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Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is professional education for ministry. It brings theological students, ordained clergy, members of religious orders and qualified laypersons into supervised encounters with "living human documents." This encourages each student to develop: their pastoral identity, interpersonal competence and spirituality; the skills of pastoral assessment, interprofessional collaboration, group leadership, pastoral care and counseling; and pastoral theological reflection.

Clinical Pastoral Education integrates into pastoral practice knowledge of theology, psychology, sociology, anthropology, ethics and medicine. It is designed to empower students to discover who they are in relationship to God, self, and others. This process is experienced holistically. Charles T. Hall sees the Clinical Pastoral Education as "a dynamic process of learning from living human documents, oneself and others, especially persons in various crises of life. CPE embraces conceptual learning of theology and psychology and experiential learning from religious experience. It assumes that conceptual theology is the systematic organization of the experiences of the people of God and that such revelation continues in the experiences of persons today. CPE assumes that human beings are thinking and feeling creatures and that pastoral care and counseling must minister to the whole person."

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) started in the 1920's in a mental hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, largely through the work of Anton T. Boisen and Richard C. Cabot. In addition to mental hospitals, CPE is presently offered in a variety of other clinical settings that include full service hospitals, social service agencies, prisons, university campuses, medical schools, parishes, and military establishments.

CPE is also, now, international in scope. Although begun in North America (in the United States and soon thereafter in Canada) CPE took root during post-World War II years in Northern Europe, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, Australia, Africa and South America.


Clinical Pastoral Education organizations

The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education

The College of Pastoral supervision and Psychotherapy

The National Association of Catholic Chaplains

Canadian Association for Pastoral Practice and Education


CPE at the  Ecumenical Center for Religion and Health. San Antonio, Texas.
CPE at the Driscoll Children's Hospital. Corpus Christi, Texas
CPE Opportunities at Episcopal Health Services Inc. New York.
CPE opportunities at Kettering Medical Center. Kettering, OH
CPE Opportunities at Hartford Hospital. Hartford, CT.
CPE Opportunities at Stamford Health System. Stamford, CT
CPE Opportunities at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. New Brunswick, NJ..
CPE Opportunities at HealthCare Chaplaincy, New York. 
CPE Opportunities at New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York. 
CPE Opportunities at Washington Hospital Center. Washington, DC. 
CPE Opportunities at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Wilmington, NC.

For a more comprehensive list of Clinical Pastoral Education Centers click here.


Copyright © 1999 International Association of Christian Chaplains Inc. All rights reserved.