CPSP-National Clinical Training Seminar–West, Fall 2022

Sierra Retreat Center, Malibu, CA
Many chaplains today are members of a Spiritual Care team in a medical setting. This conference will explore avenues by which chaplains may engage in intentional ministry to and with medical professionals.

Pastoral Aesthetics:
The Arts of Ministry with Medical Professionals

Presenters: Robert C. Dykstra and Nathan Carlin


 Lectures, discussions, and workshops will be grounded in understanding pastoral care as an art form and thus as perspectival; such an approach entails, in the words of psychoanalyst Erik H. Erikson, “a way of looking at things.” 

  • What ways of looking at things characterize the vocation of chaplains and related care providers? 
  • What ways are unique to each individual minister? 
  • How might these ways be of service to a broad array of physicians, nurses, social workers, and others within one’s institutional setting?


Both in creating works of art and in engaging in therapeutic conversations and programming, “you are trying,” according to poet David Whyte, “to articulate aspects of yourself that you didn’t know you knew.” As with acts of care that foster a human thriving, “what it means to be an artist,” says actor Viola Davis, “is to make us feel less alone.” 

Participants will be invited to draw on self-understandings, practices, and inspired works of visual and other artists in seeking to determine their own particular artistic expressions and gifts in service to reach a wide audience of medical and other professionals.


Robert C. DykstraRobert C. Dykstra is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Charlotte W. Newcombe Professor of Pastoral Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. A member of the editorial board of Pastoral Psychology, he also co-founded and coordinates annual scholarly conferences of the Group for New Directions in Pastoral Theology and the Philadelphia Group for Pastoral Theology with Boys and Men. He is the author and co-author of a number of books, including Images of Pastoral Care: Classic Readings and, more recently, Finding Ourselves Lost: Ministry in the Age of Overwhelm.



Nathan CarlinNathan Carlin is the Director of the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth Houston). Dr. Carlin holds the Samuel Karff Chair. He has published a number of articles and books, including Pastoral Aesthetics: A Theological Perspective on Principlist Bioethics and Contemporary-Physician Authors: Exploring the Insights of Doctors Who Write. Currently, Carlin is writing a monograph on medicine and secularization.




Attendees are asked to consider reading Nathan Carlin's book, Pastoral Aesthetics..., and also Paul Tillich's book, Dynamics of Faith..., that Carlin refers to. 

Sierra Retreat Center, Malibu, CA




CPSP Member Rate:
$420 for a Single room
$300 for a Trainee's Single room
$390 for a Shared room
$260 for Trainees' Shared room
$250 for Commuters (meals included)

Non-member CPSP Rate:
$550 for a Single room
$450 for a Shared room
$300 for Commuters (meals included)

Commuter parking is free. 

We are unable to accommodate special diets, such as gluten free, dairy free, vegan, sugar free, etc. 

Limited Scholarships are available. Please contact Scott Taylor at [email protected].


9/18/2022 2:00 PM - 9/20/2022 1:00 PM
Pacific Daylight Time
Serra Retreat 3401 Serra Road Malibu 90265 UNITED STATES
Sign in or create an account to register Last day to register is 9/1/2022