What Is Clinical Pastoral Education

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is professional education for ministry accredited by:

The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc.
One West Court Square, Suite 325
Decatur, GA 30030
Phone: 404-320-1472
Fax: 404-320-0849
Email: acpe@acpe.edu

CPE brings theological students and ministers of all faiths (pastors, priests, rabbis, imams, and others) into supervised encounters with persons in crisis. Out of an intense involvement with persons in need, and the feedback from peers and supervisors, students develop new awareness of themselves as persons and of the needs of those to whom they minister. From theological reflection on specific human situations, they gain a new understanding of ministry. Within the interdisciplinary team process of helping persons, they develop skills in interpersonal and interprofessional relationships.

CPE is an experience in process education. The heart of CPE is ministry with people and learning through reflection, discussion, and evaluation with other students and supervisors.

In CPE, students utilize verbatims, case studies, and other ministry descriptions to present their ministry for supervision. The focus in some seminars will be on what is happening to the chaplain, as much as on what is happening to the people receiving ministry. There will be opportunities to learn from the behavioral sciences while also reflecting theologically, so that one can draw from both in understanding the human condition.

Students are challenged to think about groups and social structures as well as individuals in defining their ministry. Students are also part of a dynamic learning group with other students and supervisors, which provides opportunities for mutual supervision, care giving, challenge, and appreciation.