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Community Mental Health: The Role of Church and Temple by Howard J. Clinebell, Jr., (Ed.)


Howard J. Clinebell, Jr., is retired professor of Pastoral Counseling, School of Theology at Claremont, California. Published by Abingdon Press, New York, Nashville, 1970. Used by permission. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock.


Foreword by Dr. Stanley Yolles
This volume, edited by Dr. Clinebell, provides information and opinion on the development of the community mental health program, expressed by men and women who have been closely associated with that development. In so doing, this book may provide an impetus to those community residents who are concerned with the improvement of modern community life.

Introduction: The Community Mental Health Revolution -- Challenge to and Temples
There is a revolution afoot in mental health that has two fronts: First is a massive effort to win a battle that mankind has been losing through the centuries. The second is to develop more effective ways of fostering positive mental health in all persons, to stimulate their growth and to help them release their unique potentialities for creative living and relating.

Chapter 1: An Overview of the Church’s Roles in Community Mental Health, by E.Mansell Pattison
E. Mansell Pattison, M.D. is Associate Professor-in-residence, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of California at Irvine, California. After World War II it has come to be realized that the clergy were on the front line of contact with people in emotional distress. To effectively implement the resources of the clergy and the churches in a community mental health program there is need for clinically trained clergymen who can fill a professional role on the staff of community mental health programs.


The main emphasis in this section is on primary prevention. Changing the systems of injustice, discrimination, conflict, and exploitation which stultify human development is a crucial part of the mental health role of the churches and temples.

Chapter 2: The Church’s Role in Creating an Open Society, by Frank M. Bockus
Frank M. Bockus, B.D., Ph.D. is Executive Director, Ecumenical Center for Religion and Health, South Texas Medical Center; Adjunct Associate Professor of Human Ecology, University of Texas Medical School, San Antonio, Texas. If the character ideal for tomorrow is the open self, how are we to train such a personality? Today we leave his development virtually to chance, to informal and almost willynilly patterns. We must begin now to construct human development systems that equip persons for openness and flexibility.

Chapter 3:. Rapid Social Change, the Churches, and Mental Health by Bertram S. Brown
Bertram S. Brown, M.D., is Director, National Institute of Mental Health, Chevy Chase, Maryland. A discussion of the general issue of territoriality and boundaries between religion and mental health in a time of social change. After all, the soul is our mutual turf. Can these two groups really work together?

Chapter 4: Training Clergymen to Change Community Structures by Robert H. Bonthius
Robert H. Bonthius, B.D., Ph. D. is Director of Community Action Training Services of Northern Ohio, Cleveland, Ohio. This chapter is addressed to clergymen who wish to improve their ability to engage in social action, not by themselves -- a mistake that can be fatal! -- but as leaders of men, their congregations, other groups.

Chapter 5: The Local Church’s Contributions to Positive Mental Health by Howard J. Clinebell, Jr.
The functioning of an ecumenically oriented, clinically trained clergyman on the mental health center staff is essential to the bridge-building process by which such reciprocity grows.

Chapter 6: Pastoral Care and the Crises of Life by Homer L. Jernigan
Homer L. Jernigan, B.D., Ph.D. is Albert V. Danielsen Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling; Director of the Danielsen Center for the Pastoral Care and Counseling, Boston University School of Theology, Boston, Massachusetts. Religious ministry has long recognized the importance of such experiences as birth, puberty, marriage, sickness, and death. Empirical studies have brought new understanding of the significance of life crises. We now have an opportunity to bring together the historic wisdom of our religious traditions and customs with the findings and insights of the behavioral sciences. The religious leader is a key person in this process.

Chapter 7: Sharing Groups in the Church: Resource for Positive Mental Health by Robert C. Leslie
Robert C. Leslie, S.T.B., Ph.D. is Foster Professor of Pastoral Psychology and Counseling, Pacific School of Religion and Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California. In order for small groups to be significant resources for growth, personal sharing needs to he a chief characteristic. Whatever else is carried on in the group, there needs to be a real place for the kind of sharing that leads to a feeling of support and closeness out of which relationships are deepened.

Chapter 8: The Clergy’s Role In A Government Program Of Prevention Of Alcoholism by Lawrence A. Purdy
Lawrence A. Purdy, B.D. is Regional Director, Metropolitan Toronto Region, Addiction Research Foundation, Toronto, Canada. The religious community, historically opposed to tyrannies of all kinds, must recognize the nature of one of the more subtle and insidious tyrannies of our time -- the tyranny of the chemical age. Those of us who are privileged to be on the firing line with our professional partners have a duty to help the church community articulate a message that meets this need.

Chapter 9: Clergymen in a Preventive Mental Health Program by John A. Snyder
John A. Snyder, B.D., Ed.D. is Associate Director of Education and Consultation, Pennsylvania Hospital Community Mental Health Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In our training programs for community clergymen at the Pennsylvania Hospital Community Mental Health Center we have been interested in mutual exchange: (1) We believe that psychiatry and its allied professions can help the clergyman do a better job with his healing ministry. (2) We believe clergymen have something unique to contribute to psychiatry in the whole business of prevention.


Clergymen and laymen have an unprecedented opportunity to participate effectively in the treatment dimension of the community mental health movement. By so doing they can be in mission, using the "gifts of healing, or ability to help others or power to guide them." (I Cor. 12:28 NEB.)

Chapter 10: The Therapeutic Opportunity of the Clergyman and the Congregation by James A. Knight
James A. Knight, B.D., M.D. is Associate Dean and Professor of Psychiatry, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana. The mental patient is lonely and isolated, desperately needing to feel a sense of community with others. The congregation has within its very structure the ability to heal his isolation, to rescue the alcoholic, to answer the cry for help of the suicide candidate, to give direction and fellowship to the adolescent.

Chapter 11: The Clergyman’s Role in Crisis Counseling by Paul W. Pretzel
Paul W. Pretzel, B.D., Th.D. is Pastoral Counselor and Psychologist, Suicide Prevention, Los Angeles, California. Although the long-term result of good crisis intervention is often a significant improvement in the individual’s overall adaptation to life, the specific goal of crisis intervention is to help the individual to deal with the specific stress that has brought about the crisis. Whenever the crisis counselor deviates from this goal, he is no longer involved in crisis counseling.

Chapter 12: The Clergyman’s Role in Grief Counseling by Earl A. Grollman
Earl A. Grollman, M.H.L., D.D. is Rabbi, Beth-El Temple Center, Belmont, Massachusetts. The pastor is most effective when he acts as a pastor, not as an amateur psychiatrist. He should not forsake his own traditional resources and spiritual functions. His is a fellowship with a past, a present, and a future tied together by rites, theology, and a religious ethic. He must know the needs of those in grief and help them bear the burden of their sorrow.

Chapter 13: The Church’s Role With the Gifted and the Retarded by Charles F. Kemp
Charles F. Kemp, B.D., Ph.D. is Professor of Pastoral Care, Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas. The concern is with those persons who are at the two extremes of the distribution of abilities -- those who are unusually bright and are known as gifted, and those who are quite limited and are known as retarded. These two groups, so very different in many ways, have some similar problems. Each can be understood better by comparing and contrasting it with the other. Both have the same need of acceptance, attention, affection, and love.

Chapter 14: Pastoral Care and the Poor by Don S. Browning
Don S. Browning, B.D., Ph.D. is Professor of Religion and Personality, The Divinity School, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. Reasons are listed why the pastoral psychology movement has ignored the poor to its own embarrassment. It did not mean that the poor could not be helped. It simply meant that help had to come in a different form than most psychological, psychiatric, and pastoral counselors were accustomed to providing.

Chapter 15: The Clergyman’s Role in the Treatment of the Alcoholic by George P. Dominick
George P. Dominick, B.D. is Chief Clinical Chaplain, The Georgian Clinic Division, Georgia Mental Health Institute, Atlanta, Georgia. The clergyman with training brings to the field of alcoholism an awareness of the person behind the bottle, an awareness of the central existential question behind the long list of situational questions and pleas. He brings this orientation to the crisis demand of the immediate situation and to the slow process of growth which is the lifelong business of the alcoholic and his family.

Chapter 16: Functions of Community Clergy with the Emotionally Disturbed by J. Obert Kempson
J. Obert Kempson, B.D., MA. is pastoral Consultant, Department of Mental Health, State of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina. The disturbed person is a child of God. 2. The intensity of his situation my isolate him from himself, others and God. 3. He may need to recognize his own worth and preserve his dignity as a person. 4. He may be preoccupied with his own perceptions of life’s demands. 5. He needs awareness of his own potential and helped to actualize it.

Chapter 17: The Religious Community and the Returning Inmate by Thomas W. Klink
Thomas W. Klink (Deceased) was Chaplain and Director, Division of Religion and Psychiatry, the Menninger Foundation, Topeka, Kansas, Adapted and abridged from material originally presented to an Institute on Social Welfare Services for Clergy, La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1966. Concerns about the functions of religious communities -- churches and congregations -- in the effective reintegration of inmates into the open community. Those who have been institutionalized need our efforts in reducing the likelihood of a recurrence of their disorder.

Chapter 18: A Church-Sponsored Crisis Counseling Service by Donald C. Bushfield
Donald C. Bushfield, B.D. is Chaplain of the Help Line Telephone Clinic, Los Angeles, California. Life Line was the first church-sponsored comprehensive crisis counseling center in the world; Help Line was the first in the United States as far as we have been able to determine. This chapter tells the proper procedures for setting up such a Community Crises Counseling Service.

Chapter 19: Clergymen in Mental Health Centers: One Parish’s Educational Counseling Plan by John B. Oman
John B. Oman, S.T.M., D.D. is Pastor and Director of the Counseling Center, Wesley United Methodist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Parent-education, group-counseling, public psychodrama, a healing fellowship of Christian friends are performing their life-shaping functions at Wesley Untied Methodist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Community mental health services have expanded rapidly and are bringing hope and help to tens of thousands of persons in many parts of our country. The existence of these excellent new resources raises important questions for churches and temples. The chapters in this section throw helpful light on these questions.

Chapter 20: The Involvement of Clergymen in Community Mental Health Centers by Berkley C. Hathorne
Berkley C. Hathorne, B.D., Th.D. is in the Suicide Prevention Program, National Institute of Mental Health, Chevy Chase, Maryland. A report of the use of clergymen in community mental health centers and some of the efforts of the centers and the clergy to relate to each other. An effective, relational bridge can best be provided by a clinically trained clergyman on the staff of such centers.

Chapter 21: The Community Pastor and the Comprehensive Mental Health Center by Frank S. Moyer
Frank S. Moyer, B.D., M.A. is Chaplain-Supervisor, Rockford Memorial Hospital Rockford, Illinois. The material in this chapter is based on the author’s experience as a clergy staff member of the Community Services division, Nebraska Psychiatric Institute. The community pastor works most effectively when there is open communication, encouragement, mutual trust, respect, and cooperation. If centers will approach the community pastor in that atmosphere, a relationship may develop in which both grow toward more effective service in their community.

Chapter 22: The Staff Clergyman’s Role in a Comprehensive Mental Health Service by Lloyd E. Beebe
Lloyd E. Beebe, B.D., S.T.M. is Director, Department of Pastoral Services, Hennepin County General Hospital and Mental Health Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Adjunct Professor of Pastoral Care, United Theological Seminary, Minneapolis. Some ways are presented in which the role of the staff clergyman is being worked out at the Hennepin County Comprehensive Community Mental Health Center with the hope that it will offer some suggestions for developing clergy roles in other centers. Both the clergy and the mental health professional can work together at the local, state, and federal levels of government in emphasizing the importance of including a well trained clergyman on the staff of each community mental health center.

Chapter 23: Qualifications of Clergy Staff Members in Community Mental Health Programs by J. Obert Kempson
J. Obert Kempson, B.D., M.A. is Pastoral Consultant, Department of Mental Health, State of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina. Some motivational questions need to be raised as one looks at an individual’s qualifications, as these relate to effective pastoral care in a mental health setting. The trained, qualified clergyman can contribute out of his uniqueness in the healing community where, with other trained professionals, he assumes a vital role in crisis care to the troubled person.

Chapter 24: Community Control of Community Mental Health by George Clements
George Clements, M.A., S.T.L. is Pastor, Holy Angels Catholic Church, Chicago, Illinois. Our efforts should be directed toward community participation in and sharing in the responsibility for mental health, not because of any ulterior motives but because this is just and right.


Clergy training in mental health insights and skills should be widely available on three levels -- seminary, graduate training (for specialists) and continuing education (for parish clergymen.) To increase such training opportunities is a responsibility shared by seminaries, denominational leaders, clinical training and pastoral counseling centers, and by mental health leaders. The following chapters present writers confronting the challenge of training and organizing mental health action.

Chapter 25: Training Church Laymen as Community Mental Workers by Charles W. Stewart
Charles W. Stewart, B.D., Ph.D. is Professor of Pastoral Theology and Supervised Ministries, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D. C.. The challenge of our day is for the pastor to see his job as enabler and to begin to train laymen for the more challenging task of community mental health workers. If the congregation sees its task as the pastoral care of its people, then health and wholeness can move out into the community, which will then become a leaven for the whole loaf.

Chapter 26: Continuing Education to Release the Mental Health Capabilities of Clergymen by Reuel L. Howe
Reuel L. Howe, B.D., S.T.D. is Director, Institute for Advanced Pastoral Studies, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Three focuses in post-ordination continuing education -- the relational, the technical, the topical -- would meet the needs of clergy in contemporary society and contribute therefore to their mental health potential.

Chapter 27: Developing the Clergyman’s Potential for Mental Health: Indiana Programs by Paul E. Johnson
Paul E. Johnson, B.D., Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus, Boston University School of Theology, Boston, Massachusetts. The education of pastors is moving into action along these strategic lines representing opportunities to keep growing in the ability to serve human needs: Graduate studies, clinical pastoral education, counselor education, parish education, Inter-city urban ministry, and Interagency participation.

Chapter 28: Parish Clergymen and Mental Health: The Kokomo and La Grange Projects by Granger E. Westberg
Granger E. Westberg, B.D. is Professor, Hamma School of Theology, Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio. How groups of ministers in Kokomo, Indiana, and LaGrange, Illinois participated in intense, organized training with other professional people.

Chapter 29: Seminary Training in Mental Health for Parish Clergymen by Wayne E. Oates
Wayne E. Oates, B.D., Th.D. is Professor of Pastoral Care, Southern Baptist Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky. The concern of the prophets and Jesus Christ for the epileptic, the demoniac, the anxious, and the fear-ridden provide both model and motivation to teach ministers about the contemporary ministry to people in mental illness. The contribution of the theological school to the training of the clergy in mental health -- his own and those of all he contacts -- is of vital importance.

Chapter 30: Advanced Training for Pastoral Counselors by Carroll A. Wise
Carroll A. Wise. B.D., Th.D. is Professor of Pastoral Psychology and Counseling, Garrett Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois. The work described here leads to a Ph.D. or a Th.D. degree upon completion. Advanced training in pastoral counseling has three major aspects: 1. the development of the student’s emotional, intellectual, social, and professional life; 2. knowledge and understanding of human behavior in breadth and depth; 3. the ability to relate to others therapeutically through an understanding of psychotherapeutic approaches and processes.

Chapter 31: Training Clergymen in Mental Health by George C. Anderson
George Christian Anderson, T.S.B., D.D. is Founder and Honorary President, Academy of Religion and Mental Health. Goals of mental health: 1.The doctor must see the dynamic qualities in the doctor-patient relationship. 2. To see the broad patterns of human motivation and the common causes of emotional disturbance. 3. To think in terms of the relation between emotional disturbance and illness. 4. To teach the counselor understandable methods of therapy that he might treat a share of such illness. 5. To give enough knowledge of malignant conditions that he might refer to a specialist.

Chapter 32: Problems and Possibilities of Interprofessional Cooperation by E. Mansell Pattison
E. Mansell Pattison, M.D. is Associate Professor-in-Residence, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of California at Irvine, California. Behind the issues of professional role allocation still lie conceptual disagreements that often play a major role in preventing effective collaboration and the working out of mutually satisfying professional roles. Most problems in interprofessional relations involve combinations of both conceptual and role conflicts. Cooperation in referral, in consultation, and in treatment is discussed.

Chapter 33: Understanding Governmental Structures for Mental Health by D. Ozarin
D. Ozarin, M.D., M.P.H. is in the Division of Mental Health Service Program, NIMH., Chevy Chase, Maryland. Clergy have filled prominent roles as officers and board members of mental health agencies and associations; most boards include one or more clergymen. Their skills in community organization have been put to good use. They are also in key positions to channel information from the public into the mental health agency and vice versa.

Chapter 34: Research on the Churches and Mental Health by John M. Vayhinger
John M. Vayhinger, B.D., Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology and Pastoral Care, Anderson School of Theology, Anderson, Indiana. Much needed is research beyond that already completed which will develop guidelines for improving the church’s many roles in community health -- from meeting the existential crises of being human and belonging to social groups and facing anxiety and dread, to providing more efficiently the "learning atmosphere" for a religious style-of-life.

Chapter 35: The Churches and Family Counseling Around the World by Matti Joensuu
Matti Joensuu, B.D., D.D. is Executive Secretary, Board of Family Questions, The Lutheran Church of Finland, Helsinki, Finland, and Former Secretary of the Department of Cooperation of Men and Women in Church, Family, and Society of the World Council of Churches. Many qualified experts from America have given significant help in various kinds of mental health training programs all around the world despite the important and sometimes radical cultural differences.

Conclusion: Into Action
Effective involvement of churches and temples in community mental health requires strategies for moving into action. Some key aspects of such strategies, designed for leaders of local congregations, denominational and ecumenical leaders, those in the mental health field, and seminary teachers and administrators are here presented. Each of these groups has a significant role in releasing the untapped mental health potentialities of religious organizations.

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