September/October Updates

  1.  Presently, CPE is being held at Bukal Life Care (2 groups), Hesed, and Jethro Guidance.  These three centers are located in Baguio City, Bocaue, and Manila, respectively.
  2.  Doc Cal Sodoy of Clinical Pastoral and Spiritual Care Training Center will be in Manila working with Jethro Guidance from October 19-27. The biggest single activity will be the Certification Board on Thursday October 24 when we will have a CPSP-Philippines Certification Board.  Tentative location will be Elinwood Malate Church in Manila (location subject to change).


May 2019 Updates

Some Updates…
–New Heights: They are in the middle of an extended full unit, led by Doc Sim, with assistance of Chaplain Larry.
–Bukal Life Care. They will start intensive unit June 10, led by Chaplains Celia and Lyn They will also have a half unit beginning in August, led by Chaplain Vo. Bukal Life Care plans to take a break from CPE from October to March 2019 (not including CPO)
–Glocal Community. Doc Paul plans to start a CPE this October.
–St. Andrews. They have 11 trainees starting this mid-May into July.
–CPSCTC. Doc Cal will start an intensive unit at CPU this mid-May for 5 weeks.
–Hesed. Chaplain Renato will supervise the first unit of CPE at Hesed . Orientation is on June 13.

May Updates

Not many new things since the last update.  However, there are a couple to share:

  1. Note from Chaplain Janice Serafica, chaplain at PCU.  “I am happy to share with you that CPE is now included in the Bachelor of Ministry Program under Theological Education by Extension (TEE) of Union Theological Seminary (UTS) Cavite. 2 years ago, UTS asked me to help them review and revised the TEE Curriculum. I gave emphasis on the significance of CPE.”
  2. Dr. Ben B. Ngaya-an is launching his book on May 1st. It is titled “Marginality and Mission in the Twentieth Century:  The Episcopal Church’s Experience in the Philippines.” Dr. Ngaya-an is a Supervisor-in-Training with St. Andrews Theological Seminary. While this book is not primarily a work of pastoral studies or chaplaincy, we certainly wish the endeavor every success.
  3. Dr. Bob and Chaplain Celia Munson are putting the finishing touches on “Dynamics in Pastoral Care.” It is a follow-on volume to their first joint work, “The Art of Pastoral Care.” The work considers dynamic processes as they may be relevant to chaplains or pastoral care workers. Much like the first volume, the goal is to start from a theological (in this case reflective theological) foundation first, over a psychological foundation. While the completion date does keep being delayed, June, or July at the latest, does appear to be a viable target.


Image may contain: 3 people, including Larry Paul B. Gusto and Pam Buac, people smiling, people sitting, drink and indoor

(Photo above) Chaplains Larry, Roy, and Phan meeting up for meeting in Zamboanga in April. Mindanao does appear to have great potential for growth  in CPE and chaplaincy.

April Updates

New Heights:  Doc Sim has started a new CPE group on April 1st. They are presently meeting at Ellinwood Malate Church (in Malate, Manila)

Bukal Life Care:  Chap. Vo Canoy (with Diplomate Celia Munson) is in the middle of Summer Intensive. Mid-unit evals are going on April 26 with expected completion of unit in mid-May.

June 2018.  There has been a lot of interest in CPE for June. Here are centers that are having CPE begining in June.

Financial Changes

Based on our Board Meeting earlier this year, the following changes are here enacted.

Membership.  For those who qualify, having completed at least a half unit of CPE, the fee to join as a member of CPSP-Philippines is P1000. This is a one-time fee. One would be considered a life-time member. There is no expiration on this status.

Active Member. An active member is one who is, of course, a member, but is also current on annual fees (P500 per year) and active in a CPSP-Philippines Chapter.

Inactive Member. As you might guess, if you are a member of CPSP-Philippines, but have not paid your annual fee and not active in a chapter, then you are inactive.

ID Card.  The cost of the ID card for CPSP-Philippines is expected to be P400. This is subject to change but is expected to cover the card and shipping.

Note: Due to these changes, there is a grace period for membership payment. If payment of the annual fee is NOT paid by the end of July, then the member is considered inactive. (Also note that those who joined as initial members after June of 2018 are considered to have paid for 2019.)

2019 Standards Update

The 2019 Standards for CPSP-Philippines is now under review. Changes include:

  • Combining Clinical Chaplain and Pastoral Counselor into a single certification (in line with changes done by CPSP).
  • Adding a 2nd sub-specialty:  Corporate Chaplain. (The first is Hospice and Palliative Care)
  • Fleshing out some details in the Clinical Pastoral Orientation program
  • Minor corrections and formatting changes.

Hopefully, the final version will be out in a month or two.

Memorandum of Agreement

On February 2nd, 2019, CPSP-Philippines and CPSP signed an updated Memorandum of Agreement to maintain standards for equivalency and reciprocity of certifications, among other things. Signing this document was Dr. Raymond Lawrence, General Secretary of the CPSP, and Dr. Paul Tabon, President of the Board of Trustees of CPSP-Philippines. The signing was held at Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary, in Baguio City, Philippines.

Image may contain: 10 people, including Merlita Paghubasan Montecastro, Edgar S. Chan, Bob Munson, Celia Munson and Violeta Cristobal Canoy, people smiling, people standing

Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting and indoor

December Updates


CPE Group at Bukal Life Care (Baguio City)

  • November 29th we held a planning meeting in Baguio. Updates coming on some of the matters covered.


  • January.  Two CPE groups will be starting in Baguio. At Global Community Center, Supervisor Paul Tabon will start a unit. At Bukal Life Care, a half unit of CPE will commence.


  • January 31 to early February. Dr. Raymond Lawrence, Secretary General of CPSP will be visiting us. He will be teaching at meeting with CPSP-Philippines members at St. Andrews Theological Seminary and at Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary.


  • April.  We have set up a working team for our 2019 CPSP-Philippine Plenary. The plan is for it to be held on the grounds of Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary in April. More details when we get them.

The Therapeutic Use of Self in Pastoral Care

An argument has been raging for more than a century. It has taken on different forms and has had different combatants, but the issue is still the same:

What form of psychotherapy works best?

The question is generally broached in terms of psychotherapy as applied to the use of psychology-based therapies for individuals. (A very separate but similar battle exists in models of family therapy.) This is not a trivial issue. There are close to 200 identifiable psychotherapeutic models out there, of which perhaps 20 or so could be considered mainstream. These may be based on different philosophies or theories as to how change occurs. It seems quite reasonable to think that one should be right, or at least best, while the others are wrong, or at least less than the best.

The problem is that testing hasn’t really demonstrated this to be true. There have been attempts to create objective tests to see the rates of positive outcomes of different therapeutic models. In these research activities, the goal is to test the model itself, so the role therapist is sought to be eliminated as a variable. This has proven to be a problem. It seems as if the difference between therapists is greater than the difference between models. Suppose two therapists “1A” and “1B” utilize therapy method #1, and two therapists “2C” and “2D” utilize therapy method #2. Even if one could determine that that method #1 is theoretically more effective than #2, there is no real certainty that therapists 1A and 1B are more effective than 2C and 2D. The effectiveness of the two methods have such a range that there is huge overlap in the success rates of the two methods. The competence of the individual is a more important factor than the actual method used. This, however, is not to say that models are useless. Some models may be inherently flawed and should be avoided. Additionally, a mediocre model may be a more effective model in therapy than simply “winging it” because it provides structure and goals in the therapeutic process.

Val Wosket speaks of this in her book “The Therapeutic Use of Self:  Counselling Practice, Research and Supervision. ” Miller, Duncan, and Hubble in 1997 (in “Escape from Babel: Toward a Unifying Language for Psychotherapeutic Practice.”) notes that there seems to be four main factors that guide whether one improves or not in therapy:

  • Extratherapeutic factors associated with the client or the client’s environment.
  • The relationship between the client and therapist
  • The therapeutic techniques used
  • The emotional state of the client (hope, expectation, placebo effect, etc.)

Looking at this, the therapeutic techniques used (or models) constitutes only one of the four. Two of the four the therapist does not have any control over. If one could eliminate the factors that the therapist has no control over, one is left with the techniques used and the relationship between the client and therapist. And within this, it seems as (if one is using a recognized therapeutic model at least) the relationship is more important than the specific model.

An added problem is that a particular therapy may work better for one type of problem than another. And even for the same type of problem, it is quite possible that different therapies may work best for different personalities of client. It is also further possible that different therapists may match up particularly well with certain models. Therapist A may work better with therapy #1 while Therapist C may work better with therapy #2.  One size may not fit all in terms of problem, client, or therapist.

This is not to say that therapy models do not matter. But one finding is the importance of the counselor and the counselor’s use of self in the therapeutic process.

After reviewing many different studies, Wosket states:

“I strongly suspect that maybe it is not so much that all psychotherapies are equivalent. Instead (and this is a crucial difference) it may be that the most consistently effective therapists are in many respects equivalent and that equivalence derives more from factors such as clinical wisdom and the enlightened use of self, than from the utilization of techniques and systematic treatment procedures.  …

Perhaps as well as considering ‘what approach is most effective and what can we learn from it?’ it might have been profitable for more researchers in the last few decades to have asked ‘which therapists are more effective and what can we learn from them?’         -p. 19

In the same book, Wosket quotes from Luborsky, McClellan, Woody, O’Brien, and Aurbach (in the 1985 article “Therapist Success and its Determinants”),

“…that the effectiveness of a given therapy can vary considerably depending on the group of therapists providing the treatment. This in turn suggests that the therapist is not simply the transmitter of a standard therapeutic agent. Rather, the therapist is an important, independent agent of change with the ability to magnify or reduce the effects of a therapy.”

So how does this apply to Pastoral Counseling?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Training of Pastoral Counselors should focus less on techniques than on developing the (counselor’s) self, and how to develope a healthy therapeutic relationship between the counselor and the client. Techniques do have some value, as well as models. But training that focus primarily on these may create a knowledgeable, yet spiritually, psychoemotionally, and socially impoverished, counselor. Training that takes seriously the therapy of the counselor needs to be taken seriously, even if it means a lessening of focus on classic competencies in therapy.
  • Pastoral Counselors are in need of healthy supervision and peer support. As Lawrence LeShan stated (in “Beyond Technique: Psychotherapy for the 21st Century”) “A therapist who is not in supervision should be regarded either with suspicion or awe.” Pastoral Counselors are not automatons or therapeutic machines. They need these relational bonds and support for their effectiveness.
  • Pastoral Counselors should not “fall in love” with one model or technique. No technique (or model) is likely to be the best for all situations. And even if a pastoral counselor becomes very comfortable and effective with one form of care, evangelistically promoting that technique to others may not be helpful to the others.
  • Pastoral Counselors (should) draw more from their pastoral theology than from psychological techniques. Since pastoral theology is reflective and iterative (wrestling with the twin poles of theological tradition/perspective and personal experience), the counselor should always consider their models and techniques as tentative at best and part of a larger process of growth and change.

One final thing. In recent years there has been a growth of interest in empirical outcome-oriented research into chaplaincy (especially) and pastoral counseling (more generally). There certainly is value to this, since bad ideas can perpetuate in practical theologies such as is in pastoral care, when there is no analysis of results. That being said, the (still somewhat tentative) results in psychology should lead us to not be surprised if the same results will come to pastoral care— that the therapeutic self is more critical to care than a specific technique.