Thursday, July 07, 2016

At End of Life, Family Often Too Optimistic on Survival


Educating a family about a poor prognosis has always been difficult. Now a study appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals the extent of misunderstanding when patients and physicians both try predict the chance of a loved one's survival. In this 150-second analysis, MedPage Today clinical reviewer F. Perry Wilson MD, MSCE, breaks down the data.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Increasing Trend to Secularize Chaplaincy

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.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The 13th Conference of the European Council for Pastoral Care and Counselling

Feeling Felt – Challenges for Pastoral Care and Counselling

The 13th Conference of the European Council for Pastoral Care and Counselling
It all begins with a look. The paintings by the artist Maria Wolfram challenge the way we look at the world surrounding us. Those faces seem to look back at us, asking: What do you see when you look at me? Can you feel my reality, or are you looking right through me, perceiving only what you wish to see, receiving only what fits in your picture?
Feeling felt – two simple words that capture the essence of empathic attunement, which is at the core of all encountering in pastoral care and counselling.
How do we approach today’s evermore complex and challenging realities, whose faces do we recognize and encounter? And where do we find strength in our effort to accompany suffering individuals and communities under pressure? What is the essence of being a pastoral caregiver for our present time in the perspective of feeling felt?
These questions guide the reflection on the theme of Feeling Felt – Challenges for Pastoral Care and Counselling. The methodological keys to the theme of the conference come from different fields of research, social analysis and personal experience.
It is our pleasure to invite you to the 13th Conference of the European Council for Pastoral Care and Counselling which will be held on the 23rd-28th of August in 2017 at the Institute for Advanced Training of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland in Järvenpää, Finland.
Language of the conference is English.
We are already working hard with conference arrangements. Please notice that the first draft of the program has now published.
Please follow our website and our Facebook page, we will publish more about program and schedule soon! See you in Järvenpää!

Call for workshops and papers!

The organizers of the 13th ECPCC conference cordially invite you to submit an abstract for a workshop or paper to be presented at European conference of the European Council for Pastoral Care and Counselling in Järvenpää, Finland 2017. The deadline for submitting an abstract is August 30th 2016.
The abstract submission form is now open! (Abstract submission form link here). 


  • AAPC American Association of Pastoral Counselors
  • Blue Carpet Northeuropean Conference for Counselling, Therapy and Theology
  • CPSP College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy
  • DGfP Deutsche Gesellschaft für Pastoralpsychologie
  • ENHCC European Network of Health Care Chaplainy
  • ICPCC International Council for Pastoral Care and Counselling
  • IPCNSR International Pastoral Counselors’ Network for Social Responsibility
  • PlainViews An e-newsletter connecting chaplains and other spiritual care providers
  • SIPCC Society for Intercultural Pastoral Care and Counselling

Monday, February 22, 2016

Asbury Theological Seminary: How to Receive Credit for CPE Training


Asbury Theological Seminary 

Find a certified ACPE (Association for Clinical Pastoral Education) or CPSP (College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy) training site.  ACPE website has a list of certified training sites by states.  CPSP website has a list of certified training sites.  (NOTE: Your denominational body usually defines which of the above training programs they prefer.) See ACPE or CPSP webpage for more information on each respective program.
Apply directly to the ACPE or CPSP sites you are interested in training.  Both ACPE and CPSP website have application forms you can access. Your training site may also provide you with the application as well.
ACPE and CPSP training sites may require you to pay a tuition fee to train with them. You are responsible for paying for your CPE training.  The seminary will reimburse you up to $600.00 of your training site tuition fee (only) after you complete your CPE training.  More on this below.
Also note that some training sites offer stipends to train with them.  Each training site is different in what it can offer so be informed of the financial cost (or benefits!). 
Once you are accepted to an ACPE or CPSP site, you can sign up to receive seminary credit for your training.

  Link:  Asbury Theological Seminary 

The Founding of the College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy

The College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy CPSP is an international, theologically based covenant community.

CPSP was formed out of the memories of our own experience in clinical training. It was not formed around the corporate bureaucratic model, that 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.

Learn more about CPSP:
College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy

Time to Call the Hospital Chaplain

Sometime ago Don Berwick, MD spoke about 20 improvements that doctors could make in the end of life care of their patients that begins in a simple conversation. Berwick recommended the following considerations as his top three suggestions:
  1. Ask yourself as you see patients, "Would I be surprised if this patient died in the next few months?" For those "sick enough to die," prioritize the patient's concerns - often symptom relief, family support, continuity, advance planning, or spirituality.
  2. To eliminate anxiety and fear, chronically ill patients must understand what is likely to happen. When you see a patient who is "sick enough to die" - tell the patient, and start counseling and planning around that possibility.
  3. To understand your patients, ask (1) "What do you hope for, as you live with this condition,"(a) "What do you fear?," (b) It is usually hard to know when death is close. If you were to die soon, what would be left undone in your life?," and (4) "How are things going for you and your family?" Document and arrange care to meet each patient's priorities.

All too often the task of finishing the business of living gets left undone because the end of life conversation has never taken place for whatever reason.  A referral to the Clinical Chaplain would of course be an appropriate action in the hospital setting. 

Clinical Pastoral Education - An Historical Perspective:

Clinical Pastoral Education - An Historical Perspective:

In the 1920’s theological education began to be profoundly reshaped by the medical model of education which itself was being transformed in response to the renowned Flexner Report of 1910.

Theological education, which was at that point in history almost entirely academic, theoretical, and forensic began to change just as medical education was changing. Pastors began using the mentorship approach to learning “at the bedside” in contact with living persons and their problems.

Thus, began the art and science of Clinical Pastoral Training or Education, the disciplined examination of specific cases of pastoral care and counseling, and the application of the clinical method to the work of ministry.

Clinical Pastoral Education has come to be known as the study of persons and their problems of relating and structures of meaning. This training has become accepted as a formative component in the preparation of persons for religious ministry.

Anton Boisen (1876-1965) was the individual who most provided the initial impetus toward making this change in theological education. Motivated by the urgency to understand his own psychotic episodes and their religious and developmental implications, Boisen inaugurated and institutionalized this new component in theological education known as Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE).

At first CPE attracted only a few selected individuals, most of whom sought Boisen because of his and their dissatisfaction with normative theological education. Subsequently, CPE has burgeoned to such an extent that many theological schools require an introductory unit as a prerequisite for graduation.

Clinical Pastoral Education in General:

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) programs provide an opportunity for ministers, seminarians and lay people to develop pastoral competency within a particular pastoral setting (usually a hospital, parish, hospice, retirement home, etc.), and seeks to foster the pastors own self-awareness as a pastoral care-giver.

The CPE approach to training is based upon an "action-reflection" model of learning. Pastoral interns function as ecumenical chaplains providing pastoral care on assigned areas and use their experience in pastoral encounters as a basis for their learning.

While seminary settings provide an academic environment for the study of pastoral theology in contrast the CPE center provides the clinical basis for learning. 

The College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy 

Clinical Pastoral Training University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences