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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.

« January 2009 | Main | March 2009 »

February 27, 2009

CPSP’s Task Force for the Future Invites Interviews by Luise Weinrich

For over a year, CPSP’s Task Force for the Future has been engaging in in-depth conversations with CPSP members about your vision for our future – seeking your views of where we are as a community and where we are headed in the future. We have spoken with many new members in the course of these conversations, and have also heard from members who have been a part of our community for years.

Our work is ongoing; we have conceived of our task as a process of listening to the variety of voices that make up CPSP. We would like to hear from you! You can contact us at Please write "Task Force for the Future" in the subject line. Please also include your email address, telephone number and some convenient times when we may reach you. We look forward to hearing from you.

Members of Task Force:

-Luise Weinrich, Chair
-Barbara A. McGuire
-Jonathan H. Freeman

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 4:27 PM

February 25, 2009

2009 CPSP Plenary Schedule

The CPSP Plenary at Virginia Beach, VA begins with Pre-Plenary workshops, beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 29th and will end with lunch on April 1, 2009.

If you have not registered and reserved a room, please do so ASAP to avoid the late registration fee. Click here to download the 2009 CPSP Plenary Brochure and Registration From.

You can download the 2009 CPSP Plenary Schedule, which is very impressive, by clicking on the file below.

Download 2009 CPSP Plenary Schedule

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 9:30 PM

February 13, 2009

CPSP Announces the Pre-Plenary Workshops for 2009

CPSP Pre-Plenary Workshops for 2009

In preparation for the 2009 CPSP Plenary (DOWNLOAD 2009 CPSP PLENARY BROCHURE), we are announcing seven Pre-Plenary workshops, beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 29th and running throughout the day. Because we had good proposals for so many workshops, participants will have two workshops to choose from in most of the time slots. The workshop for this year are as follows:

8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
“Caring for the Warfighters' Soul: Hospital Chaplaincy in Iraq” by Mark Robertson and Jerry Shields
“Native American Spirituality and the Health Care System” by Fred Wilcoxson, Ph.D.

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon
“Renewal of the Spirit – the Healing Power of the Psalms” by Eileen S. Rodgers, ACC
“Is There a Place for Spirituality in Medical Ethics?” by Ken Blank, M. Div.

1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
“Resources for Pastoral Care to Less Responsive Patients” by Kevin Henne, MAPS, BCCC;
“Recovery of the Soul in the Internal Family System Model” by Walt Porter, Ph. D., and Ron Gaudio

3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
“The Ideal Intervention Project” by Fr. Henry Heffernan

For complete workshop descriptions, Download Pre-Plenary Workshops file

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 2:32 PM

February 11, 2009

American Red Cross Spiritual Care Response Team Training by Barbara McGuire


On January 29th - 30th I traveled to Orlando, Florida for the American Red Cross (ARC) Spiritual Care Response Team Training (SRT) led by Earl Johnson in conjunction with the Spiritual Care Collaboration Conference (SCC).

As a conference venue, Orlando was disappointing; everything was a long distance from everything else and I spent $21 for a cup of coffee, a bowl of oatmeal and a glass of orange juice for breakfast! And getting to my room took almost as long as it took for them to allow me to check in. However, despite all that the Red Cross training was of great value to me professionally as well as personally.

This training was to prepare participants to function effectively as SRT members in leadership roles on extended mass casualty operations. The purpose was to develop the capacity of the cognate groups who attended this meeting to deploy a team of trained spiritual care professionals to catastrophic situations. Their role under the Red Cross is to coordinate, establish, and maintain the availability of appropriate spiritual care services for families affected by aviation and other transportation disasters, mass casualties, & WMD/Terrorism events.

The invited groups that participate were the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC), National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC), Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE), National Association of Jewish Chaplains (NAJC), International Conference of Police Chaplains (ICPC), American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC), College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP), Federation of Fire Chaplains (FFC), and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA).

Among the seventy-five trainees, CPSP sponsored six of the most diverse people in the room. I felt a true sense of pride as I named myself a member of CPSP and that pride goes further as I reflect upon all members of CPSP.
Email Barbara McGuire

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 10:19 PM

February 4, 2009

Getting to Know Yourself by George Hull

Self-awareness as a pastoral care giver is essential to good pastoral care. Issues of transference and counter-transference loom large in pastoral encounters. Therefore, it’s of vital importance for the pastoral care giver to understand the use of the Self in the pastoral role.

In her book, When Helping You is Hurting Me, Carmen Berry addresses the detrimental aspects of a lack of self-awareness in the person of the care giver in what she calls the “Messiah trap.” The “Messiah trap”, is defined as continued circumstances in which individuals are persistently putting their own needs aside in order to help others.

Berry offers an important caution to all in the helping professions against becoming addicted to helping and then, like an addict, seeking out supplies for their fix. Further complicating the issue is what Berry calls the double-sided trap of helping: ‘If I don’t do it, it won’t get done’ and ‘Every one else’s needs come before mine’. In addition, she demonstrates how falling into this trap can hurt the person of the care giver as well as the one in need of care.

Individuals addicted to caring have a deep need for approval and engage in caring for others as a means of self-care.

Berry identifies the following as Messiah characteristics:

One who tries to earn a sense of worth by "acting" worthy.
One who lets others determine his or her actions
One who needs to over achieve.
One who is attracted to helping those with similar pain.
One who experiences difficulty in establishing peer and intimate relationships.
One who is caught in a cycle of isolation.
One who is driven to endless activity.
One who stops only when they drop .

The following are Berry’s seven distinct types of the ‘Helping Messiah’:

The Pleaser: This individual tries to earn a sense of self-worth by acting worthy. This is someone who doubts his or her own self-worth.

The Rescuer: Lets others determine their actions. This is someone who needs a response from others to feel self-worth.

The Giver: This person is driven to overachieve in an attempt to earn self-worth.

The Counselor: Is attracted to helping others with similar issues, hurts and pains. It’s easier to deal with others hurts than one’s own.

The Protector: Is an individual who finds difficulty in establishing peer and intimate relationships that are equal. This person is someone who always has to be helping and looking out for others.

The Teacher: Is someone who is caught in a cycle of isolation. The teacher is one who needs to feel special in the midst of others and sense that they are needed. This person cannot feel both part of a group and special at the same time.

The Crusader: Is one who is driven to endless activity and stops when they drop. This person takes on too much in a crazy attempt to earn a sense of self-worth and value

Published twenty years ago When Helping You is Hurting Me is a useful book to read for anyone entering the caring professions because in the end there is no short cut to self-awareness.

The perfect man of old looked after himself first before looking to help others.
-Chuang Tzu
When Helping You is Hurting Me: Escaping the Messiah Trap, Carmen Renee Berry, Harper & Row Publishers, San Francisco, 1988.

Email George Hull

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 10:01 AM