The College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy is a theologically based covenant community, dedicated to "recovery of the soul" and promoting competency in the clinical pastoral field.
Download a PDF document containing the CPSP 2010 Plenary announcement provided by James Gebhart, Plenary Coordinator.
Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 11:03 PM
CPSP's Fall meeting of the National Clinical Training Seminar will be held November 9-10, 2009 at the located in Mahwah, New Jersey.
All who Supervisors-in-Training, Clinical Chaplains, Pastoral Counselors & Psychotherapist and CPE trainees are encouraged to attend this unique opportunity that is primarily centered on psychodynamic group process and clinical consultation-the life blood of CPSP's commitment to in-depth clinical training and primary process.
Keep watch. The Pastoral Report will post additional information about the NCTS in the near future.
Please make your plans to attend. If you have questions please make contact with Rev. Francine Hernandez, CPSP President and Coordinator of the NCTS.
Perry Miller, Editor
Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 9:55 PM
The Hong Kong Baptist Hospital was recently visited by the General Secretary of CPSP, Raymond Lawrence. The photo, from left to right shows Mei-po Tam, Chief Executive Officer Raymond C. I. Chen, Raymond Lawrence, and Chaplain Van Lo.
The Rev. Mei-po Young Tam, Ph. D., has been appointed Chief Chaplain of Hong Kong Baptist Hospital. Mei-po is a Diplomate member of the Hong Kong CPSP Chapter. Hong Kong Baptist Hospital is one of the most prestigious hospitals in Hong Kong and has some twenty persons on its chaplaincy staff including five residents.
It has a long history of offering clinical pastoral training and a strong commitment to reaching out to the less privileged. Mei-po has on her staff a second clinical pastoral supervisor, the Rev Van W. C. Lo, who was trained at North Carolina Baptist Hospital.
Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 3:55 PM
She was a black patient in her 40s whose religion was listed “No Affiliation.” I introduced myself as hospital chaplain making my rounds, and asked if she were affiliated with a religion. She said that her mother was a Jehovah’s Witness and that she wanted the hospital to also list her that way. When I said, “May the blessings of Jehovah be yours,” she thanked me, and held out her hand to shake mine. She then asked, “What’s your name?” I repeated, “Bill Alberts, hospital chaplain.” She then said, “Will you keep me in your prayers?” “Yes,” I replied, and then asked, “Would you like me to offer a prayer now?” “No,” she said. “Just keep me in your prayers. And say my name, too [italics added]. My mother said it’s all right to say my name.” “I sure will,” I replied. “Your name is precious to Jehovah.” “I’ll keep you in my prayers, too,” she responded. “Thank you,” I said. “I appreciate that.”
It was not just about prayer. Nor about spirituality. Nor even about Jehovah. It was even more about saying her name. It was about her. And about my name. About me. Pastoral care is about remembering and saying people’s names. Far more than praying to or in the name of . . . It is about the patient’s name. About who she is. And about my name as chaplain: about who I am.
Another patient wanted to make sure I remembered his name. A black man, listed as “Hindu,” who actually was a “Protestant”—and much more. “I never pass one church to get to another,” he said. That was how he began sharing his beliefs: “God is love. Caring. Pitying. Forgiving. Strengthening. All of us need that. Whatever our religion or nationality or race.” He was talking from experience. His wife left him with a 31/2- year-old son and an 18-month-old daughter whom he raised on his own. After he shared the story of his name, it was then time to offer prayer: God’s merciful and affirming and empowering love for him and for all persons. For those for whom it has meaning, prayer can be a powerful way to say their name and reinforce their faith.
Three days later I unknowingly walked by the above patient on the Unit while he was doing physical therapy. When I circled the Unit again and approached, he stopped me. I looked at him and immediately recognized and spoke his full name. He said, “I don’t want you to forget me.” I replied, “I will never forget you, nor your powerful words about a loving god who cares for everyone.” He then introduced me to his 50-year-old son, who was leading his father around the Unit with one hand while pulling his father’s IV machine with the other hand. I said, “So this is the son you raised from age 31/2.” “Yes,” he replied. “While I was out winning the bread, he was home running the house.” The patient then spoke words of praise about the one who was at his side all these years. Confused, I quessed, “Your son?” “God,” he replied. And his son quickly added, “Me, too.” A 31/2-year-old son, now a 50-year-old man, leading his 78-year-old father around the Unit. It is about love freely given and freely returned.
Remembering and saying patients and family members’ names help to create a common ground of humanness. I occasionally visited a young, critically ill, often unconscious, male Muslim patient in an intensive care Unit. His mother stood vigil at his bedside. Early on she asked me to speak to her son, to give him a blessing. It was about saying his name, and the name and blessing upon him of their god, Allah. It was about the names held dear in the heart of a loving mother.
Many Christian patients respond very positively to prayers ending “in Jesus’ name.” So true the hymn: “How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear!” Made even sweeter by the sound of the patient’s own name.
Remembering and saying people’s names is so important in pastoral care and in other relationships. I made it a point to transcend my negative perception of a white female hospital staff person’s abrupt and angry demeanor and manner, for which she was known—especially by those of us who did not personally know her and were turned off by her unfriendly appearance. A key element in moving beyond my own guardedness toward her was remembering and saying her name—and taking the time to speak with and listen to her. In time, she began sharing conflicting religious beliefs and asking personal questions. There was also the sharing of a story or two. I began to enjoy seeing and sharing with her. I grew to like her.
In a recent conversation, she said that she stopped going to church years ago because she did not agree with certain beliefs held by her denomination, which evidently led her to ask me, “Can you tell by looking at people whether they are good or bad?” I replied, “I can tell by looking at people that they are human beings.” She answered with a smile.
Pastoral care is about remembering and saying people’s names—not just about praying for them in another’s name. It is not about “God talk” but about listening and responding to what patients are saying and not saying. It is about affirming them not trying to “save” them. It is about them getting better not being better. It is about looking at people and seeing human beings.
Bill Alberts is a hospital chaplain at Boston Medical Center. Dr. Alberts is a nationally
known writer and an occasional contributor to Counterpunch. In addition, he is convener of the New England Chapter of CPSP. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at 10:12 AM