Clinical Pastoral Education

CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) is a form of chaplaincy internship in which students are taught through hands-on practice, clinical supervision, and academic study to more effectively observe, listen, communicate, and respond and attend to someone’s spiritual and emotional needs. CPE students gain the knowledge, skills, and practical experience to assist people in crisis with competence and confidence.HealthCare Chaplaincy is one of the most experienced providers of clinical pastoral education.

Not only is Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) required to become a professional Board Certified Chaplain, it is invaluable training for working with people of all ages who are coping with a life-changing situation, particularly healthwise.

What CPE Is

Through hands-on practice, clinical supervision and academic study, CPE students are chaplain interns who learn how to listen and attend to patients more effectively. For instance – how to engage patients and their loved ones, establish rapport and maintain eye contact, pay attention and respond to both verbal and non-verbal communications, and better understand what they are observing during encounters.

One “unit” of CPE consists of 300 hours of clinical time where chaplain interns visit with patients, plus 100 hours of classroom and individual education. It’s a mix of one-on-one supervision, group process work, instruction, and writing.

Some students decide to complete the four 400-hour units required to apply to become a Board Certified Chaplain.

Some decide to become educators themselves and work towards certification as supervisors by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education and qualify to oversee other students’ training units run in the fall, spring and summer.

CPE students also include seminarians who are required to take one unit of CPE as part of their degree program or who take more than one unit as their ministry internship.  Our students also include clergy and non-certified chaplains who serve in congregations and other community settings and who want to improve their skills; as well as volunteers in hospitals, hospices, and rehabilitation and skilled nursing care facilities who provide emotional, spiritual and religious support and comfort to patients and families under the supervision of a professional chaplain.

As the Affordable Care Act drives health care services into the community, it is imperative that faith communities be engaged by local health care providers. Former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, has stated, “Faith leaders are trusted partners in local communities. [They] have a unique ability to reach people, especially the most vulnerable, with the tools and information they need to get healthy, stay well, and thrive.” HealthCare Chaplaincy Network’s CPE programs recruit and train local faith leaders for leadership in the integration of spirituality and health care.

HealthCare Chaplaincy offers not just one training site but many to give you the opportunity to work with diverse populations.

CPE sites include:

  • Hospital
  • Prison
  • Aged People’s Home
  • Orphanage
  • Barracks
  • Force Offices and Headquaters
  • Homeless Home and other Charity homes

Here’s what students and alumni have to say about the value of their Clinical Pastoral Education experience at HealthCare Chaplaincy:

“HCC’s CPE program was one of the best educational experiences I’ve ever had. I went into the program thinking it was primarily about learning how to minister to people in a hospital setting. I did learn about ministry in hospitals, but more importantly, I came away personally transformed. CPE was about who I am.  A great combination of theory and hands-on training along with personal supervision and group work. It helped me identify and build on my strengths while also challenging and helping me grow in my weaknesses. I am better equipped for ministry because of CPE”.  – Christine Lee

“HCC’s CPE program offered me critical skills in learning how to relate to patients, to other clergy, and to myself. I have never experienced such a rich, reflective and intense process as the CPE program. Now as a rabbi, I use the lessons I learned in CPE every day as I connect to students and fellow worshipers.”  – Rabbi Eli Kaunfer

“After working in the field of religious education with a focus on sacred music for a number of years, I decided to explore my longstanding interest in the chaplaincy.  I was privileged to take three units with HealthCare Chaplaincy, and it is not overstating it to say that they were transformative for me – these courses are what ignited my passion for chaplaincy and provided a sound professional foundation which I continuously draw upon.  The quality of the instruction and supervision were outstanding.”  – Margo Heda