The following is a brief message from Dr. Sim Dang-Awan Jr., the President of the Board of Trustees of CPSP-Philippines, Inc..
I was often asked this question: “What is the difference of ;the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) and the Clinical Pastoral Supervision and Psychoteraphy (CPSP) to which you are attached” to answer this question, once in for all, may I refer you to the article of no less than the founder of CPSP -USA, Dr Raymond J. Lawrence titled “Watch Your Language.”In that article, Dr Lawrence said that “Pastoral clinicians should not refer to their trainees as students, nor to their clinical seminars as classess, nor to their clinical cases as verbatims nor to their clinical training program as an educational program nor refer to themselves as teachers and professors, but rather as training Supervisors. Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) should more properly be called Clinical Pastoral Training (CPT) For political and market purposes we should perhaps refer to CPE/CPT or CPT aka CPE.”“So why all the fuss? The answer is that we in CPSP are more indebted to the Anton Boisen tradition than to the Richard Cabot tradition. Boisen conceived of his work to be clinical training… Clinical training from the Boisenite tradition followed the new medical model of clinical supervision that followed academic education. The famous Flexner Report and the radical change in medical education and training a century ago actually created and shaped the Boisen revolution. . Such terms befits more an advanced professionalWhen Physicians are trained they first do an educational venture and acquire an M.D.. degree. Once they have acquired a doctor degree, they are no longer called “medical students”. They enter clinical training and do internships, residences and fellowships. Religious leaders undertaking clinical training should follow similar nomenclature.”To paraphrase Dr Lawrence he said that it seems undignified to call a senior pastor or lay leader a student., What is more dignified and proper label is to call that person, a trainee,, intern, or a resident. The distinctions might not be absolute, but they are very critical distinctions to people who needed to be affirmed.
Many thanks to Doc Sim for sharing this. Three more points are worth adding.
1. The differences between the philosophies of ACPE and CPSP are best understood in
in the CPE movement as a historical process. A recommended reading for this is Raymond Lawrence’s book “Recovery of Soul: A History and Memoir of the Clinical Pastoral Movement.
2. One way that language and history has had an effect on the divergence of the CPE movement is in terms of philosophy of learning and supervision. ACPE has traditionally embraced a more Educative focus in line with Cabot’s vision. CPSP has traditionally embraced a more therapeutic focus, in line with Boisen’s vision. For the latter, emphasis is placed on self-understanding and “recovery of the soul” for the trainee, with less emphasis on skills learning. Normally, this would also relate to two philosophies of supervision— patient focus (in line with educative emphasis), and supervisee focus (in line with therapeutic emphasis).
3. While this post emphasizes differences, there is a great deal of overlap. Both ACPE and CPSP seek to educate and to provide therapy. Both may supervise with a mixture of patient-focus and supervisee-focus (and perhaps relationship-focus). Differences should be considered as ranges on a spectrum, rather than locations on opposite sides of a ravine. As such, at CPSP-Philippines we value the uniqueness of our tradition, but do not believe in denigrating others.