Pastoral Report Articles 

  • 14 Oct 2015 5:00 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    In his recent piece here, our dear colleague Belen Gonzalez y Perez offers a truism: “All politically charged circumstances have a historical antecedent.” That is of course undoubteIdly true. It is not entirely clear, however, whether he is referring to circumstances today or those at the time of the publication of the famous (infamous?) 2001 White Paper on professional chaplaincy.

    If his intended reference is to a decade and a half ago, back when the White Paper was written and the College of Pastoral Supervision was barely a decade old, not even an adolescent in the life cycle of an organization, and our membership was very small, the politically charged circumstances were quite different from ones today.  Distrust and acrimony was still fresh in the pastoral care world ten years after the founding of this reform movement of ours.  Many believed and more than a few hoped that CPSP would not survive. Very few imagined it would thrive. The fact that some ignored CPSP and others shunned and made every effort to marginalize it – as some still do – was combined with the the fact that CPSP did not (and rightly still does not) see itself as an organization with promoting spiritual care in healthcare as its main focus.  

    If Belen was referring to circumstances now rather than nearly 15 years ago, well, these are indeed very different times. The White Paper is in many ways out of date, an artifact of a times past. Those who hold onto it like a sort of manifesto or sheaf of identity papers risk looking and sounding anachronistic. The document is there, but does anyone really treat it with reverence like a sacred text or set it out as a master plan? Only those very few who are unable to move into the present. Since it was written, CPSP membership has tripled. While remaining true to our Covenant and to the original vision of the founders we have demonstrated that both our standards and the quality of our training are on par with that of our cognate group colleagues, while remaining philosophically distinctly different. CPSP sits at the same table as ACPE, APC, NACC and what was formerly known as NAJC in HealthCare chaplaincy meetings. Our leadership and the leaders of other cognate groups respectfully communicate and occasionally collaborate. We have come a long way.

    The fact is that we are different and intentionally so. We in CPSP approach the work of pastoral care differently from those who 15 years ago decided to marshal their combined energies and resources to advance a professional chaplaincy agenda in healthcare. There is a history to this that is tied to Boisen (and Cabot), to the Council (and the Institute), to New York (and New England). Sadly, most of that history is entirely unknown or mostly misunderstood today.  It is important for all of us, and especially those of us in CPSP, to be who we are and not try to conflate our identity with that of others for the sake of a hoped-for legitimacy and indispensible role in healthcare institutions. 

    I’m afraid that in Belen’s eagerness to improve the status of CPSP by including us in a diverse array of professional chaplaincy organizations – including military, police, prison, veterans, and others – who he would like to see recognized by those who crafted the White Paper he inadvertently does a disservice to all. “Chaplain” can refer to anyone doing ministry outside the setting of a faith community. A “professional chaplain” can be anyone who makes a living doing such ministry or even someone who ministers in a specialized setting whether they get paid for it or not. By background, training and particular qualifications, professional chaplains are a very diverse bunch. 

    Those who have been trained and certified as chaplains by CPSP are professionals but that is not what distinguishes or defines us. Our distinctive is that we are clinical chaplains, and ones of a particular sort in the tradition of Anton Boisen who founded the clinical pastoral movement.  We are trained and certified in a particular way, using an engaged, action-reflection model of learning, in hopes of helping others to find meaning and purpose in the midst of their crisis, distress, loss or grief.  We do share the same form, if not always the same substance and aims, as the professional organizations that a decade and a half ago were signatories to the White Paper.  

    Instead of advocating for a broader definition and more inclusive recognition of professional chaplains, we should foster a greater understanding and mutual appreciation of our distinct differences, especially among others who claim to be sharers in the clinical pastoral tradition. Today and moving forward it will be on the basis of our uniqueness, nurtured and expressed, that CPSP’s rightful claim to acceptance and legitimacy will lie – among those in healthcare chaplaincy but most importantly among those persons who are in need of a chaplain.

    David Roth, PhD

  • 12 Oct 2015 12:00 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    All politically charged circumstances have a historical antecedent. Two decades ago, many of you might remember a document called  A White Paper: Professional Chaplaincy—Its Role and Importance in Health Care  by Larry VandeCreek and Laurel Burton, eds., (The Journal of Pastoral Care, Spring 2001, Vol. 55, No. 1).  An extraordinary political statement was made that set the tempo for years to come within professional chaplaincy in North America.  The document states: 

    In North America Chaplains are certified by at least one of the national organizations that sponsored this paper and are recognized by the Joint Commission for Accreditation of Pastoral Care.  (p. 85)

    • Association of Professional Chaplains
    • Association for Clinical pastoral Education
    • Canadian Association for Pastoral Practice and Education
    • National Association of Catholic Chaplains 
    • National Association of Jewish Chaplains

    Not only is the statement politically charged because it clearly draws a line in the sand, declaring those that remain part of their associations’ membership to be professional chaplains; they also pretend themselves to be the only accreditors that matter in professional chaplaincy in North America. The organizations that authored A White Paper are categorically mistaken and on its face it is a political grab for influence in the chaplaincy profession, whether done consciously or not by the represented collaborators.

    Besides the simple fact that there were other organizations in North American professional chaplaincy that remained nameless in the document and were glossed over and treated as invisible to non-existent, those “invisible” organizations are real and credible and train, certify, endorse, and appoint professional chaplains and pastoral counselors throughout the country and abroad. The following are samples of unnamed organizations with professional chaplains and pastoral counselors:

    • Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA
    • Department of Veterans Affairs Chaplains
    • Veterans Affairs National Black Chaplains Association
    • The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy
    • American Association of Pastoral Counselors
    • Civil Air Patrol Chaplaincy  Corp
    • Department of Defense Military Chaplains 
    • Federal Bureau of Prison Chaplains
    • International Conference of Police Chaplains

    To presume that these other organizations do not have a professional chaplaincy is to be misinformed at the least and in denial at the most. Unfortunately, the dated mass circulation of A White Paper: Professional Chaplaincy (2001) throughout the U.S. hospital system and denominational landscapes gave the impression that the document`s statements were accurate and true. Nevertheless, the politicized statements remain untrue and mistaken to the thinking reader that takes the time to check the facts.

    As with all half-truths, they can take on a life of their own and spin-off to create bias against professional chaplains and pastoral counselors unrepresented by the collaborating organizations listed in A White Paper.

    It is certainly true that a response to A White Paper was circulated soon after its publication.  Unfortunately, the challenge presented could not compete with the mass circulation of A White Paper that was funded by a financial grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. As with political campaign propaganda, if you have more money, you can buy more time and reach a greater audience with your message. There is no difference here. Financially backed propaganda always gets their message out the loudest to shape the public opinion.

    It remains incumbent on the rest of the professional chaplains and pastoral counselors to continue to challenge the goliath coalitions that would spread mistaken and untruthful statements and “studies” to maintain their political agendas throughout the professional chaplaincy landscape. 

    To the outsiders such as hospital and other institutional administrators that hire chaplains, studies like A White Paper might appear innocuous to them; but to the livelihood of many professional chaplains who work throughout the country they are far from harmless.

    The political ramifications of A White Paper and the goliath coalitions that sponsored it has resulted in the establishment of a presumptive gatekeeping coalition as the authoritative arbitrators of what and who constitutes the professional chaplaincy. This posture remains ethically untenable, grossly arbitrary, and unfaithful to the religious tenets that encourage practitioners to behave and act with decency and justice toward others.  

    I, for one, do not desire to remain silent in light of the professional assault that continues against our honorable profession. I encourage you to continue being prophetic for justice and bring to light what is hidden, and not to become complicit as silent collaborators in our silently politicized profession.


    The Rev. Dr. Belen Gonzalez y Perez, CPSP Diplomate

  • 08 Oct 2015 5:00 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    The Reverend Doctor Willard W.C. Ashley, Sr.

    The Board of Trustees of the Commission for the Accreditation of Pastoral and Psychotherapy Training announces the addition of a member to the board. The Reverend Doctor Willard W.C. Ashley, Sr., Dean of the faculty and Professor of Pastoral Care at New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Brunswick, N.J. was elected to the board at its meeting on September 30, 2015. The CAPPT website, at, has Dr. Ashley's complete biography.

  • 04 Oct 2015 3:00 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    East and West National Clinical Training Seminars this fall will offer two different Group Relations Events:

    “Roles, Boundaries, and Vulnerability in Care-Providing Institutions” and

    “Leadership and Membership in Diverse Organizations”

    In our ongoing program to expose CPSP members to the Group Relations methodology -- a foundational resource for all pastoral caregivers -- we are offering two Group Relations events this Fall, one at the National Clinical Training Seminar (NCTS)-West and one at NCTS-East. 

    Jack Lampl

    The West Coast event in Sacramento, CA, October 18-20, is a full residential conference which is the basic method of learning and experiencing group relations work in a deeply transformational way. Of great value to all pastoral caregivers, participating in such a conference is a requirement for all supervisors-in-training.

    ("Conference" as used in Group Relations describes an intensive experiential workshop of three or more days in length. It is not a conference as typically understood that would feature topical speakers and panel discussions.)

    Howard Friedman

    The East Coast event in Morristown, NJ, November 2-3, will provide four hours of the experiential events included in a group relations conferences and some didactic elements.  The program is a learning opportunity, and may serve as an introduction to aspects of group relations work.  

    Both events are staffed by experienced group relations consultants affiliated with the A. K. Rice Institute.

    See the links below for more information about the two different events.

    West Coast Conference “Roles, Boundaries, and Vulnerability in Care-Providing Institutions”

    East Coast Program “Leadership and Membership in Diverse Organizations”



    Jack Lampl, past president of the AK Rice Institute for the Study of Social Systems and GREX, the West Coast AK Rice affiliate

    Howard Friedman, president, New York Center for the Study of Groups and Social Systems, the New York AK Rice affiliate

  • 01 Oct 2015 11:30 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Today, October 1st, 2015, is the 50th anniversary of the death of Anton T. Boisen (1876-1965), founder of the clinical pastoral movement. 

    Without Boisen, no one would be doing clinical chaplaincy today. 

    Because of him, we who are clinically trained in pastoral care, counseling and psychotherapy are able to help others to find meaning and purpose in the midst of crisis, distress, loss and grief.

    --David Roth

    NB: The photo of Boisen's grave at Chicago Theological Seminary was taken at the time of the CPSP Plenary in March this year.

  • 28 Sep 2015 8:37 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    A Group Relations Program at the NCTS Conference

    The National Clinical Training Seminar - East will meet November 2 - 3, 2015 at the Loyola Retreat Center, Morristown, New Jersey. The Theme is: Leadership and Membership in Diverse Organizations.

    This program provides opportunities for experiential, didactic and reflective learning. A  group relations lens is the starting point for our work together.  The program will move through several types of group meetings.  

    Program Events

    Opening gathering & presentation:  As the initial event of the program, the Opening involves all members and staff.  The Program Director will introduce the task, provide a brief theoretical framework for our work, and review the events.  Consulting staff will introduce themselves.   

    Preview and Review Application Groups: These smaller discussion groups have two tasks. The first task (Preview Group) is to begin working toward an understanding of the program as a whole, while locating oneself within the program system. The second task (Review Group) is to begin the process of applying program learning to back-home situations.  Each group will work with one consultant. 

    The Large Study Group: All members and staff of the program will meet together in a here and now format. The primary task is for members to study their own behavior as it occurs and evolves.  The Large Study Group meets in a configuration where face-to-face contact is difficult, if not impossible. The formation includes inner, middle and outer rings of participants. Members are free to explore questions about leadership and authority, membership and participation, sub-group formation, issues of social identity, as they emerge.  

    Program Discussion: This brief event, following the second Large Study Group, provides members and staff an opportunity to reflect together on our experience.  A goal of the Program Discussion is to construct a group as a whole picture of our learning, from the full program.  


    Howard A. Friedman, PhD, Program Director. Psychologist, clinical practice and organizational consultation; Adjunct Faculty, Department of Applied Psychology, New York University; President, New York Center, A.K. Rice Institute; Fellow, A.K. Rice Institute.

    Frank Marrocco, PhD, Consultant. Clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst, and organizational consultant. Faculty and co-chair LGBT Study Group & Clinical Service, William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis & Psychology.  Vice President, New York Center, A. K. Rice Institute; Board Member, A. K. Rice Institute.

     Kimberley A. Turner, PhD, M.Div., Consultant.  Associate Minister, Metropolitan Baptist Church, Washington, DC; Program Manager, D.C. Department of Health; Past President, the Washington-Baltimore Center for the Study of Group Relations, and Associate, A.K. Rice Institute. 

    Download: NCTS-East Registration Form

    NCTS-East Fall Schedule_2015.pdf

    See previous announcement for details.

  • 23 Sep 2015 6:57 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    William Alberts, Phd published an article in CounterPunch.ORG: A Lesson From Animals About Being Humane: 

    Boots, a Katrina Hurricane survivor, is an almost 13-year-old male Golden Retriever-Chow mix, who socializes 5 to 8 weeks-old motherless kittens at the Arizona Humane Society. Boots’ canineness invites the kittens to rub noses with him, snuggle up to him, and lay beside– and even on top of– him. His inborn, tail-wagging friendliness helps the kittens to overcome their fear and guardedness that comes from abandonment and isolation. (See “Boots, a Hurricane Katrina Survivor, Gives Back as a Kitten Nanny,” By Heather Marcoux, Dogster, Aug. 26, 2015)

    These animals have a lot to show us human beings about being humane. Boots does not teach the kittens how to be cats; they already know that! And their adoption of him as their nanny does not make him any less a male dog; he already knows that. It is not about one being required to become like the other to reinforce the other’s rightness, dominance and security.   It is about the other’s emotional security that enables one to be—and to become—all that the one is. The greatly needed lesson for us human beings: Boots does not teach the kittens how to bark, but to regain their inborn naturalness to purr. Caring is about honoring and protecting other people’s right to be who they are, rather than requiring them to be like us. It is about The Golden Rule: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew7: 12, NIV)

    Dr. Alberts applies the reality about the accepting nature of a a beloved dog to the issue of same sex marriage. I agree with him on both counts. For sure, our animals have a lot to teach us, especially about grace. Listen and watch our animals.  We might become more humane, especially in the face of differences. 

    William Alberts, a CPSP Diplomate, really seems to know his biblical scripture. 

    Read the Article

    Perry Miller, Editor


    Rev. William E. Alberts, Ph.D., a former hospital chaplain at Boston Medical Center, is both a Unitarian Universalist and United Methodist minister. His new book, The Counterpunching Minister (who couldn’t be “preyed” away) is now published and available on The book’s Foreword, Drawing the Line, is written by Counterpunch editor, Jeffrey St. Clair. Alberts is also author of A Hospital Chaplain at the Crossroads of Humanity, which “demonstrates what top-notch pastoral care looks like, feels like, maybe even smells like,” states the review in the Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling. His e-mail address is

  • 21 Sep 2015 10:00 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Pastoral Institute Names New CEO

    The Ledger-Inquirer recent published an article featuring Thomas Waynick, a member of the  Fort Belvoir CPSP Chapter and a Diplomate in Pastoral Psychotherapy and Clinical Pastoral Supervision. He was named chief executive officer of the Pastoral Institute in  Columbus, Georgia.

    Marie Moshell, chair of the institute’s board of trustees stated:

    Tom’s unique experience in supervising counselors and working with clergy makes him an ideal match for the Pastoral Institute,” she said in the news release. “We are excited about his immense skill set and expertise shaping a very bright future for the Pastoral Institute.

    The artice continues:

    Waynick also holds a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Central Texas University and a Master of Strategic Studies from the Army War College. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Louisiana, a diplomate in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, a diplomate in the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy, and a clinical member and approved supervisor of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

    It looks like a great match for both the Institute and Thomas Waynick.

    Perry Miller, Editor


  • 19 Sep 2015 10:38 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Recently, I have been talking with a number of military chaplains. Many have never had even one unit of CPE although they would like to.  They know that clinical pastoral training would benefit their ministry but for a variety of reasons haven’t had the opportunity.

    Taking the initiative themselves, a small group of mostly military chaplains is preparing to launch a CPE unit in association with a nearby seminary which has never before offered CPE (but with CPSP’s consumer-friendly approach it was doable).  Another is in his second extended unit at a community hospital.  His CPSP CPE Supervisor, along with the manager of the chaplaincy department, made an exception to tradition and generously allowed him to forego pastoral duties at the hospital and, instead, he is using his military unit as a clinical site.

    It occurred to me as a former Army Chaplain, both Active Duty and Reserve, and currently the chaplaincy endorser for my faith community, that this scenario and these chaplains and their stories are most likely not rare, isolated cases.  

    That’s why, with the encouragement of SP community to help us get a better idea of how CPE is being deployed now -- and how we may be able to approach it more creatively within the military community.  

    Specifically, over the next two or three weeks, I’m asking members of the CPSP community to identify themselves if:

    1.  You are military of any component (Active, Guard, Reserve or Former or Retired) and have taken a unit or more of CPE. If so, perhaps you have a story that you’re willing to share about your CPE experience; or

    2.  You are a CPE Diplomate and live near a military installation or military activity and may be willing to allow military chaplains to use their usual ministry contexts as their clinical site (or at least entertain the possibility); or

    3. You are conducting internet-based CPE and are working or have worked with military chaplains (or interested in possibly doing so).

    You can contact me at  I look forward to hearing from you and learning from your experiences, anecdotes and creativity!

    Dave Plummer

  • 18 Sep 2015 12:02 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    The Pastoral Report took notice of a recent news release posted on the Commission for the Accreditation of Pastoral and Psychotherapy Training (CAPPT) website that is relevant to all CPSP Clinical Pastoral Education and Pastoral Psychotherapy training centers. 

    CAPPT is offering a grandparenting path to all CPSP training centers accredited prior to the founding of CAPPT.

    Read below:

    Commission for the Accreditation of Pastoral and Psychotherapy Training (CAPPT)

    To Implement Grandparenting Review of CPSP Accredited Training Programs.

    Brian H. Childs, Chair of the Board of Trustees of CAPPT, announced a grandparenting program for CPSP training programs accredited by CPSP prior to the founding of CAPPT as an independent accrediting agency. At its August meeting the CAPPT board came to a consensus to review all CPSP accredited programs accredited from 2011 through March of 2015. A positive review of such training programs will result in CAPPT accreditation for the remainder of the training program seven (7) year status of accreditation. Every training program must be re-evaluated according to the Accreditation Manual after a seven year term.

    The CAPPT review will consist of a thorough review of a training program’s site visit report and other supporting documents. The materials will be provided to CAPPT by the CPSP Accreditation Team. The review will entail an evaluation of how the programs adhere to the letter and spirit of the standards for training and other requirements as found in the Accreditation Manual. CAPPT will not evaluate programs that do not supply all of the required documents. Currently there are ten (10) programs under grandparenting review.

    CAPPT is offering a unique but time limited opportunity for CPSP training centers.

    Perry Miller, Editor