Letter from Rev. Jon Nestor

May 17, 2019

Dear WPCA Members and Friends,

I understand that tomorrow (Saturday, May 18), many of you are meeting to officially close AAPC-Northwest. I’m saddened that this is necessary. Ever since I became associated with AAPC in 1989, AAPC has been a significantly meaningful part of my life. I began attending AAPC-Northwest’s semi-annual meetings in the Fall of 1990. At that time, we were meeting every Fall at the Alton Collins Retreat Center in Sandy, OR, and every Spring in various Retreat Centers (e.g. Dumas Bay) in Western Washington. These semi-annual retreats became a regularly anticipated, regularly occurring, and formative part of my professional life. During that decade, Kristie and I were living in Tacoma, and had no way of knowing that she and I would be abruptly forced to leave the State of Washington to literally flee for our lives in April, 2001.

We wound up on the Central Oregon Coast, where we did our best to put our lives back together. A year earlier, almost to the day, Paula Hoyt and I had begun our study of Clinical Supervision in the brand-new Supervisor Formation Program offered through Pastoral Therapy Associates. At the time of Kristie’s and my untimely and unanticipated departure from Tacoma, we had to leave everything. Because AAPC-Northwest included the State of Oregon, as well as the States of Washington, Idaho, and Alaska, along with the Canadian Provinces of British Columbia and Alberta, AAPC-Northwest was the only part of Kristie’s and my life that we did not have to give up. As I continued to actively participate in AAPC-Northwest as a resident of Oregon throughout the first and second decades of the twenty-first century, AAPC-Northwest served as a bridge – and in 2001, the only bridge – between what was so familiar to both of us in Tacoma (WA) and what was to become familiar to me decades later in Yachats and Newport (OR).

I could share a lifetime of stories about my association with AAPC-Northwest. To this day, these stories remain in my memory. However, now the organization that served as a linchpin for me as I experienced the trauma of those opening years of the twenty-first century is fading away. Perhaps it will live on for many of you through the Washington Pastoral Counseling Association. As I began to recover from the trauma that Kristie and I both experienced, I tried to form the Oregon Pastoral Counseling Association. For a little more than a decade, I made repeated and concerted efforts to form and cultivate relationships among pastoral and counseling organizations in Oregon. With rare exceptions, I was either mocked by the
pastors or written off by the counselors. Whenever I consulted with pastoral counselors in Oregon to see if they were interested in gathering for purposes similar to what I had experienced in AAPC-Northwest, and joining me in forming the Oregon Pastoral Counseling Association, those whom I approached to join me in this purposeful and intentional venture were either not interested or didn’t have the time. Especially after having been saturated in the spirit of AAPC – and in particular, in the spirit of AAPC-Northwest –experiencing all of this has been an immense heartache for me.

While the idea of an Oregon Pastoral Counseling Association is still attractive to me, I cannot form this organization by myself. I’m aware that I might have taken the wrong approach to forming – or at least helping to form – this organization. Therefore, I’m open to learning from others what a better approach might be, as well as how to execute it. However, ever since I recovered from my heart-valve replacement surgery in September of 2012, the teachings of Carl Jung have deeply affected my life and work. In January, 2014, I began reading many of his writings, including his Collected Works on a daily basis. I maintained this discipline for four years, as I tried to find a PhD program in Depth Psychology in which I could further explore Jung’s writings while incorporating a depth psychological dimension into my practice of pastoral counseling. Finally, in August, 2017, I began work on my PhD in Psychology at Saybrook University. My specialization is Consciousness, Spirituality, and Integrative Health. This specialization makes my PhD program a Depth Psychology program. I’m fully invested in this PhD program. I’m about to complete my second year in this program, look forward to completing its class component in 2022, and to completing my Dissertation in 2025. I have already completed and submitted my Research Proposal to the Institutional Review Board this past January. For my Dissertation, I will be using Case Study Research Methodology to investigate how Jungian individuation impacts the clinical supervisory relationship. As a by-product of this investigation, I will be essentially testing my Model of Clinical Supervision that I developed en route to becoming a Diplomate in AAPC.

Professionally, I would like to become a Jungian Analyst, and combine my interests in Pastoral Counseling and Jungian Analytic Psychology in a variety of professional activities, such as teaching, and professional writing, in addition to my clinical practice of Pastoral Counseling and Clinical Supervision.

Tragically, Kristie died at the end of August, 2016 after battling a host of auto-immune diseases (including leukemia) for much of her life, but especially in the past two decades. Her death left a huge hole in my life, for we were truly soulmates in every sense of the word. However, through the help of many people, as well as through my own practice of spiritual disciplines, I have learned to internalize Kristie. Of particular help to me were the men in the Cancer Support Group that I joined two years before Kristie’s cancer came out of remission. I joined that group first because Kristie had leukemia (which was in remission at the time I
joined). I wanted to learn more about cancer, its treatment, and the effects it had on peoples’ lives. I had no idea when I joined that, two, years later, these men would – along with other people – basically carry me as I grieved Kristie’s death. With the help of many support systems, I have learned to cope with my physical loss of her. Today, I know that she is still a spiritual part of me, and the two of us continue to dialogue with each other on a daily basis. In this regard, I know that she continues to support what I’m doing today, just like she supported my activities and involvement with AAPC-Northwest.

So, while I’m saddened by the closing of AAPC-Northwest, I will be carrying my memories of it, as well as its teachings and experiences forward into my future life and work. In this sense, the spirit of AAPC-Northwest will live on in my heart, life, and work. In order to stay in touch with as many of you as possible in the coming months and years, I’m actively planning to join the Washington Pastoral Counselors Association. I look forward to maintaining and further cultivating our relationships with each other now and in the future as opportunities present themselves.

With deepest thanks and blessings,

Rev. Jon Nestor, MEd, LPC, LMHC, NCC