Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) or Clinical Pastoral Training (CPT) goes back to the 1920s with Anton Boisen in the United States. CPE began to come into its own in the Philippines much later. Phil del Rosario was an early proponent with the Wesley Divinity School. Fr. Albert Dalton and Cirilo del Carmen established CPE at St. Lukes Hospital in 1968. In the 1970s. Narciso Dumalagan served at St. Lukes Hospital as a CPE supervisor and worked to develop the Philippine Association of Clinical Pastoral Care in the 1970s. Later this group became known as Pastoral Care Foundation, and then Asian Association of Clinical Pastoral Education. The work of these individuals in the 1960s and 1970s is still felt today.
For many years, Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary (PBTS) had a CPE program. It was focused on training Southern Baptist seminarians in CPE. But in the 1990s, the program was formalized by the organization Asian Clinical Pastoral Education Association, Inc.. Unfortunately, this organization became dormant when its leaders emmigrated to the United States. CPE, however, continued at PBTS.
One who came through the program at PBTS was Joel Aguirre. He graduated from PBTS and then traveled to the US. While there, he sought to get further training in CPE. At that time, he attempted to contact the heads of several of the certifying bodies for CPE in the US. Of these, only Raymond Lawrence, the General Secretary of the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy, responded. Joel was able to get additional training through them and Raymond served as a supervisor in his training.
Returning to the Philippines Joel worked with Chaplain Debbie Miller, professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at PBTS, and an APC-certified pastoral counselor, in overseeing the CPE program there in the mid 2000s. In 2009, after Debbie Miller returned to the United States, Joel led a CPE group solo. He invited his supervisor, Raymond Lawrence to visit his CPE group in the Philippines.
Also in 2009. Robert
and Celia Munson, and some partners, formed Bukal Life Ministries with the hopes of providing pastoral care services to survivors of disasters, as well as to pastors and other religious minister.
In 2010, Joel Aguirre joined Bukal Life Ministries, and the name was changed and incorporated as Bukal Life Care and Counseling Center, Inc.. That summer, Bukal Life Care and Counseling Center oversaw the CPE program at PBTS, and Bukal was seen (at least verbally) as a center with CPSP because of the relationship between Joel and General Secretary of CPSP. In October 2010, Bukal Life Care had its formal launching, even though it was already incorporated in June. Even from 2010 there was a lot of discussion about establishing a certifying agency for CPE in the Philippines.
In 2011, Raymond Lawrence returned to Baguio. We had two formal events— the first at Riverview Park in Asin, Benguet, and the second at the Munson home in Baguio City. The first established recognition of an initial group of SITs. These were Joel Aguirre, Celia Munson, Sim Dang-Awan Jr., Ryan Clark, Sofia Natama, Jehny Pedazo, Joyce Gray, Chit Panizales and Sofia Cinches. The second meeting established Bukal Life Care as a training center of CPSP, in partnership with PBTS. As such, Bukal Life Care is the first training center of CPSP in the Philippines.
In March of 2012, CPSP-Philippines was finally incorporated, established by Paul Tabon. The formal name was “The Collegium of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy—Philippines, Inc.”
The first expansion of the organization was the establishment of Bukal Life Care in Manila, led by Sim Dang-Awan Jr., and Sofia Natama. Eventually, this became a separate training center (New Heights) under CPSP-Philippines. Later, the name was changed to Jethro Guidance Center.
In 2015 we began working on a formalized agreement between CPSP and CPSP-Philippines. This is to put in writing what existed only as verbal agreement up to that point. It was signed in November 2015.
In 2016, we were given permission to have our first Supervisors (Diplomate Supervisors in Clinical Pastoral Education/Training). These four were Sim Dang-Awan Jr., Celia Munson, Paul Tabon, and Cal Sodoy. These four diplomates also served as the supervisors of the four accredited training centers of CPSP-Philippines. Two of these centers were in Baguio City, one in Manila, and one in Iloilo City.
In 2018, our MOA was rewritten and was signed again by both parties, giving new freedoms to CPSP-Philippines in terms of diplomates, and the area over which we have oversight.
As of 2020, we have centers in Baguio, Bulacan, Manila, Iloilo, Iligan, and Zamboanga. We are also in the preliminary stages of having a new center in Pampanga. 2021 should be a banner year as we plan to expand our pool of diplomates for the first time since 2016.