Review of Raymond Lawrence’s Newest Book

Review of: NINE MORE CLINICAL CASES: Case Studies in Clinical Pastoral Care, Counseling and Psychotherapy, by Raymond Lawrence (General Secretary of CPSP)

Reviewer: Robert Munson (Bukal Life Care, CPSP-Philippines)

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Raymond Lawrence’s book, Nine More Clinical Cases: Case Studies in Clinical Pastoral Care, is a short book. The main body of it is just 70 pages, with additional pages of introductory material. This is his second book that served as a response to a book by George Fitchett and Steve Nolan

Book by George Fitchett and Steve NolanCritique by Raymond Lawrence
First Book CycleSpiritual Care in Practice: Case Studies in Healthcare ChaplaincyNine Clinical Cases: The Soul of Pastoral Care and Counseling
Second Book CycleCase Studies in Spiritual Care: Healthcare Chaplaincy Assessments, Interventions & OutcomesNine More Clinical Cases: Case Studies in Clinical Pastoral Care, Counseling and Psychotherapy

For both of these critiques, Lawrence chose nine of the cases in the book, and in so doing is critiquing some underlying themes that are found in the clinical pastoral training movement today. This critique should be seen neither as “punching up” nor “punching down.” Lawrence, Fitchett and Nolan are very much respected in pastoral care/spiritual care, within their respective camps. These nine cases presumably were chosen specifically because the author had strong views on them, both positive and negative. His reasons, however, are his own.

Lawrence repeats in this book a number of themes that are common to several of his works. Among them are:

  • Expressing his preference of the term “pastoral care” over “spiritual care.” Lawrence notes Nolan at least is aware of problems associated with the term ‘spiritual care.’ Lawrence quotes Nolan on page 65, “The lack of an agreed and articulated definition for spiritual care means that, as a profession, chaplains struggle to explain clearly the nature of the work.” Lawrence sees value in the use of the term religious care— providing care in terms of sacraments, religious symbols, and faith tradition. But for other care he strongly prefers “pastoral care” which he sees as clinical, non-religious (or at least not limited to a specific religious tradition) and grounded in the broadly understood metaphor of the shepherd as a caregiver.
  • Seeing the clinical pastoral training movement as having degraded in moving away from the ideals of its founder, Anton Boisen, and becoming more attached to his former partner in the movement, Richard Cabot. Interestingly however, Lawrence praised Fitchett and Nolan for bringing back emphasis on case studies as an educative tool. Case studies used in clinical pastoral care was developed through the interaction of Boisen, a theologian by training, and Cabot, a medical doctor.
  • Identifying clinical pastoral care as grounded very much in Freudian psychology. This reviewer would prefer that the author would say something to the effect of seeing clinical pastoral care as taking seriously the insights found in “psychodynamics” rather than referring so much back to Freud. For many Sigmund Freud is championed as a great innovator in the field of psychology and the “talking cure.” Many others, both inside and outside of religious circles, know him more for what he was wrong about than for what he was correct. This reviewer believes that Lawrence’s referencing of Freud and Boisen doesn’t suggest an uncritical return to early 20th century theories of the human mind, but rather presents them as founders of two important movements. Lawrence invites the reader to embrace a thoughtful integration of care drawn from the best of theological and psychodynamic insights.
  • Questioning the long-standing tradition of praying to end the pastoral care visit. Some of this question returns to the conflict between Boisen and Cabot, where Cabot saw physicians as those who heal the body, and chaplains as religious experts who pray. Much of Lawrence’s concern, however, stems from the question of who the prayer is really for. While a pastoral care provider may say that the prayer is for the client/patient, quite often this is not the case— especially in multi-religious and somewhat secularized places like the United States. In these places a prayer may not be welcome, or perhaps only welcome from someone within the patient’s own faith community. Here in the Philippines, however, prayer is almost always uncritically welcomed by the patient. Part of this desire comes from the common presumption here that the pastoral care provider has a special relationship with God that makes his/her prayers just a bit more powerful than their own. (That view may be comforting to the care provider but really is something that shouldn’t be promoted.) Regardless of the wishes of the patient, prayer is all too often done for the benefit of the care provider. This person often prays with the unspoken message, “I don’t think there is very much I can do, but at least I can pray.” This sells one short in the possibility of truly providing critical therapeutic care for the patient. Additionally, praying almost always is used as a signal. The signal is, “Well, I have run out of things to say and I really want to leave, so let’s do a prayer so I can go.” (It should be noted that in a conversation with Raymond Lawrence a couple of years ago, he made it clear that he was not opposed to prayer. But he said that prayer should be requested by the patient, not pushed by the care provider. Also, if prayer is asked for, the care provider should utilize this to draw more out of the patient— “What would you want me to pray for?” “Tell me more about this?” In doing this, the patient actually crafts the prayer and the care provider simply puts the patients prayerful longing into verbal form.)

Much like his previous book critique, this book avoids unnecessary wordiness. Generally it makes its point and moves on. Yet it is also written so that if one had not read the book it critiques, one can still understand the case well enough to follow the points well. That is quite useful. Cases also have the advantage of enlivening interest and the imagination where traditional exposition fails.

This book is not a polemic, but invites dialogue. Powell’s well-written Foreward does frames this monograph in this light for the first-time reader of Lawrence’s works. Lawrence sees growth in the clinical pastoral training movement through this sort of dialogue and critique. Page xi of the Introduction sums this up when comparing two major streams within this movement:

Let the reader decide which is more representative of the authentic clinical pastoral training movement. Let the reader decide which position is more therapeutic. Let the reader determine what posture most accurately speaks for Anton Boisen, the founder of the clinical pastoral training movement. And let the reader decide whether some new direction should be called for at large. But no one is beyond the reach of criticism. Criticism is the lifeblood of the clinical pastoral training movement.

That being said, the Epilogue of Lawrence’s book does serve as a direct challenge to Glenn Fitchett’s work promoting “Evidence-Based Outcomes” as it relates to Clinical Pastoral Care. While I find Lawrence’s arguments weighty, this is another area where some back and forth dialogue is needed in the coming years.

I strongly recommend this book for those who care about chaplaincy and clinical pastoral care. You may agree wholeheartedly with Lawrence’s views, or disagree strenuously. Both are okay. As the quote says above… “Let the reader decide…”

New Book by Raymond Lawrence

Congratulations on the publication of Dr. Raymond Lawrence’s new book, “Nine More Clinical Cases: Case Studies in Clinical Pastoral Care, Counseling and Psychotherapy.” He is the General Secretary of The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (that parent organization of CPSP-Philippines). The book is a critique of nine of the cases in a book by Nolan and Fitchett. In fact, it is a sequel critique of Nolan and Fichett’s sequel. If you are confused, it is like this:

Book by George Fitchett and Steve NolanCritique by Raymond Lawrence
First Book CycleSpiritual Care in Practice: Case Studies in Healthcare ChaplaincyNine Clinical Cases: The Soul of Pastoral Care and Counseling
Second Book CycleCase Studies in Spiritual Care: Healthcare Chaplaincy Assessments, Interventions & OutcomesNine More Clinical Cases: Case Studies in Clinical Pastoral Care, Counseling and Psychotherapy

Lawrence embraces very different philosophical and practical views of chaplaincy from Fitchett and Nolan. However, as noted by Robert Powell in the Foreward of Lawrence’s book, the goal is to present a critique of the first to give two different perspectives and invite readers to decide for themselves. Lawrence sees himself as in the tradition of Anton Boisen… who embraced an integration of theological and psychoanalytic principles. Fitchett and Nolan draw from the tradition of Cabot… embracing a more religious role for chaplains, disconnected from the healing work in hospitals.

One thing that Lawrence, Fitchett, and Nolan clearly appear to agree on is the value of case studies for presentation, analysis and critique. Curiously, that was an are that Boisen and Cabot also agreed. So readers are invited to read the cases, and the critiques and decide for themselves.

April 2017 Updates

Dr. Raymond Lawrence, the General Secretary of CPSP is visiting the Philippines. Right now (March 27 – April 7, 2017) he is here leading CPE training with trainees at St. Andrews Theological Seminary.

Summer Intensive CPE has started up again with Bukal Life Care in Baguio City. 12 trainees at this time are now busy, supervised by SITs JM and Vo. CPE Summer Intensive will soon be starting at Mary Johnston Hospital (Manila) led by Dr. Sim, and at Pines Doctors Hospital (Baguio) led by Dr. Paul.

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SIT JM with a majority of the CPE trainees with Bukal Summer Intensive 2017.

In the next couple of days, Dr. Doug Dickens will be arriving in the Philippines. He is a Diplomate Supervisor of Clinical Pastoral Education/Training, with CPSP. He will be teaching a course in Crisis Care at Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary. He will also lead a 2-day seminar, also at PBTS, on Pastoral Diagnosis. This is on April 24-25. He will also be working with SITs and Supervisors of CPSP-Philippines.

 

With the General Secretary of CPSP

Dr. Raymond Lawrence, General Secretary of CPSP, joined us at the headquarters of CPSP-Philippines, at Bukal Life Care, in Baguio City, October 13-16. On the 14th and 15th, we held our Annual Case Conference. We had approximately 25 people attend, mostly from Baguio, but we were blessed with some attendees from Manila and Bulacan. We had 8 cases presented to the group for review as well as two mini-lectures (one on the history of clinical pastoral care, and the other on the differences between religious pastoral care, and clinical pastoral care).

On the last night, we were able to have a meeting of CPSP-Philippines with Doc Raymond and Charlie Spruell. We have good news from that meeting, but we will save that for another post.

Much thanks to Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary, for providing the Conference Room for our use. Also thanks to a donor who graciously took care of Raymond and Charlie at the Baguio Country Club, as well as the CPSP-Philippines meeting.  Such as nice way to start Pastoral Care Week  (October 16-22)

 

Annual Case Conference, October 15, 2017

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The Annual Case Conference will be held on the 15th of October, starting 8am, at Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary (PBTS). It is facilitated by Dr. Raymond Lawrence.  The charge is P500. Lunch and snacks provided. Attendees should a clinical case with them to present.

It will be held in the Conference Room of PBTS.

Dr. Lawrence is the General Secreatry of the raymond2025th20plenaryCollege of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy.  He is a Certified Clinical Pastoral Supervisor with the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) since 1970, and Certified Diplomate in Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy with the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy since 1990.

Go to the Contact Us page on our site to get more information.

 

General Secretary of CPSP is With Us

Dr. Raymond Lawrence has arrived in the Philippines on November 21. He will be with us for several days.

Starting on Monday, November 23, 9am, at Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary, he will be providing training on Case Studies, based on his new book.

 

Over the next couple of days, he will be giving feedback on case presentations. He also will be signing a Memorandum of Agreement between CPSP and CPSP-Philippines at our Thanksgiving dinner on Tuesday.

 

CPSP-PI Meeting in Baguio with Dr. Lawrence

DSC04511 DSC04513We had a valuable visit with Dr. Raymond Lawrence, the General Secretary of the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy, December 11-13, 2014. We were able to have 4 case presentations, along with discussion about SITs. Further, we looked at how CPSP-Philippines can be an independent entity from CPSP, while still maintaining contextually appropriate standards and procedures, so as to maintain equivalency and reciprocity.

Further, we were able to start moving towards a Steering Committee to replace the now defunct “Coordinator” office.

A first draft of the CPSP-PI standards, relying heavily on the standards of CPSP, has been completed and has now just started its reviews and editing.

November (2014) Updates

CPSP-PI members and friends had a great time at the Pastoral Care Symposium sponsored by Philippine Children’s Medical Center, Oct 17-19. Approximately 35 attended.

December. During the first two weeks, Dr. Raymond Lawrence will be teaching at Central Philippines University on Pastoral Supervision. The Doctor of Ministry program is a joint effort between CPSP and CPU.

December 13-15. Dr. Lawrence will be in Baguio, hosted by Bukal Life Care, and will be working with the three CPSP-PI chapters in Baguio (Baguio chapter, Benguet chapter, and Easter Road chapter).

January. Annual BOT meeting for CPSP-PI.