Clinical pastoral education, or CPE, refers to a clinical and dynamic form of interfaith spiritual care education with hands-on experience that prepares individuals to care for those in crisis. CPE mixes components of clinical, individual and group supervision to facilitate students’ growth while caring for patients, families and teammates.
CPE is an adult form of education that uses the action-reflection-action method of learning promoted by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE). It nurtures individuals’ personal, professional and spiritual growth by assisting students to develop a sense of self, interpersonal and cultural awareness and spiritual care skills. Also, CPE invites students to enhance their theological and philosophical perspectives, as well as their crisis, ethics and behavioral sciences theories applied to caregiving relationships.
Clinical pastoral education students come from diverse backgrounds: e.g., spiritual/religious leaders, seminarians and lay people from various faith traditions and spiritualities. Given the many benefits of CPE, individuals who work with patients, parishioners and/or clients enroll in this form of education to advance their personal/professional skills and careers.
Some seminaries give credits to students who complete a unit of CPE. Also, some religious denominations require a unit of CPE to ordain their ministers. Additionally, CPE students can use this program to discern their ministerial calling/professional career, improve self-awareness, cultural competencies and listening, communication and relational skills. CPE provides students with professional health care experience and opportunities to meet various personal, professional and spiritual goals.
The Bon Secours Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Program is located at St. Mary's Hospital in Richmond, Va.
Program Name: Bon Secours St. Mary's Hospital Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Program
Accreditation Status: Pre-provisional accreditation through ACPE
Length of Training: Between three months and one year, depending on chosen program
Program Size: Three to five students per cohort
ACPE: The Standard for Spiritual Care and Education
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