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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.


« A MESSAGE FROM THE CPSP PRESIDENT: A Flourishing Community--- by R. Esteban Montilla, Ph.D. | Main | What about Pastoral Supervision of the Field of Clinical Pastoral Chaplaincy? by Robert Charles Powell, MD, PhD »

April 24, 2012

"Recovery of Soul”: Comments upon Becoming the 11th Recipient of the Helen Flanders Dunbar Award for Significant Contributions to Clinical Pastoral Training--- by Kenneth Holt Pohly, DMin

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Having been active in [the clinical pastoral field] …, and feeling the
estrangement of spiritual depth …, I was introduced to the College of
Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy, which asserts … that… it is
a theologically based certifying and accrediting community … dedicated to ‘recovery of soul’.

That statement made me look at the recovery of soul in the groups in
which I was involved …. It caused me to look at my own life. …

I believe that the condition of the soul is the priority concern of each of us
and every one of the organizations of which we are a part.

Greetings! May Grace and Peace be with you! …

I have been aware of the Dunbar name and tradition since my seminary days. I ran across her name in my readings, but at the time I did not pursue her work. It was years later, after twenty years of pastoring in a local church and on a college campus, that I “discovered” Helen Flanders Dunbar. …

I was only in my first year of teaching when my teaching colleague, Dr. Harry DeWire, invited me to attend an evening social event of the area chaplains and clinical teachers. I was fresh off my doctoral studies, a significant part of which had taken place at Vanderbilt University Hospital. I had also recently completed the writing of my doctoral dissertation on “The Clinical Method in Theological Education”. The contents of the dissertation were designed to become the basis for the newly conceived curriculum at United Theological Seminary [“UTS”, in Dayton, Ohio]. … In the same period of time, the early ‘70’s, I attended my first biennial meeting of what is now known at the Association of Theological Field Education (ATFE). …

After a two year study, … we introduced [in 1971] a new curriculum that was clinical at its heart. … Students were required to involved in supervised field placement … [and] they were to write up case material … for discussion …. [which] was assisted by a five-stage … outline guided by the Field Facilitator. The stages were to help students to (1) describe a particular troublesome event in their ministry, (2) analyze what happened in that event, (3) express how it affected them, (4) discuss how God was involved, and (5) decide what their next steps would be. At the center of this discussion was the concern to help members of the group “theologize,” that is, to think clearly about God’s presence and action in their ministry. … We have not forgotten our task – to assist the members of this [seminary] community to be the Church. …

UTS seeks the renewal of the Church. … That comes when individuals in the Church are renewed. Our desire … is to … engage people in renewal that transforms the lives and souls of persons. When this happens, the Church as an institution will become the body of transformed individuals who, together, bring transformation of life to the world. The experience I have just described I think of as “recovery of soul”. …

Recovery of soul is something about which I was deeply impressed when I became introduced to the CPSP. … Having been active in [clinical supervision] …, and feeling the estrangement of spiritual depth …, I was introduced to the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy which asserts, as part of its mission statement, that the organization is a unique form of ministry … where
the respect of the students as persons and their healing, …
change, growth, development, and unique integration of the
personal and professional … is central to CPSP’s mission.
And it is stated further that it is a
theologically based certifying and accrediting community …
dedicated to ‘recovery of soul’.

That statement made me look at the recovery of soul in the groups in which I was involved – in particular, our Center for Supervision and Leadership Formation. It caused me to look at my own life. I asked the age-old question: “How is it with your soul?” That has become for me an essential question. … I believe that the condition of the soul is the priority concern of each of us and every one of the organizations of which we are a part. … I think that … we need to be committed to authenticity in our personal lives and in our organizations. …

So, the question I want to leave with CPSP tonight is: “Is it prepared to ‘Claim the Promise’ with which it began – to respect persons and their healing?” I think this might be Dunbar’s question. At least it is mine as I accept this award.
____________
If the reader wishes to respond to Dr. Pohly, please forward your comments to Dr. Powell.

Posted by Perry Miller, Editor at April 24, 2012 8:40 AM

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