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Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Curriculum

Program Objectives

Certified Educator Training (CPE) objectives define the scope of the program curricula.

Outcomes and objectives for Certified Educator training education define the competencies to be developed by Certified Educator students.

Course Curriculum

Level I and Level II curriculum

As a CPE Center, RUSH designs its curriculum to facilitate the achievement of the ACPE learning objectives related to the following: 

  • Pastoral Formation 
  • Pastoral Competence 
  • Pastoral Reflection] 

The Outcomes for Levels I and II form the guiding principles. That said, the CPE faculty commits itself to seeing these objectives and outcomes through the following lenses: 

  • The moment for learning is every moment. Learning to see and to reflect on self and other in the moment is key to good pastoring. In other words, curriculum is everywhere. 
  • Relationship is everywhere and the joys and tests of relationship occur as a student encounters a crowded refrigerator as well as at the death of a 16-year-old girl and her stillborn infant son. Faculty and staff experience the mutuality of learning with and from our students. 
  • Stories are revelatory. As adult learners each student comes with a history, a more or less developed sense of self-direction and an already developed interpretation of the self. Telling the story anew can lead to an aha moment. 
  • No matter what one’s goals or learning style, persons learn best when they are seen, mirrored, attended to. Hospitality and generosity are important attitudes to experience and cultivate. 
  • Curiosity is a gift for which to be grateful, and an educational stance to cultivate. It is different than voyeurism. 
  • The sacred, the holy, surrounds us. Every encounter holds potential for surprise, holds the possibility of enlarging our vision of the holy. Be prepared to stand in awe at birth, recovery, death. Be prepared to trip and fall and to rise up and soar. 
  • Seek balance. It keeps one rolling, upright. But don’t be afraid of weaving. 
  • Growth happens in spurts. Steady wins the race. Both are true. 

The Objectives of Levels I and II are divided into three areas of competency: Pastoral Formation, Pastoral Competence and Pastoral Reflection.  

Our developed a curriculum that focuses on the following: 

  • Developing self-awareness 
  • Using the behavioral sciences to increase an understanding of and ability to work with others 
  • Learning ways to apply theology/spiritual philosophy in practical settings 
  • Using the clinical method of learning and the resources available to evaluate their work 
  • Integrating the personal and professional self 

The foundation of CPE at RUSH is learning in relationship. Learning in relationship is both the spiritual care context and the educational curriculum.  

In a very real way, life during an internship or residency opens every encounter to reflection and becomes a potential source of learning. Our faculty firmly believe this and also believe we are called to direct that learning to help the students meet the objectives and outcomes of Levels I and II.  

What follows is the curriculum that we have created to enable students to achieve the outcomes. 

The objectives related to competencies are primarily met through the use of the traditional CPE methodologies of verbatim, theological/spiritual reflection, interpersonal or group process, didactics and individual supervision.  

A section of the verbatim form may call for an analysis of self in the spiritual care visit, team meeting or ritual leadership, etc.  

An aspect of story theology calls the students into reflection on the perceived needs of the narrator of the story and how best to minister to such a person.  

Students are encouraged to attend to underlying assumptions, attitudes and values in every kind of situation that they encounter. Within the goal writing process students are called to attend to their particular strengths and limitations in spiritual care.  

Mid-unit and final evaluations call for direct statements to each peer particularly regarding perceived strengths and limitations. 

Completing the Level 1 outcomes typically requires 1-2 units of CPE. Completing the outcomes for Level 2 CPE typically requires 2-3 units of CPE.  

Most RUSH CPE residents complete Level 2 outcomes in their year of residency.