Members of the CPE faculty ascribe to educational theories that consider students to be lifelong learners. We consult with CPE students as they craft their goals for CPE. In the early stages, we assist the students as they discern the skills and abilities that they bring from previous life experiences, education, and training. Drawing upon what the students already know, we will work with the students to develop spiritual caregiving styles that are uniquely theirs. Using the resources of the program, students have the opportunity to define and refine what ministry or spiritual care means to them and what it will look like.
Will there be confrontation in the CPE program?
Over the years we have found that many people who want to provide spiritual care are quite gifted at offering support; it is a natural part of being compassionate. Most people are also good at helping others to clarify the issues that they are facing and the decisions they need to make in a crisis. CPE will help students to hone those skills. However, in addition to support and clarification, it is vital that spiritual caregivers be prepared to confront others—to speak the truth, even when it is uncomfortable, with a spirit of caring and a desire to help the other. Confrontation is not something that most people enjoy; yet it is an essential tool for spiritual care, and CPE teaches this skill as well. As CPE students provide care to patients, families and loved ones, staff members, and their peers, they experience many opportunities to practice all of these skills, and we provide structured seminars and real-time facilitation so that students can learn how they can extend support, clarification, and confrontation empathically and effectively. Hence students can expect that they will be confronted on occasion and that they will need to confront others; but at the same time we equip students to offer and receive critique, and we do whatever we can to assist them as they learn.
What does the chaplain offer to patients?
The primary way the chaplain relates to the patient is to provide spiritual support. When a chaplain first meets a patient, an important action of the chaplain is to make a spiritual assessment of the patient. All too often the assumption is that “spiritual” equals “religious.” In this CPE program, we teach a model of spiritual assessment that consists of a spiritual diagnosis and a spiritual response or intervention fitting that diagnosis. We also expose students to other paradigms of spiritual assessment that students can utilize to complement the model we teach.
Defining CPE Objectives and Level 1 and Level 2 CPE
At this center, Clinical Pastoral Education is designed to provide theological and professional education utilizing the clinical method of learning in diverse contexts of ministry. The Objectives of CPE define the scope of the CPE program curricula, while Outcomes define the competencies to be developed by students as a result of participating in the program. The Objectives of Level 1 and 2 CPE programs are defined in §§309 and 310 of the ACPE Standards as follows:
309.1 To develop one’s awareness of oneself as a minister and the ways one’s ministry affects persons
309.2 To become aware of how one’s attitudes, values, assumptions, strengths and weaknesses affect one’s pastoral care
309.3 To develop the ability to engage and apply the support, confrontation and clarification of the peer group for the integration of personal attributes and pastoral functioning
309.4 To develop one’s awareness and understanding of how persons, social conditions, systems, and structures affect the lives of self and others and how to address effectively these issues through one’s ministry
309.5 To develop one’s skills in providing intensive and extensive pastoral care and counseling to persons
309.6 To develop one’s ability to make effective use of one’s religious/spiritual heritage, theological understanding, and knowledge of the behavioral sciences and applied clinical ethics in one’s pastoral care of persons and groups
309.7 To teach about the pastoral role in professional relationships and how to work effectively as a pastoral member of a multidisciplinary team
309.8 To develop one’s capacity to utilize one’s pastoral and prophetic perspectives in preaching, teaching, leadership, management, pastoral care, and pastoral counseling
309.9 To develop one’s understanding and ability to apply the clinical method of learning
309.10 To develop one’s ability to use both individual and group supervision for personal and professional growth, including the capacity to evaluate one’s ministry
310. Objectives of a pastoral specialty, where offered, are to develop:
310.1 The opportunity to become familiar with and apply relevant theories and methodologies to one’s ministry specialty.
310.2 The opportunity to formulate and apply one’s philosophy and methodology for the ministry specialty.
310.3 The opportunity to demonstrate pastoral competence in the practice of the specialty.
Level 1 CPE outcomes focus on addressing basic competencies and skills for providing spiritual care. The ACPE Standards describe these as pastoral reflection, pastoral formation, pastoral competency and functioning, and pastoral specialization. We address these in CPE by developing individualized goals and learning contracts, teaching skills in spiritual care and the art of being a reflective practitioner, and by helping students develop their self-image and faith-based identities as religious leaders. Once the student has a firm grounding in these areas, he or she may move to Level 2 CPE. According to §311 of the ACPE Standards, a CPE student will have met the Level 1 outcomes when she or he is able to:
311.1 Articulate the central themes and core values of one’s religious/spiritual heritage and the theological understanding that informs one’s ministry.
311.2 Identify and discuss major life events, relationships, social location, cultural contexts, and social realities that influence personal identity as expressed in pastoral functioning.
311.3 Initiate peer group and supervisory consultation and receive critique about one’s ministry practice.
311.4 Risk offering appropriate and timely critique with peers and supervisors.
311.5 Recognize relational dynamics within group contexts.
311.6 Demonstrate integration of conceptual understandings presented in the curriculum into pastoral practice.
311.7 Initiate helping relationships within and across diverse populations.
311.8 Use the clinical method of learning to achieve his or her educational goals.
311.9 Formulate clear and specific goals for continuing pastoral formation with reference to personal strengths and weaknesses as identified through self-reflection, supervision, and feedback.
Level 2 CPE outcomes focus on developing advanced competency in the above areas, along with further development of one’s professional identity and proficiency in using ongoing consultation and more sophisticated skills in providing spiritual care—with the development of specialization in one area. The successful completion of Level 2 CPE is required for admission to Supervisory CPE. According to §312 of the ACPE Standards, a CPE student will have met the Level 2 outcomes when she or he is able to:
312.1 Articulate an understanding of the pastoral role that is congruent with his or her personal and cultural values, basic assumptions and personhood.
312.2 Provide pastoral ministry to diverse people, taking into consideration multiple elements of cultural and ethnic differences, social conditions, systems, and justice and applied clinical ethics issues without imposing one’s own perspectives.
312.3 Demonstrate a range of pastoral skills, including listening/attending, empathic reflection, conflict resolution/confrontation, crisis management, and appropriate use of religious/spiritual resources.
312.4 Assess the strengths and needs of those served, grounded in theology and using an understanding of the behavioral sciences.
312.5 Manage ministry and administrative function in terms of account-ability, productivity, self-direction, and clear, accurate professional communication.
312.6 Demonstrate competent use of self in ministry and administrative function which includes: emotional availability, cultural humility, appropriate self-disclosure, positive use of power and authority, a non-anxious and non-judgmental presence, and clear and responsible boundaries.
312.7 Establish collaboration and dialogue with peers, authorities and other professionals.
312.8 Demonstrate awareness of the Spiritual Care Collaborative Common Standards for Professional Chaplaincy.
312.9 Demonstrate self-supervision through realistic self-evaluation of pastoral functioning.