A questioner asked: We want our patients to receive chaplain services and want to ensure that our patients are not proselytized. How can we do this?
The College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy (CPSP) accredits Clinical Pastoral Education Training programs and certifies Board Certified Clinical Chaplains. We trust that the following would address some of the concerns about proselytization:
From the CPSP Code of Professional Ethics:
Colleagues, students, clients, parishioners, and patients deserve our respect. Therefore, members will not proselytize nor impose their own theologies on others. CPSP members will refrain from exploiting relationships or using them to their own advantage. Exploitation includes emotional, financial, sexual, and/or social gain. Records, evaluations, personal notes, and informational conversations will be kept confidential.
Competency in Pastoral Care/Counseling:
The basic requirements in CPSP for certification as Board Certified Clinical Chaplain:
1. The characterological make-up for ministry, including an ability to bond with others, an ability to give attention to others, and a tolerance for diverse religious traditions and values.
2. Basic self-understanding, so as to limit unconscious imposition of one’s own agenda on others.
3. Endorsement by a faith-group community to perform ministry.
4. 1600 hours of clinically supervised ministry or a year of Clinical Pastoral Training.
5. Continuing education and annual recertification.
6. A Master of Divinity degree or equivalent, which means three years of post-graduate academic study.
Access to Pastoral Care/Counseling:
CPSP affirms the right of the of patients and their loved ones to have access to pastoral care/counseling that is directed in accordance with the patient's and their family's faith tradition.
CPSP affirms the right of the hospice patient to have that care provided by a religious professional from the patient's own faith tradition.
CPSP advocates that religious professionals employed by hospitals or hospice programs work cooperatively with parish clergy so as to facilitate ongoing pastoral support by community clergy.
CPSP acknowledges the patient's right to refuse the provision of pastoral services.
Pastoral Evaluation in the Clinical Pastoral Tradition:
CPSP affirms that pastoral care/counseling, in the clinical pastoral tradition, must include personal evaluation with the specific purpose of bringing the appropriate pastoral resources to bear. CPSP advocates for a dynamic process of pastoral assessment over against the use of a written instrument that requires nothing more than the recording of a patient’s answer to a predetermined set of questions. CPSP affirms the communication of the pastoral evaluation of the patient’s and family’s pastoral needs to the interdisciplinary team.
CPSP supports the patient’s right to be a partner in their treatment plan so as to determine the goals of the care.
George Hankins Hull, Dip.Th., Th.M.
CPSP Diplomate in Clinical Pastoral Supervision