Clinical Pastoral Education Curriculum

The Clinical Pastoral Education Method

Clinical Pastoral Education involves "action" (or the practice of ministry), and "reflection" (writing about and discussing pastoral encounters). This clinical pastoral learning method fosters the development of pastoral insight and understanding that enhances pastoral skills.

In CPE, each intern and resident shapes CPE to his or her own unique learning needs and requirements by setting her or his own goals for learning. Participants define their goals as learning covenants that they implement by engaging in the action of ministry and then reflecting upon that ministry.

Process Philosophy in Education

A process philosophy of education sees learning as developmental. Learning begins with our initial attempts to provide pastoral ministry in the clinical setting. We "imitate" role models, and search for new information to inform our progress. We develop growing awareness of how our evolving pastoral theology serves as a resource to the care we provide.

As we learn, the action and reflection process comes to feel second nature fostering an integration of theory and practice at a level of "mastery." This mastery allows us to function more creatively and flexibly out of a well-informed strategy for care.

Curriculum Summary

Unit 1 - 400 Hours

  • CPE Level I - Focus of Program is addressing the CPE Level I learning outcomes 311
  • Students develop the basic skills and awareness required for progressing to the Level II curriculum
  • Students practice:
    • Pastoral care skills through the clinical practicum
    • Goal setting
    • Prioritization and use of clinical method of learning
  • Students develop:
    • Self-awareness
    • Interpersonal awareness

Unit 2 - 400 Hours

  • CPE Level II - Focus of Program is CPE Level II learning outcomes. 
    • Articulation of pastoral role
    • Establishing collaborative dialogue
  • Students practice:
    • Using short-term strategic counseling skills
    • Building interdisciplinary relationships
  • Students develop:
    • A clear and articulated pastoral/professional identity

Unit 3 - 400 Hours

  • CPE Level II - Focus of Program is CPE Level II learning outcomes. 
    • Providing ministry to a diversity of peoples
    • Mastery of Assessment skills
    • Demonstrating a range of pastoral skill
  • Students practice:
    • Planning care based on their spiritual assessment
    • Crisis care skills
    • Resolving conflicts
  • Students develop:
    • Ability to reflect in-depth both personally and theologically

Unit 4 - 400 Hours

  • CPE Level II - Focus of Program is CPE Level II learning outcomes. 
    • Administering and managing program elements
    • Ability to supervise self
  • Students practice:
    • Spiritual program development, goal setting and prioritizing
    • Use of self in the ministry encounter
    • Group leadership
  • Students develop:
    • Strength in using consultation
    • Materials for application for certification