CPSP Documentation


Updated on November 11, 2023

About The Institute

The Clinical Pastoral Movement: 

The First Hundred Years

The clinical pastoral movement acknowledges several sources, multiple origins, that, together, are said to constitute the movement. One stream emphasized the use of pre-Freudian psychology and scriptural counsel in the setting of a congregation, another, providing seminarians with first-hand experience of the actual lives of parishioners in their work and social contexts. Yet a third explored the social/environmental factors affecting mental hygiene or (as we would now say) community mental health.

A fourth stream took inspiration from the efforts of a former mental patient to comprehend his experience in the light of his faith and dynamic psychology, thus breaking down the dividing wall between religion and medicine. 

The first three coalesced as a reform movement within theological education, and continue to frame their work as experiential learning of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that characterize professional ministry.

The fourth began, in essence, with a research question – and has reemerged in The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP) and The Graduate Institute.

The Second Century

The essential premise of clinical learning has not changed since the time of Anton T. Boisen almost a century ago – that the client and clinician engage together in cooperative inquiry into the meaning of the client’s experience. Clinical pastoral training introduces theories that inform the clinician’s practice, and provides the foundation for more advanced learning.

Advanced learning in the theory underlying clinical chaplaincy practice and pastoral supervision (from a psychodynamic perspective) has not been readily available, or structured in ways that are accessible, until now. The Graduate Institute’s Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Supervision reflects the vision of CPSP leadership in addressing this need both credibly and affordably.

Members of CPSP who are certified, or are in the process of certification, have been formed in The Highest Standard in Clinical Chaplaincy and Clinical Pastoral Training. This experience is the basic requirement for admission to the program, and the prerequisite for studies that build on clinical training.

The program design provides for an in-depth encounter with the theoretical and practical dimensions of clinical pastoral practice, including supervision, and thus is especially suited to those already certified as Diplomates in Pastoral Supervision or in process as supervisors-in-training.

The Doctor of Ministry degree equates to one year of full-time study, or 160 hours of class time. The four-unit residency or internship in clinical pastoral training (required before one may be admitted) is weighted at nine credits; academics account for the remaining 27 credits.

Ordinarily, the program is introduced with a one-week residency, followed by online instruction in a synchronous format. The program design for the 2021 program is substantially revised to account for travel restrictions, etc., and will be presented entirely online.

The final requirement, following the integration seminar, is the submission of a capstone project (approximately 30 pages in length).

Successful completion of the program is marked by the conferring of the Doctor of Ministry degree.

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