The Issue of Authenticity

Article by Dr. Simplicio Dang-Awan Jr., Diplomate CPSP-Philippines

There are many people who may be unreal 19575304_10209712303177499_2038709745623943356_oor inauthentic. One way to understand the word is to talk about inconsistencies in one’s life-way. When one smiles on the outside but angry on the inside– one is not authentic. One who says he is a Christian, but his actions insult Christ whom he claims as his Lord,  or one who says I ‘m humble and modest, but shows pride and arrogance to others is indeed not authentic.

Authenticity is one goal of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), because one is to subject himself/herself to self-awareness. This is like seeing your face through the mirror. Your group members will help you understand why you talk or behave the way you do with their feedbacks. This is called processing in CPE. We need to process ourselves as to

  • Why we tell a lie.
  • Why we behave the way we do.
  • Why we cannot express ourselves.
  • Why we get angry even for small things.
  • Why we become intolerant and feel angry if our wish is not followed.
  • Why do we easily cry when scolded.

Has crying became our coping mechanism or not? There is a cause for every issue that we grapple with in life. We need someone who can mirror to us our behavior.

Example: Why are we angry with some elders who are of the same age as our father. This was the behavior of Pablo. His CPE Supervisor asked him to recall where that anger started out. The Supervisor suspected transference. Pablo then told a story about his dad, who enjoyed ridiculing him for urinating on his bed when he was 12 years old. He could not fight his father, of course, when he was young. When he became a person with authority, he shouts at elderly for little or no reason. He is transferring his hatred for his father to another person who is as old as his father then regrets after hurting the elderly. There was transference indeed as suspected. So Supervisors, and Pastoral Counselors in general, should be suspicious.

Another example is a Pastor who was delivering a sermon in a Church, when suddenly he saw a member texting while others are listening to him. He then burst into anger and castigated the person who was texting. He regretted showing his temper before his congregation. When he went into CPE he was encouraged by his Supervisor to look back into his upbringing, if there was any incident that may have triggered his anger. Then he recalled, “When I was in grade 6, I was scolded by my Teacher when I was reading a note passed by my classmate about a girl I like very much. Then he stopped lecturing and singled me out as one who does not listen to him when he is teaching us. I was so embarrassed in front of  my classmates– especially the girl who laughed with the others at me.” That boy hated his teacher and when he became a Pastor he did the same to someone in his congregation. Why? Yes because that anger was not processed. In 2 Cor 5:17 says, “He who is in Christ is a new being, the old was gone and the new has come.” This is easier said than done. Unless the old and dirty behavior is processed and identified and thrown in the garbage, the old behavior may come back sooner or later.


Five Universal Life Tasks

Alfred Adler, a leading psychologist of the early 20th century, determined that there were three Universal Life Tasks They are described as universal in that they are not characteristic of humanity, rather than limited by gender, nationality, age, culture, or any other subset of humanity.


Alfred Adler (1870-1937)

They are:

  • Social Task (developing friendships)

  • Intimacy Tasks (developing sexual, as well as loving and familial, relationships)

  • Occupational Tasks (contributing positively to community)

Adler felt that “all the questions of life can be subordinated to the three major problems–the problems of comml life, of work, and of love.”

A failure in any of these three areas can (will?) lead to serious psycho-emotional problems.

Harold Mosak and Rudolf Dreikurs of the Alfred Adler Institute of Chicago, in 1966 suggested two more Universal Life Tasks. In so doing, they were actually taking some thoughts of Adler that had not been fully developed, and added to that some ideas from Lewis Way and Irvin Neufeld. They suggested that these other two– “all interrelated, and therefore, affecting the solution of the three tasks, but transcending them.”

  • Self Tasks (accepting and respecting self)
  • Spiritual Tasks (finding positive meaning/purpose, relationship with God)

Mosak and Dreikurs did not describe the last task in exactly those terms… no direct reference to God, for example. However, the idea is there. They described this task as “the need to adjust to the problems beyond the mere existence on this earth and to find meaning to our lives, to realize the significance of human existence through transcendental and spiritual involvement.”

These five universal tasks tie nicely with one of the most well known formulas in the Bible– ‘The Great Commandment.”

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. (Luke 10:27, HCSB)

If one looks at the first three universal life tasks, healthy intimacy with others, productive role in the community, and friendships with those around, these are all “neighbor or community” tasks. As such they could arguably be seen as aspects of “Loving one’s Neighbor.” Loving one’s neighbor can be seen, although not necessarily limited to having intimate relationships with family, positive friendships with those one interacts with regularly, and positive role in the broader community.

The fourth task (self-acceptance and self-respect) certainly relates to Loving Self, a love implied in the Great Commandment.

The fifth task (Spiritual Task) can be seen as relating to loving God.

So one could break down the Great Commandment into three components

  1. Love God                   –Spiritual Tasks
  2. Love Neighbor         –Social, Intimacy, and Occupational Tasks
  3. Love Self                   –Self Tasks

Such an interconnection is not, perhaps, that interesting. What, arguably, is more interesting is the statement of Mosak and Dreikurs that the latter two tasks could be thought of as inter-related with the other three, but also transcending them.

Many theologians see the Great Commandment in a similar light. First, they see the Commandment, although consisting of two or perhaps three components, act as a unity. It is a single commandment with three inter-related parts. Second, however, two of the components transcend in a sense the third. That is, we are unable to love our neighbor unless we love God and we love ourselves. A failure of one component ultimately leads to a failure in all aspects.

If you are interested in reading the paper referenced of Mosak and Dreikurs, it is available HERE.

Two Conferences Coming up

While we often focus on activities that are directly linked to CPSP-Philippines or CPSP, we do wish to acknowledge and promote activities from other organizations that share the same vision. With that.

#1.  July 21-23.  We are pleased to inform you that the Vanderpol Center for Leadership & Pastoral Formation will host its 4th Regional Asia-Oceania Consultation Seminar and Retreat on July 21-23, 2017 at the Winaca Eco-Cultural Village, Acop, Tublay, Benguet ( The theme for this year’s retreat is “Deepening Spirituality: A Journey towards an Integrated Self.” We at Vanderpol Center understand and believe the value of having an integrated spirituality because we can only fully appreciate our value as human beings if we are truly integrated within ourselves, with our fellowmen, with our Creator, and with nature. 

In this connection, we are inviting you to join us as we explore, reflect on and consult with fellow practitioners on the true meaning of spirituality, spirituality vs. emotional health, finding healing from trauma, etc. through the messages to be given by our speakers, reflections, seminars and small group consultation process. The seminar fee is PHP 4,500 (USD 90), which includes transportation to and from the venue, food, accommodation and materials. Please take note that in order to reserve a slot, there is a non-refundable pre-registration fee of PHP 1,000 (USD 20), which is due on July 7, 2017. The slots are limited to 40 participants only and the online registration will close on July 14, 2017.   You may send us an email to

#2.  September 19-22. We would like to invite you to The 11th Asia Pacific Congress-Convention on Pastoral Care and Counseling / APCPCC 2017) that will be held on Tuesday-Friday, 19-22  September 2017 in The Mercure Ancol, Hotel and Convention Centre, Ancol Baycity, Jakarta Utara, Indonesia. The APCPCC 2017 will designate the theme of ”PASTORAL MINISTRY AND VIOLENCE”.

 Please feel free to contact us if there is anything we can assist or you can visit or email to and/or

#3.  October. Dr. Doug Dickens will be back with us in Baguio City, and we at CPSP-Philippines are hoping to have another seminar with him. The topic is still up in the air, but the hope is to align it with International Pastoral Care Week (the last week in October).

Supervisors/SITs Page Update

Made changes to our “Supervisors/SITs page.

  1.  Added Mr. Edgar Chan to the list of Supervisors-in-Training.
  2.  Provided a list of our first certified facilitators for Clinical Pastoral Orientation (CPO)
    • All Supervisors and Supervisors in Training
    • Phanuel Buac, Zamboanga City
    • German Ramboyong Jr., Baguio
    • Renato Eustaquio, Bocaue, Bulacan
    • Mariz Eustaquio, Bocaue, Bulacan
    • Marcy Maslian, Baguio City
    • Rosemarie Estipular, Baguio City
    • Winter Langpaoen

To be a CPO facilitator, the individual must have completed at least two full units of CPE, with recent experience in the supervisory process, and recommended by his or her supervisor.

Congratulations to all added to this page.