Clinical Pastoral Education Program
Accredited professional training in the art of providing spiritual care.
"Education is about healing and wholeness. It is about empowerment, liberation, transcendence, about renewing the vitality of life. It is finding and claiming ourselves and our place in the world... We must be willing to join life where people live it - and they live it, and we live it, at this convoluted intersection of the sacred and the secular."
- Parker Palmer
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is interfaith professional education for ministry. It brings you into supervised encounters with people in crisis. Through intense involvement with people in need of spiritual care, and the feedback you receive from peers and teachers, you develop new awareness of yourself as a person, your abilities as a caregiver, and the needs of those whom you serve.
Through reflection on specific human situations, you learn to utilize your faith tradition as a lens that informs your understanding and practice of spiritual care. Within the interdisciplinary team process of helping people, you develop skills in interpersonal and professional relationships.
In addition to the direction of certified ACPE supervisors, supervisors in supervisory education, and other professionals in Chaplaincy Services, our CPE program benefits from the expertise of health care professionals throughout our campuses. CPE students also regularly participate in educational workshops, didactic sessions with guest speakers, and retreats.
CPE students, either as interns (for a single unit) or residents (for four consecutive units), are people preparing to enter professional hospital chaplaincy, seminary students, interested laypersons, others in graduate programs, and spiritual caregivers seeking continuing education.
In our CPE program, we strive to facilitate diverse student groups whenever possible, including women and men of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds and faith traditions. We are committed to providing equal opportunity in our admissions process without discrimination based on age, gender, race, national origin, disability, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or veteran's status.
What Does CPE Teach?
Our CPE program is designed to help you gain experience and expertise in the following ways:
- Pastoral Reflection
Reflecting on yourself as a person and spiritual caregiver in relation to people in crisis, your supervisor, and your peers, as well as the CPE curriculum and the hospital wherein you are serving.
- Pastoral Formation
Focusing on your personal and pastoral identity issues in learning and ministry.
- Pastoral Competence
Deepening your function as a spiritual caregiver, including skill development and knowledge of faith traditions and the behavioral sciences.
- Pastoral Specialization
Becoming competent and knowledgeable in a particular area of clinical health care service.
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What Do CPE Students Do?
As a CPE student, you can expect to participate in the following ways:
- Direct ministry with patients/residents, families, and staff
Most of your time will involve working as a chaplain in a particular area of the medical center, providing spiritual care to the people who come onto your unit and interacting with interdisciplinary staff members in rounds and team meetings. In addition, you will participate in the overnight and weekend on-call rotation, serving as the chaplain for the whole medical center on a rotating basis.
- Clinical Supervision
You will receive both individual and group supervision in all areas of your training (100 hours of supervised education for every 300 hours of clinical work), including a final evaluation at the end of each unit of CPE.
- Peer Group Work
You will join a group, with other CPE students and a supervisor, where you meet to present cases based on your clinical work, reflect on your faith tradition, simulate incidents and practice spiritual care responses, and engage in interpersonal group relations.
- Didactic Workshops and Seminars
You will attend presentations on topics related to spiritual care and assessment, ethics, behavioral sciences, hospital chaplaincy, cultural sensitivity, interfaith awareness, and other issues.
- Reading and Writing Assignments
You will be expected to do supplemental reading and prepare papers related to your learning goals and the ACPE objectives, which you can find at the ACPE Website.
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When is CPE Offered?
Our center is accredited to offer four formats of CPE:
- Residency (Levels I and II)
Four units of training in a calendar year. Residents work full-time, five days a week, with on-call responsibilities, and they receive a stipend.
- Internship (Level I)
One unit of training, usually in the summer. Interns work full-time, five days a week, with on-call responsibilities.
- Extended units (Level I)
When offered, students attend CPE classes one day a week and serve clinical placements outside of the hospital. This program is designed for clergy, religious, and lay persons who have full-time ministry positions.
- Supervisory Training
Training to become a certified ACPE supervisor.
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Applying to CPE
To apply to the CPE program, please download an application from the ACPE Website .
In accordance with ACPE Standards, applicants for CPE must either have a high school diploma or GED certificate or ordination or its equivalent by a faith community or commission to function in ministry by an appropriate religious authority. Applicants for Levels I and II CPE at this center normally hold undergraduate degrees and have recent theological education and clear learning goals, as well as the ability or potential to reflect on the psychodynamics and spiritual implications of significant events in their lives. Applicants for Supervisory CPE must have completed at least four units of CPE (with at least two units at Level II) and demonstrate a readiness to utilize supervisory training.
Alta Bates Summit Medical Center is accredited to offer Levels I and II CPE and Supervisory CPE by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. (ACPE), an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. You may contact ACPE by calling (404) 320-1472, or visit their website at www.acpe.edu.
ABSMC is also affiliated with ACPE's Pacific Region. For more information about the Pacific Region, go to www.pacificregionacpe.org.
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