Pastoral Report Articles 

  • 07 Apr 2019 11:53 PM | Perry Miller, Editor

    On the 95th anniversary of Dunbar’s study on “The Medieval Mass in the West.” 1924  

    [she entered seminary soon after writing this]

    On the 90th anniversary of Dunbar’s 1st of 3 doctoral dissertations: Symbolism in Medieval Thought …, 1929.

    On the 85th anniversary of Dunbar’s quite poetic – and still widely cited – article,

    [“What Happens at Lourdes: Psychic Forces in Health and Disease,” 1934 1. ]

    On the 80th anniversary of Dunbar’s founding of the journal, Psychosomatic Medicine.

    On the 75th anniversary of Dunbar’s – oddly enough – breakthrough – and still widely cited – article, “Effect of the Mother's Emotional Attitude on the Infant,” 1944.

    On the 60th anniversary of the death of Helen Flanders Dunbar, BD, PhD, MD, MedScD  

    [despite her Bachelor of Divinity degree, Dunbar did not have ordination as an option within her faith group – although at least one of her theological school classmates was ordained within another faith group]

    [her BD thesis concerned “Methods of Training in the Devotional Life Employed in the American Churches,” a study on the use of symbolism and ritual]

    On the 95th anniversary of the appointment of Anton Theophilus Boisen, BD, as chaplain at Worcester State Hospital.

    On the 90th anniversary of Boisen’s article on Mary Magdalene: “The Woman to Whom Jesus First Appeared,” 1929. 2

    On the 5th anniversary of the beginning of “The Boisen Books Project” –   for the fresh republication of at least three of the five classic writings by Boisen. 3

    “Praise be to G-d for giving us life, sustaining us, and enabling us to reach this day.” 4  

    G-d only knows if any of us will be here tomorrow.

    The original calculation was that I would be dead by now. I am not.

    After brooding about it for five years,

    I finished writing, five years ago, When Death Is NOT Theoretical …. 5

    The book was about many things, but specifically about death from an illness with a somewhat known, non-immediate time course – that is,

                      death that is


                                        slow in coming,

                                        with an anticipated likely time, and

                                        unlikely to make the headlines.  [p.6]

    That is, the book was about “death on the horizon” – “death on the calendar”.

    The book was about when

                      one knows death is

                                        coming slowly – but

                                        coming sooner than an otherwise “natural” death.

    One just does not know when.

    Dunbar knew that she was dying –

    although it does not appear that anyone else did at the time.

    If one reads closely –

                      between the lines, so to speak –

    a paragraph deep in her last book suggests as much,

                      even as she wrote extensively about centenarians.

    Indeed, she died –

    quite unexpectedly to most –

    on the day the publisher’s galley proofs of her last book arrived. 6

    Now, let us go back and,

                      instead, of considering “death,”

                                        let us consider “change”.

    Some changes are wanted. Some are not. Changes can involve both losses and gains.

    Let us consider when

                      one knows change is

                                        coming slowly – but

                                        coming sooner than what otherwise would seem “natural”.

    One just does not know when.

    It may not be death, but significant change is coming to clinical pastoral chaplaincy.  

    It may be death indeed, as the significant change that comes to many of us today in this room.              

    The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy has weathered a lot of

    internal change during this second decade of the 21st century – that is, since about 2011.

    I mention that time-frame specifically, since –

    if an historian is allowed to approach being prophetic –

    2011 is when I first became inspired to write a series of articles –

    six articles on “Tolerance and Encouragement,” to be exact –

    articles that attempted to keep CPSP grounded as it crafted a number of needed internal changes.

    CPSP indeed – slowly and carefully – modified its governance structure –

    retaining ideals while positioning itself to handle the reality of considerable growth.

    The focus today is on

    external changes –

    changes already occurring and fairly certain to accelerate in the coming decade.

    CPSP indeed – slowly and carefully – may need to modify its self-perception as a community.

    In 1999, when first I spoke at CPSP, about 40% of those in the audience were female chaplains.

    This was quite notable to my eyes, as, when I had spoken at other chaplaincy gatherings,

    only about 10% of those in the audience would be female chaplains.

    Clinical pastoral chaplains in North America at the end of the 20th century were mostly men – mostly Protestant white men at that.

    Furthermore, in 1999, most of those doing clinical pastoral chaplaincy

                      had attended seminary and had earned masters or doctoral degrees.

    Completing one unit of clinical pastoral training was viewed as mandatory – and

                      completing four units was viewed as preferred.

    As early as 1999, CPSP understood the need to encourage clinical pastoral chaplaincy at the parish level.

    Increasingly since about 2011, CPSP and other chaplaincy groups have needed to consider

                      “equivalent” credentials – as

    applicants for membership might come from faith groups that did not have seminaries –

                      or easy access to graduate school – or religious endorsing bodies.

    Applicants also might not have access to ordination.

    A lot of pastoral care – and counseling – and psychotherapy – was needed out there in the world –

    and “untraditional” candidates were stepping forward,

                                        requesting guidance on how to help

                                                          those who were suffering, bewildered, or vulnerable.

    Today’s Dunbar Awardee has been both traditional and untraditional from the beginning,

                      seeking to add new voices to the clinical pastoral tradition.

    Like Dunbar herself, today’s awardee listened closely to an inner voice –

                      and followed it “with perseverance and belief” –

                              and got things done.7                                                                                                               

    Today’s awardee suggested a new path in theological scholarship –

                      one seeking “to identify, uphold, and lift up acts of noble intention, courage, and love” –

                            positioning these “as sources of empowerment for people in their struggling”.8                              

    The title of this introduction – “Living, Dying – Gaining, Losing –

    Change (whether consciously or unconsciously)

    Always Involves Grief”

    has arisen directly out of our Dunbar Awardee’s writing across the last two decades.

    Actually, it appears to have arisen from more than three decades of discernment – and grieving – before that.

    Boisen emphasized that “no one is condemned who is in the process of becoming better” – even of becoming “best”. 9

    Today’s awardee reminds us that all “becoming” – all gain – all change – involves grieving for a loss.                                                                                                                                                                            

     “Half the work of grieving is naming and

                      recognizing that a loss

                                        has occurred or is occurring.”  10       

    Everything that the College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy might gain –

                      while becoming “better” – even “best” – also will involve loss.

    Yes, today’s awardee has taken a closer look at loss –

                      including “ambiguous loss” and “linger loss”.

    As our Dunbar Awardee has noted,

                      “no matter how I try to escape from the reality of loss, 

                                        grief will find me.” 11                        

    If CPSP can remain, to quote our awardee, “centered, confident, humble, flexible, and knowledgeable”

                      its community –

                      and its individual chaplains –

                                        can handle whatever further internal and external change comes along. 12

    Please join me in welcoming our newest – and 19th – recipient of

    "The Helen Flanders Dunbar Award for Significant Contributions to Clinical Pastoral Training,”

    Dr. Roslyn A. Karaban.




    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. 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.

  • 29 Mar 2019 11:40 AM | Perry Miller, Editor

    Libby Grobmyer, is a CPSP Board Certified Clinical Chaplain.  She serves as the Chaplain for the UAMS Palliative Care Service, and is a living donor advocate for the UAMS Transplant Program. 

    Grobmyer joined the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in 2013.  She earned her Master’s Degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  Libby is a graduate of the UAMS Clinical Pastoral Education Training Program.

    She is the recipient of the UAMS Helen May Compassionate Care Award, and the UAMS Eli Award for Compassionate Care.   

    Jonathan Freeman, DMin, BCCC, is a CPSP Diplomate in Pastoral Psychotherapy.  He is the director of pastoral care and counseling for Alamance Regional Medical Center, and is responsible for the employee assistance counseling program for all of Cone Health.

    Freeman joined Cone Health in 1997. He earned his doctor of ministry degree in pastoral psychotherapy from the Graduate Theological Foundation in Mishawaka, Indiana. Freeman obtained his Master of divinity degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta. Freeman completed his clinical pastoral education residency at Alamance Regional.

  • 05 Mar 2019 8:46 AM | Perry Miller, Editor

    We took a moment to talk with Raymond J. Lawrence, General Secretary, about the upcoming 2019 CPSP Plenary program and the event consultant, Dr. Roslyn A. Karaban. This is a historic event for CPSP, as it's the first bilingual CPSP Plenary.

    Registration is still open - see you in San Antonio!

  • 16 Feb 2019 9:30 PM | Admin Office (Administrator)

    1. The Riverwalk
    The San Antonio River Walk (also known as Paseo del Río or simply as The River Walk) is a city park and network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, one story beneath the streets of San AntonioTexas, United States. Lined by bars, shops, restaurants, nature, public artwork, and the five historic missions, the River Walk is an important part of the city's urban fabric and a tourist attraction in its own right.

    The River Walk is a successful special-case pedestrian street, one level down from the automobile street. The River Walk winds and loops under bridges as two parallel sidewalks lined with restaurants and shops, connecting the major tourist draws from the Shops at Rivercenter, to the Arneson River Theatre, to Marriage Island, to La Villita, to HemisFair Park, to the Tower Life Building, to the San Antonio Museum of Art, to the Pearl and the city's five Spanish colonial missions, which have been named a World Heritage Site, including the Alamo. Many of these sites are on our list - read on! 

    2. Mariachi Bands
    Mariachi music is the sound of Mexico and mariachi was recognized by UNESCO as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2011. The listing cites that: "Mariachi music transmits values of respect for the natural heritage of the regions of Mexico and local history in the Spanish language and the different Indian languages of Western Mexico."

    We promise that at some point in the Plenary event, you will find yourself tapping your feet to some lively mariachi music!

    3. The Alamo
    The Alamo Mission in San Antonio (SpanishMisión de Álamo), commonly called The Alamo and originally known as the Misión San Antonio de Valero, is an historic Spanish mission and fortress compound founded in the 18th century by Roman Catholic missionaries in what is now San Antonio, TexasUnited States. It was the site of the Battle of the Alamo in 1836. Today it is a museum in the Alamo Plaza Historic District and a part of the San Antonio Missions World Heritage Site.

    4. McNay Art Museum

    This modern art museum specializes in 19th and 20th-century European and American Art and is the first museum of modern art in Texas. The museum is in a 24-room Spanish Colonial Revival-style mansion that sits on 23 acres, with fountains, including a Japanese-inspired garden and fish pond. Current exhibitions range from American Dreams: Classic Cars and Postwar Paintings to Van Gogh to Munch: Seduction and Anxiety to Estampas Chicanas. 

    5. The Pearl
    A 22-acre district of San Antonio, this thriving development is a community gathering space featuring over 15 independent retailers and 19 chef-owned and operated restaurants contributing to its budding culinary and artisan scene. 

    The Pearl is also home to the Culinary Institute of America, a weekly farmers market, and the Museum Reach River Development, an extension of the Riverwalk, featuring public art, native plants, pedestrian bridges and an amphitheater and park where local events are held. 

    6. It's Foodie Heaven
    Where else are you able to order a whopping 42-inch pizza for your table or enjoy a 24-hour authentic Mexican fare at a cafe and bakery?

    San Antonio is also home to several food truck parks such as The BlockThe Point, or the famous Alamo Street Eat Bar. We know that Plenary attendees love food trucks, as they enjoyed them at the 28th Plenary in Oakland! 

    7. The Five Missions of San Antonio - now a World Heritage Site & The Saga
    In 2015, UNESCO recognized a group of five frontier mission complexes, as well as a ranch located along a stretch of the San Antonio basic, as a World Heritage Site, joining the Statue of Liberty, Independence Hall, and just seven other cultural historic sites in the United States.

    The Five Missions include architectural and archaeological structures and a variety of features including the decorative elements of churches and indigenous designs inspired by nature. 

    An explosion of color, light, music and historical images, “San Antonio | The Saga” is splashed over the facade of one of the city's beloved historic structures — San Fernando Cathedral — at regular nighttime intervals beginning Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, at 9 PM, 9:30 PM, and 10 PM. This event is free and open to the public - and it's a MUST SEE!

    Make your plans - don't delay

  • 06 Feb 2019 7:40 PM | Perry Miller, Editor

    Don’t call this a book review. 

    Call it rather a book alert, an urgent update to members of the CPSP community.

    It’s been forever since a theological tome at any point caused my eyes to water, and was given to pause, impeding the reading process. Certainly, I would not call this book a tear-jerker. However, it is a monumentally moving work that both breaks new ground and stirs emotions, and perhaps more importantly, one’s thinking, profoundly. It is also a very serious critique of us pastoral clinicians, not to mention the culture at large.

    Dykstra is the reluctant successor to our beloved Donald Capps, late of Princeton Seminary. He has produced what I am calling an immensely important theological reflection on both our times and our behavior.

    Dykstra has herein produced an authentic theological reflection, a far cry from what which is typically observed in clinical training programs, aka CPE. His analyses penetrate the depth of human interactions.

    Each of us in CPSP owes it to him or herself to digest this modest but psyche-rattling  tome of 143 pages, especially its two notable chapters, “Zombie Alleluias” and “Follow the Naked Christ Naked.”

    You will not be bored.

    More likely you will be taken aback, blessedly so.

  • 04 Feb 2019 7:22 PM | Perry Miller, Editor

    The theme of the 29th CPSP Plenary, "The Soul of Clinical Pastoral Work: The Clinical Chaplain as Therapist". This year's event will feature a consultant with an impressive background and extensive experience to journey with us as we gather together in San Antonio next month. 

    Author, professor, instructor, and therapist are just some of the titles that our event consultant, Dr. Roslyn A. Karaban, has has been recognized for in her professional work: An American ministry studies educator and pastoral counselor, Dr. Karaban is also a Claretian Social Justice grantee, Mexico-American Cultural Center, San Antonio (1980); a member of the American Association of University Women, Society for Pastoral Theology, Theological Commission Diocese Rochester; and the Rochester Women's Ordination Conference among many other recognitions  

    Dr. Karaban received her bachelor summa cum laude, Stonehill College, 1975; Master of Divinity, Harvard Divinity School, 1978; Doctor of Philosophy, Graduate Theological Union, 1984. 

    The author of numerous publications, including articles, sermons, bibliographies that include:  Responding to God's Call: A Survival Guide; Complicated Losses, Difficult Deaths: A Practical Guide for Ministering to the Grieving; and Crisis Caring. She is also the editor and contributor to Extraordinary Preaching: 20 Homilies by Roman Catholic Women. 

    This year's event will be a different format than previous years' events, as attendees are invited to freely explore, learn, and reflect on the many issues facing today's clinical pastoral chaplain, in various settings, groups, and forums. Working together, the group will share insights, thoughts, feelings, while identifying solutions and empowering themselves and their colleagues through their experience. 

    This Plenary represents a significant opportunity for  Clinical Chaplains, CPE Supervisors, Supervisors-in-Training and Parish Pastors committed to a clinical approach to ministry. 

    A reminder: The 29th CPSP Plenary will be held March 24 – 27 at and registration includes the workshops, in English and in Spanish, offered on Saturday, March 23.

    Some of the workshops that will be offered include:

    • Addiction and Spirituality
    • Attaining Intercultural Competencies in Pastoral Care (English and Spanish)
    • CAPPT/CPSP Accreditation
    • Change and Grief
    • Chapter Life
    • CPSP Standards
    • Managing a Pastoral Care Department
    • RedCross CPR (Spanish only)
    • Spiritual Evaluation (Spanish only)
    • Two Kinds of Splitting: Transference and Counter-Transference

    Event registration includes meals offered during the event (Sunday luncheon, Monday breakfast, Tuesday breakfast and banquet with entertainment) and the workshops on Saturday. There are special rates for early birds ($350) and a justice initiative rate ($225) for members making under $60K a year and whose travel is not paid for by their employer

    Register today! 

  • 21 Jan 2019 5:55 PM | Perry Miller, Editor

    Friday, January 11, 2019, in Asheville, North Carolina, our tradition lost one of its finest providers of hospitality and sustainers of this movement when the Reverend Dr. C.  Roy Woodruff, Sr. passed peacefully holding the hands of his two sons. Charles, Jr. and Earl. Roy and his wife Kay Carolyn Jernigan Woodruff were married for and served together for 57 years, well-complementing each other.  

    Roy dedicated his life to helping others through his work as a chaplain, pastoral counselor, teacher, and executive director who was committed to his family, church and community.  A native of Anniston, Alabama, an Eagle Scout, and a member of the tennis team at the University of Alabama, Roy completed his B.D. and Ph.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Psychology and Pastoral Care. He was Head of the Pastoral Counseling Department at Bryce State Hospital (Tuscaloosa, AL), taught Patient Counseling at Medical College of Virginia; served as head of the Department of Pastoral Care at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; was Executive Director of both Peninsula Pastoral Counseling Center (Hampton/Newport News, VA) and the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and Visiting Professor for the Korean Christian Institute of Psychotherapy (Seoul). Of his many publications especially significant were those that focused on addictions and their impact on spirituality and the family. Roy received the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care’s Distinguished Service Award (2002), the Wayne Oates Award from the Wayne E. Oates Institute (2004)  and the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award in Religious Services by Marquis Who’s Who (2018). 

    A dear friend and colleague whose obituary well captured Roy as “a gentle, kind person with a wry wit and a sensitive soul” I got the privilege of knowing him as we worked closely to sustain the profession in certification, accreditation, endorsement, public marketing , and in interdisciplinary, international and military context.  Roy well exemplified our field, his faith and our discipline’s common mission. Just as when we function at our best, Roy, his message and the mission consistently were integrated. Roy typified integration in his care for a young, confused student at a conference or in training workshops and certification interviews through interpreters in Seoul, understanding a family life chaplain who presented a certification counseling tape of a session with live gun fire in the background, advocacy of dual accreditation site visits with CACREP and collaboration with ACOA, development of endorsement options for persons marginalized, support for new certification tracks for pastoral psychotherapists, production of the Telly Award-winning video depicting the distinctiveness of pastoral counseling, encouragement of CPSP’s membership as Chair of COMISS and his consistent ability to communicate to others, “You are important. You are valuable.” 

    Roy found life meaningful hiking, backpacking, playing tennis, reading, writing, enjoying dogs but he also enjoyed people and in his own way by being a Sensitive Gentleman offering hospitality… So can we! 

    Saturday, January 26 at 11:00 AM at First Baptist Church, 5 Oak Street in Asheville, NC, many of us will recall our shared story and why we sustain this discipline as we remember our dear friend, Roy Woodruff. Memorial donations of Dr. Roy Woodruff may be made to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy ( or to The Carter Center (

  • 16 Jan 2019 6:16 PM | Perry Miller, Editor

    Ken Waddell, Chair of the CPSP Accreditation Oversight Committee (AOC) and Brian Childs, Board Member with the Commission for the Accreditation of Pastoral and Psychotherapy Training (CAPPT) will be offering a three hour workshop on the process for training program accreditation and also offer training certification for persons wanting to participate in site visits of programs for accreditation overseen by CAPPT. It is important that persons currently providing CPE/T training or those anticipating creating training programs attend this workshop.

    The first part of the workshop will outline the accreditation process and offer strategies and practices to facilitate a positive accreditation experience.

    The second part of the workshop will provide the requisite training of those person who want to participate in site visits of training programs up for review by CAPPT. CAPPT needs site reviewers from around the country so we have hopes that we will have a good turnout from across all regions of our CPSP community.

    In order to participate and receive certification of this training the candidate must be a Diplomate in Supervision and/or a Diplomate in Psychotherapy. It is suggested that participants in both parts of the workshop first become familiar with the CPSP Accreditation Manual AND the CAPPT Certification Manual both of which can be found on the site under the Accreditation tab (which also has link for the CAPPT website.) 

    Register today for the 29th Plenary in San Antonio!

  • 12 Jan 2019 9:16 PM | Perry Miller, Editor

    Brian H. Childs, Ph.D. a Diplomate Supervisor and Psychotherapist as well as training supervisor in CPSP, has been recently board certified as a healthcare ethics consultant. Initiated by the American Society for Bioethics and the Humanities an independent organization, the HCEC Certification Commission, was founded and over a three-year period developed the criteria for a person to sit for an exam to earn board certification. Childs, who qualified to sit for the exam in November 2018 was granted the board certification on January 11, 2019. In order to sit for the exam a candidate has to demonstrate competence in theory, analysis, clinical communication and mediation skills, as well as process improvement. The proctored exam is several hours long and consists of several hundred items including case studies, ethical and moral theory, legal and procedural issues, and research of process improvement as well as human subject research.

    Childs is a past Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities Institute of Medicine, Literature and the Life Sciences at Northeastern Ohio School of Medicine and Hiram College and the Presidential Citation of the American Society for Bioethics and the Humanities for his contribution as an author of the ASBH Code of Ethics for Clinical Ethics Consultants. He is currently Professor of Bioethics and Professionalism and Director of Ethics Education at the Mercer University School of Medicine on its three campuses in Savannah, Macon, and Columbus, Georgia. He is also a CPE/T Supervisor at Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and founding Chair, and now member of the Board of Trustees of the Commission for the Accreditation of Pastoral and Psychotherapy Training (CAPPT).

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