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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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September 29, 2011

National Clinical Seminar-East Theme: "Compassion Fatigue: "Caring for Ourselves, Caring for Others"

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Francine Hernandez, National Clinical Seminar-East Coordinator, announces the theme for the Fall 2011 National Clinical Seminar: Compassion Fatigue: "Caring for Ourselves, Caring for Others".

NCTS-East will be held November 7 – 8, 2011 at the Stella Maris Retreat Center – Elberon, New Jersey.

Francine Hernandez expands on her thoughts about the theme she selected:

This presentation is reflective of CPSP theme: “Recovery of Soul”. The workshop presentations will focus ways for us as caregivers to understand the nature of our call to help others, and be present with and for them in the context of their individual needs and their individual stories. We, however, need to understand the importance of taking care of ourselves before we can take care of others.

This seminar also explores ways for caregivers to nourish themselves in order to be more effective in their professional roles and in their personal journey. We will also explore the role that attitude has on our health as well as on those we are called to care for.

We are pleased that Dr. Roy Gaton, D. Min. has accepted our invitation to be the Keynote speaker for this event.

As always, the core of the NCTS gathering is small group work focused on review and critique of clinical material. As such, all participants are expected to bring clinical cases to be shared in the small group experience.

DOWNLOAD NCTS FALL SCHEDULE

-Perry Miller, Editor

Editor's Note:

Use _______________

Click here to contact Francine Hernandez, NCTS-East Coordinator.

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Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 8:43 AM

September 15, 2011

CPSP PEOPLE IN THE NEWS: George Hankins-Hull

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The Citizen of Laconia recently published an article entitled, Many faiths gather to remember Sept. 11 written by Bea Lewis. Fire Chief John Beland is quoted extensively regarding his remembrance of the 9/11 attacks and the days that followed.

A critical memory for the Fire Chief was the significant role played by Chaplain George Hankins-Hull:

While “pacing the firehouse” like many of his brethren, Beland said, George Hankins-Hull, the former spiritual leader at LRGHealthcare who had “grown up experiencing heartbreak and pain in Northern Ireland” came up with the idea of offering New York first-responders a chance to visit the Lakes Region to enjoy much needed respite and the chance to reconnect with their families.... Hankins-Hull gathered with the “movers and shakers” of the community, Beland said, and spearheaded efforts to collect money and in-kind donations.

George Hankins-Hull is now the Director of Pastoral Care and Clinical Pastoral Education at the University of Arkansas Medical Center. He continues to view, however, the clinical chaplain's mission is to not only serve the medical center but to also serve the community.

______________________
George Hankins-Hull can be contacted at JHull@uams.edu

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Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 8:21 AM

September 14, 2011

NPR program Airing on Chaplains


This Thursday an NPR program will air on the work of the chaplain. The show notes are as follows:

“As chaplains we get a chance to listen to a person for a long period of time, so that we can understand what they’re looking for, and also try to help them to tap into what’s inside of them that is strong, that is calm, that is pretty stable, in a very chaotic environment. To help them think about what their resources are, what really matters to them, what’s going to help them right now. I think that we are able to help a lot of people to find their own answers. We don’t generally have answers. We ask questions, trying to keep people talking, and finding their own way.”

For detail information go to:
http://www.humanmedia.org/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=330

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Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 7:17 PM

September 11, 2011

Treasure Life, and Never Take It For Granted By Dr. Roy Gaton, D. Min

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This is article was written during the following weeks after the tragic events of September 11, 2001. This article appeared in several publications including the Los Angeles Times, Glendale News press, The Honolulu Advertiser, and The Adventist Review.

Permission was granted by the author to re-publish the article in the Pastoral Report.


As we remember those tragic events in the history not only of our country but of humanity. I thought these words would be helpful to us today as well:

During the past several weeks, we as a nation have found ourselves in the midst of pain, suffering and grief. As we think of the people who lost their lives during the tragic events of Tuesday, Sept. 11, and as we think of their families, friends and loved ones who are grieving, we realize that in a way, we are all grieving. We are grieving our loss of peace, security and freedom.

Many of the things we took for granted before are no longer taken for granted today. On Monday, the day before the attacks, we told jokes. On Tuesday, the day of the terrorist deeds, we did not. On Monday, we thought we were secure. On Tuesday we learned better.

On Monday, we were talking about our heroes as being athletes. On Tuesday, we realized who our true heroes were. On Monday, we were irritated that our tax rebate checks had not arrived. On Tuesday, we gave money away to people we never met.

On Monday, there were people opposed to praying in schools. On Tuesday, you were hard pressed to find a school where someone was not praying. On Monday, parents argued with their kids to pick up their rooms. On Tuesday, the same people could not get home fast enough to hug their children.

On Monday, some people were upset they had to wait six minutes in a fast food drive-through line. On Tuesday, people didn’t mind waiting up to six hours to donate blood for the victims.

On Monday, there were people trying to separate each other by race, sex, color or creed. On Tuesday, they were all holding hands. On Monday, politicians were arguing about budget surpluses. On Tuesday – grief stricken – they sang “God Bless America.”

On Monday, our President traveled to Florida to teach children the importance of reading. On Tuesday, he returned to Washington to protect our children. On Monday, we had families. On Tuesday, we had orphans. On Monday, people went to work as usual. On Tuesday, they died.

Sadly, it sometimes takes a horrific event to happen before we put things in perspective – the Sept. 11 events have. How many things prior to Sept. 11 were taken for granted by many of us, including each day of our lives. Only when each moment is gone do we realized its importance. How often do we fail to recognized that life is made of moments that only come once in a lifetime. Samuel F. Pugh wrote a prayer that I believe should be part of our daily routine: “This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it, or use it for good, but what I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.

When tomorrow comes this day will be gone forever, leaving behind in its place something that I have traded for it. I want it to be a gain and not a loss, good and not evil, success and not failure, in order that I shall not regret the price that I have paid for it.”

May we never again take for granted the things that you and I have, may we never take for grated God’s daily gift of life, and may those things that in the past have been overlooked or forgotten now be treasured and never be forgotten.

________________________
Dr. Roy Gaton, D. Min. serves as Director of Pastoral Care at West Kendall Baptist Hospital (Baptist Health South Florida) in Miami, FL. He is a CPSP Diplomate in Psychotherapy and can be contacted via email.

Editor's Note:

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Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 10:15 AM

September 10, 2011

Tolerance and Encouragement: At the Core of the Modern Clinical Pastoral Tradition By Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD

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Tolerance and Encouragement:
At the Core of the Modern Clinical Pastoral Tradition

Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD

"The idea of an organized church ... marks the close of a living spiritual movement. The great ecclesiastical establishments are the dikes and the dams to retain the current that cannot be held by any such contrivances.”


“Things which matter most must never be
at the mercy of things which matter least.”

Among the first things a scientist might expect out of others at a large gathering of colleagues would be an attempt to change his or her mind. Nonetheless, each clinical research scientist speaks openly, collegially about the tenets of his or her research team – and expects that others will articulate more or less clearly the tenets of their own research teams. While openness to others’ views is expected, only tenuous clarity and only tenuous certainty about one’s own views also are expected. Truths are assumed to have been almost found and almost understood. Scientists gather hoping for some productive challenging of their beliefs, and they certainly anticipate challenging others’.

Among the last things a chaplain might expect out of others at a large gathering of colleagues would be an attempt to change his or her mind. That being said, certainly each clinical pastoral chaplain may speak openly, collegially about the tenets of his or her faith community – and certainly each would expect that others could articulate more or less clearly the tenets of their own faith communities. Notice that I said, “more or less clearly”. Such equivocation about tenets was fine for the scientists but it might be a problem for the chaplains. While openness to others’ views is expected, clarity and some degree of certainty about one’s own views also are expected. Notice that I said, “some degree of certainty”. Again, such hedging about views was fine for the scientists, but it might be a problem – or just the same problem stated another way – for the chaplains. Truths are assumed to have been found and understood. Chaplains gather hoping for – it is not clear for what they are hoping.

Are gathered chaplains hoping for a challenging of their beliefs? for a confirmation of their beliefs? for an ignoring of their beliefs? or for what? Is it really “OK” for chaplains of diverse faith traditions to be meeting together, especially in intense, intimate soul-searching small-group settings, including “Chapter” meetings? Is there a religious endorsing body that would take a “Presby-gationalist” under its wing? Can we openly appreciate that many clergy change nuances of faith across the years?

Clinical research scientists in general and clinical pastoral chaplains in general are very different. The scientists may or may not care if they are endorsed, while the chaplains certainly do. Not being endorsed, scientists are free to wonder openly about gravity or germs or whatever; being endorsed, chaplains are somewhat less free to wonder openly about G-d or the soul or the hereafter. Perhaps this difference in public freedom needs to be acknowledged – and consciously appreciated. That being said, perhaps there is some space in between the two broad conceptions of “the truth” – between “the truth that is being found” and “the truth that is found” – where both types of professionals can spend part if not all of their time. Stated differently, a recurring question has been whether scientists are allowed to dabble with certainty and whether chaplains are allowed to dabble with uncertainty – whether scientists are allowed to dabble with clarity and whether chaplains are allowed to dabble with doubt.

In a way, “The Covenant” of the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy addresses, at least for clinical pastoral chaplains, these questions head-on.


We believe we should

make a space for one another and

stand ready to midwife one another in

our respective spiritual journeys.


“The Covenant” appears to imply – and to accept – that there will be certain productive tensions between clarity and doubt, between certainty and uncertainty – that there will be “journeys” within one’s faith – what Anton Theophilus Boisen appeared to view as “becomings”.

Both supporting and questioning feedback came to this author about the short essay, “Tolerance and Encouragement: Among the Roots of the Clinical Pastoral Tradition”. That essay noted how at the time of ordination Boisen and three of his fellow seminarians were considered “agnostic and undecided in their faith” – neither “affirming” nor “denying” certain theological touchstones. All four seminarians, nevertheless, went on to become energetic and creative leaders on behalf of religion. Which faith group would ordain or endorse them today is a question well-taken. An even thornier question is how to welcome into clinical pastoral chaplaincy those clergy whose faith groups do not have seminaries, let alone ordination.

Most faith groups have become comfortable with at least some degree of ecumenicalism, granting that other faiths might have discovered at least some aspects of “the truth”. The “deep ecumenism,” as it has been called, has envisioned the possibility of “a common truth” underlying the varying emphases of differing religious traditions. The question is the extent to which some degree of variation can be accepted within a faith group – the extent to which one can both be a believer and be becoming a believer all at the same time – the extent to which one’s faith can be both mature and maturing all at the same time. This decision, of course, can be made only by an individual faith group itself.

It might be worthwhile considering the seriousness with which Boisen, for example, approached some of the most important theological issues of his time – questions that his generation especially understood as “the things which matter most”. He did not just say, “I believe in the Virgin Birth”; Boisen thought about why Jesus came when He did and how this symbolized uniquely the coming of something totally new into the world. He did not just say, “I believe in the crucifixion”; Boisen thought about how sin demanded atonement and how Jesus courageously, knowingly accepted sacrifice for others. He did not just say, “I believe in the resurrection”; Boisen thought about Jesus’ understanding of it and how it held out hope for those fallen souls trying to enter a new path in life. He did not just say, “I believe the Bible is inerrant”; Boisen thought about how the scriptures old and new plus various interpreters were trying to capture the essence of spiritual wisdom; he thought about how various people – for example, those bewildered or suffering – might be understanding the scriptures that they read. If Boisen were up for ordination today, no doubt once again there would be “an earnest discussion” for “more than two hours” and much would be “said on both sides of the case”. Possibly some could be persistent enough and patient enough to work with him. Possibly some could have sufficient tolerance and encouragement about his continuing spiritual growth.

Boisen’s paternal great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather were bishops, while his maternal grandfather and great-uncle were learned ministers. He knew the Judeo-Christian scriptures inside and out from an early age – which may have been why he viewed their message as complex. It might be worthwhile to consider how, possibly, his having been “agnostic and undecided” – yet theologically serious – allowed him to embrace and develop the notion of a clinical pastoral ministry to believers, non-believers, and those unable to believe alike. As both a clinical research scientist – we forget that, don’t we? – and as a clinical pastoral chaplain, Boisen lived emotionally and intellectually in and between both worlds, always focusing upon both G-d and everyday people. One can envision several religious endorsing bodies debating about which one would claim him. Imagine the questions he would ask if he served on a certifying committee himself. Very likely, of those who joined him in plenary and chapter life, as many would be challenged as would be confirmed in their faith. Perhaps that is why some appreciate Boisen as a valuable gadfly.


Endnotes:
The first opening comment is by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura (1874-1937), in the The Harmonist, January 1929; quoted by B. V. Tripurari , 11-18-2004, Vaishnava News Network; http://www.indiadivine.org/audarya/spiritual-discussions/39302-there-institutionalization-gaudiya-vaisnavism-before-srila-prabhupada-became.html Compare this to Boisen’s distinguishing “between the ‘church,’ which he views as orderly, perhaps even by necessity boring, and the ‘sect,’ which he views as disorderly yet life-giving to religious practice”; “one could say that the church is ‘custom,’ that the sect is ‘crisis,’ and that they together account for the development of religion” [ Powell Robert C. “‘Chapter Life’: ‘Thinking and Feeling Together about the Things that Matter Most’ – ‘A New and Vitalizing Experience’. A Response to the Rev. Dr. Gebhart’s Call for an ‘Order of Pastoral Care’.” J Pastoral Care & Counseling. 2005;59(suppl), ftn.1; referring to Boisen’s Religion in Crisis and Custom: A Sociological and Psychological Study (NY: Harper & Brothers, 1955), pp.19, 66, 232, 239].

The second opening comment is said to be by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749?-1832), but, thus far, a diligent search has not found the exact citation. Part of the phrase also formed the title of a widely-read book of the late nineteenth century, Things That Matter Most: Devotional Papers (NY: Fleming H. Revell Co, 1913), by John Henry Jowett (1864-1923), a British Congregationalist minister who served the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, New York City, from 1911 until 1917. (Like Boisen, Jowett must have been a “Presby-gationalist”.) The phrase was one of Boisen’s favorites. In his Religion in Crisis and Custom … he used both variants, “the things that matter most” (p.xiii) and “the things which matter most” (p.5). During an exploration of this phrase, it was noted that in earlier citations the phrase clearly refers to spiritual matters, while in later citations it could refer to almost anything. The older uses almost always end the sentence with the phrase – or occasionally add “to G-d”, while the newer uses almost always either add a few more words – generally mundane words – onto the end of the phrase – eg, “to me,” “to us,” etc – or insert a comment about what these “things” should be – instead of assuming that the phrase, “the things that/ which matter most,” has a definite and universal meaning. Boisen frequently used the phrase specifically to refer to “the ultimate realities of life and death” [Religion in Crisis and Custom … , p.3].

Speaking to both the first and second opening comments, consider one of Boisen’s comments: “And even the Church … becomes overparticular about creedal conformity or ritualistic niceties and in other ways tends to substitute minor for major virtues and loyalties” [“The Problem of Values in the Light of Psychopathology.” Am J Sociol. 1932;38(1):251-268, p.158][obviously this is a reference to The Bible, Matthew 23:23].

At the end of the second paragraph, “Presby-gationalist” refers to a common “inside joke” about the fact that Boisen served both denominations within Protestant Christianity. Actually, Boisen’s theology does not fit cleanly into any camp. He has been called an “evangelical liberal” and a “progressive empiricist” – both tags trying to capture his standing in the midst of many theological arguments during the first half of the twentieth century. Quite significantly, in 1925 Boisen helped to awaken the liberal wing of the Protestant churches to the possibility that their theology might be losing them adherents. A somewhat liberal journal commented as follows on one of Boisen’s first theological essays, published (unsigned) in asomewhat conservative review. “The author states that, as a result of rather extensive investigations, ‘I have been forced to the disturbing conclusion that wherever the liberal influence is strongest, there the influence of the church tends to be weakest’.” [“Current Events and Discussions.” J of Religion. 1925;5(4):419-423. p.419; “In Defense of Mr. [William Jennings] Bryan: A Personal Confession of a Liberal Clergyman.” The American Review. 1925;3:323-324.]

The reference in the fifth paragraph is to this article: Powell, Robert Charles. “Tolerance and Encouragement: Among the Roots of the Clinical Pastoral Tradition” CPSP Pastoral Report. June 6, 2011. http://www.cpspoffice.org/the_archives/2011/06/tolerance_and_e.html#

The reference in the sixth paragraph, about “deep ecumenism,” is to this book: Fox, Matthew. The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance (NY: HarperCollins, 1988).

The references in the seventh paragraph regarding Boisen’s views are mostly to his autobiography: Out of the Depths: An Autobiographical Study of Mental Disorder and Religious Experience (NY: Harper & Brothers, 1960), pp.106, 59, 79, 101, 105, 135, 141. Clearly Boisen believed strongly in the reality of both sin and salvation. See especially the following of his articles: “Evangelism in the Light of Psychiatry.” J Religion. 1927;7(1):76-80; “The Sense of Isolation in Mental Disorder: Its Religious Significance.” Am J Sociol. 1928;33(4):555-567; “Theology in the Light of Psychiatric Experience.” Crozer Q. 1941;18(1):47-61; “The Problem of Sin and Salvation in the Light of Psychopathology.” J Religion. 1942;22(3):288-301; "What Did Jesus Think of Himself?" J Bible Religion. 1952;20(1): 7-12; and “Inspiration in the Light of Psychopathology,” Pastoral Psychol. 1960;11(7): 10-18.

______________________
Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD is the leading historian of the clinical pastoral movement. Many of his published writings are posted on the Pastoral Report. Readers can use the PR's search engine found on the left side-bar to locate his articles. As a practicing psychiatrist, his writings reflect his daily investment in his clinical practice of providing psychotherapy and care to his patients. Contact Dr. Powell by clicking here.

The limits of the Pastoral Report's publishing platform does not allow for accurate formatting of this scholarly manuscript. Below is a PDF version of Tolerance and Encouragement: At the Core of the Modern Clinical Pastoral Tradition.

Tolerance and Encouragement: At the Core of the Modern Clinical Pastoral Tradition

-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 (http://www.cpspoffice.org) into Google Translate, choose your language and click. The PR is now viewed in your chosen language.



Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 10:47 PM

CPSP People in the NEWS: William Alberts, PhD


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CounterPunch published an article on September 4, 2011 written by Bill Alberts entitled Spiritual Fitness and Moral Sickness. In the article he critiques ABC World News segment that explored "spirituality and the military".

Alberts proceeds to challenge many of the social, political and theological assumptions conveyed in the news segment in his usual penetrating and provocative style that surely leaves some feeling rather uncomfortable about his conclusions while others will feel that he has nailed it.

At the end of his article Albert's concludes:

I am well aware of the untold numbers of soldiers—and their families—who have found their spiritual faith most sustaining in the face of the stress of war. And in this regard, military chaplains provide an invaluable service in enabling soldiers to deal with the stress of war. The intent here is not to minimize or denigrate the important role spirituality plays in their lives. The aim is to show how the militarizing of America, especially since 9/11, with its intended normalizing of war is having a corrupting influence on religion– and a dehumanizing and destructive influence on America itself.

Spiritual fitness is about putting all people first. It is about self-awareness that is able to accept and learn from defeat—and from being wrong, and make it right. It is about love of neighbor that does not want any comrade anywhere to fall. It is about belief that everyone’s humanity is bigger than any one individual or group’s assumed exceptionalism and entitlement. Spiritual fitness is about The Golden Rule.

-Perry Miller, Editor

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Rev. William E. Alberts, Ph.D., a former hospital chaplain at Boston Medical Center, is a diplomate in the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy. Both a Unitarian Universalist and United Methodist minister, he has written research reports, essays and articles on racism, war, politics, religion and pastoral care. He can be reached at wm.alberts@gmail.com.

Editor's Note:

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Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 2:36 PM

Fall Meeting of the National Clinical Training Seminar Annnounced

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Francine Hernandez, NCTS Coordinator, announces that the National Clinical Training Seminar will be held November 7 – 8, 2011 at the Stella Maris Retreat Center – Elberon, New Jersey.

In addition to CPE Supervisors, Pastoral Psychotherapist, Board Certified Clinical Chaplains, etc as participants, training supervisors are encouraged to invite their Interns and Residents to also attend.

The NCTS is focused on clinical case work that will be reflected upon in the context of a small group process. All participant are expected to present a clinical case.

The registration deadline for the Fall NCTS is October 31, 2011. Register Now!! The NCTS Registration Form posted below can be downloaded and returned via email.

NCTS Registration Form

-Perry Miller, Editor

Editor's Note:

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Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 12:54 PM

September 2, 2011

A Word From Foy Richey's Family


Sara Richey posted the following on CaringBridge last night:

Hello everyone. We wanted to let you know that Foy passed away tonight at around 7:00, surrounded by family. It was very peaceful and we are comforted by the fact that he is no longer in pain. When we finalize plans for a memorial service we will be sure to let everyone know. Thanks for all your thoughts and kind words throughout this whole ordeal, it means a lot to know that Dad was loved by so many people.

Editor's Note:

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Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 9:32 AM

Foy Richey Succumbs to Cancer


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The Rev. Foy Richey, a Past President of CPSP, died today in a Denver hospice. He was diagnosed in May with pancreatic cancer and did not respond to treatment.

Foy was a giant in the CPSP community. He was a creative leader, much loved by many, and with a monumental influence, especially in the western states. Arrangements are pending.

--Raymond Lawrence

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Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 9:23 AM