The purpose of this document is to provide potential CPE students with an overview of: The objectives, essential elements, and conduct of clinical pastoral education. The culture of clinical pastoral education and ministry in a pluralistic setting THE ROLE OF CPE Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is an interfaith professional education program for ministry that brings theological students and ministers of all faiths into supervised encounters with persons in crisis. From these intense involvements with persons in need, and the feedback from peers and supervisors, students: Develop new awareness of themselves as persons and of the needs of those to whom they minister. Gain a new understanding of ministry from theological reflection on specific human situations. Develop skills in interpersonal and inter-professional relationships through the interdisciplinary team process of helping persons CPE is offered in a variety of settings to include urban and regional medical centers, mental health facilities, correctional institutions, and nursing homes. Regardless of the setting, students will have the opportunity to minister to individuals, families, and small groups of people as a chaplain and a member of the interdisciplinary staff.

THE OBJECTIVES OF CPE To develop the ministry skills to provide intensive and extensive pastoral care and counseling to persons in their crises and situations. To understand and utilize the clinical method of learning. To utilize individual and group supervision for personal and professional growth and for developing the capacity to evaluate the student's ministry. To become aware of the student's role as a minister and the ways ministry affects both the persons giving and receiving ministry. To become aware of how the student's attitudes, values, and assumptions, strengths and weaknesses affect pastoral care ministry. To develop the ability to make effective use of the student's religious and spiritual heritages, theological understanding, and knowledge of the behavioral sciences in


pastoral ministry to persons and groups. To become aware of the pastoral role in interdisciplinary relationships and work effectively as a pastoral member of an interdisciplinary team. To become aware of how social conditions and structures affect the lives of the student and others and to effectively address these issues in ministry. To develop the capacity to utilize pastoral and prophetic perspectives in a variety of functions such as: preaching, teaching, leadership, management, pastoral care, and, as appropriate, pastoral counseling. To utilize the support, confrontation and clarification of the peer group for the integration of personal attributes and pastoral functioning.

THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS IN CPE The actual practice of ministry to persons 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 experience A specific time period An individual contract for learning consistent with the objectives of CPE THE CPE LEARNING CONTRACT CPE is one of many steps in preparation for a number of ministry settings to include ministry in the local church, the chaplaincy, and pastoral counseling. Accordingly, the student's learning contract may be focused toward integration of theological, psychological, and pastoral insights into pastoral functioning in one of the above ministry settings. At the beginning of the program, each student will be expected to develop a learning contract that addresses the following learning goals: Pastoral Reflection - reflection on the student's role as a person and pastor in relationship to persons 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. 2

THE CPE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM Generally speaking, the program of instruction offered by a CPE center is referred to as a "CPE unit" and may be a full time or part time extended unit. Both of these programs will include at least 400 hours of supervised ministry learning that is further divided into a minimum of 300 hours of direct ministry to persons in crisis and 100 hours of structured education in a variety of formats. A typical day in a full time CPE program includes an educational group session and ministry in the clinical setting. One of the major educational experiences is the verbatim seminar in which students present a pastoral encounter to other students and the supervisor for discussion and feedback. Other training events include didactic seminars that address specific topics related to personality theory and pastoral care and "open agenda" group sessions where students process issues that have arisen during the training. Students participating in extended CPE units often meet one day per week for their educational sessions, and perform ministry at other times that are convenient for the students. At the mid-point and end of the training units there are evaluation sessions in which the students and their supervisor sum up their experience and assess the degree in which they met their learning objectives. In some instances, these sessions may include other care providers who come in contact with the students in their respective clinical settings. Participation in a CPE training program requires an active investment, but also provides time for sharing, reflection, preparation, and relaxation. If you have never participated in a dynamic, interpersonal, process educational experience such as CPE, you may become anxious or apprehensive about what it is like. A foundational task will be for you, the other students, and your supervisor to share with each other in such a way that all are cared for, supported, and challenged without being belittled. Furthermore, since an individual best knows his or her own limits, everyone will need to respect the other's boundaries and work to negotiate appropriate learning relationships. Developing a learning environment that is supportive, stimulating, and safe will make the risks of interpersonal learning and growth worth taking. CPE is an experience in process education which has been shaped by history and yet remains responsive to the present-day cultural developments which will affect your pastoral formation. The heart of CPE is your ministry with people and learning from that ministry through reflection, discussion, and evaluation with other students and your supervisor. In your CPE experience, you will utilize verbatims (in the form of Pastoral Care Reports), case studies, and other ministry descriptions to present your ministry for supervision. The focus in some seminars will be on what is happening to you, the care giver, as much as on what is happening to the people receiving your ministry. There will be discussions which assist you in understanding theological issues arising from experience. There will be opportunities to learn from behavioral sciences while also reflecting theologically, so you can draw from both in understanding the human


condition. You will be challenged to think about groups and social structures as well as individuals in defining your ministry. You also will be part of a dynamic learning group with other students and your supervisor, which will provide opportunities for mutual supervision, care giving, challenge and appreciation. Students need to remember that CPE is not designed as a practicum in evangelism, but a process in which you begin to explore the psychological and theological implications of ministry and specifically your motivation for ministry. Inherent in this exploration will be experience challenges, questions, and critiques by your supervisor and members of your peer group. However, these experiences should not be viewed as personal attacks causing you to become defensive or to retaliate. Instead, recognize that your experiences are part of the learning process. In addition to the resources suggested by your supervisor, consult the reference books on pastoral care found in the bibliography that may assist you in articulating your views. There are a number of terms used in CPE with which the student should be familiar to include: Integration: The manner and the degree to which students knowingly embrace and incorporate helpfully their personal history, understanding of behavior sciences, religious world view, and faith tradition into their practice of ministry, AND/OR whose personality reflects theological and psychological maturity. Projection: The practice of unconsciously superimposing one's values and attitudes upon the person to whom the student is ministering thereby basing one's concept of ministry on a false assumption. Boundaries: The ability of students to recognize their own limits of personal and professional involvement in the affairs of another person and/or their practice of ministry. Boundary issues occur when a person's interaction with another person oversteps the relational boundaries of the context. Stereotypes: The practice of attributing characteristics to a person or group that forms a basis for relationship and/or ministry. Pastoral Identity, Authority, and Functioning: Pastoral identity is "the relatively enduring pattern of attachments, behaviors, and values characteristic of persons providing religious ministries.1 Pastoral authority can be defined as "Spiritual power, mediated through the church to influence opinion, induce belief and lead individuals and groups to moral and evangelical action." 2 Pastoral functioning can be defined as all those practical ways by which a pastoral care giver engages the persons under their care, meeting their needs in helpful fashion. As a person's pastoral identity becomes more clarified and solidified, it gives rise to a healthy sense of personal authority, i.e. the ability to foster meaningful change/growth which issues forth in effective acts of ministry.


NEGOTIATING THE CPE CULTURE Students who are entering the CPE setting for the first time may experience a degree of culture shock as they encounter religious beliefs and practices that are foreign to them. The reality of this culture shock is due in part to the religious diversity of the participating students and the CPE supervisors. Accordingly, students need to be aware that their theological views may be in the minority and may give rise to suspicions of narrow-mindedness, intolerance from other members of the group. If this occurs, it may be helpful to recall the example of Daniel in Babylon and to adapt when necessary while maintaining personal religious integrity. A passage of Scripture that speaks to these situations is I Peter 3:15: "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander."

There are a number of issues that CPE students may encounter during training that may cause them to feel challenged and/or threatened: religious pluralism, the educational dynamics of group process, issues of sexual orientation, and pre-conceived assumptions of CPE supervisors and students. Religious Pluralism: CPE centers, for the most part, are located in secular institutions, hospitals, correctional institutions, and mental health facilities. Therefore, the training programs are characterized by cultural, racial, and religious diversity to include a wide range of religious beliefs and practices. The primary learning tool in CPE is the verbatim that describes the student's act of ministry and is shared with the supervisor and peer group. It is essential that a student learns to share and interact in a manner that respects the religious diversity of the peer group. It is understood that sociological and theological debates will occur; however, the exchanges of comments should not be critical and/or offensive regarding other cultures and/or faith tradition, but respectfully acknowledge differing positions. Conversely, students should be prepared to defend their theological beliefs in accordance with the tenets of their respective faith traditions and practice of ministry. If abusive words are exchanged, the offended student should acknowledge the hurt and deal with the matter as a learning issue with the supervisor. If the abuse continues, the matter should be addressed in accordance with complaint procedures outlined in the ACPE Professional Ethics Commission Manual. The following are examples of religious issues that can arise in the CPE setting. Example #1: During the presentation of a verbatim the presenter described his ministry to a patient who was in the final stages of life and eventually died. During the evaluation, the presenter commented that he did not know why certain groups always had to focus on salvation because she did not believe in all that salvation junk. If offended by these remarks, you should not attack the presenter, but say something to the effect, "I am saddened and hurt by your comments, and I find them offensive because they do not show respect for my faith tradition." Such a response gives the student an opportunity to express his/her feeling and also to address the content of the presenter's remarks


without being critical of the person. Example #2: Another situation that can occur in the CPE setting is the criticism of beliefs and practices that hold a literal interpretation of the Bible or cite the Bible as an authority for religious and/or moral issues. In these instances the affected students should recognize that attempts at persuading other students to accept their worldview often do not meet with success. Therefore, a more productive approach is to acknowledge and claim ownership of your religious roots and traditions without being critical of the other members of the group. Group Process: The second major challenge for CPE students is negotiating the process education experience that centers on the sharing and interactions that occurs in the group sessions. Inherent in the group process is the utilization of the support, confrontation and clarification of the peer group for the integration of personal attributes and pastoral functioning. The above process can be emotionally painful as students deal with personal issues that surface during the sessions. However, they need to realize that their experience of emotional pain can assist them in empathizing with patients who are also experiencing emotional pain as a result of their hospitalization. The connection is seen in the comments of Rev. Scott Smith who makes the point that "it is incumbent upon the chaplain to empathize with the patient....and to do so the chaplain must be aware of the patient's primary feelings and spiritual issues as opposed to his/her own." 3

Another aspect of the group process is the potential awareness of personal issues when CPE students analyze their interactions with patients. Once again, this awareness can be painful, but it also can be therapeutic. Therefore, the challenge for CPE students is to acknowledge their "wounded ness"4 and not to become defensive and/or aggressive and discount the value of their experiences. There is no denying that CPE students who have confronted their own issues are better equipped to minister to others who are hurting. Sexual Orientation: Another issue that can be troubling for student taking CPE is the likelihood of interacting with gay and lesbian students and supervisors. The reality of the world in which we live is that the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education is required to offer training to all people without regard for race, ethnicity, national origin, physical impairments, and sexual orientation. Accordingly, it is not uncommon for CPE peer groups to be composed of students with differing sexual orientations. Therefore, it is important for all students to recognize the uniqueness of the training setting and the requirement to interact in a positive and non-judgmental way with their peers and supervisors. In some cases, gay supervisors and students will be suspicious of students from selected faith traditions because of stereotypical assumptions and accuse them of being homophobic. If this situation arises, the affected students should respond in a manner that is understanding, respectful, but also reflects personal integrity. Preconceived Assumptions: By virtue of the diversity that exists in today's society, it is


not uncommon for individuals from different sides of the theological spectrum to have preconceived views about the other side. Within the CPE community, this issue usually manifests itself when participants make assumptions about adherents from denominations other than their own. One of the most common assumptions is that selected faith groups see their acts of ministry as opportunities to proselytize and use the CPE context to promote their agenda. It is probably not realistic to expect that participants with deep rooted prejudices will alter their belief systems overnight. However, it is not unrealistic to expect that students can recognize the uniqueness of the setting and do ministry in a way that affirms their religious integrity, but respects the cultural practices and religious beliefs of the people to whom they minister. CONCLUSIONS REGARDING CPE The successful completion of a balanced and comprehensive Clinical Pastoral Education program can be a major step in the professional development of a minister and especially those who sense a call to chaplaincy. The value of becoming aware of what it means to be a minister and the ways ministry affects the recipients of that ministry can not be overstated. Therefore, it is incumbent on prospective students to recognize the challenges that are characteristic of CPE and to prepare themselves mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as they are empowered by the Holy Spirit. End Notes

1 2

.Dictionary of Pastoral Care and Counseling, Abingdon, 1990, p. 567. Ibid: p. 61.) 3 Scott Smith Ph.D., J.D. "Looking at Hospital Chaplaincy through the Lens of Clinical Pastoral Education" Nueces County Medical Society 4 Nouwen, Henri J.M., New York: Image Books Doubleday, 1979 "Woundedness" The author's understanding of the ways in which ministers can make their own wounds available as a source of healing to others.

Bibliography Gerkin, Charles. The Living Human Document, Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1984. Gilbert, Marvin. Brock, Raymond T. Editors, The Holy Spirit & Counseling, Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers 1985. Nouwen, Henri J.M., The Wounded Healer. New York: Image Books Doubleday, 1979. Oates, Wayne E. The Presence of God in Pastoral Counseling. Waco, Texas: Word Books 1986 Oates, Wayne E. The Psychology of Religion, Waco, Texas: Word Books 1973 Oates, Wayne E. Your Particular Grief, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Westminister Press 1981


Oglesby, William B. JR. Biblical Themes For Pastoral Care, Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press 1980 Yancey, Philip. Where Is God When It Hurts? Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan 1990




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