory that religious experience and mental disturbance have the same features, and that understanding one helps to understand the other. He learned this not from books, or from thinking about it, but from going absolutely mad himself. He was hospitalized four times in psychiatric hospitals, the first time locked in for 15 months, and he thought that he was a much better and wiser man because of what he experienced and learned in that hospitalization. Only a couple of years after he was released from involuntary hospitalization, he was appointed chaplain at Worcester State Hospital, an astonishing rebound. For Boisen the study of madness was virtually the same thing as the study of religion, and the more we know about each the better we are able to assist troubled persons. Boisen was not interested in "doing something for the patient," a motivation that seems to have recently swept the movement and carried all before it. Rather Boisen thought it enough simply to understand the patient and the patient's experiences.

Richard C. Cabot, MD, was Boisen's principal financial and moral supporter in the beginning. Cabot was in the forefront of emerging clinical medicine. From Cabot Boisen learned the case method of approaching persons and illness. The case method requires that everything about the patient's world be reviewed for clues to their condition. Cabot's mission was to upgrade the skills of clergy so as to improve medical care.

Helen Flanders Dunbar, psychiatrist, literary critic, and theologian, enrolled in that first summer group, and though she stayed only a month, she returned in years following. She became Boisen's chief supporter and soul mate, and apparently his only consummated romantic relationship. Dunbar's mission was to clarify the relationship between illness and the psyche, and health and the psyche. She was the founder and first editor of the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine.

The three, along with Philip Guiles, formed the Council of the Clinical Training of Theological Students (CCTTS, later shortened to CCT) and promoted clinical training for clergy. For five years the training programs went on swimmingly. The numbers of trainees increased rapidly.

In 1930, Boisen's mother died, and his life-long girl friend, a florid hysteric, was treating him badly as usual. Boisen had his second distinct psychotic break. The happy triangle deconstructed. Cabot had never agreed with Boisen's basic premise about the significance of mental disturbance. He was a chemical man, and would be happy to see the day that psychiatric practice was mostly drug therapy. He believed that chemistry would eventually solve mental disturbance. Cabot concluded, therefore, that Boisen was unfit for ministry and proposed to dismiss him from their new fledged organization, CCTTS. Dunbar sided with Boisen, seized the books, and took them from Boston to New York where she set up a new office, effectively isolating Cabot. Cabot in Boston eventually formed the Institute of Pastoral Care.

From 1930 to 1967 there were two centers of power in the clinical pastoral world, New York and Boston. They each touted a different philosophy, and they were competitive with each other. Boisen, Dunbar, and Hiltner were the original New York leaders; Cabot, Guiles, and Russell Dicks were the same for Boston. Neither owned the whole truth. The dialogue and debate, even the strife between them, was enriching to the movement for the next 35 years. If the clinical pastoral movement had a golden age, this was it.

The Council worked mainly in psychiatric hospitals; the Institute in general. The Council focused mainly on personal transformation, both the trainee's and the patient's; the Institute focused on skill development. The Council called its mission training; the Institute called its mission education. The Council made use principally of the case study, the complete picture of the patient; the Institute used primarily the verbatim of a single encounter. The Council held the view that ministers are healers; the Institute tended to view ministers as those who assist physicians in healing arts.

The debate was rich. The players were memorable. That generation certainly seemed to witness a number of unusual and creative characters the likes of which we have not seen in a generation. Tom Klink, Armen Jorjorian, Ken Lee, Len Cedarleaf, Russell Dicks, Philip Guiles, Ernie Bruder, Joseph Fletcher, John Billinsky, Dick Young, Wayne Oates, Seward Hiltner, Edward Thornton, and Carroll Wise were only some of the remarkable characters who led that former generation.

In 1967 the great merger took place. The Council, the smaller Institute, Southern Baptists, and Lutherans groups all merged into one organization called the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE). In retrospect we can see that it was driven by what Edwin Friedman calls the herding instinct among animals, a response to anxiety or fear. A handful of supervisors strongly opposed the merger. Ernie Bruder at St Elizabeth's in Washington, DC, opted out, and spent the rest of his life running an unaccredited program. George Tolson and others predicted the merger would be destructive, but their voices were drowned out in the joy of becoming one unified family. Or so it appeared.

The financial commitment for the merger came originally, not from pastoral clinicians, but from an outsider with money. Clement Stone put up $100,000 to promote a merger, which essentially paid for the mechanics of it. Some supervisors argue that the merger took place only because of Stone's money, but others claim that Stone assisted supervisors in doing what they wanted to do.

The result of the merger was that traditions and philosophy of the smaller IPC came to dominate the field. From '67 onward, the principles of IPC took the stage, and the principles of CCT went into eclipse. In retrospect some matters become clear that cannot easily be seen at the time. In fact, what then occurred at the time was a silent coup, establishing the values of the Institute as preeminent.

1. Attention was placed more on skill development than personal transformation.
2. CPT became CPE.
3. Far more training programs were established in general hospitals than psychiatric hospitals
4. Verbatims replaced case studies.
5. Chaplains postured themselves as persons less as healers or therapists than as those who assist the healing process directed by physicians.
6. Cabot became the putative founder of CPE, and Boisen the one who implemented his ideas. (You can read in the various editions of ACPE Standards the words "Cabot founded clinical pastoral education, an idea that was enlarged upon by Boisen.") Dunbar vanished from corporate memory.

Why is this important? In 1990 CPSP resurrected the ghost of the Council. We contended that an understanding of the self and an Understanding of the patient and his/her experience was considerably more important that learning a set of skills. We proclaimed Boisen as our spiritual father, not Cabot. We resurrected from oblivion Dunbar and her interest in psychosomatic dynamics.

Part of the argument for merger was the promise of engaging the wider community more effectively. One big group is stronger than several smaller ones, it was said. That proved to be an illusion. Quite the opposite is the case. After an initial spurt in growth following the merger, the movement as a whole has not grown, and is arguably less effective than it was prior to the merger. The posture of the seminaries toward clinical training (CPE) has cooled. I recall as a brand new supervisor in the late 60s being quite amazed that seminaries depended on supervisors' evaluations in some cases to decide whether the seminarian should be allowed to continue in seminary. All that has changed. Now supervisors are on trial. An unhappy clinical training course now results in a poor evaluation of the supervisor rather than the student.

The achievement of the merger was a univocal movement. That's what was dreamed of. It was the illusion of political power. "Unity in diversity" was the slogan, but the real product was group think. Dissent was inhibited. Idiosyncracies were scorned. The illusion was of one unified clinical pastoral movement that would march to one drummer and speak with one voice. It was an alluring vision. It presented well in public. But in order to accomplish such a feat, lots of ideas and lots of people had to walk the plank. Any peculiar voice that attempted to raise its head was summarily quashed.

The Bell Telephone Company used to have billboards in my youth saying, "We may be the only telephone company in town, but we try not to act like it." It is very difficult to attempt to act like something different from what you are. Ma Bell did not succeed.

We do not need to enthrone one monopolistic clinical pastoral training organization in this country. We had one from 1967 to 1990, and it has not lived up to its promise. We are destined to be a polyvocal, pluralistic movement. Competency and creativity are far more important than unity and conformity. We do not want univocalism even within CPSP. We want individuals and Chapters to develop their own distinctive voice, think new thoughts, and break new ground in our common vocation.


CPSP emerged primarily out of the loins of the ACPE. Since then, the ACPE position towards us has been mostly on the order of the emperor's new clothes. We have been almost invisible, officially speaking. We understand that. It is difficult for an established organization to accept a renegade group that separates itself from the mother group. The Anglicans were a long time forgiving the Methodists for bolting.

In 1993 a dialogue meeting took place with three persons from each organization. It was a good-spirited discussion with no animosity. Everyone seemed clear that CPSP is of a different philosophy and organization, but there was no energy to continue meeting.

Generally the ACPE has been highly competitive in relation to us. We expect that. We can live with it. But we will not accept misrepresentations. The ACPE waives the flag of United States Department of Education (DOE) recognition as if it is the thing without which on cannot do training, a great hyperbole. We are currently in discussions with the DOE too, and the agency has encouraged us to present ourselves to them. They are not promoting monopolies. There is of course a question in some of our minds whether getting entangled with a government bureaucracy is not the kiss of death. This matter will continue to receive serious attention from us as we proceed.

The ACPE have claimed over and over again in the ACPE News that only ACPE qualifies for Medicare pass through funds. This is and always has been a totally false claim with no basis in fact. In spite of our complaints, they have issued no public correction.

Subsequent to the 1967 merger, several new organizations emerged. The College of Chaplains, the National Association of Catholic Chaplains, and the National Association of Jewish Chaplains. Then in 1994 there was a movement to once again unify all the pastoral care organizations, this time to the exclusion of CPSP. William Baugh, then president of the ACPE, convened the so-called "four presidents." His motivation seemed to be to unify the four organizations against CPSP. But unification was voted down by the respective organizations.

After that failure, the Council on Collaboration was invented, and that body proposed to create "universal standards," later changed to "common standards," for the clinical pastoral movement. When we heard that such a project was underway we twice formally asked a seat at the table for CPSP. John deVelder made the request on behalf of the Executive Committee. Twice we were denied a seat on the grounds that the project was already underway. We were given assurances by George Handzo that the Collaboration group intended to be fully inclusive in the long run.

The first edition of the Common Standards included an exclusive list of legitimate clinical pastoral training organizations. That list established the ACPE as the only significant clinical training organization. No other training was recognized.

The action of the Council on Collaboration was similar to an automobile association that might form a set of standards for a safe car. Let's say they list anti-lock brakes, safety glass, air bags front and side, and General Motors construction. You would say, "That is not a safety standards document, but a company endorsement." That is precisely how the Common Standards function.

Thus it was that CPSP filed a grievance with COMISS last December, stating that the Council on Collaboration violated the spirit of collegiality that is the basis of COMISS, the roundtable for all those who have an interest in clinical chaplaincy. The ACPE claimed to "hear the concerns" at the COMISS meeting. The Collaboration group met in January and revised the Common Standards. The revision subsequently printed is even more monopolistic than the original.

Subsequent to the December COMISS meeting I wrote to the Executive Director of the ACPE, who referred me to the president, Art Schmidt. I wrote to him also, and spoke with him on the phone. Our conversation was friendly and collegial. The Collaboration group was to have a board meeting Jan 25, and Schmidt reported that they would respond to our concerns about monopoly, the concerns that were raised publicly at COMISS, and get back to me. I have received no communication of any sort since then.

My conclusion is that the ACPE is fully committed to establishing a monopoly in the training field, and that their intent is to put CPSP out of business. Even if I am wrong about the intent, their actions are pointed to the same objective. If they can sell their Collaboration documents to the wider community they will put CPSP out of business even if they did not intend to do so. I do not expect them to succeed in making the sale.

The ACPE spoke soothing words in response to our protests of monopolistic claims, but they continue to act on a monopolistic course. I am reminded of the Psalmist. "Butter is on their lips, but in their heart, a sword."


Astonishingly, the Collaboration group's Common Standards are the standards of no organization known to humankind, this in spite of all the promotion. The Collaboration group says its members have covenanted to strive toward the Standards. If CPSP were to strive toward the Common Standards, we would have to go backwards. I encourage you to read them.

Who actually produced the Common Standards? Walter Smith's money and George Handzo's leadership, with the cooperation of many in leadership in the ACPE, produced the document. How did they manage it? Smith put up $100,000 in matching funds, and invited the ACPE and its clients to pay half for the project. A great number of people were flown into New York City to do the work (and enjoy the Big Apple). This boondoggle carried a final price tag of $96,000. A better set of standards could have been produced by Jim Gebhart and a handful of colleagues over the course of a week-end in Columbus. We could have used $96,000 for a better purpose. The production of the Common Standards was a laundry list of the obvious, and a scandalous waste of what is essentially the members’ money.

The well-heeled Collaboration group and its Common Standards project also present the prospect of making COMISS irrelevant. We think that the subversion of COMISS would be a terrible loss to the clinical pastoral community.


Of the alphabet soup that describes the six organizations in the Collaboration group, the ACPE is the only one benefiting from the monopolistic play. None of the other organizations actually has a dog in this fight.

-The Canadian group, CAPPE, has no jurisdiction in this country.
-The American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC) does not do clinical training, and we have no quarrel with them. Doug Ronsheim very graciously spoke to our Plenary last year.
-The remaining three organizations depend on the ACPE to train their leadership, and thus are to one degree or another client organizations of the ACPE.
-NACC is to a certain extent a client of ACPE, which offered to (in 2001) grandparent credentials to all NACC supervisors, greatly reducing independent training by NACC. We do not have any quarrel with the NACC. We wish them well.
-NAJC is not a training organization, but an organization certifying Jewish chaplains. We have no quarrel with the NAJC. We wish them well.
-APC is not in the work of training chaplains. They do not train chaplains, only certify them. In the early 1990s, when we were just getting started, the APC actually recognized CPSP as a collegial organization. Don Gum was part of that initiative. But shortly following their official recognition of CPSP, the 94 annual meeting was flooded by a number of aggressive ACPE supervisors who charged CSPS with a lack of ethics and professionalism, and they forced a reversal of the decision. I was there. It was a trial by mob. Since then, the APC has been ambivalent towards us. They have recognized our training at points, and not at others. We have no quarrel with the APC. We wish them well.


1. Speak up at every opportunity and describe to the anyone who will listen the campaign underway to declare the ACPE a monopoly in the field of clinical pastoral training.
2. Continue the dialogue and debate wherever possible. Even if ACPE will not participate, we can still answer their claims. It may be a short dialogue. They speak, and we respond. Even if it is unwelcome, it is dialogue. In this connection, I have publicly called for an updating of the White Paper, because it is a potentially useful document for all communities in the field.
3. Never, never react. Edwin Friedman taught us this. To react is to respond out of feelings. To react in anger may feel good, but it generally is unproductive. Being nice, and obsequious, out of fear and intimidation is also a form of reacting based on feelings. The alternative to reaction is to respond after thinking, reflecting,
clarifying, and exploring. A thoughtful response does not have to be nice, just thoughtful---and wise.
4. Remember that administrators and personnel offices do not care much for the subtleties of the alphabet stew. Typically they look for signs of competence, not alphabets.
5. Avoid the kind of group-think that views every member of ACPE as our enemy. We have many, many friends in ACPE. They do not march in lock step as their newsletter suggests.
6. Bury the illusion that we might rejoin them. We should be delighted to meet them for respectful, collegial dialogue for the purposes of growth and development, theirs and ours, but we do not need to join. When Apple joins Microsoft, maybe we will join ACPE.
7. Remember Saul Alinsky, one of my teachers, who spent his life dislodging entrenched and vested interests in business and politics. He often said that such interests never fail to shoot themselves in the foot.
8. Grow. We have generally lived heretofore by the Perry Miller rule: "Make sure no one can find us, and we will not be bothered by undesirables." We now need to grow ourselves a little more political power. We have now more than 300 certified members. When we double that number we will have more certified persons than ACPE, which has now fewer certified members than it had a generation ago. It will be much more difficult for monopolistic claims to be made when we have a little more meat on our bones.
9. Invest as little energy as possible protecting ourselves against anyone. Act only when we must.
10. Diligently maintain our tradition of self-criticism. That is especially difficult to do when under attack, but it is a non-negotiable. If we become too nice, too courteous, and ultimately uncritical of each other, we will lose our souls. No tradition, ours or others', is immune to critique. One of the dangers in the current interest in muticulturalism is the lack of critical purchase. All traditions, beginning with our own, should be held up for examination if we want to present ourselves as clinicians. Even the traditions of the vaunted Royal Navy are subject to critique. Winston Churchill was once attacked when he was First Lord of the Admiralty for demeaning naval traditions. He asked rhetorically, "What are the traditions of the Royal Navy? Rum, sodomy, and the lash."
11. Do not take ourselves too seriously. All of the alphabet stews in our movement are but a tempest in a teapot. In relation to the larger culture and its problems, our internecine struggles are of little significance. The increasing and alarming gap between the rich and the poor, in this country and abroad, is a problem that will eventually come home to roost. The rise of religious rage, and I refer not so much to Muslim as Christian rage, promises to consume everything. The gross and increasing duplicity in our political life is similarly alarming. CPSP will not prosper if the social order unravels as it currently threatens. We will be like chaplains on a Titanic that deserved to be sunk.
12. Finally, we must ultimately fall back on divine providence. We actually control very little in this life. I was born the year after Hitler came to power, and my entire life has been shadowed by the events of the middle 20th century. Just before I was born Paul Tillich fled Germany, and soon after Karl Barth followed suite, after preaching a sermon, "Jesus Christ was a Jew." In the midst of the Nazi threats to his life, Barth said, "We must go on doing theology as if nothing has happened." For us, doing theology means continuing our critique of the currently fashionable gods wherever we encounter them, both personally and systemically, and doing so in the name of the god of justice and mercy. So, whatever arrows come our way, and there may be many, let us be steadfast in our vocation---as if nothing has happened.

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 11:03 AM

April 20, 2005

Origins of the New CPSP.ORG Website by Perry Miller, Editor


In response to the Executive Committee's request, I accepted the task of securing a web designer. The instruction was to end CPSP having two separate websites (CPSP.ORG and PASTORAL REPORT.COM) with CPSP.ORG becoming our official web address that will appear on all CPSP publications.

I was committed to finding a resource with technical proficiency as well as one who was also an artist within the field of visual arts. I had conversations with many talented and gifted persons, even one-person located in Russia. After a considerable amount of searching and conversations, I found my way to EPS, a design and consulting firm. I determined they were best suited to meet our needs.

My request was for a simple, clean, non-cluttered web design that would be easy to navigate and to update as needed. It would have to accommodate the fact that the current CPSP.ORG site is mostly static (like a poster) except for documents and the CPSP Directory updates while the Pastoral Report is dynamic with its content frequently changing. The site would need to be constructed where content, not design, could be easily updated without the assistance of a professional Webmaster. It was also understood that once the site is operative, the designer would be available on a fee bases to trouble shoot and help when needed. Again, EPS was in full agreement and a contract between EPS and CPSP was established.

In response to my request, several ideas for logos were offered. EPS eventually created the logo seen on the top banner of the site. Here is the description of its evolution and meaning provided by the Jedd Haas, who is the founder and serves as Creative Director for all EPS’s design work:

"There are many different ways of coming up with a logo. One way is to simply draw different images, hoping to come up with one that's acceptable. A more refined way of going about it is to work from a "design brief" - a short written statement that describes what the logo should convey.

In the case of CPSP, reading the statements on the site gave me several ideas. The description of the programs suggested a broad-based set of ideas. This in turn suggested what might be problematic in the existing logo. The "brackets" logo suggested a "boxing in" or narrow definition to me; my thinking was that the replacement logo should suggest the broader set of program ideas described on the site.

Additionally, the concept of "Recovery of Soul" which is mentioned as a central idea suggested an image that might be described as "uplifting" or transformative, rather than the "boxing in" concept I saw in the brackets logo. Finally, the concept of community and the autonomy of connected communities seemed to be a central idea from the site text.

Keeping in mind the idea of growth and transformation, I drew the present logo idea, which to me was a stylized representation of iris leaves. As I refined the idea and completed it, it also seemed evocative of a human figure, which for me ties it into the idea of "recovery of soul."

In addition to a few within the CPSP, I "field tested" the logo with some who had no connection to CPSP and with no clues provided to even hint what meaning might be communicated via the logo. I found it rather amazing that all had similar interpretations to those of the artist.

The reason the Pastoral Report is on the front page of CPSP.ORG is the designer’s response and critique of our competitor’s websites. He described them as poster sites, not dynamic sites. He saw this as troublesome. The inclusion of the PR on the front page is due to its dynamic content with information changing on a regular bases. A dynamic site will in itself create more interest in and visitors to CPSP.ORG. Having more visitors also means we move higher on the Google's search engine. It will also increase the possibility that our static information such as the CPSP Covenant, Standards, mission statement and the CPSP Directory being more frequently visited and reviewed.

I hope the new CPSP.ORG website will serve our community well.

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 7:51 PM

Who We Were: A Survey of the History of the Pastoral Care, Counseling and Education Movement by Frank Ciampa

Presented at the Annual Meeting of CPSP
Columbus, Ohio
April 7, 2005

Who We Were: A Survey of the History of the Pastoral Care, Counseling and Education Movement by Frank Ciampa

The history of Clinical Pastoral Education and it’s cousins in Pastoral Care and Counseling is filled with brilliant, interesting people and meaningful events. As I approach the task of summarizing the history of this movement in less than an hour, I feel a kinship with the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, who, when he held up Abraham, Moses and the people of the Exodus as examples of faith, realized that he was starting down a road that was too long to complete, and he says, “And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Sampson, Jephtah, of David, and Samuel and the prophets..."

I wanted to speak to you at some length about Keller and Boisen; about Cabot, Guiles, and Dicks; and about Dunbar, Wise, Fairbanks, Hiltner: People who played critical roles in the development of the principles on which we still operate. Time will fail me to tell stories about Billinsky, Norstad, Kuether, Bruder, Fletcher, Keith, Terkelson, Plummer, Gebhart, Maguire, Lawrence, Beverly, Parker, or countless others. But with that caveat, let us begin.


I want first to set the stage by reminding us all about some of the cultural milieu when Clinical Pastoral Education began to take shape. As the twentieth century began to pick up steam in this country, a lot of things were happening that contributed to the history of our organization. This was the day of the social gospel. The churches in America were moving toward the idea that the church ought to be involved in the world in a way that would impact the lives of people, not just individually, but by addressing the problems and issues of the society as a whole. People like Harry Emerson Fosdick at Marble Collegiate Church in New York, felt a commitment to preach sermons about peoples’ real problems—give them practical wisdom. As he puts it in his book, people do not come to church with a burning desire “to learn whatever happened to the Amalikites.” He also developed a significant counseling program related to that church.

This was also the era of Freud. The idea that our notions of ourselves and our behavior, especially anti-social or self-destructive behavior could be understood in terms of our emotional history, and that therapy, or analysis could assist a person to peel back the layers of defensive constructs and free themselves from harmful or self-defeating psychopathologies. Not everyone accepted this interpretation of the nature of emotional illness, and the fact that two of the progenitors of Clinical Pastoral Education, Boisen and Cabot, came down on opposite sides of this fence was, perhaps, to blame for a lot of the major division which characterized the first three decades of the movement.

Then consider the nature of theological education at that time. Theological education was considered a classical discipline. While the church was becoming more progressive, theological education had not kept pace with the direction that Christianity was taking in this era. Clinging to an academic approach to the traditional subjects that had been taught of generations, the seminaries did a good job of grounding pastors in the tradition, providing them with tools for studying the scriptures in the original languages, and preaching in the oratorical style of the nineteenth century, but there was not much in theological education that gave students preparation for church administration or program development. Most significant for us, seminaries did not offer any sort of “hands on experience” of ministry, or teach students how to pastor their congregations.

A different scene was developing in medical education. Here, the practice of providing medical students with an internship was becoming common. Advanced medical students were brought into the clinic to learn by watching their teachers practice their profession, and eventually, to work directly with the patients under the supervision of their teachers: Supervised education.


It was into this setting that Clinical Pastoral Education was born. Incidentally, this place where we sit today is not far from sites that are significant in the history of Clinical Pastoral Education. William Keller’s work in exposing theological students to a clinical experience of social work< an effort which predated Boisen’s chaplaincy at Worcester State, took place a few miles from here in Cincinnati. Anton Boisen was born a couple hundred miles west of here in Bloomington, Indiana, where his father taught at IU, the university from which Boisen received his bachelor’s degree. And Miami Valley Hospital in nearby Dayton is the oldest clinical training site in this region.

Now I would like to refresh our memories about some of those first generation leaders in the clinical pastoral education movement. Let us begin with Boisen, himself, known to all of us as the father of Clinical Pastoral Education. To some, affectionately referred to as “Pappy Boisen.”

Anton Boisen

As we all know, the father of Clinical Pastoral Education was crazy. By this, I not only refer to his several well-known psychotic episodes, but also his lifelong fixation on Ann Batchelder, who could never quite dismiss him or accept him. I do not say this to denigrate his contribution or his memory. On the contrary, he is a prime example of St. Paul’s assertion that, “we have this treasure in earthern vessels.” Boisen was an imperfect vessel, as we all are, and perhaps more than many, but the treasure that poured out of that vessel should not be underestimated. A few short vignettes from other writers can help us fill in our picture of Boisen. Seward Hiltner tells this revealing story about having Boisen over to his home for dinner:

My wife had been hearing, ever since we met, of this great teacher of mine, with all the stories and folklore that had grown up about him. She would have been prepared, I think, if he had been gruff, or had sat all evening in the corner, or had given a lecture over the dessert. When he left she said spontaneously, ‘He is charming.’ And he was. He listened to her better than I have been able to do before or since.

Carroll Wise wrote of Boisen’s psychoses:

A lesser mind would have succumbed in the first psychotic episode, but not Anton Boisen. For he had learned something about the necessity to use his illness creatively. The Clinical Training Movement is the child of that creativity, tempered as it was by intense struggles. We owe Anton Boisen a great debt of gratitude.

Chuck Hall says on the same subject:

Some skeptics have suggested that Boisen made outstanding contributions despite his mental illness. But in his autobiography, Boisen says his contributions were due to his experiences, including the struggle to understand the meaning of his psychotic episodes.

Psychologist Paul Pruyser, visiting Boisen near the end of his life described him as one who was not without humor and delicacy but something had happened to his feelings and their expression…The language is beautiful, the topics are moving, but there is something utterly pathetic about it all.

Boisen was a creative genius, a solid intellect, a charming man, and a troubled soul. He managed to see, even his own painful life as a human document, and not only learned from his own illness, but offered it to others to learn from as well.

When Boisen experienced his first psychotic episode, he was treated in Worcester State Hospital. During this episode he believed that he had broken through the wall the separated medicine and religion. After his recovery and release, in 1922-23 Boisen was in Richard Cabot’s course on “The Essentials of Case Records for Teaching.” Boisen caught the interest of Richard Cabot who was already working on the conviction that theological students ought to have a year of clinical training. Cabot apparently liked Boisen, and became a facilitator of Boisen’s further studies in Boston. Boisen studied at Harvard and at Andover Newton Semi nary. Cabot would take Boisen around personally, to various professors and say, “This is Anton Boisen, he is going to be in your class this term.” Apparently, Cabot’s standing in the academic community made it hard for others to say no to him.

Boisen learned the case study method from Cabot, but he modified for his own purposes. It became the basis of his teaching and research in his work at Worcester State and later in Chicago. Richard Cabot respected Boisen and facilitated his commitment to finding ways of caring for the sick, and teaching people to care for the sick, although they differed on some significant points—one of which I have already alluded to: Cabot was a firm believer that mental or emotional illnesses were expressions of some physiological cause—a chemical imbalance, as we would be prone to say. Boisen was just as certain that mental illness was psychogenic. He further believed that his own illness represented a problem solving religious experience.

This difference, whether mental illness was physio-genic or psychogenic, would lead to one of the characteristics that would divide the young Clinical Pastoral Education movement: Following Cabot’s view, the education of young pastors would focus on the intellect. Following Boisen’s view, would give primacy to insight and intuition. This is a dialogue that continues today to reverberate through our movement today.

Philip Guiles

Philip Guiles, one of the early leaders in the movement, was a theological student at Union Seminary in New York when Richard Cabot came there to deliver a lecture entitled, “A Plea for a Clinical Year in the Theological Course of Study. Guiles was so impressed by this lecture that he actually followed Cabot from the Seminary that day, got on the train with him back to Boston and engaged Cabot in conversation, saying, “Now I know why I enrolled at Union, it was in order to be there when you presented that lecture.” Guiles became part of the early movement.

Carroll Wise

Carroll Wise was one of Boisen’s early students. He was one of the theological students of his generation who sensed keenly “the gap” between the systematic theology he learned at Seminary and the expectations and demands of ministry in a congregation. In Clinical Training he saw the means to close that gap. Upon Boisen’s departure from Worcester State, Wise became the Chaplain there, and shortly began to supervise students. If I may be permitted a personal aside, Carroll Wise is the only member of this first generation of our founders I had the chance to meet personally. In the 1980s, when he was advanced in age, he addressed a conference I attended in Chicago on caring for patients in rehabilitation programs, something he had experienced personally in recovering from near fatal burns late in his life. I still remember being impressed by his small stature, his venerable age, his wisdom and his tremendous energy as he stood before us.

Russell Dicks

Dicks was another early student of Boisen. He was responsible for adding another dimension to clinical training. Up to this point, training had been done only in mental institutions. The assumption seemed to be that by studying the behavior of persons in mental and emotional distress could reveal to students more about how the mind works. It was also Boisen’s belief that these often forgotten patients needed more care and attention to their religious concerns that they were receiving. This was not only a humane concern, but also his belief that mental illness was in its essence a crisis of faith, of religion in the patient’s life.

Dicks represented another point of view. He believed that we should be training clergy students in general hospitals, since most of the patients to which pastors would be exposed to in their ministry would be in general hospitals. Dicks established a program in Massachusetts General, where he invented one of the most ubiquitous teaching tools in clinical learning: the verbatim. In searching for a way to document his work and reflect on it, he began writing down everything he and the patient said to each other. This impressed Richard Cabot. After his first summer there in 1933, Cabot said of him,

Here is a man that writes down the conversation and prayers he has with a dying man. That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard of. We’d better ask him to stay on. We might learn something. (Hall 22)

Helen Flanders Dunbar

Dunbar was perhaps intellectually the most brilliant person in that first generation. She was actually the first student Boisen recruited for his first program. She was a divinity student at Union doing a Ph. D. on comparative languages (She was conversant with some fifteen languages). Finishing her Ph. D., she went on to complete the first year of medical school a month later. She was a pioneer in psychosomatic medicine and the founder of The Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine. Dunbar did not see any conflict between science and religion, but she did chastise her colleagues in ministry for “inadequate handling of the symbols through which religious concepts are expressed.” She felt that the “unbelief” of that period was a result of the fact that religious symbolism was interpreted literally, and it was this literal interpretation that comes into conflict with science. Philip Guiles once said that Richard Cabot despised Dunbar, because she outsmarted him on most occasions.

Dunbar became the president of the Council for Clinical Training following Cabot, and she moved the headquarters of the Council to New York. But more than the headquarters moved. There was also a developing ideological split. This eventually became the split between the Council for Clinical Training and the Institute of Pastoral Care. We will pick up the story of CPE with the significance of this schism in just a moment. But before we leave the consideration of these first generation leaders, I want to list for us etiology of some of our most cherished phrases and concepts, and trace their origins.

Of course we can thank Boisen and Cabot for bringing the concept of Case Study into CPE. For Boisen and Cabot this was both a teaching device and a research tool. Boisen was impressed that while seminaries were not teaching anything about human personality, physicians in training were making careful, systematic study of living men and women and were in fact becoming “physicians of the soul,” while the clergy were becoming nothing more than custodians of the faith. So Boisen began to use the Case Study method with his students in order to make clergy truly “physicians of the soul.”

We often use the phrase, “the art of pastoral care” or the “art of supervision.” Philip Guiles was the first to describe pastoral care as an Art. Guiles was cautious about introducing the teaching of techniques to students too soon. He preferred to trust the young pastor’s instincts, which he likened to the leading of the Holy Spirit in Acts. He believed that if students were placed in the presence of patients, and prepared with the right attitude, to listen, to care, and not to prescribe, each student would instinctively find his or her own way to relate meaningfully to the patient.

We have already seen that Russell Dicks was responsible for introducing the Verbatim as a learning tool. As for the format most of us have used, we also have to credit Rollie Fairbanks, one of Dick’s students. He discovered that Dicks was so busy that it was difficult for him to get face to face time with Dicks to discuss his visits. He found that if he left a wide margin at the side of his verbatim and handed it to him, Dicks would make comments in the margin and return it to him.

The phrase Trust the Process is attributable to the popularity of John Dewey whose educational philosophy was in vogue at the time. Dewey emphasized the experiential side of learning and stress that “how we think” is as important, or more so, than “what we think.” It is this process, reflecting on “how we think” that was originally meant by this term. There are innumerable examples of how this concept was employed in the history of our movement. An example of this would be the Conference in 1962 in Craigville, Massachusetts which provided the first opportunity for the executive committees of the two organizations to sit down together, face to face. Although the chairs were in a circle, all the Institute supervisors sat on one side and all the Council supervisors on the other. They stared at each other. Chuck Hall and Francis Lehman who were the respective chairs of the organizations started into a business-laden agenda. It was going badly. Chuck recognized the need for a “process dialogue.” He suggested they lay aside the agenda and begin to share their perceptions of each other. In a couple hours, they were relaxed, comfortable, and laughing at the stereotypes which that had carried into the room. How many meetings have you been to, where the first item of business has been a process dialogue?

Richard Cabot is responsible for the phrase, Growing Edge. This phrase comes from biology. When an organism grows at a cellular level, one can observe a ragged edge where the new tissue forms. Cabot began to use this concept metaphorically to suggest that students must find the ragged edge of their knowledge, the place where there are gaps or inconsistencies, for these are the places where growth in our understanding can take place. I think it is unfortunate that too often we have equated “growing edge” with weakness, as in “strengths and growing edges”

Of course we are all well aware that most familiar concept in CPE was given to us by Boisen himself, who, as far as we know, created the phrase, Living Human Document. I don’t think this requires any elaboration.


The launching of this movement in Boston, in the 1920s was an outcome of a mix of creative people among whom the principle players were those we have seen: Cabot, Boisen, Guiles, Dicks, Wise, and Dunbar. They were unified in the belief that theological education needed a clinical dimension, but that is about where their unanimity ends. These were people from different backgrounds and with different ideas about medicine, about faith, and about human nature.

There were two significant ideological differences between Boisen and Cabot. Cabot, along with others believed that the clinic was a place to apply theology. Boisen believed that the clinic was a place to learn theology. In short, Cabot thought the current systematic theology was fine and we just needed to learn how to translate it into the lives of modern persons. Boisen, on the other hand felt that classical theology often missed the point and that the clinic could teach us theology.

The second significant difference between them was that Cabot was certain that mental illness was the manifestation of a physiological condition. Boisen thought mental illness was a function of the psyche, that was essentially a problem solving effort of the self, and was religious in nature. After Boisen’s second psychotic episode in 1930 Cabot decided that Boisen should not be allowed to teach in the clinical training programs at all.

The Council for Clinical Training was first established in Boston, among the originators of the movement. Cabot was the first head of this organization. When Cabot was voted out of the office of president of the Council, and he had broken with Boisen, he turned his attention to the work of Dicks and Guiles, and remained closely allied with the New England Seminaries. This group took on the unwieldy name of, “The New England Theological Schools Committee on Clinical Training.” It is pretty clear that the founding fathers could have used a public relations firm to help it with names, but the name they chose does emphasize that the New England group essentially thought of itself as an extension of seminary community, which was seeking an evolutionary change to what they felt was for the most part a functional institution.

Meanwhile, The Council for Clinical Training, whose principle members were Helen Flanders Dunbar, Carroll Wise and Seward Hiltner, moved to New York and found themselves still quite comfortable with Boisen’s approach to the movement. Boisen, for his part, wanted to remain in contact with both groups. As the groups evolved, they developed clearly different identities. The CCT, now located in New York, wanted an independent clinical education organization, because they felt that if the seminaries had control, the supervisors would not be free to develop as they felt they should. The seminaries were skeptical about having Supervisors of Clinical Education who were not held responsible to them, teaching their students. For this reason, the CCT was the first of the two organizations to adopt standards. By this action, they intended to assure seminaries that the Supervisors would be professionally competent. The Council agreed with Boisen that it was essential for the Supervisors and clergy to have a psychodynamic understanding of themselves as well as their patients. For this reason, they favored mental hospitals as the venues for clinical education. They also felt that their supervisors should have psychotherapy as part of their training. The Council expressed their concept of clergy as being “shepherds of the soul.”

The New England group, which eventually took the name, the Institute of Pastoral Care was more academically oriented, aligned with the seminaries as we have seen, and viewed clinical pastoral training as applying traditional theological insights to the practice of pastoral care. They tended to teach the use of traditional pastoral techniques and resources such as reading of scripture and devotional writings, prayer, and sacraments. They sought, through these techniques to establish a deep connection with the patients. Unlike the Council, the Institute emphasized the need for their Supervisors to pursue advanced degrees, rather than get psychotherapy. In contrast to the Council’s use of the phrase, shepherds of the soul, the Institute tended to use Boisen’s description of clergy as physicians of the soul.

In summarizing this early split, it is fair to say that the Institute was viewed by the Council as being Conservative, since it took an academic orientation, and seemed to pursue an evolutionary change in the current education system. The Council was viewed by the Institute as being radical, not only because they were seeking more thorough-going reforms to the education of pastors, but also because the supervisors who aligned with the Council wanted to be independent of the seminaries. They were viewed as radical, sometimes irresponsible people who expressed their sense of freedom in socially unacceptable ways. Obviously, these are overall stereotypes that did not fit every case, but in the main, they were probably pretty accurate.

A note needs to be inserted here, that deserves more than the nod we can give it. That is to be aware that some denominations felt it important to sponsor Clinical Pastoral Education programs of their own, not organically connected to either the Institute or the Council. Enduring among these were the Lutherans and the Southern Baptists.


By the decade of the forties, CPE had spread around the nation. There is a pattern to the way supervisors dispersed. The Institute had spread out of New England and also on the West Coast. The Council had spread out into the middle of the country, what might be regarded broadly as the Midwest. The Lutherans proliferated in the north central area and the Southern Baptists had centers in the south. It is also important to say that although the Lutheran and Southern Baptist CPE programs represented denominational affiliations, their programs were by this time ecumenical.

During this period two other phenomena manifested themselves that were important to the development of the movement. One of these was the initiating of national conferences, and the other was the organizing of CPE on a regional basis. The first national conference was convened in Pittsburgh, at Western Seminary in 1944. It was conceived and planned by Philip Guiles, but it was not an Institute function. It was billed as “The Gathering,” and was attended by fifty people, over half of whom were seminary representatives, not supervisors. It might best be described as a conference of clinical training in theological schools. This conference, occurring a decade after the split in the movement, represented a beginning in the dialogue that eventuated in the merger, though it was still twenty-three years in the future. The conference produced a document of agreement, drawn up by Seward Hiltner, who, although he was aligned with the Council was actually more a centrist, able to keep contact with and sympathy for both sides, and was in addition a good strategist. I will not take time to list the six points of agreement, but they are very much in line with what CPE still believes about what goes into a program.

From that time on, representatives of the various strands of CPE met on a fairly regular basis. They explored areas where they might cooperate. In 1947 the Institute and the Council each launched professional journals; the Council started The Journal of Clinical Pastoral Work and the Institute published The Journal of Pastoral Care. This was one of the first ventures on which the two groups considered cooperation, and in 1950 they merged the journals, taking the name of the Institute’s publication, The Journal of Pastoral Care.

By the 1948 national conference, there was a proposal on the table to merge the various CPE groups. This came about because Rollin Fairbanks editor of the IPC journal and Ernie Bruder, editor of the CCT journal had brought this proposal to the CCT Conference of Supervisors. The proposal contained a name for the new organization, cleverly taking parts from both former names. They proposed to call it: The Institute of Clinical Pastoral Training. The proposal also listed four aims in merging the organizations:
1. The Teaching of Pastoral Care through understanding people or human nature and learning of pastoral methods.
2. Publication of literature in the field
3. Standardizing and certification of programs and individuals
4. Encouragement of research in the field.
In 1951 another momentous development occurred. It was to be crucial to the merger negotiations but it got started out of a parochial concern. Carl Plack was the executive of the Lutheran Advisory Council (their CPE institution), and as he saw the major CPE organizations moving toward union, he feared lest the Lutherans would get left out of the negotiations. So he proposed a meeting of representatives from all the groups promoting CPE. At Plack’s urging an unofficial meeting took place in his hotel room at the 1951 meeting in Boston at which there were three representative each from the Lutheran Advisory Council, The CCT, the IPC and the Southern Baptist Association. It read like a who’s who in CPE. Among those present were
John Billinsky, Paul Johnson, Fred Norstad, Ernie Bruder, Seward Hiltner and Fred Kuether.
The twelve men agreed to meet before the national meeting in 1952 in Buckhill Falls, Pa. They submitted to that 1952 meeting a proposal for joint standards for CPE upon which all four organizations could agree. It was accepted for deliberation in that conference, and after some modification it was adopted by the 1953 Conference.

In the 1956 meeting, Fred Kuether, described the historical development of CPE as a dynamic process by pointing out the evolution of the focus of CPE over the several decades of its life. The question people were asking in the beginning of CPE was What must I do to be of help? This represented the milieu of the social interest of the early Clinical training movement when Boisen and Keller were interested in providing concrete care of persons in need, and in training clergy by exposing them to those needs. The second question to evolve in the CPE movement was, What must I know? This represented the era of the case study when a body of knowledge was developed to assist clergy in meeting the needs of persons. The third question was What must I say? This represented the focus on the verbatim and careful attention to how the student communicated with the person in need. The fourth question Kuether proposed was, What must I be, to be of help? This question emphasized that the inner journey of self understanding was as important as the outer journey of learning skills and techniques. In this four question paradigm, What must I do, know, say, be, to be of help, we can see not only the progression of understanding that unfolded in the CPE movement, but also the individual journey of most CPE students from the time they enter the program until they gain a broader, deeper perspective on ministry, and themselves as ministers.

In the 1956 national meeting there was, for the first time, a face to face meeting of the supervisors of the various groups, not just their leaders. I described to you earlier how this meeting began in awkwardness until they remembered who they were—process people. When they began to practice with each other the techniques that taught to their students, they began to develop relationship and intimacy. This primary process interaction has been the core magic of CPE in my experience, and is the main thing to be taught and learned in our professional work.
It is what makes our group work successful, it is what makes individual supervision successful, and it is what makes work with patients in the hospital, clients in the counseling room, or parishioners in our churches successful. My concern is that our fear of legal actions against us, complaints of professional lapses, or fears that we may lose the endorsement of the United States Government will eventually launder the primary process pretty thoroughly out of our teaching, our interactions as colleagues, and our certification of supervisors. When that day comes, whatever else we may have left, it will hardly be CPE as it was at its best.

Some years ago when ACPE added a list of “outcomes” to the standards for each level of CPE, I began to speculate what would happen if we ever extended that philosophy and decided to institute outcomes for different types of pastoral calls. I wrote a fictitious verbatim, entitled, Outcome Based Pastoral Care and published it as an article for the East Central Region of ACPE. I believe it will speak to the issue I have raised so I share the essence of it with you.

I have just been called to the pre-surgical area of the hospital to respond to the request of a patient who wants a visit from the chaplain before she undergoes a coronary artery bypass graft. Arriving in the room, I meet an anxious woman, Ima Wreck. The following conversation takes place:
Key: C = Chaplain
P = Patient

C: (Knocking on doorframe) Ms. Wreck, I am Chaplain Comfort.
P: Oh, thank goodness you are here, Chaplain, I’ve been waiting to see you. I really need to talk to you before I have surgery. You see, something is on my mind, and I need to share it with someone. It’s just that…
C: Yes, yes, Ms. Wreck, but let’s get off to a proper start. You know that since you are about to have surgery, this visit comes under the federal government classification of “pre-surgery call.” I want to assure you that I am certified for both “pre and post-surgical calls” and am licensed at the “Master’s” level for all surgically related ministry.
P: My goodness, Chaplain Comfort, I had no idea! It makes me feel so secure to know that!
C: Well, yes, it’s true. Now I need to inform you at the outset what the desired outcomes for a pre-surgical call are: At the conclusion of this call, The successful patient will better understand the relevance of her/his own belief system as a means of spiritual support during this critical experience; The patient will know three Scriptures from a religious writing of her/his own choosing that will be meaningful in the patient’s situation; The patient will have a reduced level of anxiety; The patient will have experienced a prayer appropriate to her/his own belief system; The patient will be reassured of the competence of the medical/surgical team to give the patient the best chances of survival. That, Ms. Wreck, is what we can do together today, what do you think?
P: Well, I don’t know… I mean, don’t you want to know what I am concerned about?
C: (Showing slight irritation) Ms. Wreck, we have a lot to cover, but what is it you want to tell me that I didn’t cover?
P: See, Chaplain, I have been through a lot of surgeries, and I am all right within myself. I know that I will probably survive this experience. I also have faith that if I do not survive it will be all right, too. I know ten scriptures that are dear to me and comforting in this moment, and I have no trouble placing myself in the hands of the doctors who will operate.
C: Dear Ima (if I may call you by name), then why did you ask for a pre-surgery visit?
P: Actually, Chaplain Comfort, it was not me who “classified the visit,” I just asked to see someone. But what I wanted was this: I am so worried about my Husband, Hesa.
C: Hesa? Your husband is Hesa Wreck?
P: Hesa is very ill himself, and has taken to his bed more than a year ago. If I die, or if I do not fully recover, I don’t know what will become of him.
C: (Showing some distress) Hmm. … Well, you know, I’m not really qualified in that area, I could give it a try, or perhaps I should call a Chaplain who is certified in that area. Here, if I may use your phone…
P: Oh, I think you are probably all certified! Why don’t I just lie back and let you lead me through your five-step, outcome based, pastoral care process. I’m sure I’ll feel better when this visit is all over!
C: Very well, Ima, let’s begin…
P: (Falling back on the pillow and rolling her eyes) Dear God!...

(The verbatim is a creation of the writer, B. Frank Ciampa, and is copyright protected.)


So, to pick up the thread of our history following that digression, let me say that as the sixties came in, the stage was set. There had been over a decade of national conferences. The committee of the twelve had done its work, and with some changes in personnel and focus this group became the committee on merger. Successive meetings had worked on common standards, qualifications for supervisors, minimum essentials for a CPE program, and qualifications for a center to be accredited. By now CPE was available all over the country. There were meetings of Supervisors in regional conferences as well as national meetings. I am quite amazed at the ability these professionals had to get out to meetings all across the country with considerable frequency. Most of them, I would imagine, at least prior to the sixties, did so in trains or even buses and automobiles. One can infer from this a high level of passion for this work, and a high level of commitment to it. I wonder how many of them did this traveling on institutional budgets, and how many found it necessary to underwrite part or all of it themselves.

One great help in the merger process was a grant for $100,000. received from the Stone Foundation to assist in completing the merger. This money helped the leaders to meet over the next four years, and it also assisted in enabling the Lutherans and Southern Baptists to be a part of the final negotiations and the resulting merger.

The merger proposal was sent to regional meetings. Over the final year there was a movement from anxiety to confidence in the regions, that they were well-equipped and prepared to enter into this union and be a productive part of it. The final, principal players in the merger were Chuck Hall of the Council and John Smith of the Institute, the respective presidents of those entities, who with care and sensitivity brought their respective organizations to the point of affirming the merger. Most people, including Chuck Hall expected and hoped that John Smith would be the first Executive Director of ACPE, but John declined the appointment, for personal and family reasons, and Chuck Hall became the first Executive Director of ACPE, serving in that capacity for seventeen formative years, to the satisfaction of most of the constituency.


The first seventeen years of the existence of the merged organization under Chuck Hall, were years of consolidation and standardization. At the time of the merger, ACPE was an organization born of the protestant church in America. Like the churches from which it sprang, ACPE was white, largely male, protestant, and Christian. There were a few women from the beginning, including Dunbar and Terkelson. There were some African Americans, like Julian Byrd. Soon there were a few multicultural supervisors. The first group that was outside of the original demographics to come to ACPE in larger numbers was the Roman Catholic contingent. The National Association of Catholic Chaplains was founded in 1965 and there were some negotiations at the time of the ACPE merger regarding the possibility of NACC being a part of that merger. However at that time NACC was not a pastoral education organization and ACPE took the stand that until they had some history of educating and certifying supervisors, it would not be appropriate for NACC to be part of the merged organization. Whether or not this was wise, this was the decision. The result was that the Catholic clergy and religious came to ACPE for supervisory training and many priests, men and women in holy orders and lay Catholics (many of whom had recently left orders) took CPE in ACPE program, a number of them becoming supervisors.

The African American presence in ACPE has also grew steadily over this time period and a steady, if small stream of students from other countries, especially African and Pacific rim persons entered our CPE programs and larger numbers of them stayed to become ACPE Supervisors. The interest of Roman Catholics in CPE was one of the entry points for women in CPE, as many of those applying for CPE from that faith were women in ministry. In addition to nuns and ex-nuns, there were women beginning to enter CPE from protestant denominations. During this period the percentage of women seminary students in American protestant seminaries was dramatically on the rise, and the women in Seminary were no longer seeking degrees in Christian Education or music ministries, they were after M. Div. degrees and headed for ordination. A personal illustration of this, if I may be permitted. When I was in Seminary, from 1959-1963, there were two women in my class, out of 38 students, and neither of them sought M. Divs. In recent years in that seminary, the women have outnumbered men, and most of them are M. Div. students. As this shift occurred in the gender of candidates for ministry in the protestant churches, it was reflected also in the number of women in CPE, and, of course, the number in supervisory training.

I think to some people this seemed like the golden age of CPE. The old divisions had been surmounted; we had a strong, growing, organization. We were proud that we could say we were inclusive, pointing to the increasing number of “minority” members, Roman Catholics, women, and “foreign students” (as we tended to refer to them at that time). But we were not yet ready to understand or accept the monumental changes that were on the horizon as a result of this growing tendency to inclusion. We had not yet faced the fact that crossing the gender line would pass judgment on the way we did business, how we experienced collegiality, how we educated students, and what we considered appropriate. We did not realize that we would also have to learn the same lessons again as a result of multi-cultural presence in our organization. Support networks sprang up in ACPE to provide a place where subgroups could gather to find a kind of acceptance they were not feeling in the total organization. These quickly became advocacy groups, exerting pressure on the organization for education, change and acceptance of the realities of our need for greater sensitivity the issues these groups brought into the organization.
These groups included Women in CPE, Racial Ethnic Minority (later called Racial Ethnic Multi cultural) Network, Gay-Lesbian Network, Men in CPE, and the Network for Social Responsibility.

So the seventeen year period of Chuck Hall’s directorship became a time of consolidation of the new organization that gradually was experiencing increasing growing pains of inclusion and change. The challenge was to successfully incorporate the increasingly diverse membership and learn the lessons these new cultures brought to the organization while retaining the essential genius of our educational and professional process. This proved to be a daunting task.


The last twenty years has seen a tremendous amount of change in the organization. ACPE has had three Executive Directors in this time, not counting an interim: Duane Parker, Russell Davis, and Teresa Snorton. The coming of Teresa to this office is indicative of the fact that the inclusionary process has come a long way. She is the first woman Executive Director and also the first person of color to hold that office.

Of course this is also the period of time when a group of supervisors who were wrestling with the question of whether ACPE was straying from its unique heritage began, first an underground newsletter, and then an organization—CPSP. Since George is going to come up here and talk about this part of our heritage I will not elaborate, except to say that many of us who have not aligned with College have wrestled with the same questions. Let it suffice for me to say that I have attended meetings of CPSP on several occasions, the first one being here in Columbus in the first year of my term as Regional Director of the East Central Region. Many of the CPSP supervisors have been valued colleagues and good friends, and I am honored to have been selected to address you on this occasion. I share the concern of fellow Supervisor, Tom Summers who has commented in his autobiography, Hunkering Down, that he shares the concerns and efforts of CPSP to find ways in which we can “Recover the Soul” of CPE.

The growing pains of our organization are evident in the increasing number of complaints lodged by CPE students in our organization; the growing number of appeals of Certification decisions; and the growing number of changes we have felt obliged to make in our organization to protect ourselves from legal actions. These realities have made our process longer, they have made our education less flexible, they have made CPE more expensive for our members and for the organization.

In these last twenty years we have overhauled the polity of ACPE, we have rewritten our standards and manuals, and we have attempted to make our processes fair and sensitive to our increasingly diverse populations. We have seen a new emphasis on rediscovering our rightful concern about social issues; we have seen an appropriate new level of attention to research; and we have seen serious attempts to simplify, streamline and slow down the rate of change to our accreditation, certification and standards processes. We have also seen a new examination of the relationship between the regions and the national organization. All of these things are necessary and important, but let us pray that in the midst of all these complex and complicated functions, we will also be able to recover the soul of our heritage. I believe that this will include a new dialogue between ACPE and CPSP. I thank CPSP for the journey you undertook nearly two decades ago, and I, for one, look forward to learning from your unique journey what you can say to the whole tradition of education that began with Boisen, Keller, Dicks, Guiles, Dunbar and the rest.

Thank you.

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 5:22 PM

April 3, 2005

Pastoral Report Recommends Robert Charles Powell's Articles

The 2005 CPSP Plenary Brochure(Brochure) provides the following description of the Plenary's theme:

Telling the Story of Pastoral Care Who We Were. Who We Are. What We Shall Be. ...

We, the people of pastoral care, share a unique heritage. We also live in a challenging time of change and face a possibly transformational future. The conference is designed to challenge CPSP to claim its place in the long pastoral care movement and to invite pastoral leaders outside of our community to interface with us. The Gathering of the Community Called CPSP

Robert Powell's two articles posted below, Whatever Happened to "CPE" -- Clinical Pastoral Education? and “The Continued Ability to Create and Invent”: Going for One Hundred Years of Clinical Pastoral Transformation, will be informative and serve as excellent preparation for the Plenary. I hope you will take the time to savor these two well written articles by Dr. Powell who is the preeminent historian in the clinical pastoral movement. -Perry Miller, Editor

Posted by Perry Miller at 8:02 PM