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Workshop: The Shift in the Clergy Abuse Crisis - Boundary Violations with Vulnerable Adults


The Shift in the Clergy Abuse Crisis - Boundary Violations with Vulnerable Adults

October 15, 2021

9:30 am - 3:30 pm (EST)

Saint Paul University, Ottawa (Canada)

In person and online via Zoom 

View Schedule 


Rev. Stephan Kappler, Psy.D., C.Psych., R. Psych.

In this interactive workshop, we will review relevant aspects of a significant shift that seems to be occurring in the context of clergy sexual abuse. Based on clinical observations from The Southdown Institute, a mental health treatment centre for clergy and vowed religious, we will explore the issue of the sexual abuse of vulnerable adults. We will examine the concept of what constitutes a vulnerable adult, and together look at the psychological, spiritual, and systemic contributors to these boundary crossings. After a group examination of a case study, we will conclude the workshop by reviewing preventative strategies, including a discussion of the importance of strengthened human formation for those desiring to enter seminary or religious life formation programs. 

Rev. Stephan Kappler is a licensed psychologist and priest of the Diocese of Oakland (California, USA). Currently he is President and Chief Psychologist of The Southdown Institute. Fr. Stephan received his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from John F. Kennedy University, Pleasant Hill, California, and his Master of Divinity from the Franciscan School of Theology, Berkeley, California. In 2014, he founded KAIROS Psychology Group in Oakland, an assessment, psychotherapy, and consultation practice, modelled after the services of Southdown. He has served as Parochial Vicar and Pastor in the Diocese of Oakland since 1994. He has facilitated workshops internationally for Religious and Clergy in the area of mental health and has served as a consultant for many dioceses.

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