Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) programs provide an opportunity for ministers, seminarians, and laypeople to develop pastoral competency within a particular pastoral setting (usually a hospital, parish, hospice, or retirement home). The CPE approach to training is based upon an “action-reflection” model of learning. Pastoral trainees function as ecumenical chaplains who provide pastoral care in assigned areas and use their experience in pastoral encounters as a basis for their learning.
CPE focuses on the development of personal and pastoral identity and the growth of professional competence as a minister. Specific objectives of CPE are:
- To become aware of one’s self as a minister and of the ways one’s ministry affects people.
- To become a competent pastor of people and groups in various life situations and crisis circumstances and to develop the maturity to provide intensive and extensive pastoral care and counseling.
- To utilize the clinical method of learning.
- To utilize the support, confrontation, and clarification of the peer group for the integration of personal attributes and pastoral functioning.
- To become competent in self-evaluation and in utilizing supervision and consultation to evaluate one’s pastoral practice.
- To develop the ability to make optimum use of one’s religious heritage, theological understanding, and knowledge of behavioral sciences in pastoral ministry to people and groups.
- To acquire self-knowledge to a degree that permits pastoral care to be offered within the strengths and limitations of one’s own person.
- To develop the ability to work as a pastoral member of an interdisciplinary team.
- To develop the capacity to utilize one’s pastoral perspective and competence in a variety of functions such as preaching, teaching and administration, as well as pastoral care and counseling.
- To become aware of how one’s attitudes, values and assumptions affect one’s ministry.
- To understand the theological issues arising from experience and to utilize theology and the behavioral sciences to understand the human condition.