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I am approaching another hurdle in my seminary education. Surely if I can do Hebrew, I can do this too...

M.Div. students are required to take one unit of clinical pastoral education, which often means serving in a hospital situation as a chaplain in training. There are a few centers around the country that have other arrangements. I could go somewhere else to do CPE; but there is the not-so-small issue of my three cats to house in the meantime...

I finally spoke openly about where I would like to do my CPE. It seems impossible to me because the facility is large and would be a bit of a nightmare in terms of navigation. But with Loretta, perhaps the nightmarishness would not be so bad... The remaining issue would be how to handle a situation in which I needed to be with a patient or family who did not want my dog present. I have been advised to treat this as a non-issue, not to offer to leave her. I'm glad that someone is supportive of my prefercnce... It's really more than a preference. There are a host of associated issues: Loretta's vocalization when left, my lack of knowledge about what goes on when I am not with her, the fact that her job is guiding, etc. However, even if I assume that it will not be a problem, the fact remains that people do have fears at times and I do care about that. I really cannot afford to leave this untouched. If nothing else, it would add stress to my experience.

The possibility of doing an alternative field education placement in place of CPE came up. I'm not necessarily opposed to it; but some doctoral programs now require a unit of CPE for admission. And I am not totally convinced that I can't do CPE.

I consider it progress that I have spoken about where I would like to do it at all. Last year, I considered this a closed discussion because I thought it was impossible.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 26th, 2007 08:39 pm (UTC)
I dated a blind man a few times who was a neuropsychology intern in a very large hospital (Texas Children's.) I think he found that his dog actually opened alot of doors for him, calmed children down around him, and never presented a real problem. And assuming that your guide dog is as well trained as his was, the dog was never, ever intrusive.

I am more than confident that you could do this.
Sep. 26th, 2007 09:54 pm (UTC)
dogs in hospitals
I suspect that in most situations Loretta's presence will be an asset. When I worked in children's ministry, my dog was often a great comforter to upset children. Very occasionally we did get children who were frightened, though; and my concern is being the only chaplain on call and getting into a situation where the patient or family has a serious aversion to dogs and it doesn't go well. I think that there really needs to be some kind of contingency plan in place, even if I never need to use it--and hopefully I won't. I'm doing a lot of praying... If I did not have cats who needed to be cared for, I would consider traveling and doing CPE in a place like a counseling center or other location where the clients were more static. However, the local setting I've identified is also a setting where I have wanted to work for several years. So perhaps this is an opportunity that I should embrace...
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah Blake LaRose
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