Pastoral Report Articles 

  • 25 Jan 2016 12:28 AM | Anonymous

    “Amid the Complex Entanglements of Actual Life”:
    How Are Clinical Pastoral Chaplains to Gain Perspective?1

    I seek not
         the ready-made formulations contained in books. 

    I seek to make
         empirical studies – of 
              “living human documents” – particularly those who 
                   are breaking or 
                        have broken – in the midst of 
                             moral crisis – the 
                             inner day of judgment.

    I seek 
         the basis of spiritual healing in understanding the
              “living human documents” and their
              actual social conditions – in
                       all their complexity and in
                       all their elusiveness – respecting the
              tested insights of the wise and noble – of 
                       the past as well as of
                       the present.2


         We lack perspective … [in] our knowledge... and
         [we] are confused in our concepts. [Yet]
         we know more than we know we know.3 

    So, how are clinical pastoral chaplains to gain perspective? Both [Helen] Flanders Dunbar(1902-1959) and Anton Theophilus Boisen (1876-1965) gave similar answers – which is no great surprise since they worked as colleagues for a decade – and remained friends until the end. They said chaplains must study closely, intensely large numbers of people in both their social as well as in their psychological contexts

    Dunbar defined religion as “a technique ... for the handling of emotional life, particularly those emotions involved in the relation[ship] of the individual to the group” – as well as those emotions involved in the “evaluation of the ideal and the real”.  She noted that chaplains “must work with” “bringing about alterations” in a man’s or woman’s “external world” of social involvement as well as with his or her “inner world of … emotions and … goals”. Dunbar viewed chaplains’ task as one of “guiding” those who are suffering, bewildered, and vulnerable “in their adjustment to their total environment, outer and inner …”.4

    Similarly, Boisen defined religion as those experiences that promote “identification with … fellowship” that is “universal and abiding” – as well as those experiences that promote “unification with the finest potentialities of the human race”.5As far back as 1905, in forestry school, he picked up the notions of social ecology – of the mutual developmental relationships between a transitioning forest and its growing trees – between an environment and its organisms– between a society and what its individuals were trying to become. Around 1924, in the social work department at Worcester (MA) State Hospital, he further came to appreciate studying “the entire person in his [or her] social setting”.6One of the most arresting conclusions of Boisen’s research was that “crisis experiences … tend to set in motion forces which have the capacity to transform the personal and social life”.7Like the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy, Boisen’s focus was not just on training or on education but on transformation – clinical pastoral transformation – on both the personal and social levels. As Boisen pointed out, “The end of … all vital religious experience” is “the transformation of the personality” – in the context of a “quickened sense of fellowship”.8 

    Dunbar, as early as 1935, emphasized the public health aspect of clinical pastoral chaplaincy, noting that chaplains, like social workers, generally are welcomed into peoples’ homes – parts of their social contexts – “before illness has developed”.   That is, chaplains are able “to spot the first signs of incipient disease, physical or mental, before” these individuals have realized “even … the need of coming" for care.9 

    By 1936, in his second book, Boisen stated explicitly his focus on dealing “with the living human documents and with actual social conditions in all their complexity”. His third book, ten years later, specifically carried the subtitle, “the Co-operative Study of Personal Experience in Social Situations”.10

    This year’s Dunbar Awardee pointed out quite effectively, in a much quoted essay, that Boisen “had a two-fold objective for his case study method”.11 Boisen explicitly noted that he “sought to begin not with the ready-made formulations contained in books but with the living human documents and with actual social conditions in all their complexity”.12Let us repeat that yet again: “with the living human documents and with actual social conditions”. 

    As our awardee observed, many chaplaincy supervisors picked up on Boisen’s study of individuals’ internal experiences but missed his study of their important social external experiences.13Perhaps part of the problem has been that the notion of studying “the living human documents” – actually listening to those who were suffering, bewildered, or vulnerable – instead of just preaching at them – was so extraordinary that chaplaincy supervisors missed the second part of Boisen and Dunbar’s message, that attention must be paid to the social situation of those who are suffering, bewildered, and vulnerable.

    Perhaps another part of the problem has been that Boisen’s The Exploration of the Inner World …– including both its 1936 and 1952 editions – was read by far more pastors than hisReligion in Crisis and Custom …, published in 1955 – which was clearly subtitled, “A Sociological and Psychological Study”. I strongly urge you to read both books – both of which will be coming out in new editions. Both books concern the relationships between mental disorder and religious experience – as does Boisen’s autobiography,Out of the Depths …– which also will be coming out in a new edition.14

    Today’s Dunbar Awardee noted that  
         “unless … [a] pastor has done some serious reflection on 
         the meaning of his or her own experience” 
         “it is impossible for a pastor to meet fully 
         human beings at the point of their growth and pain”.15 

    Our awardee also emphasized that the 
         “in-depth case study method, 
         with attention to theological issues” 

    – a point upon which both Boisen and Dunbar insisted – 
         “has the potential of increasing 
         the pastor’s skill in relation to others”.16

    What starts as a personal experience leads to an improved social experience. Boisen indeed noted this in most of his writings – and as did Dunbar in at least one of hers. Rather than focus on just training or education per se, The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy, now 25 years old, dedicates itself to “searching for the meaning of human experience and human relationships” – the meaning of personal and social experience.17

    Normally this introduction to the Dunbar Awardee focuses, understandably, on Dunbar. I will note that, as a child, she lived in Hyde Park, Chicago – at what became 5210 Harper Avenue and at 5109 Kimbark Avenue – only blocks away from where Boisen taught, at Chicago Theological Seminary. Today, for the Chicago Boisen Conference, however, it seems quite reasonable to yield the focus to Boisen. 

    Thus, let me begin pulling this introduction to a close by noting several more anniversaries. We meet today

    – on the 110th anniversary of Boisen’s first call to the ministry –
         followed by a collapse of faith –  
         followed by the entry instead of this instructor of French into a forestry school – anécole du bois.

    – on the 95th anniversary of Boisen’s consequential delusional 
         discovery that he had “broken an opening in the wall 
         which separated religion and medicine” – his first 
         encounter with “valid religious experience which was at 
         the same time madness of the most profound and unmistakable variety”.18

    – on the 90th anniversary of Boisen’s founding of professional 
         chaplaincy – which began at Worcester (MA) State Hospital and 
         eventually moved worldwide – as well as of Boisen’s first becoming 
         a “research associate” (1925>), then a lecturer on “practical theology” (1930>),
         then a lecturer on “pastoral psychology” (1935>1942) 
         at Chicago Theological Seminary.

    – on the 80thanniversary of Boisen’s classic comment to his psychiatrists, 
         “I started in despair and began to sing and then felt better ... . 
         When I began to sing I began to get some hold of myself ...”.19

    – on the 75th anniversary of the first “Standards for Chaplains”
         – that included specialized clinical pastoral training, functioning in a clearly clergical role, and close interaction with other professions.20

    – on the 70th anniversary of Boisen’s “Co-operative Inquiry in Religion”.21

     – on the 60th anniversary of Boisen’s Religion in Crisis and Custom:
         A Sociological and Psychological Study.

    – on the 55th anniversary of Boisen’s Out of the Depths: 
         An Autobiographical Study of Mental Disorder and Religious Experience.

    – on the 50th anniversary of Boisen’s having left this earthly abode.22


    So, how are clinical pastoral chaplains to gain perspective “amid the complex entanglements of actual life”? Our clinical pastoral ancestors suggested that chaplains must study closely, intensely large numbers of people in both their social as well as in their psychological contexts.

    Please join me in welcoming our 14th recipient of the Helen Flanders Dunbar Award for Significant Contributions to Clinical Pastoral Training – a chaplain who appreciated the social as well as the psychological aspects of Boisen’s work: the Rev. Dr. Glenn Hackney Asquith.23



         1. Anton T. Boisen. The Exploration of the Inner World: A Study of Mental Disorder and Religious Experience. Chicago: Willet, Clark & Co, 1936; reprinted, NY: Harper & Brothers, 1941, 1952, 1962, 1966; Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1971; p.191. A fresh edition of Anton Theophilus Boisen, The Exploration of the Inner World …is to be published, by Benicia, CA: VerbumIcon, with an introduction by Robert Charles Powell, a foreword by Raymond J. Lawrence, Jr., and an afterword by Pamela Cooper-White;;

         2. This is an amalgamated paraphrase of Boisen’s clinical approach as enunciated in his second book,The Exploration of the Inner World ..., pp.10, 185, 248-249, and in his last book,Out of the Depths: An Autobiographical Study of Mental Disorder and Religious Experience. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1960, p.187. A fresh edition of Anton Theophilus Boisen,Out of the Depths …is to be published, by Benicia, CA: VerbumIcon, with an introduction by Robert Charles Powell. This formulation first appeared in Robert Charles Powell, “Anton Theophilus Boisen (1876-1965), Clinician. I. Assessment: Persistent and Provocative “Cooperative Inquiry”: Empathic and Enlightening “Exploration of the Inner World”; II. Therapy: Patient and Creative “Co-operative Interpretation”: “Thinking and Feeling [Strongly] Together about Things that Matter Most”; two lectures delivered in Malibu, CA, on 8 & 9 October 2012 at the National Clinical Training Seminar – West, of The College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy, in Robert Charles Powell,Anton T. Boisen (1876-1965): Clinician: A Guide to Clinical Pastoral Assessment & Therapy, revised and updated essays, to be published.

         3. H. Flanders Dunbar,Emotions and Bodily Changes: A Survey of Literature on Psychosomatic Interrelationships: 1910-1933. New York, Columbia University Press, 1935, for the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation; “Introduction,” p.xi; appeared on the same page in revised editions published in 1938, 1946, and 1954.

         4. H. Flanders Dunbar, “Fifth Annual Report of The Council for the Clinical Training of Theological Students [September 21, 1934].” New York, Union Theological Seminary Library, pp.12,13,14; Italics mine.

         H. Flanders Dunbar, "Mental Hygiene and Religious Teaching," Mental Hygiene, 1935, 19:353-372, pp.361,362,369,370; Italics mine.

         5. Anton T. Boisen,Problems in Religion and Life: A Manual for Pastors: With Outlines for the Cooperative Study of Personal Experience in Social Situations.New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1946; p.100.The Exploration ..., p.305.

         6.Out of the Depths ..., pp.60,180,148; Italics mine.

         7. Anton T. Boisen.Religion in Crisis and Custom: A Sociological and Psychological Study. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1955; reprinted, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1973; pp.41-42; Italics mine. A fresh edition of Anton Theophilus Boisen,Religion in Crisis and Custom …is to be published, by Benicia, CA: VerbumIcon, with an introduction by Robert Charles Powell.

         8.Religion in Crisis ..., p.209; Italics mine.

         9. H. Flanders Dunbar, “The Clinical Training of Theological Students,” Religion in Life, 1935, 4:376-383, pp.380,379.

         10.The Exploration ..., p.185; the third book wasProblems in Religion and Life ....

         11. Glenn H. Asquith, Jr., “The Case Study Method of Anton T. Bosien,” Journal of Pastoral Care, June 1980, 34(2):84-94; p.86; reprinted in his edited volume,Vision from a Little Known Country: A Boisen Reader. Decatur, GA: Journal of Pastoral Care Publications, 1992, pp.199-211, p.202. I strongly recommend 93% of Dr. Asquith’s collection of articles by and about Boisen. My only caveat concerns the chapter by North and Clements regarding Boisen’s diagnosis. Theirs is a carefully considered study, but, as a psychiatrist myself, I do not believe their analysis supports their conclusion. As I have documented extensively elsewhere, including clinicians’ direct observations across the course of his life, I believe that Boisen’s self-diagnosis of “catatonic schizophrenia” was accurate;  see,Anton T. Boisen (1876-1965): “Breaking an Opening in the Wall between Religion and Medicine,” New York: Association of Mental Health Clergy, 1976 [revised & updated edition, to be published].

         12.The Exploration ..., p.185.

         13.Asquith, “The Case Study Method ...,” p.86; crediting Robert Charles Powell, "Questions from the Past (on the future of Clinical Pastoral Education)," speech given at the 1975 annual conference of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc., October 17, 1975, p.4; revised and updated version of “Questions ...” inClinical Pastoral Training. Education, and Transformation: The First Fifty Years of Learning through Supervised Encounter with “Living Human Documents” (1925-1975) & Some Thoughts about the Second Fifty Years(1975-2025), to be published.

         14. A number of items by and about Boisen are to be expected via Benicia, CA: VerbumIcon;; 

         15. Asquith,Visions ... , p.236; Italics mine.

         16. Asquith,Visions ... , p.236; Italics mine.

         17. Raymond Lawrence; “Psychology, Sexuality, and the Clinical Pastoral Movement”; pp.257-272, in J.Harold Ellens, ed.,Psychological Hermeneutics for Biblical Themes and Texts: A Festschrift in Honor of Wayne G. Rollins, London: T&T Clark, 2012; p.271.

         18.Out of the Depths ..., pp.91,196.

         19. “Staff Conference” “for diagnosis,” chart note, the Sheppard-Enoch Pratt Hospital, Towson, MD, November 11, 1935; re Boisen’s last psychiatric hospitalization.

         20. Seward Hiltner, “A Descriptive Appraisal, 1935-1980,” Theology Today. July 1980;37(2):210-20, p.213;

         21. Anton T. Boisen, “Cooperative Inquiry in Religion,” Relig. Ed.1945;40: 290-297.     

         22. Boisen died on October 1, 1965; half of his ashes were scattered over the cemetery at Elgin (IL) State Hospital and half were interred at Chicago Theological Seminary.

         23. The Helen Flanders Dunbar Award for Significant Contributions to Clinical Pastoral Training is notable in that the recipient (a) must be alive, (b) must not (yet) be a member of The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy, and (c) must have made “significant contributions” to the field; CPSP did not want the award to be viewed as “patting its own on the back”. The past recipients have been myself (2002), G. Allison Stokes (2003), Myron C. Madden (2004), Robert C. Dykstra (2005), A. Patrick L. Prest (2006), Henry G. Heffernan (2007), Edward Everett Thornton (2008), Rodney J. Hunter (2009), John Edwin Harris (2010),Orlo C. Strunk, Jr. (2011), Kenneth Holt Pohly (2012), Donald E. Capps (2013).J. Harold Ellens (2014). Glenn H. Asquith, Jr. (2015); since 2007, an educational introduction of each has been published on the web; as of December 2015 these are available at

    Robert C. Powell, M.D., Ph.D., is the leading historian of the clinical pastoral movement. Many of his published writings are posted on the Pastoral Report. Readers can search the PR's archives 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


  • 14 Jan 2016 1:00 PM | Perry Miller (Administrator)

    CPSP has been active in the Philippines for many years. However, in recent years, the relationship has gradually evolved into a more formal partnership. The latest chapter of this journey began on November 24, 2015 with the signing of a formal Memorandum of Agreement between CPSP and CPSP-Philippines. 

    In 2012, CPSP-Philippines was established as a wholly independent, indigenous body, working in tandem with CPSP for establishing standards, credentials, and accreditation in terms of clinical pastoral education, training centers, pastoral counseling, and clinical chaplaincy-- but contextualized to Southeast Asia. 

    The partnership was a rather unique relationship for CPSP, so there were some difficulties in properly establishing the ground rules. However, after several months of dialogue between the Board of CPSP-Philippines, Dr. Raymond Lawrence, and legal counsel, standards to ensure equivalency of programs and establish the basis for reciprocity of credentials were put into the form of the Memorandum of Agreement.

    Raymond Lawrence visited the Philippines from November 21-27. During his visit he was able to hold talks with Saint Andrews TheologicalSeminary and St. Lukes Hospital for revitalizing the defunct CPE program in those organizations. The rest of the time he was at Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary (PBTS) and Bukal Life Care & Counseling Center, in Baguio City. CPSP-Philippines was originally founded in Baguio City, and Bukal Life Care, whose office is on the campus of PBTS, serves as the headquarters for CPSP-Philippines.

    On the trip, Dr. Lawrence led three days of training for members of CPSP-Philippines, as well as CPE trainees. The focus was on case studies, starting with a review of his book,  Nine Cases: The Soul of Pastoral Care and Counseling. All participants received a complementary copy of the book. In addition, a number of cases were read and discussed by participants. The cases presented by the participants were varied,interesting, and represented well the unique counseling experiences of the Philippines.

    Tuesday evening, the 24th of November, a Thanksgiving dinner was heldthat included the formal signing of the Memorandum of Agreementbetween CPSP and CPSP-Philippines. Dr Raymond Lawrence signed as General Secretary of CPSP, and Dr. Paul Tabon signed as the President of the Board of Trustees of CPSP-Philippines. Although not signers of the agreement, Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary was represented by its president, Dr. Armand Canoy with his wife Violeta, while Bukal LifeCare was represented by board members Celia Munson, Dr. SimplicioDang-Awan, and Edgar Chan.

    CPSP-Philippines is grateful for the investment that CPSP has put into the Philippines, and appreciates its vision to see beyond borders, and support clinical pastoral care and training worldwide.

    Robert Munson

  • 06 Jan 2016 12:37 PM | Perry Miller (Administrator)

    A Memorial Service for the Rev Dr. John deVelder will be held January 9, at 10:00-11:30 a.m. at the Kirkpatrick Chapel on the campus of Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, NJ.

  • 25 Dec 2015 9:44 AM | Anonymous

    2015 has been a hard year. We have suffered through the slaughter that occurred in a black church in Charleston, SC where members were gathered for prayer and fellowship. We have learned of the many accounts of violence inflicted on black males by police officers charged to protect the public, not to harm, yet harm was done. We have Donald Trump aspiring to be the President of the USA, creating division and strife against racial and religious groups that is pure demagoguery.  Recently, we have been horrified by the images of the slaughter in Paris where people were enjoying the simple pleasures of attending a concert and dining out with friends and family. And there was another terrorist attack in San Bernardino, CA where colleagues and family members had joined together at an office ChrIstmas party to celebrate the holiday. The media is full of emotional images telling the story of the shocked and despairing  Mid-East refugee. Refugees fleeing for their lives while desperately dependent upon the the hospitality of strangers that might understand their plight and open their arms to receive them. Sadly, governments are not so compassionate, nor understanding. 

    It has been a hard year.

    Unintentionally, I’m sure, Apple and Microsoft created from my perspective, a heart warming   “sermon”  for us in their recent Christmas commercials. They remind us in the face of these harsh realities that there are good human relationships, there is goodwill, even to strangers, and we do have love in this world. 

    In this season our hopes and dreams are for a world that, in the words of Stevie Wonder, is a world where:

    "Someday at Christmas we'll see a land
    With no hungry children, no empty hands
    One happy morning people will share
    A world where people care".
    -Stevie Wonder

    Perry Miller, Editor

    Microsoft Commercial

    Apple Commercial

  • 22 Dec 2015 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Christmas: Beliefs Without Borders

    Amy Eva Alberts Warren and William Alberts published a significant article in that does not adhere to the usual sentimental interpretations of Christmas. 

    Warren and Alberts: There is a “sign” in the manger that does point the way to “peace on earth.” Ironically, the “sign” is obstructed by the special supernatural effects accompanying the birth of that baby. These divine trappings help to legitimize Christian exceptionalism and creation of The Other. Quite simply, the peace “sign” in that manger is the baby himself—not his assumed special divine delivery. The pathway to “peace on earth” is not by way of his divinity, but his humanity—his human potential for great love and compassion, which he shares with every other human being. (See A.E.A. Warren, Strengthening Human Potential for Great Love-Compassion Through Elaborative Development, in Thriving and Spirituality Among Youth: Research Perspectives and Future Possibilities, edited by A.E.A. Warren, R.M. Lerner, & E. Phelps, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, N.J., 2011)

    Editors Note: A good point about the virgin birth. It is over emphasized.

    Warren and AlbertsPeace does not come to “those whom he favors,” but through those who are loved for themselves, rather than the objects of favoritism—or conditional acceptance. Parental love provides the emotional bonding that enables children to identify with and feel empathy for other persons. Children have no preconceived notions about others—or themselves. Respect for others begins with self-respect. Caring for others begins with being cared for. "Loving begins with being loved." In homes where there is emotional room for children to explore, question and grow. Free of biases and indoctrinating restraints. Free to be and to belong and to become. Nurtured by those who possess beliefs without borders. Humanizing beliefs that transcend religious and political exceptionalism and revere all people as members of one human family. In Christianity’s case, it is a child in a manger, who is not unique but representative of every child everywhere and thus the real “sign” for “peace on earth.”

    Editors Note: A powerful paragraph by Warren and Alberts and a reminder that  Christmas is about what it means to be human and loving, especially to the vulnerability of the "least of these". For now one of the the most concrete example of the "least of these", are the immigrants fleeing from their war torn countries with their children to save their lives and spirit.

    Warren and Alberts: The “sign” in the manger leading to “peace on earth” is embodied in all children everywhere. Peace is not a gift from above to “those whom he favors.” Peace is created by those who possess beliefs without borders. Who become free to love– like children.  As Jesus himself is quoted as saying, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18: 3)


    Perry Miller, Editor

    Amy Eva Alberts Warren, PhD is the daughter of Eva and Bill Alberts.  Her Ph.D. is in Applied Child Development from Tufts University, where she is a Research Associate for Applied Research in Youth Development.  She is a co-author of the textbook, Visualizing the Life Span, John Wiley & Sons, 2015, and a co-author of Thriving and Spirituality Among Youth, Wiley, 2012. Her email address is

    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 Dec 2015 2:01 PM | Anonymous

    As an advocate of experiential learning, I’m inviting the members of the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy the opportunity to engage with other professionals who are intrigued with the practice of leadership and the exercise of authority. A conference, presented by the A.K. Rice Institute, titled “Leadership, Authority, and Passion: Risk and Opportunity,” is scheduled for January 20 - 24, 2016, in Dover, Massachusetts.

    A primary task of group training is to offer attendees opportunities to learn about their own understanding of where they “fit” in the spectrum of group dynamics, with a specific focus on learning about the nature of authority and the problems that are encountered in its exercise. This conference will allow you to have those experiences outside of your work environment. You will be challenged and invited to see yourself from a different perspective, and I can assure you that you will learn valuable things about yourself and how you relate to other people. The experiences you will gain in group relations work will bestow indescribable benefits to you, those you serve and to our entire CPSP community.

    Studies have shown that when two or more members from the same organization attend group trainings, they are more likely to apply their learned experiences more effectively when they return to their respective work places, so I highly recommend that you enlist a colleague and attend this very engaging conference. 


    Ruth Zollinger

  • 19 Dec 2015 3:49 PM | Anonymous

    We have confirmation that John was disconnected from his respirator Thursday night and died in the presence of his son David and daughter-in-law.

    A gathering of friends and family is planned for Monday evening at the Hunan Delight Restaurant in New Brunswick, John's favorite restaurant. It will be Dutch treat.

    A memorial service is tentatively scheduled for January 9th in New Brunswick. Further information will follow as it comes available.

    John was a Past President of CPSP, and had been a member and Diplomate since 1991.

    He will be greatly missed by many in our community.

    Raymond Lawrence
    General Secretary

  • 11 Dec 2015 10:46 AM | Anonymous

    I call on all in the CPSP community to make an effort to reach out collegially and in solidarity with members of the Muslim community in the face of the current irrational public outrage directed at Muslims as a whole. We are religious professionals, and now one particular religious group is being targeted and scapegoated irrationally.

    Some of us have lived long enough to have witnessed this kind of pogrom before. Most religionists in the 1930s and 40s were silent in the face of the Nazi assault on Jews. Only a small number of religious people in Germany in that era publicly challenged the murderous and irrational rage against Jews. We remember some of those few who went into exile or to their deaths for standing against actions of the Germany government in that era: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Karl Barth, Paul Tillich, and others were a small minority of courageous religious dissenters in the face the assault on Jews in that era.

    Today in the United States we are witnessing an incipient replication of Nazi rage in all its irrationality and venom. Our silence in the face of this scourge will ultimately condemn us. I call you each of you to counter this terrible threat by doing all you can to embrace our fellow religionists in the Muslim community in any way that you are able.

    Raymond J Lawrence
    General Secretary, CPSP

  • 09 Dec 2015 11:34 PM | Anonymous

    Front and Center: Dr. Paul Tabon, President of the Board of Trustees of CPSP-Philippines and Raymond J. Lawrence, CPSP General Secretary 

    Clinical Training is alive and well in Philippines. Some  twenty-five persons gathered in Baguio City for official business and for seminars over a three-day period in November.

    Supervisors-in-Training, and trainees at various levels gathered to present their clinical cases. I heard later that they were all very nervous, though they each seem quite well-composed to me. A dozen cases were presented. Cases coming from villages and cities of the Philippines have generally speaking a more earthy quality than what we are used to from American general hospital patients. 

    CPSP signed an agreement with CPSP Philippines (CPSP PI) composed by Charles Hicks whereby Filipinos are permitted to organize their own professional life according to what best fits the Philippines. They will do their own certifications and accreditations, and generally organize their own corporate life as best befits their culture. Every two years they will consult with CPSP leadership on their pr ogress, and CPSP USA will assure that they generally follow the basic values of CPSP.

    Persons certified by CPSP PI will not be permitted to practice supervision or pastoral psychotherapy outside the boundaries of the Philippines. If an individual certified in the Philippines intends to practice in the U.S., that individual must meet a relevant CPSP review committee prior to working in the U.S.

    This agreement allows persons in the Philippines to move forward with their work without being burdened by committees and oversight from the other side of the globe. Since the beginning of the work of CPSP in the Philippines, this burden has handicapped indigenous work. We believe this new agreement liberates Filipinos to move on a more self-directed path. We wish them godspeed.

    Raymond J. Lawrence, CPSP General Secretary

  • 26 Nov 2015 1:42 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    On November 11, we celebrated Veterans Day with parades and sales, but four days later the mood, especially in France, swung to that of laying a wreath at the grave of the Unknowns.  

    My brother, for years one of the Unknowns, went "missing in action" in 1945. Our family stood at different times -- the namesake he never met, my father, and I -- above his "officially identified remains" in  Belgium, the country through which one of the Paris terrorists passed. 

    George, Jr., wrote eloquently of his father's sacrifice and those of other Americans for our country. He also told of the respect shown by a Belgium father who brought his children to Ardennes. I witnessed such respect when my Belgium volunteer driver joined me in prayer, at the gravesite, in the rain. My father never spoke of his visit. I wept, and believe he did. 

    I shared George’s story with my other nephews and nieces. A niece sent a DVD of my sister telling a funny story about our brother. A nephew, who served in the US Navy, offered to dedicate a brick in his uncle's name to a veterans memorial. My eldest nephew wrote that he associated a childhood memory with the visible grief of his grandparents, especially that of my mother. He added that my sister’s tale gave him a glimpse of how much we missed George’s presence in our lives. It also gave him an insight into our typical behavior, one of silence. Those were my adolescent memories, and our fear of further hurt explains his insight.

    As a reflection on recent tragic events, then, I suggest a moment of trying to understand this type of grief. Those who leave us, as my sister’s tale illustrates, may reappear in talk, but sometimes they continue to exist only in the silence of how much we miss and love them.  

    Also, here's my open thank-you note after hearing President Obama speak in Vienna a few days after the bombing:

    Dear Mr. President,

    Thank you for not declaring war this morning, and please don't be annoyed with others seeking revenge. 

    Now 85, I have heard many reasons to fight. As a community worker in Chicago you've also heard them, mixed as they might have been, with self-interest and savagery. 

    I joined the USAF in 1948 during our brief peacetime with savage feelings after the death of my brother in WWII. Three years later President Truman froze the enlistments of volunteers as the Korean Police Action heated up. It doesn't sound as if you will do that. 

    As a chaplain intern I worked briefly in a veteran's hospital. There I talked with injured fighters, especially from the Vietnam Conflict. You have probably visited many more who returned from more recent wars than I have. Some of them you sent into harm's way, as you stated. I'm sorry.

    Finally, I applaud your words on behalf of Syrian refugees, who suffer collaterally with our injured and fallen. I am sure that President G.W. Bush, Pope Francis, and Chancellor Merkel, among other world leaders, would agree  that they deserve our compassion.  


    Domenic is a retired CPSP Clinical Chaplain in Littleton, Colorado.