What Is Clinical Pastoral Education?
Clinical pastoral education (CPE) is a combination of professional education and hands-on experience, providing spiritual care to patients, families and staff members in multi-faith clinical setting. Those training as professional chaplains—as well as for visiting clergy, religious leaders, seminary students and pastoral counselors—serve as students in a variety of settings:
- Hospitals, clinics and hospices
- Psychiatric and community care facilities
- Geriatric and rehabilitation centers
- Secular workplaces
- Congregational and parish-based settings
What You'll Learn
Through supervised encounters, CPE students learn to work with people who are vulnerable, in crisis and often in pain. This intense involvement, along with reflection on the interactions and feedback from peers and supervisors, enables you to develop new insight into yourself personally and professionally (pastoral identity). You'll also learn how to identify and address the needs of those to whom you offer spiritual care (pastoral competence).
Using action and reflection (the clinical method of learning), you'll begin to articulate the meaning and purpose of your experiences as a spiritual caregiver and integrate these insights into your ongoing spiritual care practice.
What to Expect
Fully accredited by ACPE, Cedars-Sinai offers a comprehensive CPE program to qualified applicants without regard to race, culture, ethnicity, gender or gender identity, religious or spiritual beliefs, or sexual orientation. The program provides students with an opportunity to learn through a blend of:
- Providing spiritual care to people in crisis
- Reflection in seminars and workshops
- Case study presentations and reflections
- Group dynamic seminars
The CPE Program at Cedars-Sinai is accredited by ACPE and combines structured teaching sessions and mentoring with hands-on clinical practice and spiritual reflection. You will be assigned to a peer group—which aims to have diversity in gender, race, culture and spiritual/religious tradition—and will be supervised individually and as a group.
Approximately 70% of your time will be spent in clinical practice and 30% in educational activities, including instructional seminars with various faculty members, as well as clinical seminars based on student verbatims and case studies.
Have Questions or Need Help?
Call the Clinical Pastoral Education team Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Pacific Time (U.S.), or send a message. You can also visit our offices, which are on the Plaza Level, between the North and South towers, next to the chapel.