Duane Bidwell

Professor of Practical Theology, Spiritual Care, and Counseling;
Senior Staff Clinician and Supervisor, The Clinebell Institute;
Accreditation Liaison Officer.
B.S., Texas Christian University
M.Div. and Ph.D, Brite Divinity School

Duane Bidwell works to reduce suffering and promote abundant life in all of his teaching, writing, and research.

Experiences as chaplain, pastor, spiritual director, pastoral counselor, HIV/AIDS professional, and non-profit director inform his work as teacher-scholar-clinician. CST students have given him teaching and mentoring awards three times since 2014. He is an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and practitioner of vipassana (insight meditation) in the Theravada Buddhist tradition.

His most recent book, When One Religion Isn’t Enough: The Lives of Spiritually Fluid People (Boston: Beacon, 2018), examines complex religious bonds–the experience of being formed by more than one religious tradition at the same time. The book builds on his work in transreligious pastoral theology and in Buddhist-Christian studies. Library Journal named it a Best Book 2018.

Bidwell is a clinical Fellow of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and senior staff clinician and supervisor at The Clinebell Institute for Pastoral Counseling and Psychotherapy.

At CST, Bidwell teaches psychotherapy from narrative, solution-focused, and social constructionist perspectives; co-directs the Pediatric Hope Initiative, an online resource for parents, children, professionals, and religious leaders; and serves as accreditation liaison officer. Bidwell’s scholarly expertise includes suicide intervention, spiritual direction, and short-term psychotherapy.

Internationally, Bidwell serves on the board of directors of the Taos Institute, an educational non-profit that advances relational thought and practice. A Taos Associate, he directs the Taos Institute International Diploma in Social Construction and Professional Practice and serves as a faculty advisor for both the Taos Institute Ph.D. and diploma programs.

He serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Collaborative and Dialogic Practices and on the advisory board for the forthcoming Sage Handbook on Social Construction and Professional Practices.

Nationally, Bidwell has served on the board of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and as co-editor of The Journal of Pastoral Theology. From 2009-2012 he co-directed “Beyond Apologetics: Sexual Identity, Pastoral Theology, and Pastoral Practice,” a research colloquium of 13 scholar-practitioners who placed queer theology and pastoral theology into conversation.

Bidwell worships with his family at Claremont Presbyterian Church, where his wife is a deacon. He teaches Godly Play and occasionally provides worship leadership.

Current Research

“‘More Normal’: Children, Hope, and Chronic Illness” advances a theology of pediatric hope grounded in the experiences of children living with end-stage renal disease.

Working group on “Educating Effective Chaplains: Building a Network and a Field” at Boston University.

Steering committee, Innovations in Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care Unit of the American Academy of Religion.

In November 2019, Bidwell participates in a panel on complex religious bonds at the annual meeting of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies and responds to a panel on Innovations in Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care at the American Academy of Religion.


B.S. – Texas Christian University
M.Div. – Brite Divinity School
Ph.D. – Brite Divinity School

Recent Courses
Theories and Practices of Spiritual Care
Chaplaincy in Contexts
Interfaith Care and Counseling
Theology of the Cross and Spiritual Care
Buddhist-Christian Thought and Spiritual Care

Recent Publications / Achievements

“From Idea to Book: A Conversation with Authors Duane Bidwell, Pamela Cooper-White and Greg Ellison,” The Journal of Pastoral Theology, 2019.

“Spiritual Care, Migration, and Multiplicity: Care in the Context of Complex Religious Bonds” in Spiritual Care and Migration, Isabelle Noth and Claudia Kohli Reichenbach, eds., Pastoral and Spiritual Care across Religions and Cultures Vol. 2, pp. 47-64 (Göttingen, Germay: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019).

When One Religion Isn’t Enough: The Lives of Spiritually Fluid People (Boston: Beacon Press, 2018).

Spirituality, Social Construction, and Relational Processes: Essays and Reflections (Chagrin Falls, OH: WorldShare Books, 2016) (editor).

“Suicide Intervention in Buddhist Contexts” in A Thousand Arms: Guidebook to Caring for Your Buddhist Community, Nathan Michon and Danny Fisher, eds. (Toronto: Sumeru Books, 2016).

Empowering Couples: A Narrative Approach to Spiritual Care (Fortress, 2013).

The Formation of Pastoral Counselors: Opportunities and Challenges(Routledge, 2007). (Co-editor with Joretta L. Marshall)

Short-Term Spiritual Guidance (Augsburg Fortress, 2004)