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CITATION: Association for Clinical Pastoral Education records, RG 001, Archives and Manuscripts Dept., Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.
PROCESSING: These records were transferred to Pitts Theology Library from the library of the Yale University Divinity School in 1991. The original register was compiled by Kent A. Anderson, Deborah DeMeester, and Martha Lund Smalley of the Yale Divinity Library in August 1984. This finding aid was transcribed with minor editing and format changes by Joan S. Clemens, JaeYeon Chung, and Stacey Foster in April and May of 1997. Processed accretions to the collection since the transfer to Pitts Library were added in May 1997 amd August 2006.
The history of clinical pastoral education in the United States is a long and complicated tale which has been ably told elsewhere. By the early 1920s, attempts of several sorts had been made to combine religion and medical care, or religion and social work. But the first formulation which focused on supervised training of seminarians or clergy in an institutional setting came in 1925 with Anton T. Boisen's program with five students at Worchester State Hospital. Boisen had himself suffered a psychotic break, and had recovered with a conviction to pursue what he regarded as the theological dimensions of such trauma. His first training program thus was designed to address theological issues through work with "living human documents." Boisen's program continued, and in 1930 became the Council for Clinical Training of Theological Students, Inc. Through the 1930s the CCTTS operated in only a few training centers, and both supervisors and students tended to be individuals disillusioned by traditional theological studies. Training programs were developed in general hospitals and in penal institutions as well as in mental hospitals.
Following World War II, the clinical pastoral education movement began to grow more rapidly as theological schools increasingly recognized the value of clinical training. Several organizations with different emphases and methods had emerged in the field, and by the 1950s it became clear that the movement would benefit from a more unified effort. Initial attempts to develop standards and policies for CPE were not successful, and it was only after nearly a decade of negotiations that a consolidated national organization was created.
The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education was formed on November 17, 1967 by the merger of four organizations: the association of Clinical Pastoral Educators (formerly, the Southern Baptist Association for Clinical Pastoral Education), the Council for Clinical Training, Inc., the Institute of Pastoral Care, Inc., and the Department of Institutional Chaplaincy and Clinical Pastoral Education - Lutheran Council in the U.S.A.
While the formation of the ACPE joined together four organizations, a decentralization of function which had already begun, at least within the CCT, continued following the merger. Training of students and other regular operations increasingly became the work of local centers and of the regions, while the national organization turned its attention more fully toward development of standards, accreditation of training centers, certification of training supervisors and promotion of the CPE movement. Following a time of consolidation of the new organization, the ACPE began to work more directly with other organizations having similar interests, such as the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, the Association of Mental Health Chaplains and the National Association of Catholic Chaplains.
The records of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education consist of over 130 cubic feet of material. The records for the period up to 1967 are primarily those of the Council for Clinical Training, Inc. (formerly known as the Council for Clinical Training of Theological Students, Inc.), one of the four antecedent bodies which merged to form the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education in 1967. Events which led toward the merger are well documented by correspondence, reports and records of meetings. Archives of the other three antecedent bodies and papers of major figures in the field of clinical pastoral education which further document the roots of ACPE are located in other repositories.
The records of the ACPE in this record group are primarily those produced or received by the Central Office. Basic documentation of regional operations is available but there is little coverage of individual supervisors, training centers, or seminaries, particularly for the post-merger years.
As the field of clinical pastoral education developed, it was characterized by evolving methodologies, changing views on the role of the pastoral clinician and increasing realization of the need for unified standards and policies. A 1958 analysis of the Council for Clinical Training described its growth to that date as "relatively spontaneous and exploratory." Myriad letters were exchanged, committees formed and reports written in an effort to plot an appropriate course for clinical pastoral education. Representative decision making and leadership rather than strong, central executive leadership have characterized the CCT and the ACPE, a factor contributing to certain diffuseness in their archival records. The documentation of theoretical and functional exploration and change which is a focus of this record group has a counterpoint in the many folders which document the mundane month to month operations of the organization's component parts.
The records are arranged in nine series. To view a description and container list for each series, click on the links below.
I. Organization and Policy Records, 1930-2000 II. Committee, Task Force, and Network Records, 1933-2005 III. Records of Individual and Institutional Members, 1930-1995 IV. Conference Records, 1932-1999 V. Regional Material, 1955-2000 VI. Literature and Training Materials, 1930-2000 VII. Financial Records, 1935-1995 VIII. Related Organizations, 1935-1993 IX. Audio-Visual Materials, 1945-1982, undated
Pitts Theology library holds the records of numerous related organizations, as well as personal papers of leaders in the CPE movement. For a complete list of related materials, see the online subject guide.