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Clinical Pastoral Education

Clinical Pastoral Education is theological and professional education for ministry where theological students, ordained clergy, members of religious orders and qualified lay people minister to people in crisis situations while being supervised.
Spiritual Care and Education Chapel in LGH

About our program

Centra’s CPE Programs' educational philosophy is a holistic, transformative, and integrative approach to pastoral education grounded in the clinical method of learning. Our program fosters competent and compassionate spiritual care providers who are skilled in providing care rooted in the needs of the patients, families, and staff that we serve.

Out of intense involvement with supervisors, peers, people in crisis and other professionals, CPE students are challenged to improve the quality of their pastoral relationships. Genuine caring pastoral relationships are enhanced through pastoral practice, written case studies and verbatims and individual supervision. Through viewing complicated life situations from different viewpoints, students are able to gain new insights and understandings about the human situation, while learning the tender and courageous work of caring for the human soul.​ Theological reflection is important in CPE as pastoral people seek ways to integrate theology with life experience.

What to do with CPE

Parish Ministry, Chaplaincy, Lay Ministry, Teaching, or Counseling

A student's learning contract may be focused toward integration of theological, psychological, and pastoral insights into pastoral functioning for parish work or with a career goal of chaplaincy or pastoral counseling.

CPE Educator

Upon completion of the program, some students choose to enroll in Educator CPE working toward certification as an ACPE certified educator. In Educator CPE the student learns the theory and practice of education and has an experience of educating CPE students under the guidance and with the consultation of an ACPE certified educator.

Theological Degree Program

Many education facilities accept a year of CPE as the required intern year of ministry for a theological degree program.
A number of theological schools which are members of the ACPE have graduate degree programs which combine academic study and Educator CPE. In addition many theological schools require one unit of CPE as a part of a theological degree program.

Program Qualifications

To receive units of ACPE certified CPE an individual who, through a written application and an admissions interview, has demonstrated the ability to participate in ACPE certified CPE, and has successfully completed at least one year of theological school. Other requirements or education and experience as a specific CPE accredited Center may be required.
To participate in ACPE accredited Educator CPE programs an individual must have successfully completed several units of CPE and demonstrated a readiness to utilize Educator CPE. A theological degree and several years of pastoral experience is encouraged.