Pastoral Report Articles 

  • 27 Jun 2016 1:17 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    There has been an increasing trend in the pastoral care movement to move away from chaplaincy and pastoral care in favor of promoting and providing "spiritual care." Many hospital departments have changed their names to reflect this shift in philosophy and practice.

    Spirituality circumvents religion and promotes chaplaincy as a generic practice. Religions are messy. They have rules, doctrines, beliefs, ethics---some of which are flawed to be sure. But religions usually stand for something. Spirituality is an amorphous thing, an oblong blur, with implications of cosmic connection, but with no price tag---no demands no dogmas, and no ethics. Not even a dogma demanding justice and mercy. The only perceptible doctrine promoted by the spirituality movement is that people should feel good about themselves.

    At its best the clinical pastoral movement teaches religious professionals to be available to everyone. It also teaches them to be critical of all religion---but dismissive of none. Religion has caused considerable mischief throughout history. But religion at its best calls forth some of the noblest behavior of which human beings are capable.

    The clinical pastoral movement has been correct to be critical of each and every specific religious practice; within the limits of mutual respect and decorum. At the same time, however, it must take a permissive posture toward the various idiosyncratic manifestation of religion, giving them the benefit of the doubt. That is the basis on which the clinical pastoral movement began in the early 20th century. The movement did not attempt to create a new religion, particularly one that by implication would be superior to all the other "flawed religions" of the world. The promotion of spirituality results in diminishing the role of the hospital chaplain as a religious professional in favor of that of a generic approach which in the end a social worker or nurse can provide.

    _____________

    George Hankins-Hull,  Dip.Th., Th.M​ 
    Director of Pastoral Care and Clinical Pastoral Education
    University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
    JHull@uams.edu


  • 20 Jun 2016 10:35 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    On Sunday, June 12th, many of us here in the Orlando, Florida community awoke to the local news that twenty persons had been shot in a popular Orlando nightclub during a Latin night event. By the time the majority of us were finishing up early morning service or preparing for mid-morning service, the number had increased to fifty, and the national media had descended on the Orlando. Chaplains across the area began to coordinate a mass casualty response that included deployment to the family staging area, which had been set up in the Hampton Inn adjacent to Orlando Regional Medical Center (Level I trauma facility).

    Words cannot begin to describe the experience we were about to embark upon. Upon arrival, the atmosphere was wrought with tension and saturated with every emotion imaginable. Hope and optimism occupied the same sacred space as anxiety and fear. Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, young and old, gay and straight, were all on that desolate and lonely road called grief. Hitherto fore, nothing in our collective fifty years of chaplaincy experience had prepared us for grief on such a massive scale. 

    The Chaplains were charged to provide pastoral and crisis intervention during this mass casualty incident. Chaplain Torres, who serves as an Orlando Police Department Chaplain, functioned in the role of the Incident Chaplain. We took inventory of the strengths and weaknesses of the chaplains that had assembled, as we are all at least familiar with each other. There was a need to call up Imams, Rabbis, and Catholic Priests to function as our Resource Chaplains. Chaplains with specialized training such as Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), Pastoral Crisis Intervention (PCI), and thanatology were dispatched to the epicenter and to a few homes to make notifications. After the team was assembled, we set about the task of triaging the many families that had assembled. Ascertaining religious preference and medical conditions that may be exacerbated by stress became important pieces of information. While community clergy from all over, all with the best intentions, came to offer support in whatever way they could, it proved to be challenging. Some of the clergy set about laying hands on the families in the name of Jesus. To manage them and to attempt to instruct them as to how they might create sacred space where there may be room for their brand of pastoral care proved to be challenging. Chaplains were reminded of what binds us together; our shared heritage and a burden to extend genuine grace and mercy to those in pain and to each other. 

    But, in the midst of such emotional chaos, we began our ministry of care and counseling; walking among the emotionally and spiritually wounded. For Chaplains Torres and McPhee, walking among the dead became a necessity as they reached out to be of comfort to law enforcement at the epicenter. As the news broke to the anxious families (whose loved ones were not among those read from the hospitalized list) that their loved ones could be presumed dead, pandemonium set in.  The chorus of collective wailing became deafening. The stench of raw emotions became unpalatable. The physical environment became threatening.

    After an incredibly exhausting day of ministering to the bereaved, the hysterical, the frantic, the anxious, the horrified, the terrified, the hopeful, and the hopeless, the psychological injury to the chaplains is undeniable. However severe that injury, it pales in comparison to the indelible scars this act of terror and hate has left upon the souls of the fifty families of the deceased as well as the survivors themselves. 

    As we concluded our time at the family staging area, and people began boarding buses to be transported to the next location, it was suggested that we conclude our time in prayer. Chaplains from every agency involved, counselors, community clergy, other professionals, and family and friends, gathered to form a circle uniting their hearts and their voices as one in love. Chaplain McPhee opened the time together, and Chaplain Torres concluded by offering a prayer in Spanish.  

    We would like to take this time to acknowledge our CPSP colleagues who ministered side-by-side with us in the trenches: Jim DeGrado (at the family staging area); John Williams, Sr., Steve Binkley, Phyllis Fitzwater, and Rich Behers (at the trauma center). May God continue to bless the work of our hands.

    _________________

    Scott A. Fleming
    scott.fleming@healthcentral.org

    Missiouri McPhee
    turnerite@aol.com

    Arnold Porter
    arnold.porter@healthcentral.org

    Angel Torres 
    angel.torres@healthcentral.org 


  • 16 Jun 2016 8:42 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)


    The CPSP Communications Committee is producing a new video and audio podcast series, "What CPSP Means to You", and committee member, Susan McDougal, is here to tell you more about it: 



  • 14 Jun 2016 6:59 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    The news from Orlando reminds us that homophobia is a religious and psychological blight that those us in the healing professions must continue to address, for the good of the whole community. 

    Orlando also reminds us that some of our our political   leaders shamefully want to put this terrible incident on the backs of the Muslim community, which would be a disgraceful injustice to them. Adolph Hitler followed the political axiom, if one tells a lie often enough, it will be taken as truth. We cannot allow our Muslim brothers and sisters to be shamed by this terrible lie.

    Finally, this country is alone in all the world in allowing ordinary citizens to procure instruments of mass murder, such as assault weapons.  We must use what influence we may have to put an immediate stop to this.

    Raymond J. Lawrence
    General Secretary


  • 10 May 2016 9:19 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Dr. George Buck earned the lifetime achievement award several lifetimes ago.  His history in the Pastoral Care field goes back more than 50 years.  George is believed to be the last remaining chaplain who actually met Anton Boisen, the father of the clinical pastoral training movement, whom he met shortly before Boisen’s death. 

    George trained at Menninger’s clinic, in its heyday, after World War II, where the best in American psychiatry and psychology taught and trained in its classrooms.  A sign outside of town said, Welcome to Topeka Kansas, the psychiatric capital of the world.  You could hardly say a name in the field that George Buck had not known and worked with at Menninger’s.  Anna Freud, Murray Bowen, Robert Wallerstein.  As he tells the story, it was an extraordinary experience.  

    George’s greatest gift as a supervisor was as a model in his care for his chaplain trainees.  He gave us the support and acceptance that we, as chaplains, were asked to give to our patients.  

    George Buck always emphasized the importance of pastoral care as “communicating understanding love.”  George would agree with Carl Rogers,  the famous American psychologist, who wrote, “ We engage one another in a process, where tentatively, and with great hope and anticipation, we recognize the God in every man.”  

    I will end with a few comments from George Buck’s trainees’ evaluations of the Clinical pastoral education program here at UAMS.    

    • Dr. Buck is insightful but tough.  He is open and honest and though it was sometimes hard to hear, he really helped me see myself more honestly.
    • I always had the sense that Dr. Buck would do all that he could to help me.  He helped me to work through the obstacles that arose in supporting my patients and dealing with my own anxiety.    
    • Dr. Buck is unabashedly himself.  He could never be someone else.  He is extraordinarily comfortable with who he is.  I love when he joins our group when I am not the one presenting the case study.  

    Dr. Buck is loved and treasured by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Pastoral Care Department, and the hospital administration and employees.  Congratulations on a body of work that truly merits a lifetime achievement award.

    ___________

    Susan McDougal
    SMcdougal@uams.edu


  • 03 May 2016 9:37 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    CPSP members have found that participation in a residential group relations conference has a powerful, transformative effect on their own self-awareness and their ministries. In preparation for certification as a diplomate, all supervisors-in-training are required to participate in a residential conference but others are strongly encouraged to attend as well. This year's international AK Rice Conference is being offered in July in New Orleans. For those with a financial need, substantial scholarships are often available. Conference administrator Jack Lampl can provide more information.  http://www.leadershipakrice.org

  • 02 May 2016 8:34 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    The Commission for the Accreditation of Pastoral and Psychotherapy Training (CAPPT) announces the election of two new board members, Rev. Deborah Kerr Davis and Bryan Bass-Riley.

    In his pubic announcement, Brian H. Childs, Chair, Board of Trustees, stated: 

    "The election of the Reverends Davis and Bass-Riley to the CAPPT Board marks two significant additions to an already impressive group of educators and and program administrators," stated Brian H. Childs, Chair of the CAPPT Board of Trustees. "Ms. Davis brings years of seminary field work education at Princeton and also her work prior to going to Princeton as a hospital chaplain. Mr Bass-Riley is a seasoned supervisor of Clinical Pastoral Education/Training and a well known and respected leader in the field. The programs that CAPPT review for accreditation and those they serve will be the beneficiaries of the addition of these two good people."


    CAPPT is a specialized body that accredits post-graduate training in Clinical Pastoral Education/Training (CPE/T) and Pastoral Psychotherapy training programs in the United States, as well as Internationally. CAPPT was formed under the Arkansas General Corporation Law in 2014, and is made up of nine trustees. 

    For more information about CAPPT, visit pastoralaccreditation.org  or email info@pastoralaccreditation.org

  • 29 Apr 2016 8:04 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    In his 2003 Address to the CPSP Plenary, Raymond Lawrence provided a most eloquent definition of the founding philosophy of CPSP, reminding us of the origins of our community, and the very meaning of our existence. Raymond speaks poignantly of his own clinical training as foundational and life changing.  One might say, life giving.  One of the most significant aspects of CPSP and its life together is the accountability and care that is ongoing from the small clinical training group to the depths of care one experiences in a CPSP Chapter.  I commend these words to you almost as a sacrament, or a means of grace, calling us to our best selves, personally and professionally, and with accountability in our lives together.  

    Listen to the Words:

    CPSP was formed out of the memories of our own experience in clinical training. It was not formed around the corporate bureaucratic model, which by its very nature smothers criticism with public relations and undermines collegiality by promoting patterns of domination and submission. We remembered the redemptive process of our own clinical training, an experience that was marked by deep criticism and deep respect and care, an experience that we would never demean or trivialize by calling it skill training. We experienced our own clinical pastoral process as transformative. We sought in creating CPSP to rekindle the transformative process that seemed to be diminishing in our professional lives. We constructed the Chapter model out of our memories of the clinical training group as the best hope for fostering continuing transformation, individually and corporately.

    -Raymond J. Lawrence, General Secretary
    lawrence@cpsp.org
    2003 CPSP Plenary Address to the Community 

    ________________________

    George Hankins-Hull 
    Director of Pastoral Care, and Clinical Pastoral Education
    University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
    JHull@uams.edu

  • 05 Apr 2016 5:45 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    From Emotions and Bodily Changes …
    – in the Personal Body
    to Bodily Changes and Emotions
    – in the Social Body
    :
    the organism in its environments
    :
    both inner and outer 1

    March 2016
    Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD

    Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD– on the 140th anniversary of Anton Theophilus Boisen’s birth, before we begin the introduction to the Helen Flanders Dunbar Award presentation, let me note several additional anniversaries.

    – on the 100th anniversary of Boisen’s 1st published article – in which he spoke of “the hell of wrong habit, of diseased will, of missed opportunity, and of guilty conscience”.

    – on the 90th anniversary of Boisen’s “The Challenge to Our Seminaries” – and of his "Personality Changes and Upheavals Arising Out of the Sense of Personal Failure" – in which he proposed that many functional psychoses are not only “reactions to life situations,” but also “attempts at a new synthesis” and cure.                  

    – on the 80th anniversary of Boisen’s The Exploration of the Inner World: A Study of Mental Disorder and Religious Experience.

    – on the 70th anniversary of Boisen’s Problems in Religion and Life: A Manual for Pastors, with Outlines for the Cooperative Study of Personal Experience in Social Situations.

    – on the 60th anniversary of Boisen’s assistant, Carroll A. Wise’s Psychiatry and the Bible.

    – on the 50th anniversary of Wise’s The Meaning of Pastoral Care.

    – on the 40th anniversary of “the green booklet,” Anton T. Boisen (1876-1965): “Breaking an Opening in the Wall between Religion and Medicine”.

    “It is uncomfortable to
    become aware that we
    live in a sick society ….” 2                                                                              

    At first glance – at first consideration – viewing ourselves as part of a social body – as a personal body embedded in a social body – may seem a bit confusing, yet we do deal with this reality all the time. We just usually don’t talk about it.

    An example somewhat easy to consider is that presented in Anton T. Boisen’s essay, “What War Does to Religion”. 3 He was studying the comfort – or discomfort – of personal religious experience within “a world at peace” as compared to the comfort – or discomfort – of personal religious experience within “a world at war” – that is, of a personal body embedded in this social body as compared to a personal body embedded in that social body. We may or may not have paid that close of attention, but Boisen’s entire research life actually focused on “personal experience in social situations” – as, indeed, he subtitled one of his books. 4

    Likewise, we may or may not have paid that close of attention, but a recurring phrase in [Helen] Flanders Dunbar’s writings concerns “the organism in its environments – both outer and inner”. 5 While she is most famous for her explorations of the inner world – how the mind and personal body interact – in both directions – her essays, “What Happens at Lourdes …?” and “The Medieval Mass in the West” constituted explorations of the outer world – how the social body and the mind interact – in both directions. 6  Dunbar, for example, noted that those visiting the healing shrine at Lourdes fared well or fared ill according to whether they identified more with the social body of local helpers or identified more with the social body of those being helped. That is, she observed how the outer environment – social bodily changes – impacted intermediating emotions – and then how intermediating emotions impacted the inner environment – personal bodily changes. Similarly, she noted how engagement in the rituals of the medieval mass had a powerful effect upon both the personal body and the social body; as the personal body embedded in the social body, the two bodies, in essence, became one.

    As already was noted, at first glance – at first consideration – viewing ourselves as part of a social body – as a personal body embedded in a social body – may seem a bit confusing, yet we do deal with this reality all the time. We just usually don’t talk about it. At this plenary this year, we are talking about it.

    Please let me detour for a moment, to consider another Dunbar – not our [Helen] Flanders Dunbar – but, rather, a notion referred to in anthropology as “Dunbar’s number” – the correlation between average brain size and average social group size. 7 For humans “Dunbar’s number” calculates that each person can maintain somewhere between 100 and 250 – roughly 150 – stable, persistent, consistent social relationships. Theoretically, in terms of meaningful relationships, a big-brained primate could maintain more and a small-brained primate could maintain less. For the sake of argument, let’s say that members of The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy have about an average brain size – which would suggest that our plenaries have been coming out at about the right size each year. CPSP also, quite consciously, has based itself upon more intimate and enduring chapters during the year as well as upon still intimate though more fleeting small groups during plenary. That is, CPSP has created – somewhat consciously – somewhat unconsciously – structures for ensuring that our personal bodies and minds are embedded in our social bodies and minds – with attention to our emotions – conscious and unconscious – as the “glue”.

    Our Dunbar, by the way, explicitly wrote of emotions as the intermediating variable – that one needed to study “emotions from the point of view of [both] their physiological significance on the one hand and their social significance on the other”.  8 In many ways, through pushing both the psychodynamic and the crucial public health aspects of professional chaplaincy, our Dunbar was among the first to focus on both the personal body and the social body simultaneously. 

    There is ample reason why this clinical pastoral chaplaincy organization has “psychotherapy” in its name. There is ample reason why this clinical pastoral chaplaincy organization views collegial “supervision” – up, down and sideways – as essential. We recognize that our internal relationships indeed mirror our external relationships. We are – each of us is – our brother’s and sister’s keeper. 9 The goal is to reflect on all this – to carry out all this – with tolerance and encouragement. 10

    Back to our opening quote, by one of Dunbar’s close friends:

    “It is uncomfortable to
    become aware that we
    live in a sick society ….”         

    Once upon a time I probably would have had to explain that – the notion of ours being a “sick society”. Taking into account the current entire human race, that phrase now seems to be all too self-evident. For the sake of argument, please consider even one point in time:  that day we’ve come to call “Nine Eleven” in the year 2001. As a personal body embedded in a social body, were you the same individual a month after Nine Eleven as you had been a month before that point in time? Are you the same individual now – almost 15 years later – as you had been before that event?

    Again, for the sake of argument, please consider another point in time: that evening in Pittsburg in 2012 when, in the CPSP governing council meeting, the chairs were arranged differently than they ever had been arranged before. 11 Yes, little changes here and there for several years had been leading up to that point in time, but the changed arrangement of the chairs signaled that something was amiss and that CPSP had to begin re-thinking its situation.

    CPSP as an entity had to crumble a bit and to arise in a new form. The personal bodies embedded in the social body – the clinical chaplains embedded within CPSP – were impacted by how the social body, CPSP, felt that evening – and they realized that the social body had to accept experiencing a new stage of growth. The social body had to change in minor but important ways in order not to change in major and essential ways – so that the embedded personal bodies once again could feel comfortable belonging.

    In Dunbar’s terms, the central organism – the CPSP Chapter – realized that the organism’s outer environment – the world of CPSP – had to grow in a manner that would sustain comfortable homeostasis within the organism’s inner environment; likewise, the central organism – the CPSP Chapter – realized that the organism’s inner environment – the world of clinical chaplains – had to grow in a manner that would sustain comfortable homeostasis in the organism’s outer environment. During 2012 and ‘13 and ‘14 and ‘15, CPSP, its chapters, and their chaplains found a slightly new path toward wholeness.

    As a final thought, let me go back to Boisen’s essay: “What War Does to Religion”. The world – the outer environment – the larger social body – now has been at war – whether clearly declared or not – for a good 15 years. Has it been assumed by clinical pastoral chaplaincy – year after year after year – that the war will end tomorrow? Perhaps we should be considering, “What Religion Does – or Could Do – to War”. Certainly clinical pastoral chaplaincy’s stance of ministering to all – to anyone who is suffering, bewildered, or vulnerable – is a start. This stance can and does serve as a model of how to relate to others – especially “the others” who in some way are different from us. Is there any way in which the impact of the professional chaplaincy movement on the broader world can be magnified and multiplied? Is there some way in which a multitude of personal bodies – clinical pastoral chaplains – can exercise larger influence on the world-wide social body?

    The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy organized itself in 1990 as a clinical pastoral chaplaincy movement that was “back to Boisen – back to Dunbar”. With some help from a congenial outside consultant the movement now examines more closely the dynamics of what that orientation means and how it carries into the future – and perhaps also into the broader world.                                                                                                                                 

    Please join me now in congratulating the next recipient of The Helen Flanders Dunbar Award

    for Significant Contributions to Clinical Pastoral Training, therapist Richard Morgan-Jones.

    # 

    Endnotes:

    1. Dunbar, H. Flanders. 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; the 4th & final edition, to 1953, was published in 1954; virtually every authority across the decades credits this intricate volume as launching the American psychosomatic movement; up until about 1937, Dunbar ran the psychosomatic movement and the Boisenesque branch of the professional chaplaincy movement out of the same office in New York City.

    Morgan-Jones, Richard. The Body of the Organization and Its Health. [additional material by Torres, Nuno & Dixon, Kevin] London: Karnac, 2010.

    Dunbar, Helen Flanders. “Third Annual Report to the Council for the Clinical Training of Theological Students,” August 1932, “Dunbar Materials,” Burke Library, Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University, New York, NY; p.7, “the relation of the total organism to its environment, inner as well as outer ....”

    2. Halliday, James Lorimer. Psychosocial Medicine: A Study of the Sick Society. London: Heinemann, 1947;.p.220.

    3. Boisen, Anton Theophilus. “What War Does to Religion.” Religion in Life 14 (1945) : 389-400.

    4. Boisen, Anton Theophilus, 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.

    5.  Powell, Robert Charles. “Helen Flanders Dunbar (1902-1959) and a Holistic Approach to Psychosomatic Problems. I. The Rise and Fall of a Medical Philosophy.” Psychiatric Q. 02/1977;49(2):133-52.

    Powell, Robert Charles, “Helen Flanders Dunbar (1902–1959) and a Holistic Approach to Psychosomatic Problems: II. The Role of Dunbar's Nonmedical Background.” Psychiatric Q. 06/1978;50(2):144-157

    6. Dunbar, H. Flanders. “What Happens at Lourdes? Psychic Forces in Health and Disease.” Forum. 1934;91:226-231.

    Dunbar, Helen Flanders. “The Medieval Mass in the West.” circa 1923-24. typewritten draft in the Mary Anita Ewer Papers, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Carl A. Kroch Library, accessed through Olin Library, a division of Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY; Ms Ewer was one of Dunbar’s secretaries – one who shared some of her research interests.

    7. Dunbar, R. I. M. "Neocortex size as a constraint on group size in primates". J Human Evolution. 1992;22 (6): 469–493; p.469: “…It is suggested that the number of neocortical neurons limits the organism's information-processing capacity and that this then limits the number of relationships that an individual can monitor simultaneously. When a group's size exceeds this limit, it becomes unstable and begins to fragment.It is suggested that the number of neocortical neurons limits the organism's information-processing capacity and that this then limits the number of relationships that an individual can monitor simultaneously. When a group's size exceeds this limit, it becomes unstable and begins to fragment.It is suggested that the number of neocortical neurons limits the organism's information-processing capacity and that this then limits the number of relationships that an individual can monitor simultaneously. When a group's size exceeds this limit, it becomes unstable and begins to fragment. It is suggested that the number of neocortical neurons limits the organism’s information-processing capacity and that this then limits the number of relationships that an individual can monitor simultaneously. When a group’s size exceeds this limit, it becomes unstable and begins to fragment. …”

    8. Dunbar, “… Lourdes …,” p.231.

    9. Powell, Robert Charles. “Religion in Crisis and Custom: Formation and Transformation – Discover and Recovery – of Spirit and Soul.” Opening address, The 8th Asia Pacific Congress on Pastoral Care and Counseling, Tsuen Wan, The New Territories, The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region,The People’s Republic of China, August 8, 2005.
    http://www.metro.inter.edu/facultad/esthumanisticos/coleccion_anton_boisen/case_study/Religion%20in%20Crisis%20and%20Custom.pdf

    10. Powell , Robert Charles. 2011, “Tolerance and Encouragement [I]: Among the Roots of the Clinical Pastoral Tradition.” 2011. on the internet at http://www.cpspdirectory.org/pastoralreportarticles/377897

    Powell, Robert Charles. 2011, “Tolerance and Encouragement [II]: At the Core of the Modern Clinical Pastoral Tradition.” 2011. on the internet at http://www.cpspdirectory.org/pastoralreportarticles/3778990 .

    Powell, Robert Charles. 2011, “Tolerance and Encouragement [III]: Within a Covenant of Mutual Accountability.” 2011. on the internet at http://www.cpspdirectory.org/pastoralreportarticles/3778990 .

    Powell, Robert Charles. 2013, “Tolerance and Encouragement [IV]: Having Strong Feelings – Without Being Self-Righteous.” 2013. on the internet at http://www.cpspdirectory.org/pastoralreportarticles/3667535 .

    Powell, Robert Charles. 2013, “Tolerance and Encouragement [V]: Making Room for Divine Presence – instead of ‘Paging’ Him or Her; Interfaith? Multifaith? Engaging Others in Their Faiths.” 2013. on the internet at http://www.cpspdirectory.org/pastoralreportarticles/3667301

    11. Traditionally, those on the Governing Council sat around a large table in the middle of the large room – while other miscellaneous general members sat in chairs lining the walls at the periphery of the room, facing the Governing Council that conducted its business in the middle. It is totally unclear how or why but in 2012 the meeting started out with the chairs arranged all facing forward toward a podium and with those on the Governing Council vague seated in the front rows with the miscellaneous general members sitting in the rows directly behind. There was no clear boundary between those on the Governing Council and those not – and instead of the equality of members of the Governing Council there was that podium suggesting that there might be a specific leader – or a rotating leader – or something. What developed was the person standing at the podium being addressed by miscellaneous vaguely identified folks sitting in the back rows. The situation was totally confusing. Finally, one of us suggested rearranging the front rows to face in the opposite direction, so that it could become clearer who actually served on the Governing Council – and the podium was abandoned. While the situation probably was more accidental than not – perhaps arising because the size of the organization had increased significantly – the situation did illustrate that the previously understood structure of CPSP was breaking down.  

    --------------------------------------------   

    From the Editor:  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 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.

    The limits of the Pastoral Report's publishing platform does not allow for accurate formatting of his scholarly and yet poetic manuscript. You can download is a PDF version of From Emotions and Bodily Changes …  by clicking HERE.

                                                                                                                                                          #

  • 01 Mar 2016 9:36 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)


    Photo:  Columbine Memorial Website

    Sue Klebold, mother of 17-year-old Dylan, who killed others and himself in April 1999 at Columbine High School, said that her love fell short of stemming his depression. Dylan, she said, was unforgiving of himself when he failed at anything, "and his humiliation sometimes turned to anger." A review of her book, "A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy," appeared on Valentine's Day in The Denver Post, along with a recap of an interview the week before on 20/20 and with mixed reaction by victims and families. 

    Living so close to Columbine, and during this season of Lent, I'm moved by her reflections. As Chaplains we witness in our work the severe effects of depression, including anger and feeling unloved. Mrs. Klebold "simply -- and drastically and lethally -- underestimated the depth and severity of his pain and everything he was capable of doing to make it stop." He did not learn violence in their home, and her fault was not amorality or indifference, but ignorance. "I wish I had listened more instead of lecturing; I wish I had sat in silence with him instead of filling the void with my own words and thoughts," she writes. "I wish I had acknowledged his feelings instead of trying to talk him out of them." 

    I'm moved by this story as we are in a season of reflection on God's love for us. That love surpasses our understanding and anything we can show others. What we can do is to use silent listening to show our love.

    __________________________
    Domenic A. Fuccillo is a retired Clinical Chaplain who lives in Littleton, Colorado. 
    maryfuccillo8901@comcast.net