Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) began in 1925 as a form of theological education offered in settings where people experience pain, suffering, change, stress, and other sorts of significant challenges and life events. Around the world, CPE is offered in hospitals, aged care facilities, hospices, psychiatric institutions, prisons, military bases, police departments, workplace settings, community agencies, religious congregations and more. In WA, our Centres are found in hospitals and the community.
The model of education used in CPE is experiential, based in theory, and geared towards helping professional people become more aware of the ways their attitudes, values and assumptions impact the care they offer–helpfully or otherwise.
Hands-on practice lies at the heart of our method; students learn by doing as they offer pastoral care to vulnerable persons in hospital , schools, prisons, aged care and in the community. We call our primary text “The Living Human Document”, because we recognize the depth and breadth of learning that can happen when working with people at deep and significant levels.
Case studies, which are called Pastoral Encounter Reviews, are written and presented to a group of peers and a supervisor, who offer supportive and challenging feedback. Students apply the insights they have gained to their ongoing practice.
In addition, we offer seminars on a wide variety of topics related to caregiving and leadership, as well as unstructured groups in which students are encouraged to reflect on their personal and professional identity, their beliefs and values and how all of these impact the way they care for others.
Traditionally the domain of church, religious leaders and chaplains, the CPE method is proving to be an effective means of helping a variety of healthcare professionals, educators, and leaders to become more self aware and compassionate.