Clinical Pastoral Education Learning Methodology

Educational Rationale

The goals of the CPE program are to assist student learning in the area of personal awareness and self-discovery so that pastoral care is enhanced by knowledge of one's strengths and weaknesses as he/she participates in ministry. The seminars are intended to address the following areas:

  1. To review pastoral care work
  2. To focus upon theological reflections, growth and challenge
  3. To focus on interpersonal relationships and issues
  4. To focus upon building care giving and pastoral skills.
  5. To foster pastoral and professional identity growth.

During a seminar, reports of visits are presented, worship services are reviewed for feedback and discussion, and theological reflection is shared. Meetings of the peer group are a valuable resource to students. These groups are defined by the covenant that develops over time between peers. The agenda for peer groups is the development of professional accountability, pastoral identity, and pastoral authority.

At the beginning of each CPE unit, the students are asked to identify goals and to develop a statement of personal, professional, and theological goals to be addressed during the unit.

These goals become the basis of the learning contract/covenant that is established between the student, the supervisor and the peer group. In our philosophy of education it is understand that adults are responsible for their learning based on the learning covenant. Students design a group covenant to express their commitment to the group and what each could expect from the other members.

In designing a curriculum of Clinical Pastoral Education, the goal is to provide an environment that is safe and challenging, structured and flexible in order to foster creativity and learning in an action / reflection / integration / action learning process. Students learn best when they are able to make choices and when they can contain their anxiety within manageable levels. The basic curriculum rests on the premise that the unique quality of pastoral care is its theological foundation and seeks to utilize theological resources in responding to pastoral care needs. The CPE program focuses on the development of pastoral authority and identity. Repetition is a key educational element to attain ownership of those areas of growth that the student desires to achieve.