Clinical Pastoral Education is an experiential educational process set within the context of direct pastoral ministry.
Developed within the Christian faith tradition, Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) uses action/reflection methodology and principles which are applicable to other faiths and spiritual expression.
Jess, Lauren and Masoud share their experience of the Clinical Pastoral Education course at the RMH.
CPE requires a commitment to the holistic care of persons and to exploration of the interface of life events and a person’s search for meaning. It provides opportunities for supervised pastoral encounters with people in a variety of circumstances. The various circumstances confront people with questions of meaning and purpose and in meeting them in these profound places, CPE student learns the possibilities for offering effective spiritual care.
CPE seeks to develop:
- Self-awareness and compassion of caregiving professionals so that they can more effectively foster resilience and wellbeing in those they serve
- Pastoral, professional and personal identity
- Pastoral awareness and competence in assessment of spiritual need/resources
- capacity to evaluate ministry practice within small groups and individual supervision
Learning outcomes are transferable to many caregiving contexts.
Personal reflection and evaluation of hands-on experiences enables participants to develop new awareness of their own humanity, the needs of those to whom they serve and the capacity to facilitate and support an individual’s search for and discovery of meaning.
Clinical Pastoral Education is carried out in the context of hands-on spiritual care to persons - patients, consumers or clients, families, members of staff and parishioners in a variety of settings.
The RMH is a major teaching hospital offering CPE placements within a diverse range of critical and general care, surgical and medical units, under mentorship of experienced clinicians who are established spiritual care practitioners and/or established members of faith communities.
External community or agency placements are possible but must be arranged by the applicant.
Drawing on their own spiritual, cultural and familial journeys, participants are challenged to reflect on and gain awareness of the:
- Influences and personal resources they bring to the spiritual encounter
- Impact of these influences within themselves and within the other
The program structure enables a multidisciplinary team experience whereby participants develop inter-personal and inter-professional relationship skills, inter-disciplinary awareness, competence and accountability.
Individual faith and spiritual or religious practices, together with the participant’s behavioural and emotional responses to serving and peer group interactions, are revealed and explored towards a greater place of integration.
CPE emphasises experiential learning in an adult educational process. The emphasis is on exploring and learning from the responses of the 'living human document' – oneself, peers, supervisors, mentors, and those encountered:
- Small group and individual supervisory sessions
- Seminar presentations focused on person/pastoral minister/client and participant/participant relationships
- Personal reflection and evaluation of the processes experienced through daily journals, spiritual intervention reviews and case-studies using multi-modal forms
- Theological reflection seminars
- Leadership of rituals
- Didactic presentations and reading tasks
Part-time and full-time study is available
Semester 1, 2023
February – June, 2023
Applications closed December, 2022
Semester 2, 2023
July – November, 2023
Applications close early May, 2023
The cost of the part-time and full-time units are both $1800
If part of a theological qualification through the University of Divinity, normal course fees apply, subject to fee help.
A unit of CPE consists of 400 hours with a minimum of:
- 10 hours individual supervision
- 60 hours peer group supervision
- 200 hours clinical placement
- 60 hours personal written reflection
Part time extended units require:
- One day group seminars per week
- Approximately 8 hours per week ministry (days and times negotiable)
- Orientation, mid-term and final evaluation weeks require two days
Successful completion of a unit of CPE is recognized as one subject in a Bachelor of Theology or Diploma of Pastoral Care, through the University of Divinity.
David Glenister, MA (Theol), BA (Fine Arts), Clinical Pastoral Supervisor, Director of Royal Melbourne Centre for CPE.
Credit for University of Divinity (UD) Awards
From January 2015, credit for CPE in any UD award will only be granted if the candidate has enrolled in the relevant Unit (DP8273S CPE Level 1, or DP9273S or CPE Level 2).
Enrolment in these units is dependent on completing the UD prerequisites and a letter of offer from a CPE Centre.
Clarification of these requirements can be made through the course coordinator of the college in which you are enrolled or through contacting the University of Divinity's Clinical Pastoral Education enrolments officer.
Links & documents
300 Grattan St, Parkville, Victoria
Level 2 South
300 Grattan St, Parkville, Victoria