ACPEWA Inc. Advanced CPE Competencies July 2021

Information for those seeking certification of completion of Advanced CPE Competencies (Common Standards 2020) with guidelines for candidates and their Clinical Pastoral Educators (Revised July 2021)

CPE graduates who wish to continue their learning beyond Foundational CPE and who wish to receive certification of completion of either Foundational or Advanced CPE Competencies, can apply to ACPEWA Inc. R & C Committee for a process of consultative assessment and certification.


A candidate who seeks an Ad Hoc consultation and assessment for certification of Advanced CPE Competencies may first have received a certificate for the completion of Foundational CPE Competencies from ACPEWA Inc. before participating in an Advanced CPE programme.

Should the candidate not have a certification of completion of Foundational CPE competencies, the following may apply:

The Director of the CPE Centre and the Clinical Pastoral Educator conducting the unit, (or if both are the same person, then the opinion of a second Clinical Pastoral Educator shall be sought) will consider the Foundational CPE unit (s) completed by the candidate. In completing a minimum of 400 hours Foundational CPE, does this candidate demonstrate an awakened level of personal awareness, pastoral/spiritual formation and professional competency in the four dimensions of learning of the Foundational CPE Competencies? In addition, does the candidate already demonstrate a capacity to engage with the learning objectives of the Advanced CPE Competencies? Consideration should be given to the reality that in CPE, one unit of CPE builds on the learning gained in the previous unit.  Seeking entry to Advanced CPE without addressing the four dimensions of experiential learning of the Foundational competencies may disadvantage participants in Advanced CPE.

The focus with the Advanced CPE competencies is on integration of the candidate’s personal awareness with pastoral/spiritual formation processes and learning as demonstrated in professional competency. Achievement of Advanced Competencies requires professional practices that encompass engagement with pastoral theory and pastoral theology/spirituality, as well as exploration of the ethical challenges in pastoral practice and a capacity to critique the theories the candidate espouses. It is recommended that candidates in consultation with their educators consider more than 400 hours participation in Advanced CPE before seeking assessment.

Candidates seeking this level of certification are expected to demonstrate the development of a clear pastoral/spiritual care identity, be competent in pastoral/spiritual care practice, be able to constructively engage in peer relationships and interdisciplinary consultation; and engage effectively in the action-reflection model of learning. (thanks to ASACPEV 2020)

 The purpose of the consultation and assessment is to ensure readiness to progress with further CPE learning after Advanced CPE, or for certification of having achieved advanced pastoral competence or specialisation in a particular area of pastoral or spiritual care.

The essential elements of an Advanced CPE Unit include:

  • A specific time period of a minimum of 400 hours
  • 100 hours of clinical experience in a pastoral/spiritual care placement offering face to face care with an additional 100 hours in the practice context as described in the ANZACPE Common Standards.
  • 90 hours participating in peer group education and supervision with an accredited clinical pastoral educator and normally in a peer group of no less than 4 peers and no more than 6 peers in the unit. As CPE is a self-directed learning programme, the peer group may be composed of both Advanced and Foundational participants in the one unit.
  • 10 hours participation in individual (one-on-one) supervision with an accredited Clinical Pastoral Educator
  • 100 hours for reflection and preparation of written material
  • An individual learning contract with stated learning goals that focus on the Advanced CPE competencies

The Advanced Unit also requires the candidate to present 8 of the following papers within the peer group to allow for feedback from peers and educator

  • A paper or presentation that names and explores the participant’s own theological/spiritual understanding and how their understanding informs/impacts the pastoral/spiritual care they seek to offer
  • 9 Pastoral/spiritual encounter reviews
  • A mid-term evaluation of learning
  • A final evaluation of learning

While the 8 presentations of the material listed above are essential, the Advanced CPE candidate may seek to use the CPE peer group to present written work such as their case study and/or an essay to their peers as a means of preparing for the Advanced CPE Competencies Ad Hoc review.

Suggestions for inclusion in an Advanced CPE Curriculum (with thanks to NSWCCPE)

It is expected that candidates seeking Advanced Competencies will be developing a critical theoretical understanding of the ethical issues relating to pastoral/spiritual care.  The following may be useful paths of exploration:

  1. Ethical issues relating to the pastoral role.
  2. Analysis of the dynamics of the pastoral encounters described in the PERs: awareness of one’s own relational style- identification of strengths and limitations- ‘helicopter’ skills- competence in identifying and analysing transference issues.
  3. Identification of the pastoral/spiritual qualities evident in effective pastoral/spiritual relationships: flexibility; maturity; imagination; tolerance of ambiguity.
  4. Interpersonal awareness: analysis of the dynamics operating in peer group sessions. Leadership qualities.
  5. Intrapersonal awareness: capacity to assess the basis of intuitive responses and evaluate their effectiveness.
  6. Exploration of the existential questions and theological/spiritual and ethical issues raised by an area of specialization.
  7. Articulation of one’s professional pastoral/spiritual identity in a multi-disciplinary team context.
  8. Analysis of the institutional culture and its context and how this impacts a specialized area of pastoral care.
  9. Ethics of pastoral care: theological foundation, power in pastoral/spiritual relationships, sexuality, bioethics.
  10. Theology/spirituality of pastoral care: articulation of the theological/faith foundation of one’s pastoral/spiritual practice- theological/spiritual dilemmas in the area of specialization.

 Written Material required for an Ad Hoc Committee

NB: The candidate seeking Advanced certification should ensure their use of all clinical material – descriptions, conversations and situations – with those in receipt of care or with peers or colleagues – is de-identified, to preserve confidentiality.

  1. Cover Sheet with the following information set out clearly:
    Full name; contact details; current professional role and context; the current pastoral/spiritual/philosophical community to which you are accountable; details of each CPE unit completed, including the Educator’s name and dates.
  2. A brief statement of your request to the Ad Hoc Committee with your goal and/or hope in seeking this Ad Hoc assessment.
  3.  Educator’s report from the candidate’s most recent CPE unit. Educator’s reports from previous units are to be included if available.
  4. An updated autobiographical statement including an account of the candidate’s faith journey and development.
  5. The candidate’s Advanced CPE final evaluations. Should the candidate’s final evaluation for each Advanced CPE unit not address the naming and evaluation of the learning contract and learning goals, the naming and evaluation of the learning contract and learning goals for each Advanced Unit should be presented separately.
  6. An evaluative report of an occasion of working with other health professionals as a member of a multi-disciplinary team in the pastoral care of a person or family member.
  7. A comprehensive case study and evaluation of pastoral practices in a chosen area of specialty or context with one particular person or family to whom pastoral/spiritual care was offered over an extended period. The case study will include a description and critique of the pastoral assessment process, pastoral skills and pastoral resources used. Candidates should include extracts of pastoral conversation to demonstrate the candidate’s understanding and exploration of the psychological, sociological, ethical and spiritual/theological issues that arise in their pastoral practice.
  8. An essay or paper on a relevant pastoral theme or issue arising during the Advanced CPE unit(s) that will enable the candidate to integrate his/her spiritual/theological understanding with their practice of pastoral care. It is expected that this paper will be of a tertiary academic standard. [2000 words suggested].
  9. A brief statement indicating how the candidate has addressed any previous recommendations from an Ad Hoc Committee, as well as a description of on-going learning goals and hopes for future professional development or CPE.

Guidelines for assessment:

Assessment is by means of a consultative committee process. Presentations in other than written format may be considered given the candidate’s individual situation. If a candidate wishes to use an alternate medium, they should seek consultation with the Chair of the R&C before preparing their materials.

 An Assessing Ad Hoc committee of four or five members, preferably with two CPE educators/supervisors, the candidate’s educator plus one or two others. One member of the Committee may be a professional from a cognate discipline. Should the Advanced unit(s) be ZOOM units conducted by a different CPE Association, where the CPE placement of the Advanced participant is in Western Australia, the Advanced Ad Hoc Committee will be composed of representatives from both CPE Associations and these ACPEWA Inc Ad Hoc guidelines will be used or as negotiated.

The Assessment will consider both written work and interaction with the committee, while taking into account any language, cultural or other factors that may inform the candidate’s presentation.

Written work represents 66%

Face to face represents 34% where the area of assessment includes the following:

    • Can the candidate openly engage with the committee?  
    • Can the candidate explore questions raised by committee members?    
    • Can the candidate articulate claims to learning attained or not attained within her/his            professional pastoral/spiritual practice?  
    • Can the candidate own – take responsibility for on-going learning?

Candidates who intend to pursue Supervisory CPE should seek to demonstrate a heightened awareness and practice in each of the four areas of the Advanced CPE Competencies to the Credit/Distinction grade.