Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 523–537 | Cite as

Reflections for Clinical Pastoral Education Students in Psychiatric Settings

  • Nathan CarlinEmail author
Impressionistic Reporting


This article focuses on Donald Capps’s books on mental illness. In doing so I highlight three key insights from Capps that I have applied in my own ministry with persons with mental illness in various psychiatric hospitals. These insights, together with my own experience as a chaplain, lead to three practical lessons for clinical pastoral education students in psychiatric settings. I provide some context for my interest in mental illness and my friendship with Capps, as well as some background regarding how Capps’s writings on mental illness fit with certain broader themes in his own work as a pastoral theologian. This essay is personal throughout.


Donald Capps Mental illness Pastoral care Chaplaincy Clinical pastoral education Psychiatric hospitals 



I would like to thank Reggie Abraham, Ruben Arjona, Robert Dykstra, Danjuma Gibson, Jaco Hamman, Jay-Paul Hinds, Jason Hays, Ryan LaMothe, Hyon-Uk Shin, Jason Whitehead, Myounghun Yun, and Phil Zylla for their feedback on this paper, which was originally presented in Philadelphia, PA, at a pastoral theology conference at the Presbyterian Historical Society. This paper is dedicated to Chaplain Swindell Hodges, Jr., who has provided me with, in addition to his friendship and guidance, the opportunity to volunteer at HCPC.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.McGovern Center for Humanities and EthicsMcGovern Medical SchoolHoustonUSA

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