Pastoral Report Articles 

  • 05 Jun 2020 1:08 PM | Krista Argiropolis (Administrator)

    We, the professional pastoral care community called the College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy, call on communities of faith, the clergy of all traditions, and all conscientious people of goodwill to condemn the racism, violence, and hatred that have overtaken us as a nation.

    We call on the President of the U.S. to stand down the Army, to abandon his order of using machine guns with bayonets against our fellow Americans, to repent of misusing military troops and D.C. Police Department to clear paths of peaceful protesters using tear gas and rubber bullets to create photo opportunities in front of a house of faith without permission to do so. We call on him to cease using the Christian Bible or the sacred scriptures of any faith as props. We also call on him to cease using divisive and violence-inciting language such as demanding the “domination” of peaceful protesters, and calling them “domestic terrorists.”

    We call on the nation’s Governors to resist sending armed troops to violently put down peaceful protesters. We call on the Governors to thoroughly investigate who is really behind much of the violence and destruction of property.

    We call upon the great people of this nation to exercise patience, tolerance, and kindness with respect to their fellow Americans during this time of unrest. We need to stop, listen, and reflect. As one past President has recently stated, “It is time for America to examine our tragic failures” (Link).

    David Plummer, Chair, CPSP Accreditation Commission

    On behalf of the Executive Chapter of CPSP:

    Jonathan Freeman, Co-President, Diplomates

    Elizabeth Grobmyer, Co-President, Clinicians

    Raymond J. Lawrence, General Secretary

    Charles Kirby, Co-Treasurer

    Juan Loya, Co-Treasurer

    David Plummer, Chair, Accreditation Commission

    Asnel Valcin, Chair, Certification Committee

    Cynthia Olson, Chair, Standards Committee

    Ed Luckett, Jr., Administrator

    A Statement Against Racism and Injustice by the CPSP Executive Chapter [PDF]

  • 04 Jun 2020 5:02 PM | Krista Argiropolis (Administrator)

     Jennifer R. Harper, MDiv, DD, NCPsyA

    The HeART of Conversation, and Care

    Conference: College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy
    Sunday, March 1, 2020, Afternoon Plenary Keynote Address,
    The Westin Hotel, Times Square, New York City


    I’d like to acknowledge my own introduction to CPSP last winter, specifically on February 23rd. At the invitation of Parthenia (Tina) Caesar, I spoke to a gathering of CPSP members at their meeting which was held in Harlem, here in NYC. The meeting was sponsored by the Harlem Family Institute. I met Tina through Michael Connolly, President of HFI (here today) and it was at that gathering where I met your very own, Raymond Lawrence.

    That whole day began a wonderful conversation between us all about CPSP and the early CPE movement. I learned of what you have been doing for these past 30 years now.. and I must say, I was struck to re-discover the cultural roots of the CPE movement that had shaped my CPE supervisors - and my own experience of hospital chaplaincy during seminary. Upon graduating from Seminary, I began my training in psychoanalysis. Simultaneously, I was aware that the CPE movement was being adopted by the ACPE organization that defines so many of our hospital settings today; and frankly, in the midst of these traffic circles, I lost track of your (CPSP) journey. So, all these years between then and now, while I’ve been teaching and practicing at the intersection of Psyche and Religion, teaching about Pastoral Care and Psychoanalysis, I was quite delighted to discover that CPSP had been born of that transitional time for Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care, and that it is very alive and pursuing its mission to preserve Anton Boisen’s original vision: Keeping the Soul in Focus, with Care. So, here we are, lost and found, and after all these years, re-united! I’m delighted to be here with you..


    As I considered this conference today and wondered what might be useful to offer into your larger conversation for the weekend, I thought about the various and many settings in which we Carers, provide Care. Whether in the sanctuary of Clergy offices, or psychotherapy clinics and private consulting rooms, or as chaplains at the bedside of a struggling soul in hospital, or on their path to the transformation we call death. I would like to add to this, teachers and students in educational settings of all ages.. We Carers, offer ourselves into these spaces and we are asked to hold so many stories and to be present in so many known (and unknown) ways... with others, always finding a way to Care.

    I found myself mulling over the many and common challenges that we share, across this great bridge of Caring, and I considered what might join our mutual concerns for the ministries in these spaces, as a focus for our attention today: How do WE vitalize and re-fresh What we are doing, and How we are doing that?

    Related to this, I also reflected on the many and complex issues that confront us as we work to offer our best Care, and was reminded of a central concern that I believe we all appreciate. This concern relates to the rapidly growing influence of ‘professionalism’ and ‘corporate interest’ in what we do. Of course, this is not News. We’ve all experienced these forces in our various settings where we work to educate, train, and offer these specialized versions of Care that we loosely term as Pastoral and Therapeutic, and very human, in their natures.

    Our rich history of Pastoral Care (I will suggest), is slayed by what we face today. The neatly organized categories of Care that were codified with terminologies and prescriptives for their dispensation - for the assuagement of suffering – as far back as our ancient sages and through the middle ages of the Roman Church, the Reformation and forward again, through the 19th century of Protestantism – these prescriptives (like, religio, socio-cultural remnants) for spiritual care, offer us pathways for understanding the evolution of pastoral theologies that fade into parochialism when faced with our modern challenges for Caring, today: we live in the midst of endless distractions and forces that fragment ourSelves daily as we seek to live between the many and often conflicting compartments of our own lives. These wonderfully rendered theologies for Care (given to us through history) don’t work in our vocational spaces today.1 Anton Boisen, as we know, was the great Reformer of these former dispensations for addressing the sick and suffering. And he helped us to reimagine how to be with one another, In witness to the suffering of Soul.

    I want to focus my talk today on the overwhelming impingements that we all share in our respective vocations and settings today, and to propose a possibility for resisting these incursions on us all. I will suggest some ways for strengthening ourSelves, in spiritual and tangible ways, that I believe can deepen. 

    In a brief overview of our current challenges:

    We have Chaplains with logs to fill of visits for which there is never enough time to be at true leisure with their patients. The burden of ‘demonstrating’ their value to the bottom line of in-hospital care, aligned with ‘evidence-based’ practices and their requirements for record-keeping (in and of itself this becomes a new game of deadening ‘docu-speak’) -- how we document the patient conversation: with protections for ourselves, the institution, and the patient in mind, too easily becomes a kind of prophylactic against real connection. The subtlety of this relational erosion lies in the directional flow of its philosophy, which seeks to shape our practices of Care into measurable conformities that evade and subvert our unique and idiomatic Selves. How we ‘show up’ for others, in this environment, has become ‘monetized’.

    The impingements to learning with verbatims in these environments, is quite real. To even write a verbatim for the purpose of learning, for God’s sake, one must have had a real Conversation.

    Clergy who are often half-time at best, in dwindling congregations, are expected to care for whole flocks of souls and to prepare sermons for Shabbat and Sunday mornings, as well. This leaves little time for teaching and guiding our youth with our time and nurture for their challenges of growing up in schools and religious communities; and even less to be invested in the ancient tradition of offering ourselves, as Curers of Souls, in these congregations.

    Students seeking further education in these vocations find themselves facing myriad pressures; family obligations, financial stress, multiple jobs in a gig economy; shrinking chaplaincy departments, clergy in under-resourced communities, increasing numbers of adjunct faculty in our institutions of higher learning – we are all faced with the fundamental challenge of creating non- anxious environments for healing, growing, and learning.

    Teachers, mentors, and supervisors, who cannot offer the time that is required for the slow brew of conversational rapport so essential for students to be become seasoned and steeped in the slow broth of learning – the kind of learning that is central to establishing real foundations of Self. A Self that lives at home within us, the Self that is central to our various and vocational identities, as Carers..

    Having said all of that.. I want to reassure you that my intention today is not to leave us in a place of despair.. however, I believe we must look at these forces, and give them our attention, to better understand how we might strengthen ourselves against their corrosive effects. So, bear with me just a bit more as I shift our focus to speak of some related forces that also threaten our capacities for Care.

    We are experiencing an unprecedented assault on our very ability to communicate. Rapidly advancing technologies bring us into instant and constant contact; yet, we (as individuals and society) are suffering from a lack of real connecting – within the communities where we live, the institutional cultures in which we work, and within the intimacy of our closest relationships. We need only to read the news to learn of the growing epidemic of young people taking their own lives. And while there are many and complex reasons that lie behind this tragic unfolding for our society, we are left to wonder and challenged to understand!.. how are we failing to give our young people lives of experiences and the capacity to bond deeply in their relationships with others, to foster their strength for attachment and membership within our human family; quite literally growing their emotional tenacity for Hanging On... to the group!

    On another front...

    How many of you have had a sense of disorientation after a long day of reading and writing emails (digital communications) with the back and forth of ‘talking’ with real human beings through cryptic and evolving new languages of virtual space – (emoticons!) it can leave us spent with a vague sense of not having been part of anything actually ‘felt’, through otherwise personal contact. We may later see the person with whom we’ve exchanged our important emails, but we’ve missed out on the feeling of being IN that conversation, together.. Very subtly we are deprived of our own growth that is uniquely stimulated by encouraging the tendrils of human bonds. Like blades of new grass, these tentative tendrils of human connecting are best nourished when we are with another person. Only this proximity of ourSelves, in real time and flesh, can offer the richest soil for nourishing what we all crave of this palpable connecting of which I speak. We call it Presence.

    [Personally, I think this has a lot to do with being next to each other, in our bodies! There’s a lot of energy - in and around our bodies – the delicate network of these communication systems that weave their magnetic field through and around our flesh, these highly tuned ‘signal systems’ .. they are blunted in virtual space. But that is for another talk.. ]

    Even the information we exchange in this virtual space can elude location in our memory. If you have ever noticed that you suffer from this ‘digital dementia’, of remembering content, but not recalling from whom or where you learned of it.. You’re not alone. Our daily distractions combined with information overload, create the ‘slick’ on these virtual platforms that become breeding grounds for facile relating (even more than Fake news!), leaving us veiled with a sense of disorientation to our inter-personal worlds, with feelings of social dissatisfaction. We feel accomplished, we get our tasks done. Our emails are answered, everything is tidy .. yet, we feel lingering traces of ‘meh’. Living life behind this ‘plexiglass’ of seeing through to the other with whom we are ‘speaking’, we too are seen, yet, not ‘felt’ with true connection. This sensory distortion has the effect of fillers added to cheap breakfast cereal to simulate the texture of whole grains: we are satiated, but deprived of real nutrients that nourish our feelings needed for strengthening the human bonds that grow us into larger versions of ourSelves... this strength of bonding among us creates the biome of our social and emotional immune system. These are the building blocks of our resilience, and they are critical for us to thrive..

    It takes courage to be Up Close; to really be, with one another.

    While this all may sound overstated and benign, it’s really not. A steady diet of digital relating distorts our appetites for human relationship. It fobs off our desire for real depth of human connection: the true quenching waters of soulFull exchange. Our deepest desires for human relating, get hi-jacked. Pornography is one, pervasive example of this hi-jacking of our desire: seeking to find the ecstasy of intimacy through our bodies, with images alone.. Pornography thrives on our fear of being with, and of being known to Another.. Our addictions and compulsions, fueled in these virtual environments, detour the real drives of our desire, gripping them into spiritually deadly feedback loops that cauterize our ability to grow and flourish.

    We become misaligned with people whom we call family and friends. How many times are serious misunderstandings and hurt feelings fostered through texts and emails that flatten and miscarry this felt sense of the presence of our intent. In our vulnerability as human beings, with our deep need for emotionally rich connections with other humans, we lose our way when navigating the flat- scape of our virtual worlds where our emotional antennae can betray us as we pick up fuzzy signals. We are gradually losing our courage for the deep conversations required for real connection, and living lives of inter-personal richness. It becomes easier to hide from and to ignore each other. In social passings, our eyes avert, greetings are not forthcoming, text messages are unreturned. Young people do not speak on their phones. It is more expedient to send brief, encoded inquiries, or not. We hear of ‘ghosting’ in the brave new world of dating. The cutoffs of new tendrils of our relating that strive to connect in virtual time and space, shatter real hearts, by this failure to acknowledge one another, in fact and existence.

    In these manifest results of our Electronic-Lives, like our accommodations over time of degrading ‘new normals’, we become smaller versions of ourselves.

    We become afraid of one another: afraid to engage. We become afraid, to speak. We are afraid of having Conversation...

    Conversation is powerful. Conversation grows us.. we are changed by it.

    Sherry Turkle, a Sociologist and a licensed Clinical Psychologist at MIT, has studied the impact of technologies on human relationships for over 30 years, specifically their influence on our human capacity for ‘empathy’. In her acclaimed study on Empathy, she was called in to consult with the faculty of an Eastern, private middle school. Her study began on a retreat with the faculty who poured out to her their observations of their students. According to her Study Diaries, the Dean of the School reported to Turkle, “These kids aren’t cruel. But they are not emotionally developed. Twelve-year olds play on the playground like 8 year-olds. The way they exclude each other is the way 8 year olds would play. They don’t seem able to put themselves in each other’s place. They say to other students: ‘you can’t play with us’.” ... “They are not developing that way of relating where they listen and learn how to look at each other and hear each other.” (Turkle, pgs, 5-6).2 A psychoanalyst would suggest that they are failing to understand and interpret ‘affect’, which is critical for growing their capacity for interpersonal relationship: in plain English, they aren’t ‘reading’ each other emotionally – which is crucial for developing the capacity for Empathy.

    The study is fascinating and I recommend her book to you, titled, ‘Reclaiming Conversation, The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. I won’t delve further into the details of her study here, because our focus is related, but elsewhere, but I can say that the study revealed an alarming sense of relational ‘miscarriage’ that is rising in our culture today. A kind of ‘canary in the coal mine’ feeling that we as a society are quite literally becoming ‘unhinged’ from each other: disconnected. In our race to grow more environments of digitally simulated contact with each other, we are losing (and I would suggest, not growing) the inter-personal strength that is needed for creating and building real human relationships and attachments. We are free-falling through the very human networks that we need to thrive and grow, ourSelves.

    Psychoanalysis brings a specific and particular lens to how we develop our wonderful Selves. The essential techniques, or tools, of this craft make use of the ongoing transference and countertransference (present in all human relationships), and Resistance. Our resistance to knowing what we do not want to know. These points of defined engagement create boundaries within which this ‘specialized’ conversation can unfold. Analyzing the transference and counter- transference, by analyst and analysand, with techniques to elucidate the latent content of our dreams, reveals a kind of forensics of the anatomy of ‘mind’ – our conscious and unconscious ‘mind’ - emerges. In the back and forth of this boundaried relating (the analytic dyad), a renewed and developing sense of Self may emerge. The ruptures and the reparations that unfold over time in this ‘specialized conversation’ serve to revise old narratives that have fed our operating selves. Over time, the earlier version of ourSelves may undergo many shifts of growth and renewal as the healing of old (self) wounds contributes to an expanding sense of ourSelves; in process, Growing .. again.. If this all sounds a bit technical as a method for growing ourselves; it’s really not. This process happens between two real human beings, in a room, together. And both are changed by it... every time.

    Religion reminds us that Prayer can grow, and change us.

    Prayer is a practice that all religions acknowledge. Prayer brings us into focus: in prayer, the fragments of ourselves are gathered and they center our awareness on how things really stand within us. Prayer is a pathway for intimate conversation between us and our God that can grow us into larger, clearer versions of ourSelves as we seek to respond to the God who is always seeking Us. In real prayer, we cannot avoid ourselves; our pettiness and our trespasses float through our awareness. The ebb and flow of our hopes and fears, are met: in prayer; we see ourselves as we are and face these places in us where we hide from knowing and being known more truthfully, with our God, and others.

    Ann and Barry Ulanov write about this voluptuous conversation in their gem of a book titled, Primary Speech. ‘If we are listening, to the other side of this conversation,’ [to the Other who seeks to be known to US], ‘we are pull[ed] into a life of.. unceasing abundance, .. ‘Prayer takes us into our central self’, ..‘and through it into the very origin of all self. This [primary] speech of our prayer [of our unedited selves, reflects to] us .. new life for psyche and soul that comes [alive] when we open [our hearts] to the One who [waits for us] knocking...’ (Ulanov, pg. 9)3

    Our western culture has lost a strong connection to understanding the intimacy and power of this particular conversation.

    Prayer may not change God, (although, I would suggest that it does!) but it can change our understanding of God. Prayer changes us. Prayer grow us into better versions of ourselves. Prayer heals our brokenness, and our relationships with others; When everything else fails, there is still Prayer.

    In a short and brilliant article, ‘Beyond co-existence to mutual influence: an interdisciplinary method for psychoanalysis and religion,’ psychoanalyst and Episcopal Priest, the Rev. Amy Lamborn discusses the interdisciplinary relationship of psychoanalysis and religion. She writes, ‘I envision psychoanalysis and religion, as near neighbors, moving along a space of shared concern. This space is the location of our desire and effort to reach toward a sure and certain abundance of life; to respond with all our heart, soul, and strength to the holy Presence which ever summons us (Deut 6:5). It is the place from which we struggle to know and become [ourSelves], to live authentically and creatively, and to be grasped by what [Paul] Tillich calls our ‘ultimate concern’ (1963). In this shared frontier between psychoanalysis and religion there [is] a mutual regard for the fullness of human being and living, the opening of the self in/to freedom, and the [possibility of] receiving that which is renewing and enlivening.’ (Lamborn, pg. 518)4

    Psychoanalysis and Religion, are unique in their conversation: each, uniquely, deal directly with the mind’s capacity to make symbolic meaning of our experience of suffering. Through separate and related pathways, each practice wants for us to become the greatest versions of ourSelves... [CBT and Solution focused therapies are rationally based disciplines that fail to resolve real suffering. True suffering is only requited through our capacity for symbolization; our ability to make meaning of that which is held in the boundaries of paradox.]


    Due to the length of Ms. Harper's presentation, we are unable to publish it in its entirety but have linked the PDF version of it below, for your reading pleasure.  

    To continue reading 
    The HeART of Conversation, and Care,
    please download the PDF
    of Ms. Harper's presentation: 


    Jennifer R. Harper, MDiv, DD, NCPsyA, LP, Director of the Interfaith Doctor of Ministry Program for Pastoral Care at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute for Religion, NY Campus. She is a faculty member at the Blanton-Peale Institute for Training in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, and a former Dean of Training at the Westchester Institute for Training in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, A past-President of the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis, she is currently Chair of the American Board for Accreditation in Psychoanalysis. Ms. Harper received her Masters of Divinity from the Union Theological Seminary in NYC and her certificate in Psychoanalysis from the Westchester Institute. She is in private practice in NYC and Bergen County, NJ. 

    Ms. Harper is the recent recipient of the Helen Flanders Dunbar Award for Significant Contributions in the Field of Psychotherapy, and was presented the award at the 2020 CPSP Plenary in March. 

  • 31 May 2020 8:45 PM | Krista Argiropolis (Administrator)

    Welcome to the 
              95th anniversary of when Helen Flanders Dunbar met Anton Theophilus Boisen –
     thus founding professional chaplaincy;
    and to the
                30th plenary of The College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy;
    and to the
                20th introduction of the person – and the work of the person – receiving
                The Helen Flanders Dunbar Award for Significant Contributions to the Clinical Pastoral Field.

         “Anton Theophilus Boisen [1876-1965], who founded the clinical pastoral training movement                                 
    …[95] years ago, [in 1925,] was insistent from the very beginning that effective help for others cannot be achieved by assuming that ‘one size fits all.’

    Boisen spoke repeatedly of the need for a ‘systematic attempt to diagnose’ where the suffering person stands, so that ‘we may be able to bring to bear, according to the needs of the particular case, the forces of healing and power’ which lie within religion.

    One must assess the situation in order to apply the most appropriate assistance.” 1

                That summary statement appeared in the introduction to a manifesto that Perry N. Miller, Raymond J. Lawrence, and I painstakingly crafted 15 years ago. Raymond has tried to drive that message further home in two of his recent books on the clinical pastoral approach.

                “One must assess the situation in order to apply the most appropriate assistance.” 2

                  In a similar vein, Helen Flanders Dunbar [1902-1959] spoke of ascertaining the individualized “point of effective intervention”.

                An obvious question is, “How do we do this?”

                Just as clinical pastoral chaplaincy asks that the chaplain be grounded in a specific faith tradition while being prepared to minister to suffering, bewildered, or vulnerable persons of any faith tradition, an organization closely associated with our newest Dunbar Awardee asks that psychodynamic therapists be grounded in a specific psychoanalytic tradition while being prepared to work alongside therapists of other psychoanalytic traditions.

                This ecumenical psychodynamic collegiality welcomes clinical pastoral chaplains as well as psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers to join its ranks.

                Members of these discrete professional groups have worked together mostly informally for decades, but now these professionals formally can share values and – in some cases – official certification and licensing.

                Let me here note just some of the common elements of assessment and intervention shared by those clinicians who are making efforts to think and to act psychodynamically.

                “Respect the patient’s socio-environmental and intrapsychic realities.”

                “Understand the interaction of affects and psychopathology.”

                “Navigate the emotional content of sessions, including shifts and endings.”                            

                 “Work with both a patient’s internal and external realities.”

                “Facilitate the exploration of unconscious experience.”

                “Be aware of, process, and effectively engage the transference.”

                “Be aware of, process, and effectively engage the counter-transference.”

                “Recognize and work with the patient’s defenses and resistance.”

                “Recognize various domains of patient experience in prioritizing interventions.”

                That is, systematically appreciate how this person uniquely is dealing with life. 3

                   A reasonable goal is to attempt to understand both the person’s conscious and unconscious agendas.

                Part of the beauty of the writings of Boisen, Dunbar, Carroll Wise, Wayne Oates, Pamela Cooper-White, Donald Capps, and Raymond Lawrence – among others in this field – is that they can portray the usefulness of these notions in very clear ways – generally without using the word “psychoanalysis”.

                  There are very good reasons why Dunbar’s book, Mind and Body …, was a Book of the Month Club selection – and best seller – for decades. There are very good reasons why CPSP is encouraging “The Boisen Books” project, whose first republication is of Boisen’s book, The Exploration of the Inner World … . 4

                Both Boisen and Dunbar recognized that a person’s “actual difficulties” might lie beneath their manifest words. 5

                  Boisen spoke of “co-operative inquiry” as to the nature of the problem. Dunbar spoke of entertaining multiple simultaneous views of an issue. Both focused not on “eisegesis” – of bringing preconceived interpretations and understandings from outside to a clinical situation, but on “exegesis” – of slowly, mutually discovering interpretations and understandings from inside of a clinical situation. 6

                The Graduate Institute of The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy offers a Doctor of Ministry degree that recognizes the centrality of psychodynamic assessment in clinical pastoral care, counseling, and psychotherapy.

                I strongly urge you to read over – carefully – the curriculum of the CPSP DMin program. 7                 

                In 2007, our Dunbar Awardee helped to organize a consortium of the various umbrella organizations that promote psychoanalytic training programs – toward coming up with a common set of notions about psychodynamic education, assessment, & treatment.

                In 2014, our awardee helped to organize a symposium, sponsored by almost 3 dozen organizations, that focused on one question, “How might a conversation fundamentally change the structure of the human mind?” 8

                In summary, it can be said that our awardee – as a member of the clergy – has been a “mover and shaker” in the US psychoanalytic world for at least twenty years.

                Let me repeat that: “our awardee – as a member of the clergy – has been a ‘mover and shaker’ in the US psychoanalytic world for at least twenty years”.

                That is, our awardee has widened the door for those clergy who wish to embark on psychodynamic education, assessment, and treatment.  9

                      Please join me in welcoming our 20th recipient of The Helen Flanders Dunbar Award for Significant Contributions to the Clinical Pastoral Field!

                            The Rev. Dr. Jennifer R. Harper.

    Robert Charles Powell, Jennifer Harper, and Raymond J. Lawrence(Left to Right) Robert Charles Powell, Jennifer Harper, Raymond J. Lawrence



    1. Anton T. Boisen: “What a Country Minister Should Know.” Christian Work, 1923;114(25):795; this citation is a correction to the bibliography in Anton T. Boisen: Out of the Depths: An Autobiographical Study of Mental Disorder and Religious  Experience (New York, Harper & Brothers, 1960), p. 211.

    2. Perry N. Miller, Raymond J. Lawrence, Robert C. Powell: “Discrete Varieties of Care in the Clinical Pastoral Tradition.” 9 July   2005;                            

    Raymond J. Lawrence: Nine Clinical Cases: The Soul of Pastoral Care and Counseling (North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, September 2015).

    Raymond J. Lawrence: Nine More Clinical Cases: Case Studies in Pastoral Care, Counseling & Psychotherapy (North Charleston,  SC: Kindle Direct Publishing, 2020).

    3. American Board for Accreditation in Psychoanalysis: “Core Competencies for Psychoanalysis. © ABAP 2017; .

    4. Flanders Dunbar: Mind and Body: Psychosomatic Medicine (New York, Random House, 1947).

    Anton T. Boisen: The Exploration of the Inner World: A Study of Mental Disorder and Religious Experience (Chicago: Willett,   Clark & Co., 1936). .

    5. Robert Charles Powell: “Anton Theophilus Boisen as Clinician – In Favor of Psychotherapy.” 29 Nov 2017;  .

    6. Robert Charles Powell: “ ‘Cooperative Inquiry’ in Pastoral Care ….” 2001. on the internet at                                                .

    Robert Charles Powell: “Emotionally Free – UN-stuck in a Rut! Emotionally ‘Free to Think and Act’ – Consciously!” (2019;   publication forthcoming – hopefully in 2020).

    Robert Charles Powell: Boisen as Clinician. I. Assessment: Persistent and Provocative “Co-operative Inquiry” Empathic and  Enlightening “Exploration of the Inner World” (2012; publication forthcoming – hopefully in 2020).

    7. .

    8. symposium: Therapeutic Action: What Works in Psychodynamic Therapy. NYC, 2014; the question was from the following key   study: Jonathan Lear. Therapeutic Action: An Earnest Plea for Irony (New York: Other Press, 2003).

    9. This is the second time that CPSP has honored someone who legislatively has broadened opportunities for clinical pastoral  chaplains. Rev. Dr. A. Patrick L. Prest was so honored in 2006.



    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 visiting his website at or clicking here.

  • 27 May 2020 8:49 PM | Krista Argiropolis (Administrator)

    We have all known that a poisonous racism resides deeply in the DNA of the people of our country. But the event in Minneapolis on Tuesday brings in focus our sickness in the shockingly vivid video. We have always known that racism has led to insidious actions against non-whites, and especially African Americans, but also Hispanics and Asians as well, if in a less virulent form. We also know that most of the brutality has occurred behind closed doors, or in the darkness of night, or in jails and prisons. But the scene in Minneapolis defies analysis. In broad daylight on Tuesday, in full view of an audience, showing how far we have fallen into darkness and evil. It is hard to imagine what every African American must be feeling today. 

    The police officer who had his knee pressed on the neck of his victim, George Floyd, ignored Mr. Floyd’s cries that he could not breathe and did not respond to by-standers pleading for mercy. All the while, the officer assumed a posture of seeming boredom, and finally, the subject of the arrest indeed could not breathe. 

    What has the Minneapolis Police department come to? And this isn’t even Alabama. What have we as a people come to? This episode portrays a new intensity of racial hatred and a new level of white abuse that must bring a chill to us all. It is beyond comprehension that such open brutality could take place in broad daylight. 

    I have no proposal for what we might do about this. Perhaps if we all reflect on this event and its horror, we will agree together on some action. For the time being, I believe all we can do is to grieve for what we have become, and what has become of our fellow citizens who are not white.

    There is a time to grieve and a time to act. Today we may need simply to grieve. But tomorrow we must take action. Otherwise, the forces of hatred and racism will consume us.


    Raymond J. Lawrence
    General Secretary

    Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue / CC BY (

  • 21 May 2020 4:00 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    On 19 May, Professor Austyn Snowden of Napier University Scotland (and part of ERICH - a research institute initiated by chaplains for chaplains to enhance spiritual care practice) invited CPSP-affiliated chaplains to join in a major world-wide research project about chaplains serving during the pandemic.  Specifically, he writes:

    “The worldwide pandemic has influenced the way spiritual care has been delivered in health care. Some even say that spiritual care will never be the same after we have been forced to find other ways to connect with people, to do rituals, to support staff, and so on. 

    With your help, we would like to get a better insight in how the pandemic influenced you and your spiritual care. Having a better understanding of this will help us better advocate for chaplaincy and spiritual care during future pandemics or other crises. It will also help us keep new practices that may have been beneficial in the ‘new normal’.

    This survey was put together by teams in Europe, the USA, and Australia, led by the European Research Institute for Chaplains in Health Care (ERICH Thanks also to our colleagues from professional associations and research organizations around the world who have been happy to promote and disseminate this survey as widely as possible.  It is open for chaplains of all continents.

    We have the approval of the university ethics committee of KU Leuven, Belgium, to conduct this research. The survey doesn’t ask for any personal data, and your anonymity is guaranteed. You should know that the data from the surveys will be held securely, but that it will also be analyzed by the teams in Europe, the USA, and Australia. This is so we can maximize our understanding of what we sincerely hope will be a very large dataset.

    Please take some time to fill in the survey which you can find at:

    It will take you 20 to 30 min. If you wish, you can answer the open questions in your own language.*

    Finally, we would like to thank you for all you did and are doing for patients, their loved ones, and staff." 

    With respect and gratitude, 

    David Plummer, Chair
    Accreditation Commission
    CPSP Past Co-President [Diplomate]

    *Al investigar un poco el sitio de ERICH, han publicado el siguiente YouTube que describe su proyecto en español:
    In probing the ERICH website a bit, they have posted the following YouTube which describes their project in Spanish.]

  • 03 Apr 2020 11:30 AM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    CPSP Chaplain Rabbi Dr. Hillel Fox was interviewed recently for a New York Post article about his role as a hospital chaplain during the coronavirus pandemic.

    You can read the full article here: "NYC hospital chaplains detail emotional toll of new coronavirus reality" 

    Hillel is a Diplomate Supervisor and  a member of the Spuyten Duyvil, NY Chapter. He is the Director of Chaplaincy Care and Education at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, NY. 

  • 24 Mar 2020 2:48 PM | Krista Argiropolis (Administrator)

    In December, Joanne Greenberg published a novel entitled Jubilee Year, based on Leviticus 25:4,10. When I finished reading it, I had thoughts of the story as a fantasy of what the end of civilization might be like.

    The novel is situated in the high Colorado mountains, where the author herself now lives. A collapse of one side of a mountain strands a small high-altitude village, and leaves the population without access to any of the blessings of civilization, including food, medicine, electricity...and news. A weekly helicopter brings in basic foods and medicines, when the weather cooperates. Some few manage to escape by climbing the rugged terrain, but most can only stay put and wait - and eat lightly. And they wait quite a long time.

    Greenberg is not a cautious or prissy writer. She puts it out there. Aggression, sexuality, venality, and other unmentionable human activities are vividly portrayed in the story. Nobility and compassion also make appearances from time to time. One of the more vivid and humane characters is a Protestant minister, the only religious authority within the small the locked-down town. The author herself is Jewish, and is observant, but who also, as I understand it, currently sings in a Methodist Church choir. She is also a lay psychotherapist, or should I say, more correctly, a lay psychoanalyst.

    I no sooner finished reading the book than news about the new coronavirus began circulating. As each day passes I am feeling more and more like those isolates in that Colorado village named Gold Flume. A flume is a ravine or gorge with a stream.

    For those who take to fiction and need something stimulating to occupy themselves in the current coronavirus quasi-isolation, I recommend this book. I propose that readers will begin to think they are reading about themselves.

    Greenberg is also the author I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, half a century ago. It is an autobiographical account of her own experience with psychosis during her teen years, and her therapeutic experience under the care of Frieda Fromm-Reichmann. She is also the author of a dozen or more other books which can be found for sale via the internet and Amazon.

    The author has also agreed to be the featured principal guest at the CPSP 2021 Plenary, scheduled to be held in the Denver area next spring.

  • 14 Mar 2020 7:10 PM | Krista Argiropolis (Administrator)

    The current coronavirus crisis has left the nation, the world and the CPSP community in a state of confusion and some degree of anxiety. No one knows how bad or how long this pandemic will last. The only thing that is quite clear is that it is a pandemic that should not be trifled with. Our best hope is that this virus will be contained, as China is succeeding at, though at great human cost.  

    Many of our members in CPSP are working the front lines of this crisis, holding staff positions in health care institutions. It seems probable, if the pandemic seriously escalates here in the U.S., that some of our members will be infected with the virus. Service Chaplains do not have the luxury of working from home. We have to be aware that many in our community are at least to some extent at risk, and the risk may very well escalate.

    I refer you to the nature of the risk as described in The New York Times article, Two Women Fell Sick from the Corona Virus. One Survived., from March 13, 2020.

    Anyone in our community who becomes aware of a member of the CPSP community infected with the virus should communicate that information to Krista Argiropolis ( We may not be able to take action that ameliorates the risk or the suffering involved, but we certainly would want to know the identity of any of our people who are in distress.

    I wish you all peace and good health in this crisis. 

    Raymond J. Lawrence
    General Secretary

  • 20 Jan 2020 5:01 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Editor's Note: In this time of division, even with forces designed to legitimize expressions and actions fueled by hate and racial discrimination, we need to hear and re-hear the voice and message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. but more is required. We must commit ourselves to an activism that aligns ourselves with the redeeming power of justice articulated by the inspiring dream and hope of Dr. King. 

  • 20 Oct 2019 6:59 PM | Perry Miller, Editor (Administrator)

    Raymond Lawrence approached me to chair a working group promoting Women in Leadership (WIL) within CPSP.  Raymond spoke of the “vagueness” of this initiative which I embraced as an opportunity and a challenge to reach out to women in CPSP across many time zones and experiences.  From the beginning I saw this as a ‘we’ endeavor. 

    The initial response to the debut of Women in Leadership was encouraging.  A survey was developed and sent to all the women the CPSP directory at that time to assess the level of interest in providing a platform for their voices to be heard.  The survey focused on interest level; interests, skills and experiences you could bring to this committee; and the goals and purpose you would like WIL to concentrate on.  There were numerous responses to the survey.

    In addition, we gathered at the 2018 Plenary to meet in-person with women members and to gather additional data.  The gathering was led by me to share possibilities and explore where WIL was in the moment.  Approximately 30 women attended.   They appeared open and engaged in sharing their thoughts and experiences.

    The data gathered from the survey and Plenary was categorized in three areas: Organizing, Focus and Opportunities.  Two working groups were created Organizing led by Lori Whittemore and Denise Parker Lawrence and Focus/Opportunities led by Marta Gordon Dufis and Elaine Barry.

    Through Zoom meetings we established our mission statement:

    Our aim is to inspire and empower persons for community growth through relational nurturing, conviction, and confidence.

    Through these committees we began to hear a theme “bubbling up”: Having Our Voices Heard in the #MeToo Movement.  A workshop was held at the 2019 Plenary facilitated by Elaine Barry and Marta Gordon Dufis.   Approximately twenty women participated expressing whether they felt their voices were heard within CPSP.  We asked if their voices weren’t being heard would they be interested in participating by writing articles about this subject matter in the Pastoral Report; or maybe through participating in a program on privilege and how it impacts women in CPSP. 

    Throughout the Women in Leadership movement we continue to focus on our Action Plan (Questions to get us to the How):

                What is the impact we are looking to make?

                What is the strategy underneath and behind it?

                What does growth look like for us?

    If you have an interest in engaging in this endeavor please contact me at and let me know in what way you want to lead. 


    Nancy Schaffer, Diplomate Supervisor, BCCC, BCPC
    Member of the Central Nassau, NY Chapter
    Chair, Women in Leadership Committee