Guide to HIV/AIDS Pastoral Counselling

The AIDS Working Group of the World Council of Churches (WCC) has come out with a new document, “Guide to HIV/AIDS Pastoral Counselling.”

One of the contributors to this document is a member of CPSP-Philippines. Dr. Erlinda Senturias. She and her husband Ptr. Alvaro Senturias Jr., are members of CPSP-Philippines and involved with Jethro Guidance Center. They are also both CPE trainees under Diplomate Dr. Sim Dang-Awan Jr..

CPSP-Philippines Timeline

2010, Bukal Life Care and Counseling Center started teaching Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) for chaplains and ministers.

2011. Bukal Life Care formed a verbal partnership with an organization called CPSP, based in the United States. CPSP is a collegial body of pastoral counselors and clinical chaplains, and works to certify these specialties and accredit training facilities for these based on established standards. Bukal Life Care became the first training center recognized in the Philippines by CPSP, and several members of Bukal became part of the first CPSP-recognized CPE supervisors-in-training in the Philippines.

2014 Bukal Life Care-Manila became a separate entity led by Dr. Sim Dang-Awan Jr. under the new, New Hope. Later, the name was changed to Jethro Guidance Center.

2015 We established a formal MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) between CPSP and CPSP-Philippines. The established us formally in our relationship with CPSP.

2016. Four SITs (Doc Sim, Doc Cal, Doc Paul, and Chap. Celia) became the first full Supervisors with CPSP-Philippines. Up to this time, our organization only had Supervisors-in-Training. Each supervisor had his/her own training center, making a total of four training centers.

2019. We signed an updated MOA with CPSP.

So why did we help form this organization? There were a few reasons. One reason was the rather sorry state of chaplaincy and pastoral counseling in the Philippines. I read an article written in 1981 of the state of pastoral counseling and chaplaincy in Southeast Asia. The article sounded like it could have been written in 2010. Few things had changed. There were, I suspect, a few reasons for this.

People who trained to be a chaplain or a pastoral counselor tended to leave the Philippines. They were valued in other countries, but one could hardly earn a living in the Philippines in these roles. Pastoral counseling is not really recognized in the Philippines. Hospital chaplaincy has traditionally been simply a post assigned by the local bishop to a priest to carry out sacraments in the hospital. Community chaplaincy was typically held by people who were part of an organization that was originally set up to fight corruption but had gradually (in many locations) become a part of that corruption.

Over the years, doors have begun to open, just a bit.

  • CPSP-Philippines now has 7 active training centers, and 2 more in inactive status.
  • We have chaplains heading… something like 5 hospitals, one corporate chaplaincy program, and several school, college, and seminary chaplaincy roles.
  • The next generation of pastoral counselors/chaplains are really starting to step up and take on roles to expand the work that we began. They are starting to hold webinars, writing books, online counseling and support groups, and expanding into corporate work, retirement homes, and more.