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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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December 28, 2006

THE EFFECTS OF WAR ON PASTORAL CARE & COUNSELING by John DeVelder

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Chaplain Lieutenant Colonel Joanne Martindale
was the keynote speaker at the COMISS* Network Forum on Sunday, December 2, 2006 in Arlington, Va.

Joanne, in civilian life, is the Director of Pastoral Care at Ancora State Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey. She supervises a staff of thirteen Chaplains. She has been active in the National Guard and has been called up for service in Iraq twice since the war began. She has been home from her last tour of duty for almost a year. While in Iraq Joanne was stationed in an installation near Tekrit, North of Baghdad. LTC Martindale was one of six out of 800 soldiers in her camp to receive the Bronze Star for exceptional service.

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LTC Martindale was asked to speak on the topic of The Effects of War on Pastoral Care and Counseling. Joanne began her story by talking about the effect of war on herself and family. Joanne and her husband Bob Cholke are raising two boys, ages eleven and twelve. She was away in the war "theatre" for almost two years during crucial times in her sons' development. They missed her and she missed important moments in their growing up. This is an effect of war on many families with parents in Iraq or Afghanistan. It is a loss that is not easily acknowledged or addressed in military families.

Joanne told the COMISS audience (of about 65 leaders in the Pastoral Care and Counseling movement) that much needs to be done to help returning veterans as they reenter civilian life. She told the group that the two most important words for a vet to hear upon return are "Welcome home." Joanne told of arriving in a U. S. airport with a group of troops when people in the terminal broke into applause. Joanne looked around to see what celebrities they may be welcoming only to realize that the people were welcoming her and her fellow troops. "Welcome home" is not always the experience of some troops. Joanne told of some soldiers who need treatment for PTSD (post traumatic stress DISORDER) and do not receive the psychological help they need. She mentioned that congregations can help but that finding the vet to offer support and care is not often easy.

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Joanne described her experiences in Iraq that could cause a soldier to develop PTSD. She told of being in a MASH Unit Hospital when a soldier called to her to ask for help. He was holding up one of his arms that had been severed in an explosion from an IED (improvised explosive device) that had blown up his Humvee. Joanne took his severed arm and held it while they waited for the surgeons to be ready to operate on the man. Not only was there threat from IEDS on the roads but even camp was not safe since mortars were lobbed into camp almost daily, and caused mayhem among the troops. Under these conditions many soldiers were demoralized and the need for pastoral care and counseling in the camp was overwhelming.

<img On many days Joanne counseled soldiers (sometimes ten hours straight) who needed to talk about their experiences. One memorable counseling session for Joanne was with a soldier who threatened to kill his commanding officers and himself because he just couldn't take it any more. Joanne gave the soldier care and won his confidence enough to take away his loaded gun and walk him over to the camp psychiatrist. The psychiatrist later told Joanne that she had saved three lives that day and possibly her own.

On another occasion only one week into her tour of duty Joanne went to the camp beauty parlor to see what they could offer her in that hot and sandy camp. She saw a young woman crying and asked her, through an interpreter, why she was crying. The young woman told Joanne that she had come to see where her mother had worked. Joanne learned that the young woman's mother, along with several other women who worked at the camp, had been beheaded as a warning to others who might help the Americans. As Joanne cared for the young woman she asked why Joanne spoke to her, a Muslim. That day a Christian and Muslim were united in grieving the loss of the women who had worked in the camp beauty parlor.

Joanne brought additional chaplaincy skills with her to Iraq. She had been in the ACPE supervisory training process through Candidate Level and had sought ACPE Accreditation to do a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) among the Chaplains at her camp. At the time the ACPE could not approve a placement or "Satellite" overseas without a site visit and so Joanne turned to me for CPSP (College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy) authorization to do CPE. I was glad to offer our CPSP accreditation through Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, to do the first unit of CPE in Iraq with Joanne as CPE Supervisor.

While in camp Joanne supervised a dozen Chaplains in two groups. Many of these Chaplains, before CPE, had been demoralized and not able to do their work. While they were in CPE the Chaplains renewed their sense of capability to face the stress and to be reinvigorated for their work through the CPE process, and Joanne's caring supervision and the sense of team she built among them. The Camp Commander commended Joanne for her work and this among other activities merited her the awarding of a Bronze Star.

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The COMISS Network audience asked Joanne what kept her going in such a stressful place as a military camp near Baghdad. Joanne mentioned that unlike other wars she was able to communicate by telephone and email daily with her husband and children. She noted that this daily communication can be a mixed blessing. For those families that complain to the solder about the car of washing machine not working while s/he is facing bullets and bombs this communication may be counterproductive. She mentioned that many military marriages and family relationships are strained by the separation and stress of serving in a war zone. Much help can be offered by COMISS Network organizations, Chaplains and Counselors.

Joanne gave COMISS Network members and member organizations much to think about as far as the effects of war on pastoral care and counseling. She mentioned that the wounded (at present about 30,000) will be with us for years to come, needing the concerted help of all COMISS organizations through VA and civilian hospitals, pastoral counseling centers, and congregations. At the end of her speech Joanne received a standing ovation. We in CPSP are proud of her work in Iraq and proud that CPSP was the accrediting organization for her CPE through Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
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*COMISS stands for Coalition on Ministry in Specialized Settings and is comprised of such pastoral care and counseling groups as CPSP ACPE, NACC, NAJC, AAPC, APC, NIBIC and Religious Endorser from many denominations and faith groups.


Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 8:26 PM

December 24, 2006

John Henry Faulk's Christmas Story

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The Pastoral Report has pointed its readers towards the touching Christmas Story as told by John Henry Faulks. Its a story about how genuine humanity transcends the racial divide. If you not heard the story and/or have not listen to it recently, you are in for an experience that will touch your heart.

-Perry Miller, Editor

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 10:42 PM

Blogging Towards Christmas

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George Hull, Director of the University of Arkansas Department of Pastoral Care and Clinical Pastoral Education is one of CPSP's most active bloggers.

On his blog, In the News, he captures Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol that has become a classic to read, view and listen to during this Christmas season. Christmas Carol by Dickens captures the meaning of this season and its hope for transformation and the wish that we can find within ourselves the generosity of spirit that will impacts lives and relationships. On George's blog you will also find a link that will enable you to listen to the story as narrated by the great, great grandson of Charles Dickens, Gerald Charles Dickens.

Perry Miller, Editor

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 10:20 PM

December 18, 2006

ACPE Accreditation Problem Places Students At Risk

The North Eastern Region (NER) of the ACPE reports in its December 2006 Newsletter that the DOE evaluator, Ms. Joyce Jones, met with the ACPE Accreditation Commission this past November. Apparently there were a number of issues the ACPE needs to address in order to be in compliance with the DOE standards. In particular, Ms. Jones was very concerned about the ACPE's practice of creating satellite CPE centers without the rigors of a site visit and review. This failure, from her point of view, placed students at risk.

The NER newsletter states:

"Ms. Jones pointed out that the greatest disservice to students was the continuation of a unit in an unevaluated site. Her unequivocal counsel was that such situations should receive a cease and desist order rather than accommodation."

The ACPE Accreditation Commission is committed to following-up on her recommendation:

"She provided us with a critical piece of feedback, which will enable us to respond more effectively to a dynamic that has frequently created problems and put students at risk."
We think this is a good move by the ACPE to correct their satellite practice which in effect places students in "unevaluated centers," and therefore at risk. Far too often ACPE satellite CPE centers have been created by a handshake between CPE Supervisors and/or a simple "contract" without a site review. This has not been a practice that promotes accountability, and it reflects poorly on all of us in the clinical pastoral movement. We wish the ACPE the best as they work to clean up this messy situation.

-Perry Miller, Editor

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 6:22 PM

December 17, 2006

CPSP's Chaplain Karyn Reddick Receives National Award

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The Pastoral Report picked up a story about Karyn Reddick, a CPSP Diplomate, regarding her creative work with physicians, nurses and other members of the medical team around end of life issues.


The photo is Florida Governor Jeb Bush and First Lady Columba Bush were joined by U.S. Assistant Secretary for Aging Josephina Carbonell, several Florida agency heads, and former Florida First Lady Rhea Chiles in honoring the accomplishments of these national leaders.

The following story appeared in several publications:

"It has been three years since Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Miller Children’s Hospital introduced Five Wishes/Cinco Deseos into their hospitals. Both hospitals were very committed to advanced care planning for their patients, families, community and staff, but had not found a tool to achieve high compliance in this area. The two hospitals have more than 5,000 employees, 1,500 physicians and 800 volunteers and see thousands of patients each year.

Rev. Karyn Reddick was given the document by a staff member who had seen it at his church. She was so impressed that there was a document that captured a person’s end of life wishes on paper. Having worked for many years as a chaplain, she was aware that the traditional Living Will.

Advance Directive documents did not give enough information for those working at the bedside (family members of staff) to adequately interpret the person’s wishes. We cannot always cure our patients, but we are committed to creating positive memories for the families and honoring the patient’s wishes to the best of our ability. Five Wishes has been presented to all of the Memorial governing boards and was accepted as a project for the Physician’s Society. In the period of about 1 ½ years many presentations were made. The hospitals are committed to train every nurse and every physician, with a goal of having them complete their own document. It was hoped that then they would be more comfortable working with their own families and with patients after doing so. LBMMC/MCH customized the document with our their own information on the back page and widely distributed it. It is provided free of charge for doctor’s offices in the hope that those conversations will be encouraged in that setting. Every new nurse is given a hour in-service on advance directives by Rev. Reddick and on this document in particular. Five Wishes is given to every inpatient at admission and is provided if requested in the outpatient setting as well. Rev. Reddick also made a video that can be used on the units to train existing nurses.

On the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of Aging with Dignity (the producers of the Five Wishes document), Rev. Karyn Reddick was given one of 7 National Innovator Awards for her creative use of the document.

Rev. Reddick is Director of Pastoral Care at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and a Diplomate in the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy."

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 9:50 PM