THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
other positions into a limited non-
career appointment category.
New hires came in under that pro-
gram, but resistance both within and
outside of MED led to a cessation of the
practice after a few years.
Regional Medical Manager
Consulate General Frankfurt
Mental Health Treatment:
The Faith Alternative
has not lost its willingness to
tackle delicate issues. This is evident from
the January-February issue focusing on
the supersensitive issue of mental health
in the Foreign Service.In “Foreign Service Members Weigh In,” some members tell of how their con
ditions of service caused them psycho-
logical problems, support for which was
often not forthcoming.
These accounts confront us with some
of the harsher realities of the Foreign
Service life, and resonate with me. I, too,
experienced such conditions of service:
difficult and dangerous postings, small-
minded supervisors, a son’s mental ill-
ness, break-up of the family and eventual
Yet I neither applied for psychological
treatment nor felt it would be desirable.
Perhaps I was aided by the links I discov-
ered between my Foreign Service experi-
ence and theology, which I describe in
my book (
Theology and the Disciplines of
the Foreign Service
If so, this leads to a further point. The
inability to find conventional treatment
within official structures is unfortunate.
But, sadly, even if found, such treatment
is not always successful; in my son’s case
it failed despite a years-long effort.
An alternative and potentially more
effective remedy lies in religious faith, with
its healing prayer, worship and fellowship.
s secular orientation, I
can understand why it did not feature this
approach. But should it not be noted?
Rev. Theodore L. Lewis
The FS Profession Debate
As we start a new year, a few of us who
are Foreign Service officers serving at the
Foreign Service Institute want to weigh
in on articles that have appeared over
the course of the past year in the
elsewhere featuring commentary about
whether the U.S. Foreign Service consti-
tutes “a profession.”
Some commentators reached the con-
clusion that it does not, and a piece in theOctober FSJ (“Working with the U.S. Mili- tary: 10 Things the Foreign Service Needs to Know,” by Ted Strickler) went so far as
to assert that the Foreign Service “could
be described as a pseudo-profession,
with elitism passing for professionalism.”
We disagree. Today’s Foreign Service
is increasingly professional and elite—as
we want America’s diplomats to be—but
The Foreign Service does reflect many
aspects of a profession, including its rigor-
ous entry process, peer-reviewed progres-
sion and training programs that provide
foreign affairs practitioners with the
knowledge, skills and attitudes they need
to perform at a professional standard.
We do agree, however, that the area
of “long-term learning” deserves further
attention, and we are happy to say that
this essential element of professionalism
is developing robustly at FSI.
Senior-level leaders across FSI are
working to tie lifelong learning more
clearly to professional advancement and
career opportunities. Foreign Service
education is an exciting field to work
in right now, as we collectively develop