|Spiritual Care Services - Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is an inter-faith
for ministry. It brings
and ministers of all
faiths (pastors, priests,
rabbis, imams and
others) into supervised
encounter with people
Out of an intense
involvement with people in need, and the feedback
from peers and teachers, students develop a new
awareness of themselves and the needs of others. From
theological reflection on specific situations, they gain a new understanding of ministry. Within the interdisciplinary team process of helping people, they
develop skills in interpersonal and inter-professional
What do the essential
elements of CPE include?
- The actual practice of ministry to people
- Detailed reporting and evaluation of that practice
- Pastoral supervision
- A process conception of learning
- A theoretical perspective on all elements
of the program
- A small group of peers in a common learning
- A specific time period
- An individual contract for learning consistent with
the objectives of CPE
- The CPE program must be conducted under the
auspices of an Association for Clinical Pastoral
Education (ACPE) certified supervisor or faculty
attached to an ACPE accredited CPE center.
What might be included
in the individual learning
Pastoral Reflection – reflection on one’s self as a
person and a pastor in relationship to people in crisis,
the supervisor and peer group members, as well as the
curriculum and institutional setting.
Pastoral Formation – focus on personal and pastoral
identity issues in learning and ministry.
Pastoral Competence – deepening and unfolding of
competence in pastoral function, pastoral skills and
knowledge of theology and the behavioral sciences.
Pastoral Specialization – focus on the student’s desire
to become competent and knowledgeable in a
particular area of ministry (oncology, urban ministry,
parish ministry, hospice ministry, etc.)
What does CPE prepare
you to do?
CPE serves as a part
of preparation for
A student’s learning contract may be
focused toward integration of
pastoral insights into
for parish work.
The contract also may be designed with a career goal
of chaplaincy or pastoral counseling.
Some students, after
units of CPE, choose
to enroll in
Supervisory CPE to
certification as a CPE
In Supervisory CPE,
students learn the theory and practice of supervising
CPE students under the guidance and with the
consultation of a CPE supervisor.
CPE develops the capacity for the pastoral and
spiritual care of individuals, families and systems.
Many theological schools require one unit of CPE as a
part of a theological degree program.
Other schools accept a year of CPE as the required
intern year of ministry for a theological degree
A number of theological schools which are members
of the ACPE have graduate degree programs which
combine academic study and Supervisory CPE.
What are the different
types of CPE?
ACPE offers Level I and Level II CPE, as well as
The levels are taken in sequence, and outcomes for
each level must be completed before moving to the
CPE is usually offered in single units (10-12 weeks)
or in a year-long program (3-4 consecutive units).
Some centers have other part-time options. The center
of your choice can explain the options available at
their location. St. Cloud Hospital offers a fall unit
from September through December, a spring unit
from January through May and a summer unit from
June through August.
Where can I find
The St. Cloud Hospital CPE Program is administered
through the Spiritual Care department and accredited
by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. We
are located in B Lobby at the hospital’s river campus,
1406 Sixth Avenue North, St. Cloud, MN 56303.
For more information about our program or for an
application, call (320) 251-2700, ext. 54621.
You also may contact the CPE Supervisor at firstname.lastname@example.org or (320) 251-2700,
For more information about CPE, visit the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. or the National Association of
1406 Sixth Avenue North
St. Cloud, MN 56303
Phone: 320-251-2700, ext. 54621
Toll Free: 800-835-6652,