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February 23, 2012

DEAR EDITOR: From Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD


Dear Editor:

Thank you for publishing Al Heniger's essay on The Evolution of Palliative Care. I wholeheartedly believe that devoted care is the obvious ideal model upon which to focus.

Please let me repeat the opening quotations in an article here last July -- along with the endnote explaining those quotations.

Spiritual care comes from the heart after the head has done its homework.

palliative care … should form part of the care of all who are ill, mentally or physically.

The endnote was,
"The opening quotations are from Henry T. Dom, Ph.D., as cited in
Dom H. 'Vaisnava Hindu and Ayurvedic approaches to caring for the dying: An interview with Henry Dom.' by Romer AL, Heller KS. Innovations in
End-of-Life Care, 1999 Nov;1(6); ;
'…he is helping to create a palliative care unit for the newly established Bhaktivedanta Hospital in Mumbai, and is one of the founders of a
planned hospice and residential home in Vrndavan, a small village in northeast India.' "

The BhaktiVedanta Hospice in Vrindavan, India, opened in August 2010 -- followed by the similar BhaktiVedanta Care Center in Durban, South
Africa in October 2011. Perhaps North America will be next to host a BhaktiVedanta Hospice.

The next issue of the Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling will carry my review of the BhaktiVedanta palliative care training manual:
The Final Journey: Complete Hospice Care for the Departing Vaisnava. 2nd revised edition. Susan Pattinson. (Badger, CA: Torchlight Publishing
Co, 2011). xviii+252pp. $12.95. (paperback).

Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD

"Report from India: A Pastoral Care Department that Runs Its Own Hospital." 18 July 2011.

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. -Perry Miller, Editor

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 8:51 PM

February 21, 2012

Out of the Ashes--- by David Pascoe


It was Ash Wednesday, the day after Mardi Gras and the beginning of Lent. I was late leaving the office that morning as I set out on my visits for the day, so it was close to noon when I arrived at the small nursing home that Darlene, one of our hospice patients, called home, tucked away in a residential neighborhood off a busy street. All six residents were at the dining room table finishing a lunch of chicken salad as I breezed in. A couple of heads turned my way in curiosity, but no one, not even Darlene, spoke. “Sorry to catch you at lunch time,” I apologized to Heather, the dark haired young caregiver sitting at the table with the elderly residents. “I’m Darlene’s hospice chaplain. I can wait until everyone’s done eating.” She smiled and nodded as I excused myself to use the restroom.

Even though I took my time, when I walked back into the dining area, everybody was still stoically chewing way at the chicken salad or chasing a piece of chopped celery around the plate with a fork. “Why don’t you sit and join us?” Heather invited with a smile. “I’d love to,” I answered. I took a seat across from Darlene between the only other man in the place on my right and a tiny, white haired woman on my left. I leaned across the table: “Hello Darlene. Do you remember me? I’m David, your chaplain.” Darlene had dementia and a recent diagnosis of incurable cancer. She was aware of her growing memory loss, but her son had chosen not to tell her about the tumor silently growing in her abdomen. She smiled brightly at me and replied in a surprisingly hearty voice: “No, I don’t remember meeting you. But it sure is nice to see you!” Then she turned her attention back to the chicken salad.

n the silence that followed, I looked around the table at her companions, wordlessly intent on their food. I racked my brain from an opening gambit. “Well, today’s Ash Wednesday, and it’s like spring out there this morning. You have a few daffodils pushing through by the front door. Has anyone been outside yet today?” The question floated in the air like a lifeline waiting for someone to grab hold and tug. I held my breath.

“Well, I don’t get out much any more,” said a slow and measured voice. I turned to look as the tall, spare man sitting next to me. I noticed his thinning hair, the huge lenses in his glasses, his belt cinched tight and high around his pants, a few stray crumbs on the front of his shirt. He smiled. “Not since I gave up my car.”

Across the table from him, a woman in a wheelchair piped up in a dry, matter-of-fact voice. “I drove until was 93. Then on my 93rd birthday, I hung up my keys in the cupboard, and I haven’t driven since.”

“Estelle is 96 now, aren’t you Estelle?” Heather added for my information, looking affectionately in her direction.

“How old were you when you started driving? I asked. “Twelve,” Estelle replied as she forked another bite of chicken salad into her mouth.

“Twelve!” I said incredulously. “What did you drive? A tractor?”

She chuckled at me as she answered: “No. I drove my daddy’s Model T Ford up and down those country lanes. That was some car, I can tell you.”

“How about you, Warren? What did you drive?” Heather asked, seizing the chance to help the lunchtime conversation along. “I drove a Model T too,” Warren replied. “But my favorite car was the roadster. Boy, those cars could sure kick if you didn’t crank ’em just right. I had a brother who got his arm busted by one of those things when it kicked back on him.”

I noticed the puzzled look on Heather the caregiver’s face. I guessed her to be less than half my age. “You had to crank a handle in the front to start the engine in those days,” I explained. And if you weren’t careful, you could get hurt.”

“Yes, sir. Gas was 12 cents a gallon back then; 25 cents for the good stuff,” Warren reminisced. “Say, Estelle, what year were you born?” From across the table, Estelle replied “Nineteen and twelve.” “Me too!” said Warren. Then from my left came a sharp little voice: “That’s the year I was born too. And we had a Model T. My dad was a Lutheran minister, you know. He always had a good sermon for Ash Wednesday. I’ve been Lutheran all my life.” I turned to look at the diminutive, white haired woman by my side who had not spoken until now. “Did those strict old Lutherans let you drive back then?” I asked playfully. “Oh, you’d be surprised what we got up to,” she replied and the whole table laughed.

For the next half hour or so, the conversation flowed. I heard about life during the Great Depression and the Second World War. I heard about making do in hard times. What it was like for Warren to play saxophone in a band for $10 a night. How Estelle would shut the curtains on the Model T when she was dating. How in the 50’s Darlene loved to drive those big old cars with the fins. How everybody knew their neighbors in those days, and even though times were tough, how everyone pulled together to get through.

“What year were you born?” someone asked me in a lull in the conversation. “Nineteen fifty-one,” I replied reluctantly, guessing at what would come next. “Why, you’re just a young ’un,” they laughed. “Why don’t you tell us some of your stories?”

And so, the best I could, I tried to paint a picture of my life, growing up just after the end of World War II in a little coal-mining town on the edge of the sea in the North of England. “My dad, both my grandfathers, and most of my uncles were miners,” I told them. “It was a hard life.” They nodded in silent agreement, knowing just how hard life can be, listening carefully to every word I spoke. “The mine where my dad worked went straight down 2,000 feet then out a couple of miles under the sea. He would come home with salt stalactites that would form on the ceiling of the workings, stained brown, yellow, and green from the minerals in the rock.” Suitable gasps and “My, mys” rippled around the table.

“My mom lived in that town all her life until she died of a stroke,” I continued. “It was just two years ago, actually.” “How old was she?” one of the 96 year olds asked. “Just 78,” I answered.

A soft silence hung over the table, old and not-so-young, united by the sweetness of memories and a common sense of loss.

I looked at the clock on the wall and saw I must be going. “Thank you so much for letting me spend time with you today,” I said. “Come back again,” said Warren. “This is the best entertainment we’ve had in a long time.” “Oh, I will,” I promised, “as long as that’s OK with Darlene.” She smiled and said, “You bet,” with enthusiasm.

As I made ready to leave, a thought struck me. “You know, as a chaplain, I offer to pray with the people I meet. May I pray for all of you today before I go?” Nods of approval greeted my request. Eyes closed, hands folded, heads bowed. And I prayed.

I drove away to my next appointment, reluctant to leave that table fellowship, that holy ground, that sacramental place where, for a moment individual lives connected, joys were shared, wounds were exposed, healing was offered. Out of the ashes of their lives, these wise and witty elders created a space for me on Ash Wednesday to hold and share the losses of the past and the intimacy of the present moment.
Chaplain David Pascoe is currently Pastoral Care Coordinator at Primary Children’s Medical Center and convener of the Metro Salt Lake chapter-in-formation. He can be reached for comment at

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 8:47 PM

February 20, 2012

The Evolution of Palliative Care


Al Heniger, A CPSP Board Certified Clinical Chaplain and Diplomate in Clinical Pastoral Education, is highly invested in the Palliative Care and and its continued development in the health care field. As you will see by the link he provided the Pastoral Report, Palliative Care is no longer limited to end of life issues:

"When patients are admitted to the intensive care unit at Virginia Mason Medical Center, they receive access to palliative care services that include pain and symptom management. Their families are given around-the-clock visiting hours, and are invited to attend clinical meetings where they are encouraged to ask questions about their loved one's care, says Michael Westley, M.D., medical director of critical care at the Seattle-based hospital. Westley says all ICU patients benefit from palliative care — not just those with a terminal diagnosis."

Go to: The Evolution of Palliative Care

Perry Miller, Editor

Al Henager

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 9:14 PM

February 19, 2012

Preparing for Anticipated Rise in Demand for  Clinical Pastoral Care Services Due to the Implementation of MOLST By Richard W. Bower, BCCC, SIT & Thomas J. Hunt, PhD

With the implementation of MOLST an expected rise in patient anxiety will initially occur as health care workers will compel patients to respond to direct questions about care and end of life issues. MOLST (Maryland Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) is a Maryland state form which standardizes medical orders covering options for CPR and other life sustaining treatments. It documents the results of the conversation between the health care professional and the patient or authorized decision maker.

For us in Maryland, MOLST does away with two existing forms: MIESS DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order form and the Sustaining Treatment Options (LSTO) form. Formally, these forms were generated when patients entered a health care, assisted living center, or nursing home facility. These forms conveyed patients’ expressed will for selected interventions as in the case of a cardiac and/or pulmonary arrest and guided the activities of both by EMS (Emergence Medical Service) personnel and providers and in various health care settings. With initiation of MOLST only one form is used and no longer will a new one need be completed when a patient enters or is transferred from one facility to another. MOLST is designed to be portable and enduring; it never expires but maybe changed at any time according to the will of the patient.

Here-to-fore in Maryland, upon enter into a facility, patients were asked as a matter of fact if they wished to fill out the forms stating their preferences for CPR and other life sustaining treatments. As of January, 2012, documentation of patients’ desires is no longer optional. Now it is mandatory. Other than for a minor procedures in a clinic with only one (1) doctor, such as “same Day Surgery”, or a stay less than 23 hours, all inpatients will be compelled to respond to direct questions about care and end of life issues.

With the coming of MOLST when a patient is admitted to a hospital, nursing home, assistive living center, they will be asked to complete the MOLST form. The interview contains questions about mortality. For some patients this process may unexpectedly trigger thoughts and feelings about their dying; and may also stir up anxious concerns and feelings that patients are not expecting to face at the time of admission. For these patients who are already coping with the stress of their immediate medical concern, they may feel taken by surprise and are quite unprepared for this personal encounter with deep and penetrating matters. The healthcare worker will asks patient questions regarding what procedures that they want to take place in the event that they may need any one or combination of the following interventions: CPR, Artificial Ventilation, Blood Transfusions, Hospital Transfers, Medical Workups (labs, X-rays, etc.), Antibiotics, Artificially Administered Fluids and Nutrition, Dialysis as well as other orders such as a person’s desire for such treatments as chemotherapy and radiation.

I suspect that at this time there exists a growing need to place greater emphasis within CPE Unit core curriculum on matters of patients and congregant psychosocial needs at time of cultural change. Areas of increased emphasis need be place on developing an effective pastoral presence and response in anticipation of meeting patients’ questions, thoughts and feelings about mortality. The curriculum should emphasize the importance of integrating supportive communication with the patient’s spiritual understanding, and highlighting the unique role for training the area clergy to prepare congregants for this interview session and for question about matters of mortality. As such I suggest the inclusion of the following into the Trainees’ training:

Clinical Chaplain Trainees should demonstrate ability to:

• explain the MOLST (or it’s equivalent) end-of life procedures and questions contained in the document

• prepare and offer different scenarios that characterize patients’ possible thought process and expected responses

• talk about the decision making process and the stress of having to think about matters of mortality

• discuss how to create an informed response to specific questions that reflects specific theological understanding

• promote acceptance of this change and strengthen peace of mind in response to this change

• talk directly about anxiousness stirred from participating in the process, underscore that this is a normal response to a challenging process and point out the supportive communication that is available

• provide ample time so that rushed decision is not made and a good decision results
identify medical resources within the congregation and community to turn to for additional information

• identify need for individual pastoral care, including time limited problem focused communication

With the implementation of the MOLST an expected rise in patients’ anxiety will initially occur as health care workers compel patients to respond to direct questions about care and end of life issues. This will not be an isolated approach, as the article in a recent local newspaper cites: “Database catalogs W. Va. Patients’ end-of-life requests”.

The fact remains, a bolus of “Baby Boomers” is now turning 65. The present health care system is already overburdened with documenting and re-documenting patients’ end-of-life choices. Whether it is though the implementation of MOLST in Maryland, POST (Physician Order for Scope of Treatment) in West Virginia, or whatever acronym given to its counterpart in other states; Clinical Chaplains and Pastoral Counselors need be prepared to meet the anticipated rise in demand for Clinical Pastoral Care.
Richard W. Bower, BCCC, SIT & Thomas J. Hunt, PhD

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 10:27 PM

February 15, 2012

Say I Love You: A Theological Reflection---by Hollis Walker


Say I Love You

It started soon after I started my CPE training. The first one was a gray-haired lady in her 80s. She told me her story and I listened, not saying much except to encourage her to go on, or to let her know I understood. When it came time to leave, I told her how much I appreciated her story, and I meant it. What a privilege it is to hear the joys, sorrows, frustrations and accomplishments of a human life! After I’d said my goodbye and was leaving the room, she said, “I love you.” I turned around as I heard her speak, and gave her a quick smile and a wave before I disappeared out the door.

I was nonplussed. My knee-jerk response to “I love you” is, of course, “I love you, too,” since the only people who say “I love you” to me, on a normal day, are family members or one of my very close friends. But what should one say to a person met only 30 minutes or an hour before who says, “I love you”? I shrugged it off. She was probably a little demented, or just confused, as so many elders get in the hospital; the strange environment, all the medications, whatever illness they have all conspiring to alter mental status, at least temporarily. She probably thought for a minute that I was her daughter, or a niece, I told myself; maybe a little transference was going on. Off I went, bravely ahead, on my rounds.

Not too long afterward, I had a long deep talk with a 75-year-old man who was to go home on hospice care. He talked with me about his fears, about his loneliness, about his adult children and their fractured relationships. Again, I felt that sense of awe and privilege at being a witness to humanity. And again, as I walked toward the door, I heard him say, “I love you.” I stopped. I turned. I smiled. “God bless you, Mr. Howard,” I said.

What was going on? I wondered. Why were these people telling me they loved me? Mr. Howard wasn’t demented in the least. There had been no hint of flirtation in our conversation (as I’d been told wasn’t uncommon, when a woman chaplain serves a male patient in the hospital). Were they saying “I love you” because I had listened to them so deeply they felt loved? Had they lost their usual sense of emotional distance, that very Western convention of separation from others, which guides our marketplace behavior? Or had they consciously chosen, in the few seconds as I began walking from the room, to let down their guard and say what they were feeling, if only in that moment? (What do you have to lose, after all, when you are going home on hospice—your reputation?)Or were they saying “I love you” because they so desperately needed to hear it and feel it themselves? I decided to just practice noticing, and to reserve judgment or concern, about this phenomenon.

And it has continued to occur. The relative of a patient on ICU told me she loved me in the ICU waiting room one day, at the end of our conversation. More “little old ladies,” for whom I may very well be standing in as their own daughters, have said those words.

One day I was visiting a “frequent flyer,” a patient I have been seeing since I first got here last February who is usually a very positive, upbeat individual, despite her chronic illnesses. But on this day she was feeling rejected, sad, and hopeless. I listened to and talked with her, trying to help sharpen her awareness of what she was experiencing, working hard as always to resist the “fixing” temptation, and feeling, as usual, powerless. As I left the room, she was falling back to sleep, and I heard her soft voice, childlike in its sleepiness, say, “I love you.” I stopped. I turned around. What the hell, I thought. I took the plunge. “I love you, too, Sherry,” I said.

Maybe it was easier to say because it was Sherry, a patient I knew well; it made a little more logical sense to say “I love you” to Sherry than a patient I’d met half an hour ago. Plus I knew her well enough to know there could be no misconstruing my words. Afterward, thunder did not strike. The ceiling did not cave in. Saying “I love you” didn’t change anything— except perhaps my own mind.

On another occasion, when Sherry was suffering terribly, I engaged in a little old-fashioned consolation. I reminded her of how much she is loved. I went through the list of those I knew who loved her: her husband, her son, her sister, God—and oops, there was that pesky idea again! Mentally, I took a deep breath, and added, “—and me.” Oxygen kept flowing into my lungs. The world did not end. Nothing—and everything—changed. Again.

I am aware that in just the last few years, friends my age (55) or older have become more likely to say “I love you.” I remember distinctly the day a friend of mine of about 10 years said it on the phone. I thought, “Wow. How sweet. Of course we love each other. Why don’t we say it? Now I’m going to say it, too.” These days, surrounded by so much death, I think, “Better say it today, because I might not get a chance again.” And as I age, and my friends—some of whom are much older than I—it seems like a timely idea.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a distant or stuffy type. I come from a very demonstrative family. We wouldn’t dream of getting off the phone or signing off an email without an “I love you,” and we are big on hugging, too, for that matter. Among my close friends I am the same way. Yet something about the formality of the workplace and, perhaps, remonstrations that we be careful about getting too attached to our patients, made me feel queasy about this “I love you” business with those I am serving at the bedside. But I am getting used to saying “I love you” to them; in fact, I’m getting pretty comfortable with it.

One day I went to visit a woman who’d had a stroke and whom I’d visited throughout her stay—beginning when she was on a ventilator on ICU until she was transferred to the medical-surgical floor and had begun to talk again. We both knew she was going to be discharged to a skilled nursing facility to die. That day, in one hour, she said to me almost all the gut-wrenching things we residents have been told we would hear from patients, and then some, including: “Why is this happening to me?” “I want to die.” “No one should have to live like this.” “I can’t fix anything.” “I can’t do anything.” “My hands won’t work. My feet won’t work. I can’t eat.” “I don’t have a husband. I don’t have any children.” “I need someone to guide me and lead me.” I listened, and felt helpless, and restrained my desire to say positive things, to try to “reframe” her truth. In the end I prayed with her, that God would guide and lead her and bring her comfort. After the prayer, and before I even got up from my chair, she said, “I love you.” I didn’t have to think. “I love you, too, Velma,” I said, as automatically as I would say to a family member. Because in that moment— though I would never see her again and never know the end of her story— that’s what we were to each other: Family.

Chaplain Hollis Walker is a candidate for Board Certified Clinical Chaplain
The reflection was written while a CPE Resident at the Kaiser Vallejo Medical Center where she was supervised by John Jeffery and Amanda Tull.

(Note: Names have been changed.)

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 9:04 PM

Are You God's Wife? by: Author Unknown, Source Unknown


New York City: It's a cold day in December. A little boy about 10-year-old was standing before a shoe store on Broadway, barefooted, peering through the window, and shivering with cold. A lady approached the boy and said, "My little fellow, why are you looking so earnestly in that window?"

"I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes," was the boy's reply.

The lady took him by the hand and went into the store, and asked the clerk to get a half dozen pairs of socks for the boy. She then asked if he could give her a basin of water and a towel. He quickly brought them to her. She took the little fellow to the back part of the store and, removing her gloves, knelt down, washed his little feet, and dried them with a towel.

By this time the clerk had returned with the socks. Placing a pair upon the boy's feet, she then purchased him a pair of shoes, and tying up the remaining pairs of socks, gave them to him. She patted him on the head and said, "No doubt, my little fellow, you feel more comfortable now?"

As she turned to go, the astonished lad caught her by the hand, and looking up in her face, with tears in his eyes, answered the question with these words: "Are you God's wife?"

Are You God's Wife? by: Author Unknown, Source Unknown

Editor's Note: I doubt if any agree that God is male or female or just what...yet it is a touching story of human compassion. --Perry Miller, Editor

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 8:30 PM

February 13, 2012


A list and description of the CPSP Plenary Workshops designed for the 2012 CPSP Plenary that will be held March 25-28, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania can be downloaded from the link posted below.

If you have not registered for the 2012 Plenary, act now. Join the CPSP Community in Pittsburgh where we will celebrate our life together.


">George Hankins Hull is the Coordinator for the 2012 CPSP Plenary

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 9:38 AM

February 2, 2012



On the strong recommendation of Cesar Espineda, I registered for the 2012 National Meeting of APsaA, held January 10-15, at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.

I may have been the only cleric in the large international gathering of psychoanalysts. Among the categories of registrants were psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and “others.” I registered in the latter category. I was very well received, as Cesar promised I would be. One analyst working for a large treatment center told me that they often found themselves thwarted in their patient work until they could bring in the patient's cleric or religious authority to provide reassurance and support to the patient.

There is considerable overlap in the work of the psychoanalyst, or any psychotherapist, and the work of clergy and religious authorities. This is contingent on the level of training of the cleric or religious authority. And the more clinical training and experience a religious authority has, the more overlap there is. Most all religious authorities function as counselors at some level of expertise, but only the most experienced function with the discipline approaching that of a trained psychoanalyst.

Freud said once that all he did was make connections - mostly connections of course with the unconscious. The psychoanalyst is the consummate maker of connections. Of course, like clergy they also teach. But unlike most clergy, they are highly disciplined in separating their teaching from their analytical work with patients.

What most struck me at the APsaA meeting was seeing that analysts are doing exactly what we are doing when we are at our best, but doing it without any identifiable religious allegiance. Where we as religious authorities straddle two worlds, religion and psychotherapy, they attend professionally only to one. But the wisdom and healing they seek and promote is congruent with the wisdom and healing we also work to promote.

I found it quite humbling as well as inspiring to sit in seminars where psychoanalysts of many decades of experience shared their patient work with groups of colleagues, friends and strangers, leaving themselves open to professional critique. The astonishing humility of an analyst of several decades experience laying his or her patient work before a group of peers, and to be reminded of the distorting effects countertransference in relation to their patients, was an eye-opener to me. I left the conference with highest respect for many of the analysts I saw in action. That sort of professional humility we see too little of in our own community.

The break-out groups at our own Plenary meetings should be given a clearer, more explicit injunction, that the small group assignment is not only to share clinical work, but in doing so specifically to prepare to engage one's own countertransferences. While that injunction has been implicit all along, I believe we should make it more explicit, especially after my experience at the APsaA meeting.

Countertransference is the viper in all counseling and psychotherapy. It is the perpetual lure toward imposing on the patient/parishioner/client one's own values and prejudices as opposed to providing a maieutic context in which the other might experience, grow and prosper. No one is exempt from this snare.

The great psychiatrist, Wilfred Bion, proposed that the therapist begin work with a patient "without memory or desire." These words are a monument to the highest respect a professional can give to a client. They signal the intention to impose nothing external on the client, but simply to relate to and explicate what one sees. Such a posture requires extraordinary courage from the therapist, the kind of courage that therapists are not always ready to muster. It also makes the therapeutic encounter an uncertain one, both in terms of direction and results. Which leads me to recall another Bion saying, that the therapeutic encounter consists of the meeting of two frightened animals, one hopefully less so than the other.

Many religious authorities have considerable resistance to playing a therapeutic role in the lives of persons under their purview. They are too busy teaching and passing on religious content - the catechism, the Torah, or whatever. Such teaching is of course part of the religious leader's mandate. (Indeed, psychoanalysts also teach psychoanalysis.) But the limitations of such a job description, and the relative emptiness of such a job description in relation to suffering people often never occurs to clergy.

We in CPSP are committed to authentic therapeutic work in addition to whatever teaching we engage in. The psychoanalytic community as exemplified in the APsaA offers itself as a significant ally as well as a valuable resource.

Donald Capps, emeritus professor of pastoral counseling at Princeton, in his seminal work in 2008, Jesus as Village Psychiatrist, makes the case for Jesus as a healer in the Freudian vein. Capps' work is obligatory for all religious professionals. In Capps reading, Jesus was a religious authority who functioned with the skills of a psychoanalyst, and brought about cures startlingly similar to Freud’s.

Anton Boisen, the founder of the clinical pastoral movement, in the midst of his psychiatric hospitalization in 1920, recognized the need for a psychoanalytically informed ear through which he might be able to sort out his tormented life. Ironically, the psychiatrists to whom he was assigned were contemptuous of Sigmund Freud and his theories. Boisen was thwarted in his own attempts to get transferred to a hospital where Freudian therapists were on staff. Boisen sought someone to listen to him as he attempted to probe his own tormented history and inner life. He seems never to have found such a therapist. What he accomplished, he accomplished on his own, through a kind of self-analysis, and it was seemingly a partial resolution only. That Boisen remained devoted all his life to the replica of his punitive mother, the withholding and sexually repressed Alice Batchelder, indicates the failure of his therapy, or his lack thereof. However, even in his damaged condition, Boisen knew what suffering people need, and he knew what therapists needed to do to assist them. "It's not what the counselor says to the boy," Boisen famously and inimitably said. "It's what the boy says to the counselor." It's not what the therapist says to the patient, but what the patient says to the therapist. It's not what the minister says to the parishioner, but what the parishioner says to the minister.

The psychoanalytic community is committed to "the talking cure." They are contemporary specialists in the meaning of talk, and the meaning that can be discovered through talk. We who are pastoral counselors and pastoral psychotherapists need the psychoanalytic community as allies and resource persons. They are very much our colleagues.

Raymond J. Lawrence, D.Min.
CPSP General Secretary

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 8:55 AM