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Professional Development Intensives





A selection of 20 Professional Development Intensives provide
the opportunity for in-depth study of a topic.

These unique educational experiences are available on
Wednesday, June 19; Thursday, June 20; and the afternoon of Sunday, June 23,
following the conclusion of the conference.

Please click on the date links below for session details.

Cost: 4-hour sessions $85
8-hour sessions $149

PW8.01 - Holy Curiosity
Presented by: Rev. Kathleen Ennis-Durstine MDiv BCC CCISM, Rev. Mark Bartel MDiv BCC & Rev. Joanna Bailey MDiv BCC

We will explore the role, function, and character of Holy Curiosity in the work of chaplains. Holy Curiosity increases awareness, attending to the situation and story of patients and families, aids in accurate assessment and in designing appropriate spiritual interventions. Participants will experience a variety of learning opportunities: presentation and small group interaction, the use of video, pictures, and narrated case studies to aid us in the process of thinking of Holy questions and expecting Holy stories in our work. The topic is pertinent to all chaplains in all settings.

PW8.02 - Million-Dollar Questions: 8 Key Skills for Researching Matters of Soul and Spirit
Presented by: Rev. Dr. Kelly Wadsworth PhD BCC

Phenomenology is the scientific study (‘logos’) of our experiences with the phenomena of our lives. It excavates how we move through life’s encounters and is particularly adept at highlighting questions of meaning and existence. Exploring religious and spiritual themes in a rigorous and methodical way, descriptive phenomenology is a premier research tool for chaplains and can be applied in a variety of settings including healthcare, prisons, non-profits, and the military. Participants will gain many of the tools necessary to enter into the world of research in a way that is both relevant and practical.


PW4.06 - Advanced Practice Workshop: Palliative Care and Hospice Specialty Chaplaincy Care
Presented by: Rev. Anna Lee Hisey Pierson MDiv BCC-HPCC

If you have interest or experience in providing direct patient care in palliative care and/or hospice this workshop is for you. You will be invited, in an interactive experience, to increase knowledge and hone skills alongside peers. Participants will explore palliative care and/or hospice clinicians scope of practice and support evidence-based practices. An action reflection model will be utilized to exemplify the competencies through case studies, transdisciplinary goals of care meetings, and ethical dilemmas, aligning values with treatment plans and the essence of total pain as experienced in palliative care and hospice. Prerequisites: BCC certified with interest and/or experience in palliative care/hospice direct care.


PW4.01 - Quantitative Research for Beginners
Presented by: Kelsey White MDiv MSc BCC & Rev. Patricia Palmer MDiv MSPH BCC

The workshop will introduce participants to 3 of the most common statistical procedures used in quantitative research: 1) comparing means or proportion of two groups; 2) testing the association between two variables (correlation); and 3) testing the association between two variables while adjusting for the effects of other factors (multiple regression). The workshop will also introduce participants to significance testing (p values). Each of these procedures will be illustrated with reports (tables) from chaplaincy research. Participants will have the opportunity to work in small groups to apply their learning to the interpretation of additional tables from chaplaincy research.

PW4.02 - Think Like A Lawyer, Act Like a Chaplain: Religious Freedom Literacy for Chaplains
Presented by: Pamela Ayo Yetunde JD ThD & Karen Hutt MDiv

Most seminarians do not have a legal education and thus may not know the implications of law on their ministry. In this Professional Development Intensive, conference attendees will become more confident in their ability to spot legal issues that may impact their ministry, and creatively strategize to protect themselves, their ministries within healthcare contexts, to promote just, ethical, and inclusive spiritual and pastoral caregiving.

PW4.03 - Responding with Care When Your Staff is in Crisis
Presented by: Dierdre Jarrett MDiv BCC, Melinda Plumley MDiv MBE BCC & Julie Frank MDiv

This PDI will empower participants to evaluate their work sites and assess what are the key stressors and incidents that impact their staff's emotional health. They can then determine the best potential partners for developing strategies to support staff through those events and develop action plans for various types of stressful events that occur at their site. This will be accomplishing through facilitating participants in developing an action plan that they can present to their leadership team for consideration.

PW4.04 - Walking the Path: Poetry, Labyrinths and Tai Chi Chih
Presented by: Terry-Thomas Primer DMin BCC CT NCC

This PDI will be an opportunity to relax, renew and learn some new skills for one's own personal use as well as for ministry with others. Drawing from the wisdom of expressive arts therapy, participants will reflect on their journey using several accessible poetry forms, create a labyrinth and learn an easy form of Tai Chi. The joy of using arts and crafts and movement in a slow meditative setting with time to share, opens new avenues. Tai chi Chih has easy circular movements to help one stay in the present moment. This workshop will provide insight and ideas for use with staff, spirituality groups and retreats.

PW4.05 - Re-entry: Leaving Residency and Entering Professional Chaplaincy
Presented by: Joanne Henley MDiv BCC

Clinical Pastoral Education brings with it a language and capacity for vulnerability, which is not common, but is needed, in board rooms, exam rooms, or break rooms within healthcare organizations. In a time when diversity and inclusion is a key component of organizations and the population is increasingly “spiritual, but not religious,” chaplains desiring a position need the ability to articulate clearly and concretely the skills gained in residency connected to the provision of care and the understanding gained of system and organizational dynamics. Participants will leave this intensive with tips and tools to communicate effectively in the hiring process.

PW4.07 - Embodiment Practice for Professional Chaplains
Presented by: Elia Mrak

Drawing from principals of Qigong (Chinese Healing Art) and Somatic therapy, we will learn specific skills that will help us be more aware of our own body, and thus with more capacity to be aware of others. Learning movement practices of the hands and practicing fullness of our breath, we will hone our awareness of the space around us and the person in front of us. Throughout the day, we will work as individuals, in partners, and as a group by integrating information through lecture, practice, and group discussion.


PT4.01 - Evidence-based Care for the Religiously Unaffiliated, One in Four Americans, at a Time of a Health Crisis
Presented by: Rev. Marta Dabis MS MBA BCC & Rev. Patricia Palmer MDiv MSPH BCC

Two research fellows of the Templeton Transforming Chaplaincy grant, from Atlanta and from Ann Arbor, used different approaches to research how to serve better the part of the population who identify as Religiously Unaffiliated. In a panel they summarize their research approaches and findings, reserving time for participants to interactively come to their own conclusions on what could work in their specific organizations, what can be implemented in their practice and how to describe the research evidence to their colleagues. Participants will receive handouts and an opportunity to discuss the content with their peers and the presenters at depth.

PT4.02 - #BlackPatientsMatter: Chaplains Use of SAFER-R to Limit Security Calls on African American Patients
Presented by: Rev. Danielle Buhuro DMin & Rev. Jamie Hawley MDiv.

Racial disparities in healthcare continue to exist. These disparities echo are current country’s racial tension and divide. One of these disparities in healthcare centers on growing statistics of Public Safety and Code Grey calls on African American patients and families versus non-African American patients and families. This PDI will show how chaplains can build trust with medical staff and employ the SAFER-R model as a pastoral intervention to lessen Public Safety and Code Grey calls specifically on African American patients and families.

PT4.03 - Comfort During the Hard Times: Expanding Spiritual Care in Disaster
Presented by: Rev. Earl Johnson MDiv BCC

The Orlando Pulse nightclub mass shootings will provide an exceptional local opportunity for conference participants to develop and expand a working familiarity with the principals of the actual event during the third anniversary of the murders. Local healthcare chaplains were vital to the success of the response and provided great comfort and support to those families of victims, loved ones, and survivors. We will meet, hear, and visit the impacted communities. Presentations will feature new book, "Comfort During the Hard Times" by the presenter.

PT4.04 - Meditation as a Chaplaincy Intervention
Presented by: Seigan Ed Glassing BFA

Meditation is an ancient practice found in nearly all spiritual traditions, and as an increasing amount of people identify as "spiritual but not religious", they may be more open to meditation as an alternative to prayer. Science and medicine are also discovering evidence that mindfulness and meditative techniques lower stress levels, lowers anxiety and PTSD symptoms, and that meditation practice can enhance the natural healing power of the mind and body. In this PDI, the principles of meditation will be explored, and various types of meditation will be demonstrated. Meditation is not a one size fits all, we will explore meditation practices that work with sound and movement, to meditation that focus on visualization, and sacred symbols. Attention will be given to assessing your client and finding which meditation practice best suits their needs. We will also cover ways to introduce, sustain, and adapt meditation into the health care setting, especially thru the use of apps. Finally, this workshop will give chaplains tools to sharpen their own empathic listening and help them enhance their chaplain skills.

PT4.05 - On Demand Spiritual Care with Congestive Heart Failure Patients
Presented by: Dr. Beth Muehlhausen PhD MDiv BCC, David Peacock MTS BCC & Rev. Cathy Chang MDiv BCC

Ascension Health has developed "On Demand Spiritual Care" (ODSC) which uses technologies and methods that connect people across physical distances in order to provide spiritual care in all settings across the continuum of care. This intensive will share findings from the first Ascension Health system-wide spiritual care research project (5 states, 6 hospitals) designed to learn how chaplain interventions using on demand technologies affected the religious/spiritual (r/s) struggles facing CHF patients. Researchers will share findings regarding the r/s struggles facing CHF patients. ODSC will be discussed as well as how Ascension has worked systemically to implement this innovation. Included in the intensive is a panel discussion of chaplains who provided spiritual care to patients. They will share the joys and struggles of providing care outside the acute care setting. The audience will be invited to ask questions and participate in the discussion.

PT4.06 - Caring for Mothers and their Babies: Spiritual Care Using a Trauma Informed Approach, and Evidence Based Knowledge of Postpartum Mood Disorders
Presented by: Rev Dorothy Symonds MDiv BCC CT

Increased understanding of the therapeutic role of trauma informed spiritual care in behavioral health outpatient setting dedicated to evidence based mother/baby care; and, explore, via group discussion, with a RN communities in both settings of care how these insights might be adapted in NICU, L and D and High-Risk OB acute care settings. Become familiar with an understanding of an interdisciplinary team approach to providing care for the mother/baby and the role of spiritual care in the evidence-based treatment of post-partum mood disorders.

PT4.07 - Expanding the Boundaries: What Elders Have to Teach Us About Health Care, Aging, and Life.
Presented by: Daniel Duggan MDiv BCC

Elders teach us how to be with them, and how to create community where all are valued. The contemporary medical model does not hold a view of aging that supports elders being the author of their lives and health care. Participants will have a chance to 1) reflect on spiritual assessment that involves both the chaplain and elders exploring what elders want and need, 2) expand the chaplain's boundaries of understanding, care, and skills that help elders be the authors of their lives, and 3) see how what we learn from elders applies to all people in community.

PT4.08 - Chaplain Researcher: Research Question and Plan Development
Presented by: Rev. Marilyn J. D. Barnes MS MA MPH BCC, Rev. Geila Rajaee MDiv MPH MPA BCC & Rev. Kelsey White MDiv MSc BCC

A key component of conducting research is developing a research question. By participating in this educational opportunity, the learner will be provided with the tools and the support of a chaplain researcher to develop their specific research project. The learner will receive support with taking their research question and conducting a literature search to facilitate their hypothesis generation. Finally, the learner will have the opportunity to prepare a preliminary research development plan which supports their research question thus preparing them to conduct the research project.


PS4.01 - Addressing Secondary Traumatic Stress: The Research and Practice of Self Compassion
Presented by: Mia Baumgartner MDiv MNPL BCC

Self-compassion has been identified as a key predictor for lower PTSD symptoms and severity in war veterans. It has also been identified as the highest personal (vs. organizational) protector for burnout in healthcare providers. This PDI will give time for participants to examine research, try some self-compassion interventions and more deeply assess their own barriers to self-compassion. Some dyads, personal assessment, discussion, video and lecture will be used.

PS4.02 - Building Spiritual Strength: An Evidence-Based Approach for Trauma, Moral Injury, and Spiritual Distress
Presented by: Timothy Usset MDiv MA BCC LMFT & Joshua Thomas Morris MDiv MA PhD BCC

Building Spiritual Strength (BSS) has demonstrated promising results for the treatment of trauma, moral injury, and spiritual distress in two clinical trial (Harris et al., 2011; Harris et al., 2018). Attendees of this presentation will be trained on the foundational theory of BSS and how to implement the intervention.

PS4.03 - Getting Started with Qualitative Research in Spiritual Care
Presented by: Allison DeLaney MPH, Rev. John Michael Betz MDiv BCC, Cate Michelle Desjardins MDiv & Beba Tata MPH BCC

The introductory interactive workshop session will describe and distinguish between four qualitative research methods and their implementation in chaplaincy practice. It will explore the basic steps of qualitative research process focusing on research questions pertinent to each method. Participants will practice using research questions relevant to their own context and interests. They will develop skills in the process of coding and development of themes through sample transcript.