Center for Religion and Psychotherapy of Chicago

History, Vision, Mission

History of the Center

The Center for Religion and Psychotherapy of Chicago was founded as a counseling service in 1965 by Chicago Loop clergy who wished to make referrals to a religiously-oriented service, and by seminary faculty desiring to send seminary students for training in counseling. It began as the Pastoral Counseling Department of the Church Federation of Greater Chicago, a conciliar body of twenty-seven denominations. This departmental relationship put the Center staff in working contact with judicatories and local parishes, as well as other departments of the Church Federation, including hospital chaplaincies, broadcasting, and social action ministries. These relationships provided the contextual base for the counseling ministry and also were significant to the early identity formation of the Institute.

After several years the Church Federation merged the Departments of Pastoral Counseling and of Chaplaincy to form the Commission on Pastoral Care. Several years after that, the Church Federation began experiencing increasing financial problems, and the Commission moved to change its status. It became the Chicago Institute of Pastoral Care in 1969. Under the new status the Institute became a financially and legally autonomous organization – a Division of the Church Federation. While the Institute initially had responsibility, on behalf of the Church Federation, for chaplaincies in public institutions, that responsibility decreased for the Institute over time. Several years later, through a name change that reflected a greater clarity of identity, the Institute became the Center for Religion and Psychotherapy of Chicago. The name change served to communicate the more specialized focus that had emerged as a result of the decreased involvement with chaplaincy.

Throughout all these changes in name and specialization of function, the basic objectives of the Center have remained relatively constant, and its early identity formation set within the life of the institutional church continues to shape and form the Center today.


The Center for Religion and Psychotherapy of Chicago seeks the healing of the whole person, self – psyche and soul – through therapeutic and pastoral relationships.

What We Do

The Center for Religion and Psychotherapy of Chicago provides —

  • In-depth psychotherapy with individuals, couples, and groups, encompassing attention to spiritual, psychological, and social dimensions embodied in each life.
  • Education and consultation with institutions and communities of faith.
  • Professional education and formation in the integration of psychodynamic theory with religious and spiritual concerns.
  • Research that advances the field of application of psychoanalytic work to the wider public, including the religious dimension.

Organizational Principles

The Center for Religion and Psychotherapy of Chicago is committed to —

  • Welcoming persons of all ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and religious and non-religious traditions, in our practices and organization.
  • Serving persons and faith communities regardless of their financial means.
  • Embodying open inquiry and dialogue with regard to our beliefs and practices.
  • Striving for mutual respect in relationships.
  • Maintaining a highly skilled and qualified staff reporting to an Executive Director, who reports to a Board of Directors.

Overall Mission

The Center for Religion and Psychotherapy of Chicago engages in a variety of activities whose integrated identity is shaped by twin commitments to and expertise in Self Psychology and religious concerns.