What is Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)?

CPE students in a group discussion.

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) began in 1925 as a form of theological education that takes place in an academic classroom and in a clinical setting where ministry is being practiced.

The CPE program is a multi-faith, multi-cultural, hands-on course that combines clinical supervision of the spiritual care of patients, families, and staff in a hospital setting with the academic education component on site. Students are offered the opportunity to develop and expand professional caring skills for addressing a person’s spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. The textbooks for CPE include an in-depth study of “the living human documents” – both the people who receive care as well as a study of ourselves, the givers of care. Through the practice of ministry and the reflection thereon with supervisor and peers, the experiential learning CPE takes place.

One unit of CPE consists of 300 hours of clinical service; during which students visit and support patients, their families, and care-givers, plus 100 hours of classroom education. CPE is a mix of practical ministry, instruction, one-on-one supervision, group process, reading, and writing.

CPE’s core learning methodology is action/reflection/action. Developed more than 75 years ago by Anton Boison, this method encourages students to act, reflect, and act again with a renewed sense of professional competence and skill.

Our program offers two levels of CPE credit:

  • Internship – A part-time (volunteer position) extended internship: Spring Internship-January 13, 2020—June 15, 2020. (1 unit)
  • Residency – A full-time (employment) year-long residency: 2020-2021 Residency—August 24, 2020 – August 20, 2021 (3 units)