Founder & CEO Mark Allison
We assert business and industry, communities and countries, are bettered by a work-place hospitable to spiritualty and friendly to interfaith diversity. We believe individual happiness, health and wholeness cannot be separated from the spiritual dimension; and the same is true of our institutions and global networking. Central to healthy spirituality is Character. By character we refer to the qualities of trust and loyalty, dependability and responsibility, honor and self-control, truth and moral courage, duty and humility. We invite people of like thinking to join us in actively and courageously welcoming and including the spiritual dimension in both our public and private life, and to nurture spirituality by sustaining, reviving and inviting it in our lives, businesses and institutions where we work.
To the Glory of God
Our purpose and intent is first and foremost to please God. We deliberately shun the pursuit of public praise and self-aggrandizement. Our constant prayer is that all we do individually and collectively in the World Spiritual Health Organization be singularly focused to the Glory of God.
We began this organization with the understanding “except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Psalms 127:1) and we commit to manage it in like manner by always seeking His blessing and guidance. We believe “the only work that will ultimately bring any good to any of us is the work of contributing to the healing of the world”(Marianne Williamson). And while neither ourselves as individuals nor WSHO as an organization are perfect, yet we persistently pursue excellence. We pursue impeccable character and consummate clinical competence (love) in our training and ministry to the peoples of the earth.We are boldly and unashamedly Christian; yet through our life journey and experiences living in, traveling through and engaging peoples, cultures and religions throughout the countries of the earth, our lives have been blessed and enhanced.
We welcome a global perspective and diversity in WSHO and believe in and promote interfaith dialogue and collaboration among the vast constellation of religious traditions and spiritual practices that believe in and worship the Divine. We believe religious freedom is an inalienable human right and that all people ought to be allowed to worship how, where or what they may choose.
Mark L. Allison
Founder and President of WSHO
WSHO certifies only the best-trained and best-qualified providers in the field of chaplaincy and spiritual care. We conduct the most extensive background checks of any certifying entity, and our standard for annual continuing education is the highest in the world. Our requirement for board certification is the highest in the field, currently at 2,100 supervised clinical hours. Additionally, WSHO members must also re-certify annually in order to maintain their WSHO credential(s).
WSHO is the only pastoral care certifying organization wherein members commit to and sign a Professional Honor Code agreement. Each member must agree to abide by the highest of professional standards. WSHO CPE training also includes didactics on how personal character and professional competence are indispensable to effective spiritual care.WSHO is committed to universal principles such as truth and honor, and espouses pragmatic, principle-based approaches over political correctness. We believe WHAT is right always trumps WHO is right. We encourage and advocate moral courage to speak up and do what is right, and whenever possible, pursue peace.
The founding body of WSHO is 100% committed to serve with character and competence, humility and moral courage. They willingly accept the responsibility of leadership and accountability to God, to their families, to WSHO members, and to the world community. As seasoned leaders and spiritual care practitioners, their commitment is to make an impact in the world through spiritual wellness by vigilantly adhering to the divine mandate, “…all to the glory of God.”
WSHO proudly holds affiliate membership with the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and is endorsed by several accredited universities and entities; and there are more to come.
To better recognize and serve a wide spectrum of professional experience and training, WSHO is unique in offering four levels of professional credentials: Certified, Associate Board Certified, Board Certified, and Master Board Certified.
WSHO extends professional certification credentials in the following areas: Professional Chaplaincy, Spiritual Mental Health Professional, Inspirational Religious & Spiritual Artist/Curator, Religious/Spiritual Educator, Ambassador of Spirituality/Affiliate Spiritual-care Provider, and Supervisor/trainer in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE).
WSHO operates on the adage: “We train to STANDARD rather than to a time-frame.” WSHO provides to CPE supervisors in training, and offers chaplains and pastoral/spiritual counselors the ability to apply for Board Certification as soon as they are able to demonstrate full and successful competency per WSHO standards. For example, upon successfully completing four quarters of Clinical Pastoral Education, Chaplain graduates may apply for a provisional board certification while they complete their 500 post-CPE clinical hours. This may also be accomplished through a fifth quarter/CPE Fellowship.
Chaplains, CPE Supervisors, and Mental Health Counselors who already have vast clinical training, viz, CPE, and/or certification from a different organization may receive reciprocal credit towards application for WSHO certification. Equivalencies for education and clinical hours will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
For quality assurance WSHO members must retain their credential annually based on a peer-review, a minimum of quarterly attendance at a local WSHO chapter (where available), continuing education, and submission of an annual stewardship report to WSHO.
WSHO is committed to being a responsive and respectful organization where different voices, perspectives and traditions are valued and encouraged. We believe there are unifying principles within the rich constellation of faith traditions and professions that add greater meaning and understanding to our field through sharing our similarities and celebrating our differences. For instance, WSHO affirms the wisdom of the directional symbols on a Native American Medicine Wheel —East and West, North and South—in that we learn many valuable life lessons and caring skills from each other no matter where in the world we were born or live. We encourage sharing our similarities, and celebrating our differences.
WSHO high standards and rigorous certification screening make it an employer-preferred source for professional and bonded chaplains, spiritual mental health professionals, spiritual and religious educators, as well as inspirational artists and musicians. A distinguishing feature of WSHO is bonding, wherein an extensive personal and professional background check is conducted on each candidate prior to board certification. WSHO is the only pastoral care certifying body that bonds (guarantees) its board certified members.
WSHO recognizes there are individuals from a diversity of backgrounds and professions throughout the world who are allied ministry partners contributing in special and meaningful ways to spiritual health and positive well-being. Therefore, WSHO from time to time extends to such individuals and business partners special member partnership and formal recognition as a Certified Ambassador of Spirituality or Affiliate Spiritual Care Provider.
WSHO membership is unique in the world, intentionally bringing together under one international professional organization the confluence of chaplaincy, counseling/therapy, education and the arts. Although representing very diverse disciplines, each is complimentary to facilitating spiritual health.WSHO encourages the cross-pollinization of inter-faith and inter-disciplinary dialogue and support among our membership throughout the world, thus expanding learning opportunities for best practices as well as professional relationships with spiritual care providers that offer fresh and varied perspectives regarding spiritual wellness.
WSHO respects the history, traditions and lessons learned in pastoral care during the 20th century, yet is committed to fresh and bold advancement of ministry and spirituality through the 21st century by utilizing modern technology and techniques whenever possible. For example, WSHO leverages the power and immediacy of the Internet to conduct board certifications via video-conferencing with members around the world, and also conducts clinical pastoral education in places where there is no availability of CPE supervisors.
WSHO chapters across the world consist of members from a diversity of faith traditions and disciplines that serve as beacons of hope and light, and who are positive examples of inter-faith and inter-disciplinary harmony, collaboration and goodwill within their organizations and communities. Chapters are peer groups intended to be special places where members can give and receive encouragement and support, experience camaraderie, believing ‘together we are stronger.’
WSHO respects and utilizes much of the traditional/classical model for clinical pastoral education as part of its training platform, but also understands that pastoral and patient care requires dynamic and progressive approaches, techniques and applications. Our Clinical Pastoral Education training provides flexible and accommodating clinical placement sites and training schedules, as well as enhanced CPE curricula that incorporate a unique hybrid of traditional and eclectic modalities and venues. For example, our focus on “care-frontation,” and “clinical gems” (emotional emeralds, relationship rubies and spiritual sapphires), quarterly self-awareness exercises, and experiential inter-faith worship participation are unique to the WSHO experience. WSHO CPE is personallytransformative and professionally rewarding.
Similar to a professional business franchise, WSHO CPE training supervisors conduct their CPE training in a variety of ministry settings under the auspices and accreditation of the WSHO enterprise. CPE Supervisors from other agencies who desire dual certification and the opportunity to augment their income may apply for reciprocity of credentials as well as a WSHO training license and contract to form and lead a WSHO CPE program. WSHO also welcomes qualified candidates to apply to become CPE Supervisors in training.
A unique feature of WSHO is post-CPE peer mentoring designed to assist, support and shepherd colleagues who have completed four units/quarters (1,600 hours) of Clinical Pastoral Education, as they focus on a subspecialty area of ministry (e.g. palliative care), and work towards WSHO board certification. In addition to the traditional 1,600 hours of CPE, an additional 500 post-CPE peer mentored clinical hours are also required to apply for WSHO board certification, for a total of 2,100 supervised clinical hours. This is the highest number of supervised clinical hours in the world.
To better facilitate the needs of its members, WSHO is organized into local chapters, which are mentored by a state, provincial or regional WSHO representative according to time zone. WSHO also has various professional boards/committees (Certification, Professional Ethics, Training, etc.), which are integral to the effectiveness of WSHO. The founding Board of WSHO maintains final authority and approval, as well as stewardship over all matters pertaining to WSHO. We maintain, ‘…except the Lord build the house they labor in vain which build it’ (Ps.127:1).
WSHO offers the following professional services: Credentialing of individuals and institutions, Training in professional Chaplaincy/Pastoral Care and Counseling, Advocacy, Information and Referral, and Consultation to churches, businesses, governments and individuals regarding spiritual health.
Chaplaincy does not make us perfect human beings. The discipline of "chaplaincy" however can inform us on healthier boundaries, healthier patterns and healthier changes to make.
As a professional member or trainee of the World Spiritual Health Organization;
I will serve my God and the people of the world whom I encounter with both honor and character, professional excellence and competent compassion, respect and moral courage, humility and accountability.
I will also faithfully exercise the WSHO mission regarding spiritual health, wherein wherever I find spirituality is present, I will nourish and sustain it.
Where I find it is dormant, I will seek to revive it. And where I find that spirituality is absent,
I will creatively and with moral courage and prudence, boldly strive to invite it.I will abide by the laws of the land where
I live, the ethical standards of my given profession, and to the professional expectations and standards of the World Spiritual Health Organization.
I will consistently maintain my professional credibility and credentials through regular accountability for my stewardship/ministry.
I commit to being an upstanding member/ambassador and of the World Spiritual Health Organization and to my given profession; and to be dutiful and loyal, responsible and honorable to standards and expectations to which I have committed therein.
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