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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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July 28, 2014

Consensus Decision-Making: CPSP History and Tradition by George Hull

The business of CPSP has for the past 25 years been conducted with goodwill, collaboration, and a sincere desire to serve on the part of our leadership. That does not mean to say that we have not had our tensions and conflicts. We are certainly not an organization without faults. However, we are an organization that has flourished and with a remarkable diversity, all the while being served in leadership by those who receive no compensation for their time and work.

For two decades and more, CPSP has maintained a tradition of consensus decision-making.

When conflicts have arisen, they have been resolved through discussion, debate and collaboration. In making decisions in the Governing Council, we do not vote. This is why it is of concern that Ed Outlaw and the Nominating Committee are recommending to “...lay aside the By-Laws provision that all CPSP decision making will be by consensus, declare this to be a bonafide election with the majority vote being accepted method of selection. “ of new officers.

Voting is Divisive

In the main, when groups vote using the majority rule principle or Parliamentary Procedure, a competitive dynamic evolves within the group because it is being asked to select between two or more possibilities. In this dynamic it is as acceptable to attack and diminish an opposing viewpoint as it is to promote and endorse one’s own position on a given issue. The goal and object of voting is to defeat the opposing viewpoints by a majority and means acting on a 51-49 decision. Even an 80-20 division can be divisive in a community, especially if those who carry the vote want above all else to carry the day.

This is especially problematic when there are complex or multiple issues involved. Establishing consensus requires expressing an opinion in terms other than a choice (a vote) between stated options. It requires one to expand on the reasoning behind the belief, addressing the points that others have left, until all may come to a mutually agreeable solution.

Consensus is not Unanimity

Parliamentary Procedure ensures that the majority opinion carries the day in a manner that supersedes the concerns and desires of the minority.

While a vote “feels” better for people who see the issue as either “black” or “white,” in most cases voting serves to undermine discussion and discourse. In the worst case, it may cause participants not to civilly engage with the other voters, but merely instead to choose camps. By polarizing discussion and raising the stakes, serving an issue up for a vote may contribute to a breakdown in civility, making a discussion of controversial issues extremely acrimonious. Consensus decision making is neither an air-tight process, nor a guarantee of success. It is simply the best known approach for hearing out what is often the most difficult thing to hear, contrary opinions.

Rather than “laying aside” the long history of CPSP consensus decision-making in favor of a majority rule, it is my hope that we will continue to uphold the values and traditions of CPSP that have served us well and nurtured us in all of our decision making.

Let us continue to be a community of consensus decision-making where every voice is heard, as we hold significant the relationships among ourselves, rather than “declaring a bona fide election with the majority vote being the accepted method of selection” as Ed Outlaw and his Committee requests.

Removing consensus decision making would radically change the very nature of who we are in CPSP.

George Hull

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 4:06 PM

July 23, 2014

Rev. Dr. William C. Scar Named CPSP President-Elect


The Leadership Team has named the Rev. Dr. William C. Scar President-Elect, effective immediately. This appointment is subject to ratification at the next meeting of the Governing Council. He was nominated by the Pacific Chapter.

Bill has been a CPSP Diplomate Psychotherapist for twenty-three years, having joined CPSP in the early years. He also holds Diplomate credentials with AAPC and Supervisory credentials with AAMFT. He trained at the Menninger Foundation.

He has had a distinguished career, founding Samaritan Counseling Centers in Cincinnati and Los Angeles, as well as a Lutheran mission congregation. He is our first Lutheran President. He is scheduled to take office as President for a two year term at the 2015 Plenary.


William Scar

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 5:30 PM

July 15, 2014

Fall 2014 National Clinical Training Seminar-East Announced


NCTS Fall 2014 at the beautiful Loyola Retreat Center in Morristown, New Jersey!

Date: November 10-11, 2014


Featured leadership for the seminar are three Tavistock practitioners who are members of the New York Chapter of the A. K. Rice Institute. They will conduct the group relations seminars. In addition, the design of the 2014 Fall NCTS will explore both theory and practice as related to the large group experience.

Historically NCTS-East has demonistrated its commitment to the immense value of Tavistock to those dedicated to the clinical pastoral field with Raymond Lawrence as group relations consultant. The three visiting consultants from the A. K. Rice Institute will be Howard Friedman, Jennifer Lee, and Frank Marrocco. They will offer two two group events along with discussion and review of the theory and reflection on the practice.

This event is open to Diplomates/Clinical Pastoral Education Supervisors, Psychotherapists, Pastoral Counselors, Chaplains and others who may have an interest in group process.

As always, we will have time for small group process. Please be prepared to present a clinical case and/or other relevant clinical material.

For CPSP members the cost of the seminar is $150. For non-members: $200.00.

Important: Please download the The Large Group Experience as it will provide an overall view of the agenda for NCTS-East participants.

DOWNLOAD: ">The Large Group Experience file



Francine Hernandez

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 4:23 PM

July 2, 2014

CPSP People in the News: TED TAYLOR


Gabrielle Urciuoli authored an article for NJ.COM featuring Ted Taylor, Director of Pastoral Care & Training at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton as "A modern-day hospital chaplain makes his rounds at RWJ in Hamilton". The author quotes Taylor saying, “The focus is listening...noting that this is especially important when it comes to end-of-life decisions. Sometimes it’s just being with people. Allowing people to be scared.”

The article makes note of the fact that in order to address the demands of chaplain services he directs a training program of CPE Interns, largely from Princeton Theological Seminary, who provide 24/7 clinical chaplain services.

To read the complete article, click here.

Chaplain Tedford J. Taylor, MDiv, BCCC, FHPC
Diplomate in Pastoral Supervision (CPSP)
Director of Pastoral Care & Training
RWJ University Hospital Hamilton
One Hamilton Health Place
Hamilton, New Jersey 08690

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 6:12 PM