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.
Last week I visited Fort Hood in Texas to provide a consultation to the Family Life section of the Army’s chaplaincy corp. I was invited by Dave Scheider and Lance Sneath. Lance is on partial medical leave due to his debilitating Gulf War syndrome, one of 125,000 victims of flawed anti-radiation medicine. Dave is directing the training program for the time being.
The Family Life chaplains have an excellent facility, soon to be expanded. There are multiple counseling rooms with state of the art electronics that enable clinical supervisors to monitor the work of their trainees.
One of the remarkable aspects of Army chaplaincy is that they are currently much more advanced than the civilian sector in the matter of training their chaplains to work clinically with troubled families. The Army has integrated psychology and religion in a way that the civilian sector should emulate.
The clinical training program at Fort Hood, the largest military base in the country, the home of two divisions, is overall very impressive. Chaplains who go through the clinical training program simultaneously earn an M.S. degree in counseling awarded by Texas A&M University. This program is one of the most promising programs I have visited both in terms of the seriousness of the clinical supervision and teaching, and the quality of the trainees, as well as the infrastructure support.
On my visit I also consulted with the Lake Belton Chapter, which is made up largely of military chaplains based at Fort Hood. Some of their certified chaplains are currently and temporarily stationed in overseas bases and communicate with the Chapter by phone and skype for the time being.
I also made a visit to Utah and found a considerable amount of energy and enthusiasm for the expanding clinical training programs there. I was consultant to the clinical program at the Veterans Administration program in Salt Lake City. Chaplain Mark Allison supervises the program there.
I met with Gene Slade and his administrator. Gene is in supervisory training with Mark and conducting a program at Intermountain Alta View Hospital in Sandy, Utah. And I was happy to be part of a seminar reviewing the work of yet another of Mark’s supervisors-in-training, Jeff Price.
The population in Utah is majority Latter Day Saints(LDS), or Mormons. I found the religious environment to be quite ecumenical. It seems clear to me that the LDS enthusiastically promote an ecumenical spirit. The trainee population was a mixture of Buddhists, Indian shamans, and a variety of Christian groups, Roman Catholic and Protestant. The program was multi-racial and multi-ethnic.
As well as consulting the program, I attended and spoke at the graduation ceremonies of Mark’s most recent training group. It was a gathering of more than one hundred persons along with the media from television and the Salt Lake City newspaper, Deseret News. The hospital administrator also spoke.
While in Utah I also conferred with several Chapter conveners and reviewed the rapid expansion of CPSP work in Utah. Five years ago we no CPSP activity in the state. Now there are five functioning Chapters and discussion of new Chapters to be formed.
While in Utah I also met with Roger Keller and Michael Benedict who are conducting a training program in Provo supervised by Foy Richie. Foy has been the person who originally brought CPSP work to Utah and the fruits of his work are quite impressive.
See below the Deseret News photo of Arnold Thomas, a blind Indian shaman who during the graduation ceremony treated me to a native ritual, chanting and purifying me magpie tail feathers and fumigating me with the Indians’ mountain tobacco smoke. I’ve felt better ever since. (The Pastoral Report’s editor is incorrect in reporting that the shaman was chanting ‘off with his head.’)
Contact Raymond Lawrence, General Secretary: Click here.
Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at August 2, 2010 4:38 PM