Re: Anyone upset about unprofessionally run groups and circles
Date: September 03, 2010 12:23AM
Thank you, jeffsjo
MINISTERS SHOULD NOT NEED TO BE HEALED FROM THEIR EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCES
And I will tell you that persons who are not part of the seminary grapevine, and thus lack access to the work of mouth warning system by which those in the loop can be warned away from abusive CPE supervisors--persons not in the seminary grapevine are vulnerable.
Someone who suffered years of supervisor training from a well known abusive CPE supervisor said that the persons currently students were Catholic nuns who were not taking coursework at local seminaries--they were not part of social networks that know the person and could warn away.
Two, many Buddhist lay persons and monastics are now taking chaplaincy courses that involve taking CPE and that means they are not part of the seminary network and cannot get warnings about who is a good supervisor and whom to stay away from.
And I have to note that even when a supervisor has a good reputation, he or she might be stuck with one or more troubled students in CPE who generate an injurious atmosphere and the supervisor is unable to control the situation and the troubled student or students are allowed to make the others feel like shit.
I left my two units feeling so messed up that for years I could not smell hospital odors without feeling a mixture of rage and depression and self loathing.
An acquaintance told me that someone she knew was suicidal after going through CPE.
And here is the real mind blower:
One actually pays to take CPE units and in return works in the facility as a student chaplain. (Unless your denominiation has funds to pay your cost for you.)
I had the opportunity to quit and I could have quit. I regret not doing so. Instead, I let them con me into thinking I would be a wimp if I walked out in the middle of it.
That is what I regret.
People are floored when they learn I was actually paying to participate in CPE and get treated this way.
Frankly, I was amazed, too.
And just watch, if you try to talk to most CPE supervisors about abuse dynamics in CPE, unless you meet a rare honest one, most will give you the stereotyped reply, 'Oh things are different now.' They make it seem the problem was just a few out of control men who were bullies and who are now either retired or who have mended their ways.
A bit of advice a very wise person told me was, this: in parts of the country where you have a high concentration of seminaries and that means many many ordination candidates who need to take CPE on schedule that means lots of desperate students who have to take CPE and the supervisors of CPE programs in that area know they have lots of students who cannot afford to quit and will have not trouble filling slots.
In areas where you have very few seminaries but a lot of CPE programs which need students, the supervisors have an incentive to treat the students well and get and maintain a good reputation to ensure their pregrams will get good reviews.
Its like restaurants. If you have lots of hungry people and just one restaurant, you can cook bad tasting food and still fill seats.
If you have lots of competing restaurants and relatively few customers and those customers have access to information (Zagat, Yelp, the seminary grapevine) giving info on who has great food, and who leaves people feeling fucked up and in need of therapy--in that competitve atmosphere the good restaurants fill the seats and the
roach coaches do not.
Again the problems in CPE are
*One is usually required to take CPE, so one does so in a manner of speaking, under duress. By contrast, one can decide whether one wants to seek therapy and can
pick and choose and walk away from therapists if the relationship doesnt fit quite right
* Students taking CPE are under time pressure on their ordination track. They have to get a good review from the supervisor, so even if treated badly by a supervisor or even if a troubled student is generating toxic group dynamics and the supervisor fails to control this, the student has to stay on the good side of both the group and supervisor in order to get a good enough review to contine to the next step in the ordination process
* Too often supervisors know a few bits and pieces of psychobabble and group work but dont have the full on training that real therapists and certified group therapists must have.
*There is a language by which to describe when the CPE student is in the wrong but no comparable terminolgy that acknowleges that CPE supervisors are just as humanly capable of counter transferance fuck ups.
*CPE supervisors and supervisor-trainees cover for each other, unless in rare instances you find one who is willing to buck the entire system and raise hell.
*By the time students finish the CPE unit or year and leave, they are often so tired
and so busy with the next step in their lives that they do not have the energy to do
any expose work.
At most the field office at your seminary may say 'It has been X number of years since any of our students have been in Y CPE program.'
They will not, for reasons of liability, say Y program is abusive. All you can do is listen in code and if it has been years since your seminary has sent its students to Y CPE program, you take that as a signal to stay away.
Even then, remember, you might have a good supervisor but if one or more of the CPE students is very troubled, and the supervisor cannot keep people steady, you may be in for a tough time.
And occasionally a person on hospital staff who is a CPE supervisor in training may turn out to be a creep.
My advice to anyone taking CPE is make very sure to keep in touch with your friends, and if necessary join a 12 step group such as Alanon or Codependents anonymous so you can check your perceptions against those persons not in the CPE unit and get needed validation on whether what you are witnessing or going through is indeed OK or
Again, it was a good couple of years before I could smell hospital odor and not feel rage, depression and self loathing.
And I later learned that one of the people whom I had had difficulties with had had a bad track record other areas as well.
It was not just me.
So, again, if you are ever in a hospital and visited by a chaplain, ask em how CPE is going for them.
If you are part of a congregation, ask your rabbi or minister/pastor what CPE was like for them, and was it tough or a good experience?
You might wind up helping your healer and let me tell you so very many rabbis and ministers and priests are suffering burnout these days that asking that kind of question and offering THEM a shoulder to cry on is one of the best ways you can care for someone and give them real love, real humanity.
Few ever imagine the price paid by healers in training.
The few who may spurn your offer may be too afraid of the vulnerablity of breaking down and weeping in front of another human being.
but maybe your offer, even if not taken, will still plant a seed that may bloom in the future.