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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, 2013



It is with great sadness that I report to you that Myron Madden in entering hospice care at his home in Slidell, Louisiana. Myron has been such a monumental influence in CPSP, and indeed in the entire clinical pastoral world, that it is painful to see him in decline.

If you wish to send condolences to his wife Anne, the address is 805 Jefferson Court, Slidell, LA 70458 or you can Email:

Raymond Lawrence, General Secretary

Raymond Lawrence, General Secretary

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 11:08 AM

May 22, 2013



The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP) is pleased to offer the National Clinical Training Seminar West (NCTS-West) this year near Sacramento, California, at the beautiful Passionist Retreat Center, a peaceful location with lush grounds and a relaxing environment. NCTS-West will be held Sept. 8-10, 2013.


NCTS–West is open to clinical chaplains, pastoral counselors and psychotherapists, supervisors-in-training, clinical pastoral trainees, and training supervisors. Members of new CPSP chapters and especially those in the West are strongly encouraged to attend. The design of the NCTS this year is based on the small-group experience where all participants are expected to bring and share clinical material for consultation with their peers under the care of CPSP diplomats and supervisors. In addition, there will be a Tavistock group experience that will be of value both at the training and as a take-away for participants' chapters. A special Supervisor-in-Training only session will follow dinner on Sunday evening.


The fee for the two-day training is $210 per person for a shared room and $270 for a single room. The price includes five meals from dinner Sunday through breakfast on Tuesday. There will be a box lunch available for purchase on Tuesday to take with you to the last meetings of the day or for your travel home.


We encourage all participants to arrive on Sunday afternoon between 1pm and 3pm. Depending on interest, we can assist with the arrangement of a shuttle. Please make your travel arrangements early, and we will do what we can to facilitate transportation logistics.


Use the link below to reserve your space at the training. Contact Cynthia Olson,, with questions. Registration fees will be refunded, minus any electronic registration fees, for cancellation notices received prior to August 8, 2013.

More information and online registration: National Clinical Training Seminar–West click HERE.

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 10:59 AM

May 21, 2013

An Unexpected Journey by Dante’ L. Shelton

<img There was an awesome movie that everyone in America was talking about, “Forrest Gump.” The title character in that film, Forrest, was credited with the following quote, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.” You get the imagery of opening a box of chocolates, biting into a piece, and being shocked at what’s inside. Life is that way, full of surprises. And, unlike the chocolates, life may hold a surprise or two that can not only slow your roll, but stop you dead in your tracks. When that happens, what you wish for is a fellow traveler who is walking alongside you, accompanying you on your journey, someone who cares when life’s unexpected setbacks come your way.

Because Forrest Gump was a movie, I wonder if many people stopped to ponder the meaning behind this quotation. Cinema and literature often speak to life and truth in ways that most people fail to grasp. A movie is often most touching when it hits closest to home, and songs often bring tears when they strike a chord within our hearts. Nothing in life is guaranteed, and for many people, life is not smooth sailing on calm seas but sailing on rough seas. Many of the things that we as human beings struggle with can be found in a favorite song, movie or book; but we rarely make the connection between fiction and non-fiction. As fellow travelers in life, we are all connected in our humanity, and struggle to find meaning in our lives.

Life is full of unexpected turns and twists that often leave us wondering why. Why the deaths, why the tragedy, why the heartache, why all of the pain, why did I make that decision, why did God allow this to happen, why is the devil attacking me, why, why and why? For many of us, those questions remain unanswered and we have learned to live with not knowing why. Our patients and staff also face these same concerns of family, money, healthcare, deaths, etc. Many of the patients may ask, “Why this diagnosis? Why me? Why won’t my family call more often? Why can’t I go home?” Once again, the unexpected circumstances of life often leave us all lost and searching for answers.

This is where the clinically trained chaplain has filled an essential role to patients and staff in the psychiatric institution. The chaplain is present to be a fellow traveler in life, so that our patients and staff know that they are not alone in their despair and their search for answers. As fellow travelers on this journey, clinical chaplains come along side and provide a caring pastoral presence that is neutral, and nonjudgmental. Neutral, in not taking sides, and nonjudgmental, in not judging the patients or staff members situation, appearance, vocabulary, diagnosis or religious preference.

Clinical chaplains stand and bear witness to the patients and staff members’ life in their moment of distress. We are listening to the metaphors, and learning about who the patient or staff member is as a person. Working from the narrative perspective, we are able to hear the stories of their life and hear where the pain is, while allowing the person to work through his or her problems. Over the course of time, a relationship is formed and the patient or staff member opens up about the struggles of a new diagnosis, being confined, feeling abandoned or a changing family dynamic.

One thing that is clear throughout all of the religious faiths and traditions: We should all be full of grace, mercy and compassion to those that are less fortunate. Clinical chaplains are trained to deal with the issues of despair, loss, grief and tragedy. As our patients and staff encounter the various issues of life and the emotions that follow, as clinically trained chaplains, we want them to know that they are not alone. They have a fellow traveler to accompany them on the unexpected journey we call life.

Chaplain Resident Dante’ L. Shelton
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Little Rock, Arkansas

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 9:46 AM

May 9, 2013

What is Marriage? By T.C. Houston, M.Div

<img Marriage: A Historical Word with Postmodern Meaning

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”
2 Tim. 4:3

As a veteran and military chaplain I’ve done my share of running. I’ll never forget a particular morning with my unit when we had to run this hill by our barracks. We ran up and down, up and down several times. While standing at the top waiting for the final whistle signaling us to run down for the last time I can still recall the anticipation, it was almost over, my legs ached, and my stomach grumbled with hunger. The only vision playing in my head was the thought of the bottom, of breakfast, a shower, and rest. Then I heard the whistle blow and off I ran. With a passionate zeal I ran, my eyes fixed on the utopia I’d created in my mind of pancakes with strawberry jelly… yum. I pushed hard and fast- too fast. My mind, my goals, my body, had gotten too far ahead of my feet. Down to the ground I fell. Smack, roll, crash, and pain. I’d tried to go too far too fast and I paid the price.

If one were to reflect over the “progress” that our global culture has made through the human era they might find a relatively slow rate of development, that is, right up until this last millennia. The recent “progress” has been intense and the rate of change has been unparalleled. My prayer is that the collegial and professional growth of CPSP doesn’t get ahead of itself, risking a fall down the hill. Without assuming too much my guess would be that most members could trace their faith traditions back thousands of years. Let us not forget our history for the sake of the future.

A collegial group such as CPSP might benefit internally and become an even greater benefit to those served if discourse about new ideas were brought more into the light. There is a trend in postmodern ministry to jump from bandwagon to bandwagon, movement to movement without discourse of context or forethought. Due diligence is essential to healthy growth.

Therefore, I pose a few questions; when did marriage become the sole capstone to love? When did dating come into the picture? I assure you it wasn’t always this way. Historically, marriage wasn’t solely a love event. Yet, in at least two Pastoral Report articles the justification for anyone to get married was made based on love alone. Since when in faith communities was love the ONLY aspect of marriage?

When was marriage taken from the faith community and given to the legal community, or the emotional realm for that matter? When did ecclesiology, tradition, society, culture and more get removed from the marital equation?

I’m not asking these questions out of spite but rather genuinely to learn. It’s my ministerial prayer that I forever remain a “B” student with something to learn rather than the “A” student who has it all figured out. Please help me understand CPSP’s definition of marriage.

Historically marriage has served a multitude of purposes and identities, a social declaration of a contract, a political alliance, a profession of romantic love, a legal contract, and even a tax break option. Where does marriage stand today? To some it remains a spiritual and religious act that is also a legal status in society. To others it’s only spiritual, and still others only secular.

If marriage is solely religious/spiritual the government has no business (according to the First Amendment) granting legal benefit to marriage anymore than granting tax breaks to those who took communion last week. If marriage is solely secular, then the sexual orientation of the couple is irrelevant.

The question remains, “what is marriage?”

Brothers and sisters in ministry and education please teach me how CPSP had declared a stance on something that remains undefined.

With sheer respect I submit these notes.

T.C. Houston, M.Div
Staff Chaplain
Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan
3520 W. Oxford Ave.
Denver, CO 80236
Office: 303-866-7078 Fax: 303-866-7107

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 1:29 PM

May 5, 2013

Doctoral Program Will Admit a New Class Starting Fall, 2013


The Institute for Psychodynamic Pastoral Supervision is excited to announce that it will admit a new cohort of students to its doctoral programs beginning with a Summer Intensive Week of Studies to be held August 18-23, 2013 at Avila Retreat Center in Durham, North Carolina.

This week of face-to-face studies will focus on group formation, group theory, intercultural theory and clinical case conferences. The main group theorists studied will be two prime movers at the Tavistock in London: W.R. Bion, and S.H. Foulkes. Intercultural theorists include Melinda McGarrah Sharp and Clifford Geertz.

Response to workshops and announcements about the IPPS doctoral programs has been so positive that the faculty has decided it will be necessary to admit a second cohort of students beginning in the fall of 2013 in order to meet demand. Currently our first cohort of students who started in August of 2012 is nearing the end of their first academic year. A third cohort will be admitted in the fall of 2014 as previously planned and announced.

The IPPS faculty has also designed this summer’s Intensive Week of Studies to teach the class of 2012 concurrent with the incoming class of 2013. Each class will follow its own curriculum, but some group seminars and case conferences will meet conjointly. The goal of Summer Intensive Weeks of Study is for students to develop and enhance their competence in group leadership and supervision. This format will foster profound relationships and collegiality that have the potential to last a lifetime.

Application Deadline

The deadline for applications to be received is June 10, 2013. A faculty review of these applications will be conducted the following weekend so that admissions decisions can be finalized in time for students to make travel plans and begin study of assigned readings. For small group dynamics purposes the faculty plans to limit enrollment in this new cohort to eight students. One factor affecting student selections will be the order in which applications are received.

More Information

Persons interested in obtaining more information about these doctoral programs in clinical pastoral supervision can visit the IPPS website at Pay especial attention to the “Admissions” and “Academics” tabs for detailed information about prerequisites, application procedures, and curriculum. General information about Avila Retreat Center can be found at its website: After exploring both websites interested persons may contact Dr. David Franzen with questions or for more information at

- David Franzen
Contact Dr. David Franzen with questions or for more information at

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 9:54 PM

May 3, 2013

A Second Look at the Proclamation by Ron Fuhrman

I have been troubled by the proclamation made by our President and Executive Committee concerning same sex marriage. I am not here to debate the issues of same sex marriage but rather the issue of whether or not it was wise to make a statement for the entire organization when there are some in the membership that do not agree. CPSP has been a community that aspires to make space for a wide variety of viewpoints. I feel like someone else’s theological position is being forced on me.

Below, are two sections from the code of ethics in the standards which speak to our commitment to respect the individual beliefs of every member. I suggest we may be guilty of a violation of our own code of ethics and I appeal, for the sake of the organization, for a review of the proclamation. A better statement would be a reaffirmation of our respect for all persons and allow individual members to maintain their personal positions on the advisability of same sex marriage.

Professional ethics for CPSP are rooted in respect for all persons regardless of their race, gender, religion, ethnic origin, age, abilities or sexual orientation. In other words, who they are is the reason for our respect…

Colleagues, trainees, clients, parishioners, and patients deserve our respect. Therefore, members will not proselytize nor force their own theologies on others. CPSP members will refrain from exploiting relationships or using them to their own advantage. Exploitation includes emotional, financial, sexual, and/or social gain. (The Standards of the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy , 2012 CPSP Page 35 of 36.)

Ron Fuhrman
Fayetteville, Arkansas Chapter Convener

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 9:10 AM