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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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April 29, 2009

A Red Cross H1N1 Flu Virus Memo From Linda Walsh-Garrison: American Red Cross offers Swine Flu Training and Prevention Info

The best way to ward off fear and stay healthy is with preparation, education and communication. As the World Health Organization (WHO) grabs headlines raising the risk of a potential H1N1 Flu Virus pandemic alert to a Phase V – it is inevitable that our communities will be affected emotionally and physically.

In your toolbox is your local American Red Cross chapter. They are offering free classes for individuals and groups, along with kits to empower the public. A helpful site for updates, FAQ’s and information can be found at:

CPSP, in partnership with ARC – encourages our members to become associated with their local chapters, before any disaster happens; whether it is the flu, fires, floods or accidents. It can be frustrating and counter-productive to be caught in the quagmire of red tape and background checks when the need arises and time is short – in our own community or in our country.

Good luck and stay well,

Linda Walsh-Garrison
CPSP/ARC liaison

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 10:17 PM

April 13, 2009

Reflection on CPSP's 2009 Plenary by Barbara McGuire


To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance. ~ Oscar Wilde

Oscar was right! Self love is the greatest, most important love you will ever experience in your lifetime. Self love within the community of CPSP was evident to me at our 2009 Plenary in Virginia Beach, VA.

Our plenary began with Luise Weinrich’s report from the Task Force for the Future. This report clearly stated who we are as a community, reflecting the voices of CPSP today as well as those of our future. This report was presented in a thoughtful and sincere manner, creating an optimistic atmosphere in which we began our time together.

The creation and distribution of Our Proclamation was another significant happening during this gathering. Opening with our Covenant, this booklet claims who we are; bringing forth our history, strengths and commitment to one another. Thank you Jim Gebhart for your dedication and commitment to this task.

When we gathered for Tavistock, it was Luise’s insightful remark regarding how our community’s focus was on self rather than on our founders which helped me to see how our gathering had become a clear reflection of who and where we are as a community today. CPSP members have grown to this place of self acceptance and awareness because we have had the privilege of being ‘raised’ in a loving, environment where support, encouragement to explore, be inquisitive, and experiment have all been part of it’s promise. The people of CPSP continue to encourage members to embrace their individuality; raising confidence so that each continues to dare to move forward even with that which can be challenging and difficult.

CPSP inspires it’s members to use their talents and skills in their own unique ways, and to think for themselves. This has and continues to provide the clear message that sanctions the gift of self love. This plenary was a true representation of CPSP’s overall health and wellbeing. CPSP continues its " long romance".
Click here to contact Barbara McGuire.

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 7:43 AM

April 11, 2009

Northern Colorado Chapter Members Awarded Certification at 2009 CPSP Plenary

Northern Colorado Chapter For the College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy ((from left to right) Foy Richey - Chapter Consultant, Len Schreiner, Jim Carmack - Chapter Convener (Board Certified Clinical Chaplain & Pastoral Counselor), Patty Poole (Associate Board Certified Clinical Chaplain & Associate Pastoral Counselor), Don Orwick (Board Certified Clinical Chaplain), Cindy Veldheusen, Richey Lynn, Art Hererra (Board Certified Associate Clinical Chaplain & Associate Pastoral Counselor)

This Chapter began in Northern Colorado on June 5, 2008 as the newest Chapter in formation in the State of Colorado under the leadership of Foy Richey. It elected Jim Carmack as the Chapter Convener. Since that time, this Chapter has grown in membership and has awarded six certificates in its community to individuals who have met the CPSP Standards for board certification.
Editor's Note: The Northern Colorado Chapter was one of many CPSP Chapters whose members received their certification at the 2009 CPSP Plenary held in Virginia Beach, VA.

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 6:19 AM

April 8, 2009

CPSP's TASK FORCE FOR THE FUTURE: Report Delivered at the 2009 CPSP Plenary By Luise Weinrich

The late writer David Foster Wallace, a man of great soul who I believe would have appreciated a community like CPSP, told this story at Kenyon College’s commencement:

There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says "Morning, boys. How's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and says "What is water?"

For over a year now, the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy’s Task Force for the Future has been at work, talking with our members about your vision for CPSP. We’ve been seeking your views about where we are and where we’re headed in the future, finding out what the water is like our community.

Our work is ongoing. We’ve conducted dozens of interviews so far. These interviews are in-depth conversations. Most have been conducted by telephone and have lasted from 30-60 minutes, yielding on average 2-3 pages of notes per call.

Because CPSP is an international community, our task force has also made use of Internet technology to speak with people across the country and in other parts of the world. We have intentionally spoken with members of our community whose voices are not usually heard at our formal gatherings in hopes of gaining a broader view of our community in all its diversity. We have spoken with new members and members who have been a part of CPSP from its inception, and many in between.

From those conversations, the following five themes have emerged:

1. Our members deeply value local chapters.
Almost to a person, CPSP members report that the work they do and the depth of community they share in their local chapters lie at the heart of the CPSP experience for them. Members indicate that the challenge, support and peer supervision they receive in local chapters is life-giving, and positively impacts the quality of their clinical work and ministry. They also state that chapter life has enriched their lives in significant and positive ways. Members describe life in chapters as a rare, precious gift. One person noted that no other professional organization – of doctors, lawyers, care givers etc. – has anything approaching the depth of communal and professional support we have in our CPSP chapters.

Chapter life is not perfect. Some members expressed concern that other chapters are not functioning in an ideal manner. Our observation from speaking with individual members of chapters is that the overall level of health in chapters is quite high. Members frequently state that it is this rare quality of human community, shaped by the values of CPSP’s covenant, that draws them to CPSP and sustains them in their work and in their life together.

Several chapter members have spoken of how valuable it has been for them to receive outside consultation about their chapter’s process, while other chapters seem less clear about this requirement. Our task force believes that the policy for chapters to be in ongoing consultation with an outside consultant is a good one that promotes health and vitality in chapters. We recommend that this practice continue to be encouraged. We also recommend that we continue to make the strength and vitality of local chapters the central focus of CPSP.

2. Our members value CPSP’s commitment to traveling light.
Overwhelmingly, CPSP members have voiced their appreciation for our decentralized organizational structure and our commitment to keeping administrative operations, costs and bureaucracy to a minimum. Members also appreciate that the leadership in our organization is informal, flexible, and personal.

Members have noted that our streamlined, grass-roots way of organizing ourselves allows us to move quickly into a variety of settings and to provide vital services in communities and to people who would otherwise not have access to high-quality clinical care.

Members appreciate that when they see a need, they are able to establish training programs, clinical services and ministries in a wide variety of contexts without the excessive bureaucracy, “red tape” and high administrative costs that might otherwise render these services cost-prohibitive.

There is also appreciation that our work is carried out not by a paid staff in a centralized office but rather is accomplished by individuals who see a need and voluntarily give of their time, energy and resources to meet the need.

A number of voices, old and new, have cautioned that, while structure seems to promise security or stability, the creation of unnecessary structure would in fact weigh us down, take the focus away from our mission, and decrease our ability to respond to and serve people in need.

We as a task force echo what we have heard from the community on this matter. We urge CPSP not to let conscious or unconscious anxiety about our growth lead us to create unnecessary structures that would hinder rather than support our carrying out the creative work of ministry that gives us our vitality and, after all, is the reason for our existence.

3. Our members appreciate the current leadership and have some anxiety about future leadership. While a couple of members called for a change in leadership, there is widespread satisfaction with and appreciation of the present leadership. Some members expressed anxiety about what will happen when the “old guard” passes away or its influence wanes. Some excitement has been expressed about new leadership emerging. Some have observed that there has been a “changing of the guard” in recent years as new leadership has increasingly stepped forward.

Our task force believes that there is strong leadership in our community. We note that the covenant states that we value personal authority and creativity. We trust that, with such a covenant to one another, CPSP will manage well leadership transitions that occur in the future.

We urge all our members to continue to look for ways to provide leadership in our CPSP community and in the places where we serve. We encourage a continuation of the blessing and nurturing of the next generation of pastoral care givers that is emerging.

We remind you that our community relies upon the commitment of all our members to extend ourselves in hospitality to new and potential members, to continue to create and nurture dynamic and innovative ministries and training programs around the world, and to tell our story to seminaries and denominational representatives. This is the work of us all, and it happens most powerfully on the local level.

4. Some members have anxiety about CPSP’s “legitimacy.” Some members expressed anxiety about our legitimacy as an organization in relation to other cognate organizations. Our task force noted that such anxiety has generally been expressed either by members with past affiliations to those older organizations or members who have been harmed or negatively affected by organizations seeking to discredit CPSP and drive us from the marketplace.

Many members we spoke with were not concerned about CPSP’s legitimacy relative to those other organizations. Some members, both newer members and some of those with past ties to these other organizations, cautioned against seeking “legitimacy” in any way that would lead CPSP to change its identity. Most newer members and CPSP-only credentialed persons either did not mention the issue or stated that they view tensions with these older cognate groups as something stemming from the past that has little to do with CPSP programs being created today.

While our task force advises acting in a clear and direct way to address any predatory actions by other pastoral care organizations against CPSP, its programs or members, we also urge our members to continue to place a primary emphasis on living out our unique identity and mission as a community, lending to this task all the strength and passion we possess. There is tremendous passion in our community for who we are and what we are about, and this is where our energy and our hope for the future lie.

5. Our members hope that CPSP will continue to stay true to who we are. Members spoke of the need to keep the focus on chapter life, celebrate idiosyncrasy and creativity, maintain covenant values, foster relationships and value the process. These core elements of CPSP were what drew many people to our community and, not surprisingly, many members emphasized the importance of maintaining those elements.

Our task force notes that CPSP is not the organization or community for everyone. Nor should it be. Through our study and work as a task force we have increasingly come to see CPSP itself as a process, as a community moving through time, and we recognize that participation in such a community requires a high level of commitment and a willingness to risk. It requires a willingness to risk being known, engaged and cared for by our peers. It requires openness to the terror and the gift of transformation, and a willingness to be called forth into an unknown future, as vulnerable creatures, trusting in the force of Love.

Our task force agrees with the overwhelming consensus of those interviewed that CPSP should continue to stay true to who we are. In CPSP our unique identity is our strength. In an age of managed care, corporatization and strident individualism, we affirm that we are most vibrantly and dynamically ourselves when we are firmly grounded in our theological roots and in community that lives out the core values expressed so powerfully in our covenant.

These unique values set the tone for our life together and remind us in equal measure of who we are and who we seek to be. We are a soulful, idiosyncratic community, rooted in the traditions of Anton Boisen and Helen Flanders Dunbar. Our unique history merits retelling and celebrating, and it is important that we keep telling our story and revisiting these roots, even as we continue to grow and change to embrace the future we are creating together.

Our task force is still in process. This is continuing work – it is fluid and creative. Our task force members (Barbara McGuire, Jonathan Freeman, and I) are putting in a lot of hours and the work is time consuming. But we believe that the process we are undertaking is helpful in itself, and hope that it is stimulating our members to think creatively and to reflect on our shared future and the part we each have to play in forming it.

We are continuing to contact members. We would like to speak with many more of you. While we can receive emails with your suggestions we greatly prefer to keep this process a conversation – we want to talk with you and hear from you.

We as a task force are really glad to be about this work. It’s been a privilege. We have been inspired by the creativity, generativity, humanity and mutual care that we witness in our members.

Finally, in your small groups at this conference you’re going to be given a chance to reflect on this report, and to share your thoughts and vision for our community.

So… how’s the water?

Thank you.

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 9:27 AM

April 7, 2009

CPSP People in the News: David Plummer

David Plummer, a CPSP Diplomate, was recently interview by Brenda H. Welch of the Health Journal. When asked what led to his becoming a chaplain, David responded: I really enjoy interacting with people and care about their struggles. I come from a religious background, and so it just seemed to be a natural fit. On a deeper level, there was a sensing by my inner person that this was what I was supposed to do.

To read the complete article click here.

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 2:21 PM

April 6, 2009

Spring Meeting of the National Clinical Training Seminar


The National Clinical Training Seminar, to be held May 11 and 12 in Mahwah, New Jersey. The seminar provides an excellent opportunity to meet with peers for an intense focused retreat that focuses on clinical supervision.

The event will be held at the Carmel Retreat in Mahwah, New Jersey ( Registration is $15.00 per person, with options for a one night stay price ($80 for single room; $70 for a double room) or a day-rate of $45. The registration deadline is April 30, 2009.

If you have any questions about the event, please contact Francine Angel at

Below is the National Clinical Training Registration Forum for download:

Download Registration Forum

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 11:53 PM

April 5, 2009

OUR PROCLAMATION: College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy's Declaration


The College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy’s Our Proclamation is a clear and well crafted booklet that captures in its brevity the depth and substance of the CPSP community. It is an excellent resource to introduce seminaries, medical centers, faith groups, prospective members, organizations, etc. to CPSP and its mission.
The idea to create a CPSP proclamation to enable CPSP to better communicate its unique ministry and mission was the brain child of James Gebhart, PhD who was then CPSP President. Dr. Gebhart nurtured this project through many stages of development that included consultation from the Governing Council, Executive Committee, the general membership and his CPSP Chapter.

Hard copies may be obtained by contacting Krista Argiropolis.

Below is a PDF document containing Our Proclamation. It can be downloaded and easily distributed via the Internet.

Shortly, Our Proclamation will be located on the left side-bar on the Pastoral Report for reading, downloading and distribution.


Perry Miller, Editor

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 12:08 PM