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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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May 31, 2011



The first National Clinical Training Seminar - West will be held on September 19-20, 2011 at Serra Retreat Center in beautiful Malibu, California.

The two themes are "The Use of Self: Transference and Counter-Transference in Pastoral Care" and "Chapter, Covenant and Community." The themes of this NCTS were chosen to address some of the fundamental issues facing pastoral caregivers and the most central ones in the life of CPSP. There will also be a Tavistock group experience and an introduction to it that will be of value both at the NCTS and as a take-away for participants' chapters.

The design of the NCTS includes a small group experience where all participants are expected to bring and share clinical material for consultation with their peers.

The NCTS is open to clinical chaplains, pastoral counselors and psychotherapists, CPE trainees and training supervisors. Members of new CPSP chapters and especially those in the West are strongly encouraged to attend.

The cost for NCTS-West will be $125 per person, including four meals and overnight accommodations, double occupancy. Registration is strictly limited to 60 participants.

More information regarding the NCTS will be posted in the near future. For now, put these dates on your schedule and plan to attend the NCTS-West.

NCTS-WEST has a website as well as a contact email address.

The cost for NCTS-West will be $125 per person, including four meals and overnight accommodations, double occupancy. Registration is strictly limited to 60 participants.

-David Roth, PhD
Editor's Note:

Use Google Translate in order to read the article or view the Pastoral Report in your native language: Enter the Pastoral Report's URL ( into Google Translate, choose your language and click. The PR is now viewed in your chosen language.

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 3:36 PM



Dr. Raymond Lawrence with Rev. Aguirre and the CPE supervisory team at Bukal Life Care & Counseling Center

In April and May of 2011 Dr. Raymond Lawrence, General Secretary of the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy, and CPSP Diplomate and chair of the Accreditation Committee Dr. Cesar G. Espineda visited the Philippines to provide training and assessment for the clinical pastoral training being done.

On April 20, 2011, in a ceremony in Asin, Benguet, Philippines, Dr. Raymond Lawrence formally inaugurated the first CPSP Philippine Chapter, Baguio City. At the same event, Bukal Life Care & Counseling Center and the Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary were designated as training centers of the CPSP in the Philippines. Dr. Ryan Clark, professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at the Seminary, and Ms. Celia Munson, the training coordinator for Bukal, represented these institutions at the event.

This new Chapter, the second Chapter in Asia after Hong Kong, is the culmination of work by Rev. Joel S. Aguirre, who has worked for several years seeking to improve clinical pastoral care, counseling, and chaplaincy in the Philippines. As part of this, in 2010 the CPE program of Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary was partnered with Bukal Life Ministries to form Bukal Life Care & Counseling Center, an ecumenical faith-based ministry in Baguio City, Philippines. From the beginning the goal of Bukal Life has been to provide clinically competent counseling and training within a faith context.


Dr. Cesar Espineda with several CPE trainees at May 14 Symposium in Baguio City, Philippines

As part of this, Bukal Life Care & Counseling Center ( has been blessed to have two primary mentors, Dr. Lawrence and Dr. Espineda. Both have provided invaluable training and assessment for the CPE program, its 23 trainees, and currently seven supervisors-in-training. During his May visit Dr. Espineda, on May 14, led a symposium in Baguio City for 110 counselors, students, and religious leaders. The topics centered on the general theme of the importance of self-understanding in the role of counselor.

Other CPSP Chapters are now being organized in Benguet, Manila and other parts of the country. The growth of interest in pastoral care and counseling in the Philippines, and the potential for growth of this work both within the Philippines and throughout Southeast Asia are exciting. Assurances from both Dr. Lawrence and Dr. Espineda of continued partnership and mentoring should ensure that the work of CPSP-Philippines will live up to this potential.

Currently there are eight supervisors-in-training committed to developing their skills in the Philippines: Joselene Gray, Felicitas Panizales, Ryan Clark, Simplicio Dang-awan Sr., Celia Munson, Sofia Natama, and Maria Theresa Leones. The Rev Charles Starr of Pittsburgh has agreed to join Lawrence and Espineda in working with this group of young clinical pastoral supervisors.

Bob Munson, Director
Bukal Life Care and Counseling Center

Editor's Note:

Use Google Translate in order to read the article or view the Pastoral Report in your native language: Enter the Pastoral Report's URL ( into Google Translate, choose your language and click. The PR is now viewed in your chosen language.

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 12:15 PM

“Hug her”-- by Rev. William E. Alberts, PhD.


“Lift her up, Lord! Take that fluid from her body. I’m going to keep on praying to you day and night . . . Almighty God, make her well. Which will be a great testimony to you for all patients and doctors and nurses to see.” These were prayers of the sister of a 47-year-old black Baptist woman who was critically ill with cancer.

This loving sister and family saw me, as hospital chaplain, being sent by their god to help “raise up” their loved one to renewed health. “Every time she has to go for a test, you come through the door,” the sister said, “and you say a prayer, and she gets a little better.” Again, “You always come at the right time. Pray that her oxygen level goes up.” Later, even the patient’s uncle greeted me with, “The last time you prayed her kidneys opened up.”

On another occasion, the intubated and medicated patient’s sister and a female friend were clapping their hands and singing to her: “What a mighty God! He will raise you up!” And when the patient slowly opened her eyes in response, the sister excitedly pointed to her face, and they clapped and sang all the louder: “What a mighty god! He will raise you up!” Then they yelled to her, “Fight it, Martha!! Fight it, Martha!” Afterwards, I asked the patient’s nurse whether such loud singing and clapping might not be helpful to the patient. The nurse took care of my concern with, “They need to be in the room with her.”

During another visit, the patient’s sister said to me, “She’s going to make it. She’s a tough cookie.” I responded, “You are always here for her.” The sister replied, “She’s always been there for us.”

The patient’s partner of many years was like-minded in his religious belief. He was at the patient’s bedside daily, and often stayed through the night. He believed “God is going to help her get out of here the way she came in.” I looked at the weakened, intubated, apparently dying patient, and wondered if my presence and prayers might be reinforcing this loving family’s need to deny the pain of reality. Still, I was not about to pull the rug of denial out from under their faith. I wanted to continue being there to support them when reality might hit.

Aware of the patient’s medically diagnosed critical condition, my requested prayers focused on the abiding shepherd-like care of the family’s god for their loved one, the strength she found in her faith, the deep love she and her family shared, and thankfulness for her good work in training public school teachers in their work with children and parents. I also repeated words from her sister’s spoken prayers, offered before mine-- a sibling’s prayers that contained very human, insightful, and loving references.

The family’s faith in their god’s healing power came through very clearly at a family meeting. The medical team told the patient’s family that they had done all they could for the patient. The response of the patient’s twenty-some-years-old son and spokesperson was, “My mother told me not to give up on her. ‘Don’t let them pull the plug on me,’ she said to me.” He continued, “She’s a fighter, and she wants a fighting chance. And that’s the kind of belief we have in God. She taught me that.” There was this mutual understanding: the medical team had done all it could; now the family members turned completely to their god. Two weeks later the patient died.

An early morning page informed me of the patient’s death, and when I arrived at the hospital, her mother and sister were in her room. When I expressed sorrow, her mother said that her daughter was not dead. I went to the patient’s bedside, and stood across from her sister, who tearfully asked me to offer a prayer. “Don’t you say no prayer for the dead,” her mother declared. “She’s not dead. She is living.” The sister asked me to “say a live prayer,” which I did.

The mother was in denial. She came over to her dead daughter’s beside, pulled up the cover, felt her foot and said, “She’s not dead.” The mother then put her hand on her dead daughter’s forehead and prayed loudly, “In the name of Jesus! In the name of Jesus! Raise her up, Lord! In the name of Jesus!” A few minutes later the sister read aloud the 23rd Psalm over her dead sister.

Later, more family members arrived, and they began to make plans for the removal of the patient’s body to a funeral home. At one point, the mother’s brother said to the patient’s sister (his niece), “What do you want me to do with your mother? His niece replied, “Hug her.” He shrugged, and said, “Oh, come on. Shouldn’t we involve her in the planning?” She replied, “Yes. And then hug her.”

The patient’s son was the last to arrive. He went to her bedside, with tears in his eyes, and stood silently looking at her. A moment later, as the patient’s sister was about to speak to him, she stopped herself, seeing that his eyes were closed and that he was possibly saying a prayer. She waited until he opened his eyes to speak to him.
As the son continued to stand by his mother’s body, his grandmother came over to him and evidently repeated to him that his mother was not dead. He reacted, “Grandma, please! She’s dead!” Tears then streamed down his face. And his grandmother walked away.

Later I followed the son out of his mother’s room—remembering him saying that his mother told him not to give up on or let the plug be pulled on her, that she was a fighter, and that such determination is part of their religious faith which she taught him. I went up to him, and hugged him and expressed sympathy and said, “You are a very loving son.” I continued, “As you said, your mother is a fighter; and she fought very hard; and you gave her every chance.” “Thank you,” he replied, and returned my hug.

The son had assumed a heavy burden of responsibility for his mother’s care. My aim was to affirm his steadfast devotion to her, and help to relieve any possible guilt he may have felt.

Pastoral care is about being a witness to the pain and courage of human love: “Grandma, please! She’s dead!” It is also about being present to family love that says about the one who needs it most, “Hug her.”
Bill Alberts is a hospital chaplain at Boston Medical Center. Dr. Alberts is a nationally known writer and an occasional contributor to Counterpunch. In addition he is convener of the New England Chapter of CPSP. He can be reached at

Editor's Note:

Use Google Translate in order to read the article or view the Pastoral Report in your native language: Enter the Pastoral Report's URL ( into Google Translate, choose your language and click. The PR is now viewed in your chosen language.

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 7:01 AM

May 29, 2011

Who Needs a Hug?

Let's face it, there are times in life when all of us, including God's creatures of every variety, just need a hug.

Perry Miller, Editor

Perry MIller,

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 6:31 PM

May 24, 2011



Francine Hernandez, National Clinical Training Seminar Coordinator, encourages all members of the CPSP community to mark your calendar for the Fall 2011 NCTS Seminar.

The event will be held at the Stella Maris Retreat Center, Elberon, NJ on Monday, November 7-8, 2011

The NCTS has proven through the years to be a valuable resource, not only for those enrolled in clinical training programs from around the country but also for members of the CPSP community committed to enhancing their ability of offer care and counseling from a clinically informed perspective.

Pictured above are some of the attendees involved in the Spring 2011 NCTS gathering.

More information about the Fall 2011 NCTS will be posted on the PR as it comes available. In the mean time, adress your questions to Francine Hernandez, NCTS Coordinator.

-Perry Miller, Editor

Editor's Note:

Use Google Translate in order to read the article or view the Pastoral Report in your native language: Enter the Pastoral Report's URL ( into Google Translate, choose your language and click. The PR is now viewed in your chosen language.

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 8:40 AM

May 17, 2011



Daniel Davila, CPSP Board Certified Clinical Chaplain, was named the Employee of the Month by the Austin State Hospital in Texas.

The article was not posted on the web but a copy of his award was forwarded to the Pastoral Report. Clearly notables in the medical center voiced their genuine appreciation for Chaplain Davila as person and professional. The remarks of Lynne Gacono, Ph.D., ASH Specialty Services Psychologist were particularly thoughtful and reflective. Dr. Gacono writes:

Chaplain Davila is one of the most intelligent, compassionate, supportive, caring, self-less, and giving persons I know. He always responds to referrals for our consumers, is exquisitely sensitive to ethnicity and racial sensitivities, and over extends himself to give his spiritual support, gifts, and wisdom to the consumer and staff.

I have so many examples of extraordinary care that he has demonstrated to staff and consumers; it is difficult to give just a few examples. However, I will try. I called upon Chaplain Davila when there was an extraordinary difficult case on CAPS with a female adolescent. I called on him particularly because of several issues I believed they would connect on. True to his nature, Chaplain Davlia was able to meet with the consumer and connect, which no other “professional staff” had done at this point. Chaplain Davila helped turn around one of the most difficult cases they have had.

A second example was when I called on Chaplain Davila for one of my consumers because she spoke very little English, was from Panama, and terribly homesick. I asked if speaking to him would help, and she said, “Yes, please I would like to.” Again, Chaplain Davila’s gifts allowed them to connect. I could go on and on, but promised to keep this letter to one page. Despite all the coverage Chaplain Davila has to frequently do (cover the entire hospital at times), he does so with Grace, Respect, Love, Concern, Compassion, Composure, and most of all Patience. No matter how little time he has, he will find a way to help if called upon and stay late if he has to. Chaplain Davila also knows how to care for himself and helps staff and others learn those ways. He sends uplifting emails, gives inspiring sermons, co-conducts a Devotional group for staff, and is always there if he can be for staff or a consumer.

Editor's Note:
Use Google Translate in order to read the article or view the Pastoral Report in your native language: Enter the Pastoral Report's URL ( into Google Translate, choose your language and click. The PR is now viewed in your chosen language.

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 8:50 PM

May 4, 2011

A Message from Earl Johnson, Red Cross Senior Associate, Spiritual Care, Disaster Partnerships

Dear Colleagues,

One week ago, up to 500 persons were killed in Alabama by a series of
catastrophic tornadoes. Almost half of those have been confirmed
fatalities. The rest are missing or un-recovered under massive piles of
rubble. Between the Royal Wedding and the Death of Osama Bin Laden, the
suffering of those in Alabama and the South is yesterday's news. The
national news cycle has moved on.

In Alabama, our SRT lead, Rich Gorman has 12 SRTs there with him and I
am recruiting 14 more for the next two weeks. Working in Integrated
Care Teams with Health Services (RN's), Disaster Mental Health
(licensed), Client Casework, and Spiritual Care, 25-30 Teams have been
sent out today to make contact with the families of fatalities and the
injured to make condolence calls and/or provide support. This is an
unprecedented and historic model of service and care for a disaster
response organization. In our healthcare systems, we're used to working
as members of healthcare teams. Some of you may know Jane Morgan, who
has been brought into NHQ to manage all the Integrated Care Teams in the
11 states where we currently have operations.

From our American Red Cross Spiritual Care Task Force, we have Rich
Gorman and Leonard Favorite in Alabama, and in Mississippi, we have
George Abrams and Linda Walsh-Garrison.

I now need an experienced disaster spiritual care manager to lead the
operation in Birmingham for at least the next 10 days/two weeks. If you
can deploy and serve as our SRT lead, please let me know. Richard
leaves on Saturday to return home, and I would like at least one day
overlapping to make for a smoother transition.

Further complicating matters, our new DSHR management and deployment
system has sent several inappropriate volunteers from chapters around
the country who have not received the promised national spiritual care
guidance and are clearly not prepared for a mass fatality or
catastrophic response. I'm working with Staffing to make sure this is
prevented 'the next time'. This is not a deployment for a first year
MDiv student!

If you're available, I would like to get you legal in our system so I
can expeditiously deploy you. Many may not be aware that after one year
without and annual health care update, you are archived and are no
longer deployable. It takes at least one day to clear this up....even
if you can't go to Alabama, at least update your annual Health Record
through your closest chapter so that you can be deployable.

New spiritual care volunteers will be mentored. Let your training
empower you and assuage your anxiety. What you do everyday in a
hospital emergency room transfers to the disaster arena--working with
the impacted and traumatized--in unfathomable devastation. Normally
having the most deaths in one state in one day would remain news for
more than one day. The needs are great.

On another note, be gentle with yourselves in these next days, as the
death of Osama Bin Laden, and the interviews with those who lost loved
ones on September 11th, may be bringing up lots of emotions and
accumulated stuff that is piggy-backing on top of these deaths in the
South. Repeated images of the World Trade Center and the President's
visit to Ground Zero tomorrow will keep this on the front pages and in
our collective consciousness as we remember the sad, compelling stories
of those lost and those who remain as we look toward the 10th
anniversary of the attacks.

We give thanks for those of you who gave service through the American
Red Cross and our valued professional spiritual care and faith community
partners, even as we once again ask for your assistance in staffing the
current big disasters. Each one is unique. Each one is different.
Don't compare them. As big as Katrina, or larger than Gustav, may not
help, but it does illustrate the magnitude. Alabama has pre-existing
disaster conditions of poverty and need, that were compounded by this
tornado last week. Let me know if you can serve for any part of the
next two weeks.

Thanks so much for your consideration and willingness to serve.


Earl E. Johnson, MDiv, BCC
Senior Associate, Spiritual Care, Disaster Partnerships
American Red Cross NHQ
2025 E. St., NW
Washington, DC 20006

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 8:27 PM