The Graduate Institute of CPSP

by Raymond J. Lawrence, Dean

 The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP) inaugurated its Graduate Institute with its Doctor of Ministry program in 2017 for two reasons. 


First, we noted that advanced academic degree programs seemed universally oblivious of the Clinical Pastoral Movement originated by Anton T. Boisen, arguably the century’s most significant game-changer in the religious arena. Boisen was in a continuing meaningful dialogue with psychiatry, sociology, and anthropology, and he published in each field. He understood that promoting sound religion depended on religious leadership conversant with issues developing in those disciplines. Boisen contended that ignorance of psychology was a prescription for pastoral incompetence. With very few exceptions, we found that seminaries were essentially uninformed about Boisen and all he represented.


The curriculum consists of many of the same authorities that Boisen himself drew from, most particularly Harry Stack Sullivan, but also Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Erik Erikson, Paul Pruyser, and many others.


The second less critical basis for creating the CPSP Doctor of Ministry program was the high cost of programs across the board. We understand that seminaries generally have a property to maintain and tenured faculty to support. Since CPSP has neither, we have an advantage on the issue of overhead costs. In addition, our part-time faculty consists of persons who also have other jobs or financial resources. But we do believe that our experienced faculty has a great deal to offer.


Thus, CPSP has intended to rearrange the educational furniture in the field of pastoral education and psychotherapy. If you want to become a competent pastoral clinician, first get a significant grasp of the history and theory of pastoral psychotherapy and its related social science literature. Only then will a religious authority be prepared to engage in the practice of competent pastoral care and pastoral psychotherapy.


Hopefully, persons who achieve the CPSP Doctor of Ministry Degree will be ready to hone their clinical skills under supervision. That is the only known route toward a clinically competent pastoral vocation.


The following two dates are provisionally scheduled for beginning a year-long cohort of doctoral studies with CPSP: September 6, 2022, and January 2, 2023. Registration is available online at Graduate Institute/Apply. We close registration at a dozen positions in each Cohort.


 If you have any questions about the program, contact us at [email protected].


Raymond J. Lawrence


Raymond J. Lawrence, Dean
[email protected]