Clinical Pastoral Education

Pastoral Education Training

Clinical Pastoral Education Overview
A Professional Training Program for the Laity, Ordained and Students of Ministry.

In the 21st century, it is paramount that the chaplain be clinically trained. The Clinical Pastoral Education/Training ("CPE/T") experiential method of learning and the eventual board certification of chaplains are measures of commitment, on the part of institutions, to provide quality and professional spiritual care.

The South Nassau Communities Hospital CPE/T Program is designed to further develop the pastoral counseling and ministerial skills of each participant. The knowledge and skills accrued from the interactive learning environment enhances one’s clinical, pastoral and educational insights and practices when attending to the self, the patients and the caregivers.

Why Take this Program?

  • Virtually all pastoral care certifying bodies today require four (4) units of CPE/T. They may also require an equivalency and/or a minimum number of continuing education hours to meet their certification standards. CPSP requirements include participation in local chapter membership and attendance at National Clinical Training Seminars and/or Plenary each year.
  • Today, hospitals, medical centers, hospices, healthcare organizations, penal institutions, etc. require board certification for their pastoral caregivers.
  • The completion of CPE/T units addresses the needed requirements for board certification if and when a lay or ordained person or student of theology intends to pursue a professional chaplaincy career in any healthcare or other setting today.

Uniqueness of the South Nassau Communities Hospital CPE/T Program
The One Spirit CPE/T Program offers a unique and specialized setting for theart and practice of pastoral counseling and ministry in the 21st Century.

  • The cases, readings and didactic seminars include issues in acute care, palliative care, end-of-life care, culture, ethics, religion/spirituality, etc. arising from patients and caregivers.
  • The emphasis on the insight of Anton Boisen, that the patient is a living human document, is highly significant for clinical and pastoral ministry to persons who are chronically ill, in rehabilitation, or actively dying.
  • Addresses the challenge and responsibility to develop one’s knowledge, skills, pastoral identity, competence, and authority while attending to the bio-cultural, emotional, ethical, psychosocial and spiritual needs and requests of the patients, caregivers and, in certain situations, staff members.

Who Should Take CPE/T?
If you are called to serve in hospital chaplaincy or pastoral counseling, CPE/T training is required. For those who desire to work with a local congregation and any work requiring interaction with others (a prison setting, a nursing home, working with children, in a homeless shelter, assisted living facility, with Disaster Chaplaincy Services or the Red Cross) this training will enhance skills. If you are interested in continuing your growth as a minister.

Program Focus
Attention is given to the development and refinement of pastoral identity, authority and clinical skills through an action-reflection-action education model. Trainees will be immersed in exploring issues related to (depending on their site placement) the following: ethics, homelessness, aging, longterm care, dementia, specific medical conditions, end-of-life care, bereavement, bio-ethics, multicultural ministry, critical incident, as well as pastoral-theological, psychological, emotional, or mal/adaptive behavior themes.

Each participant must have a confirmed site placement with 10-12 assigned hours of client/patient contact each week, in addition to attendance at weekly seminar and weekly supervision sessions.

Please note, as a CPE/T trainee at South Nassau Communities Hospital, you will usually be processed as Spiritual Care Volunteer or CPE Chaplain Intern at our site. The completion of volunteer orientation, CPE Orientation and medical screenings are required for admission to CPE. There is also a requirement for weekly supervision sessions which can alternate in-person and via phone check-in which will be negotiated with your supervisor.

Program Structure
Each trainee presents a total of 10 case studies over the course of a Unit. Reading assignments and didactics seminars are incorporated in the curriculum as well as group relations. Trainees are required to meet with their Supervisor both in person and/or via phone every week. Trainees record reflections/journal entries once a week and submit them to their Supervisor.
Trainees are required to maintain an activity log as well as write a mid-Unit and final-Unit evaluation. A certificate of completion is awarded for the Unit earned. (1 Unit of CPE/T = 400 hours)

Expected Outcomes

  • Clinical knowledge and skills including verbal and nonverbal communication; developing the clinical eye; critical thinking, analysis and discernment; group relations dynamics; self awareness, self transformation and recovery of soul.
  • Pastoral Counseling Competencies including establishing and tending to pastoral relationships and alliances; developing within the pastoral visit connection, discernment of the theological, personal, spiritual, moral and historical values; attending to transference behaviors; journeying with the patient, family and caregivers; liaising with other clergy and maintaining continuity of care.
  • Clinical knowledge of pastoral diagnosis and assessment and collaboration with other professional members of the team; naming pastoral issues and concerns and providing clinical and pastoral interventions.
  • Exploration of ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence, justice and integrity.
  • Exploration of legal and ethical issues surrounding patients’ rights, medical treatments and decisions.
  • Exploration of pastoral, spiritual issues and needs with regard to grief, isolation, alienation, aging, bereavement, death, fear, guilt, spiritual distress, purpose of life, closure, pain and vocation.

South Nassau Communities Hospital CPE/T Program is provisionally accredited under the Standards of The College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy ("CPSP") (, a national and international covenanted community of lay and ordained persons, theologians, counselors, educators, psychotherapists and other allied health professionals, dedicated to the shared value of the "recovery of soul." CPSP is one of the cognate groups recognized by the Congress on Ministry in Specialized Settings ("COMISS"), an organization that endorses professional certifying bodies for professional chaplaincy in the United States.

Request a Visit or Prayer Online

Request a Visit or Prayer Online

If you would like our Chaplain to visit a patient within the hospital or would like to submit an online prayer...

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Clinical Pastoral Education

Clinical Pastoral Education

A Professional Training Program for the Laity, Ordained and Students of Ministry...

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