Robert Charles Powell (1st, 2002)

After earning a bachelor’s degree in the natural sciences, with special distinction in the social sciences, from Shimer College (Illinois), a “Great Books” school, Dr. Powell earned doctorates in medicine and in philosophy from Duke University (North Carolina), within its Behavioral Sciences Study Program (linguistic psychiatry & theoretical biology) and Medical Historian Training Program (European/ American history of science & of ideas).

Following postgraduate work at the SUNY/ Upstate Medical Center (Syracuse) (psychiatry/ neurology/ medicine), and at the Michael Reese Institute for Psychosomatic & Psychiatric Research (Chicago) (clinical research fellowship on adolescence), Dr. Powell earned certification by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He taught briefly at the medical schools of the University of Missouri – Kansas City, the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and Northwestern University (– Chicago).

In late 1998, he was “rediscovered” by the clinical pastoral chaplaincy movement, and once again began contributing to its history, giving major presentations in 1999, 2002, 2005, and 2012, as well as providing relevant essays during the years between and since.

Historically, Dr. Powell’s most popular booklet has been Anton T. Boisen (1876-1965): “Breaking an Opening in the Wall between Religion and Medicine,” 1976; his 2nd most popular booklet has been C.P.E. [Clinical Pastoral Education]: Fifty Years of Learning, through Supervised Encounter with “Living Human Documents,” 1975; his 3rd most popular booklet has been When Death Is Not Theoretical: The Readiness of the Music Group ‘Queen’ for Living with Freddie Mercury’s Dying, 2014; 2nd ed., greatly expanded, 2018.

Historically, his most popular article has been “Helen Flanders Dunbar (1902-1959) and a Holistic Approach to Psychosomatic Problems. I. The Rise and Fall of a Medical Philosophy,” Psychiatric Quarterly 49: 133-152, 1977; his 2nd most popular article has been “The ‘Subliminal’ versus the ‘Subconscious’ in the American Acceptance of Psychoanalysis, 1906-1910,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 15: 155-165, 1979 (revised & updated as a chapter in Freudian Concepts in America: The Role of Psychical Research in Preparing the Way: 1904-1934, 2015). An article he most wished had had wider availability is “Psychosomatic Aspects of Affect in Psychoanalytic Theory, 1950-1970,” invited review essay, The American Academy of Psychoanalysis Forum 23 (4): 5-8, 1979.

In mid-2021, a number of Dr. Powell’s clinical studies were collected in one teaching volume: 
Listening Closely to Patients: without Jumping to Conclusions {essays on practicing psychiatry}. 
[> linguistic/ cognitive DYNAMIC PSYCHIATRY meets neurologic/  nutritional/  endocrinologic PSYCHOBIOLOGY < ]

In late 2021-early 2022, many of his writings on the contiguous clinical pastoral chaplaincy movement and the American psychosomatic movement – including those just noted – were republished in revised, expanded editions by CPSP Press – as will be detailed below.

His website is

2020, Apr, to the present, Member, Accreditation Commission for Pastoral & Supervisory Training, CPSP.
2016, Apr, to the present, Member, Editorial Board, CPSP Press 
2012, Aug, to 2014, Aug, Member, Board of Directors, The Hindu Religious Endorsing Body of North America.
2011, Jun, to 2014, Jun, Initial Organizer > Lead Consultant, “Hindu [clinical pastoral] Chaplaincy Initiative”.
The Hindu Mandir Executives’ Conference/ Hindu American Foundation
2008, Jan, to 2013, Jan, Member, Editorial Committee, Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling.
2005, Apr, to 2010, Apr, Member-at-Large, Commission on Accreditation of Pastoral Services,
COMISS [Council on Ministry in Specialized Settings] Network.
2004, Apr, to the present, Ex Officio, Public Member, Governing Council, CPSP
1974, Jun, to 1980, Jun, Historical Consultant, Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE).

The following are the chapter headings in the seven volumes of republished writings:

CLINICAL PASTORAL Training, Education, & Transformation …

CPE {Clinical Pastoral Education}: Fifty Years of Learning through 
Supervised Encounter with “Living Human Documents”.  

Mrs. Ethel Phelps Stokes Hoyt (1877-1952) and the 
Joint Committee on Religion and Medicine (1923-1936)

The Practical Theoretician: Conviction, Commitment, Covenant
[a Dunbar Award introduction of Rodney J. Hunter (1940-20  )]

Discerning Spirituality in Everyday Life – and Allowing Oneself to Be Transformed
[a Dunbar Award introduction of Edward E. Thornton (1925-2008)]

Report from India: A Pastoral Care Department that Runs Its Own Hospital

Report from India and South Africa: “Devotional Care”: 
Rethinking Clinical Pastoral Chaplaincy Training Sites

BOISEN:  Breaking an Opening in the Wall …  [“Boisen #1”]

Anton T. Boisen (1876-1965): “Breaking an Opening in the Wall between Religion and Medicine”

[The Writings of Anton T. Boisen]

Call for Chaplaincy that is NOT Measured, Weighed, or Cut Down to Size

Call for Chaplaincy that IS Measured, Weighed, and Cut Down to Size – 
BUT By and On Behalf of the Persons in Need

BOISEN:  Cooperative Inquiry …  [“Boisen #2”]

 Questions from the Past (on the Future of Clinical Pastoral Education)

Whatever Happened to “CPE” – Clinical Pastoral Education?

‘Cooperative Inquiry’ in Pastoral Care

Tolerance and Encouragement, I: Among the Roots of the Clinical Pastoral Tradition 

Tolerance and Encouragement, II: At the Core of the Modern Clinical Pastoral Tradition 

Tolerance and Encouragement, III: Within a Covenant of Mutual Accountability 

Tolerance and Encouragement, IV: Having Strong Feelings – without Being Self-Righteous 

Tolerance and Encouragement, V: Making Room for Divine Presence 

Tolerance and Encouragement, VI: Is “Reverence toward Otherness” Possible? 

What about Pastoral Supervision of the Field of Clinical Pastoral Chaplaincy?
[a Dunbar Award introduction of Kenneth H. Pohly (1923-2016)]

BOISEN:  Studying Empirically … [“Boisen #3”]

Empirical Theology, 1916-1946: A Note on the Contribution of Anton T. Boisen

Religion in Crisis and Custom: Discovery and Recovery of Spirit and Soul

Chaplain on Demand! What Non-Pastoral Care Colleagues Want and Believe They Need

“Be Strong! Take Courage! All Ye Who Hope in the Lord”
[a Dunbar Award introduction of John Edwin Harris (1941-2012)]

Clinical Pastoral Psychology of Religion: 
A “Peculiar and Dynamic Play between the Mundane and the Sublime”
[a Dunbar Award introduction of Orlo C. Strunk, Jr. (1925-2013)]

“Amid the Complex Entanglements of Actual Life”: 
How Are Clinical Pastoral Chaplains to Gain Perspective?
[a Dunbar Award introduction of Glenn H. Asquith, Jr. (1946-2017)]

BOISEN:  CLINICIAN: Assessment & Therapy …  [“Boisen #4”]

ASSESSMENT: Persistent & Provocative “Cooperative Inquiry”: 

Empathic & Enlightening “Exploration of the Inner World”

THERAPY: Patient &Creative “Cooperative Interpretation”: 
“Thinking & Feeling Strongly Together about Things that Matter Most”

Anton T. Boisen’s “Psychiatric Examination: Content of Thought” (c.1925-31): 
An Attempt to Grasp the Meaning of Mental Disorder

Other Writings about Anton T. Boisen & Helen Flanders Dunbar

About the Author


 Helen Flanders Dunbar (1902-1959) and a Holistic Approach to Psychosomatic Problems:  …
II. The Role of Dunbar’s Nonmedical Background.

Emotionally, Soulfully, Spiritually ‘Free to Think and Act’: Psychosomatic Medicine, and Pastoral Care.

The ‘Continued Ability to Create and Invent’: 
Going for One Hundred Years of Clinical Pastoral Transformation

Further Comments on Dunbar’s Life.

Helen Flanders Dunbar (1902-1959) and a Holistic Approach to Psychosomatic Problems: 
I. The Rise and Fall of a Medical Philosophy.

Psychosomatic Aspects of Affect in Psychoanalytic Theory: 1950-1970.

Shedding Light on the Unknown – Without Presuming to Exhaust Its Meaning [re “parabolic events”]
[a Dunbar Award introduction of Donald E. Capps (1939-2015)]

Standing in the Midst of Hopelessness and 
Hearing that G-d has Embraced Us in Spite of Ourselves [re illness and health as equal parts of life] 
[a Dunbar Award introduction of J. Harold Ellens (1932-2018)]

Emotions, Bodily Changes, and Symbolism: 
Helen Flanders Dunbar (1902-1959) and a Hidden but Implicit Thesis within a Major Medical Reference

HEALING & WHOLENESS: Helen Flanders Dunbar (1902-59) & an 
Extra-Medical Origin of the American Psychosomatic Movement, 1906-36.

[possible alternative title:]
[HEALING & WHOLENESS: Helen Flanders Dunbar (1902-59) & an 
Extra-Theological Origin of the Clinical Pastoral Chaplaincy Movement, 1906-36]

The Medical, Theoretical Context: Psychoanalysis and Psychophysiology

The Holistic, Organismic Approach: Psychobiology

Helen Flanders Dunbar 

Breaking Down the Wall between Religion and Medicine [Anton Theophilus Boisen]

Physician of the Whole Man, of the Soul as Well as of the Body [Elwood Ernest Worcester]

Symbolism, Narcissism, and the Joint Committee

Mind and Body: Symbolism in Medical Thought


Specific Index of Psychoanalytic Concepts

General Index of Names and Concepts