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George Buck: The Present Friction Between ACPE & CPSP

As one who has been involved in pastoral training and education for over forty years (certified as a “Chaplain Supervisor” by the Council for Clinical in 1964), I have experienced a good deal of change in the pastoral education movement. It now seems that history is repeating itself.

The present friction between CPSP and ACPE is not unlike that of the Council for Clinical Training and the Institute of Pastoral Care. The Council folk looked at the Institute folk as a bunch academic heads who overlooked the psycho-dynamic approach to “CPT”. One of my first supervisors, Tom Klink, once stated that the Institute super-visors needed to get acquainted with Sigmund Freud. On the other side of the fence, the Institute super-visors saw the Council supervisors as a bunch of feelers who refused to think. This war of words, so to speak, went on for several years.

In the mid-sixties, I supervised CPT students in up-state New York. When the New York supervisors would get together, we would often discuss the “qualifications” of the Institute supervisors and wondered how they could possibly do quality CPT. We were convinced that none of them could make it if they had to meet a Council Certification Committee. No doubt, the Institute folk felt the same way. This seems to be the present rub between CPSP and ACPE: CERTIFICATION!

For approximately nine years (three as chair), I served on the ACPE Certification Committee—later called Commission. When I first went on the Committee, it was called the C & A Committee (Accreditation Committee). Some of us were against the separating Certification and Accreditation, but the compulsive folk won out.

My certification experience allowed me to be involved with a lot of candidates. Many who were certified were well qualified and many who were certified were not very qualified. The biggest stumbling block came down to emotional maturity. I don’t know if that is the case now. Some seem to want to objectify the certification process so much that the human element (subjectivity) is no longer a factor---what a shame.

Will CPSP and ACPE ever get together and dialogue about the strengths and limitations of both organizations? Who knows? I often tell my students that, if you accuse another of having a problem, that person will react defensively. But if you say I have a problem with your behavior, you open it up for dialogue. That’s just common sense behavioral dynamics.

George Buck is a CPSP Diplomate in Clinical Pastoral Supervision in the Department of Pastoral Care & Clinical Pastoral Education at the UAMS Medical Center in Little Rock, Arkansas.

For information on Clinical Pastoral Training at UAMS Medical Centerclick on the following link:

College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy:"Committed to the `Recovery of Soul' in the Clinical PastoralTraining Movement"

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