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.


November News

From Diplomate Supervisor Cal Sodoy (Davao City)

Announcing the Clinical Pastoral Education training in Davao City for school year 2019. It will run from July 8 to August 10, 2019. For more information call me: Rev. Cal Castro Sodoy, D.Min. Tel number 09212288462. My

From Chaplain Renato Eustaquio, SIT (Bulacan)

Celebrating the 3rd month meeting of Sterling Chapter. Industrial (Corporate) Chaplaincy in Bulacan.

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From Chaplain Phan Buac  (Zamboanga City)

Nov. 10-Dec. 29, 2018,4rth Batch of CPO Training focus on Disaster Response as Crisis Care Provider.Pray for wisdom.

From Dr. Bob Munson, Registrar   (Baguio City)

November 9-27, Dr. Doug Dickens will be at Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary to teach Intro to Pastoral Care & Counseling. Doc Doug is a Diplomate Supervisor and Psychotherapist with CPSP. He will also be working with our Supervisors and SITs in their skills development.

Active Programs

We don’t always know what is going in on our training centers at all times. We welcome being updated. But here are some programs that are gong on at this time.

–Baguio City.   Supervisor’s in Training Vo and Lyn, under the oversight of Supervisor Celia, are holding full and half unit extended CPE, starting in mid-October. This is Lyn’s first time as SIT.

— Manila.  Supervisor Sim is supervising an extended CPE group at Cosmopolitan Church, Ermita, Manila. in Parish/Community-based chaplaincy.

–Bulacan.  SIT Renato is supervising a unique CPO (Clinical Pastoral Orientation) in Industrial (or Corporate) Chaplaincy. This is his first supervision.

–Zamboanga City. Chaplain Phanuel is supervising his fourth CPO group in hospital-based chaplaincy.

Clinical Pastoral Education Programs in the Philippines

CPE has been in the Philippines for over 4 decades. However, often people struggle to find CPE programs in the Philippines. Sometimes it is due to lack of promotion or a small “footprint” on-line. Here are some major certifiers or accredited programs in the Philippines.

  1. CPSP-Philippines.  Centered in Baguio City, we have programs in Baguio, Manila, and Iloilo, with new programs being started in Zamboanga and Bulacan. We have been around since 2011, and formally partnered with CPSP in the US since 2015.
  2. Asia Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (AACPE). This is the oldest program in the Philippines, formerly known as PCF (Pastoral Care Foundation). It has programs in Manila, Davao, Cebu, and Baguio.  They have a nice updated website:
  3. Philippine Association of Clinical Pastoral Education and Practice (PACPEP).  It has ties with Siliman University, through its School of Clinical Pastoral Education. It appears that it has training centers in Negros, Iloilo, and Cebu. Perhaps other locations as well. The only website I have for them is an FB Group. There may be a better website somewhere.
  4. Vanderpol Center for Leadership and Pastoral Formation.  This group is based in Metro Manila, and is connected ministerially to Philippine Children’s Medical Center. It is linked to the Center for Spiritual Care and Pastoral Formation (CSCPF) based in the US. Their website is


There are other groups that do CPE that do it without necessarily a direct form of certification. One group that we work with as a Community-based CPE program tied to ATESEA and ACTS (Aglipay Central Theological Seminary) in Urdaneta, Pangasinan. It supports the principles and skillset associated with traditional CPE, but with a different training structure. There are other groups as well. You are welcome to look around, and we would welcome information that will help us better be updated on the CPE landscape of the Philippines, so we can be better compentent to partner, and refer.

Meeting in Iloilo

Meeting at Central Philippine University. In photo are Dr. Cal Sodoy (Diplomate, CPSP-Philippines), Celia Munson (Diplomate, CPSP-Philippines), Dr. Bob Munson (Registrar, CPSP-Philippines), and Dr. Montecastro and Dr. Pagara. Missing from the photo are four SITs (Dr. Lyn, and Pastors Cris, Jhojho, and Samuel). Also met with another future SIT, Ptr. Jenkins.  This trip occurred October 4-7, and was a wonderful and valuable time had by all.