Our History

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The Inaugural meeting of the WA Chapter of the Association of Supervised Pastoral Education in Australia (ASPEA) chaired by Roy Bradley and later Ian Mackie, was held in Bruce Hunt Lecture Theatre Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) on the 26th April 1979. A brochure “What the WA Chapter will do for you” came out of this meeting. The co-founding CPE supervisors were Roy Bradley (RPH), Max Clayton (Wasley Institute), while Ian Mackie (Anglican Marriage and Family Counselling Service) gave the inaugural address.

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The WA Chapter agreed to pay 30% of membership fees to ASPEA and proposed that registration and certification processes be held in WA.  Any supervisory reviews in WA were to be initiated first with the WA secretary, while ASPEA executive would ratify the members of Review Committees and appoint the Review Chair.

In 1980 ASPEA accredited Judith Peterkin as Pastoral Supervisor, and she left to pursue further supervisory training in the USA.  In 1980 John Hewitson began supervisory training and was accredited as a pastoral supervisor.

Discussions at this time concentrated on the identity and future role of the WA Chapter as a professional group, not just a fraternity of CPE graduates, with a focus on developing a local pastoral theology in WA with therapeutic, symbolic and pastoral elements.

Judith Peterkin returned to RPH with supervisory certification from ACPE Inc. Following her appointment as RPH CPE Director in November 1982, others qualified as supervisors. Bernard Hale who completed supervisory training in the USA, commenced as a Level II supervisor and John Hewitson initiated a parish CPE programme.Membership grew to 31 and the WA Chapter resolved to maintain criteria for membership as completion of one unit of CPE.

In 1985, the CPE Associations of Australia and New Zealand began to hold annual meetings to form an ANZ CPE body with representatives from each Association.  The meetings addressed common standards, processes of review and the role of a national association.

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The AGM of 1986 celebrated 10 years of CPE in WA with Roy Bradley as guest speaker and there began a process of moving towards greater representation for the WA members. After discussing the benefits of remaining a chapter of ASPEA, WA members agreed to pay ASPEA 25% of the membership fees. However further discussion led to the realisation that the needs of the WA Chapter differed considerably from the membership in Victoria, whose focus was on supervisory members. ASPEA correspondence encouraged the WA Chapter to become an autonomous body with its own standards.

In August 1987, the Chapter celebrated the visit of Rev’d Dr John Patton who came from Atlanta, USA to conduct a two- day Pastoral Care workshop on “Is Human Forgiveness Possible? “

With the decision for the formation of an association of ANZ CPE associations, in 1989, the membership made the decision to form a WA CPE Association with its own identity and incorporation, representing the needs of the WA membership and instructed the committee of the WA Chapter of ASPEA to prepare documents of incorporation.
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April 1990, the WA Chapter ASPEA celebrated a 10th Birthday Party with Ian Mackie guest speaker: “Exploring the Living Human Document “.

The Australian and New Zealand Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ANZACPE) was formed in June 1990

ACPEWA formed 26th November 1990 when a resolution was passed that the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education in Western Australia now be formed and the draft of the Constitution as printed be adopted as the Constitution of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education in Western Australia (Inc.)

The following year elections recorded President: Judith Peterkin/Bernard Hale; Vice President: Ruth Nelson; membership of the Association was 40.

A Travel Fund opened as a capital fund, with the specific purpose that the ‘interest’ be used for the expenses of those attending ANZACPE conferences.

Verification came from the Office of State Corporate Affairs on 13th June 1991 informing us that the name of the Association ACPEWA is recognized and can proceed to incorporation.

ACPEWA was incorporated on November 19th 1991


In 26th March 1993, a trial unit of CPE commenced at St John of God (SJOG) Subiaco with Roy Bradley supervising and in September1993 ACPEWA received a request from SJOG Healthcare for accreditation as a CPE Centre.

ACPEWA appointed five persons as a site team, with a decision to welcome and encourage the SJOG initiative and to suggest further discussion.

In 1995, St John of God Hospital indicated they were proceeding with their intention to offer CPE programmes at Subiaco.   This came to fruition much later when Sr Elizabeth Murphy returned to Perth from Victoria as an accredited Level II supervisor and was appointed CPE Supervisor at St John of God Health Care, with the first programmes commencing in July 2002.

Many ACPEWA members contributed in significant ways and in taking on the role of President and/or Vice President; in particular Judith Peterkin, Bernard Hale, Ruth Nelson, Marie Louise Trethowan, Robin Tandy, Maxine Harrison, Wendy McKay, Dean Griffiths, Tina Morrison, Lynne Eastoe, Geraldine Taylor, David Preston and Michelle Benjamin.

Honorary Life Memberships (later Honorary Fellows) were given for outstanding contributions over many years: Bernard Hale 1995; Ruth Nelson 2003; Judith Peterkin 2007

Members enjoyed the opportunities of 7th Asia Pacific Congress on Pastoral Care and Counselling held in Perth and David Ito (keynote speaker from Japan) was guest speaker at an ACPEWA members meeting in July 2001.

history photo 5ACPEWA has hosted three ANZACPE Conferences:

  • “Between Desert and Sea” 21-24 June 1993
  • “At Ocean’s Edge” in June 2000 when Rev’d Dr Maxine Glaz, supervisor came from Denver USA was guest speaker, accompanied by her husband Stu Plummer, also a CPE supervisor, to celebrate 75 years since the beginning of CPE with an Anton Boisen Memorial lecture.
  • ACPEWA also hosted a two-day Pastoral Care Workshop for ACPEWA members led by Maxine Glaz and Stu Plummer on “Themes of conscience and moral leadership in pastoral relationships”.
  • “The Golden Pipeline” in August-September 2008
  • First Tie Up Your Camel” in August 2017

The energies of the Executive – later Management Committee – concentrated on the continuing education and professional development of the members, arranging four members’ meetings each year.

Attention was also given to:

  1. A Financial plan to support the CPE Centre libraries with the purchase of pastoral care and supervisory books
  2. The use of monies to assist CPE students undertaking a second or third CPE unit
  3. In December 2006 and again in February 2014, ACPEWA arranged for the two CPE Centres at SJOG and at RPH to be accredited and re-accredited by a review panel of ANZACPE supervisors, health professionals and theological educators.
  4. November 2009: ANZACPE introduced a Supervisor Training programme in Perth with David Larsen, supervisor from Toowoomba invited to conduct the training of initial supervisory participants: John Hewitson, Dianne Bertolino and Michelle Benjamin.
  5. In 2009 two committees were formed:
    1. Registration and Certification Committee to prepare ACPEWA supervisory standards
    2. Constitutional Committee formed to rewrite the constitution, which was incorporated in 2011.
  6. In 2010/11, the promotion of regional CPE with John Hewitson conducting CPE units in Bunbury, Albany and Geraldton
  7. A closer affiliation with Spiritual Care Australia, without losing our individual identity, resulted in shared Professional Development opportunities for members.
  8. November 2012 and again in November 2013, John Hewitson, Acting Level III educator invited Jenni Wegener (ASPEA) as consultant for a two day “education in supervision” workshop for supervisors in Perth.
  9. Advanced academic credit was offered by Notre Dame Australia for certification of CPE learning outcomes and for supervisory accreditation

Special Celebrations included:

  • March 18th 1997 Special Liturgy of Celebration marking 20 years of Clinical Pastoral Education in Western Australia “Crucible for Change” President of ASPEA Stephen Ames sent a congratulatory letter.
  • On December 1st 1997 Keith Little, President of ANZACPE, Sydney visited to attend the AGM in December where he spoke of the history and philosophy of ANZACPE.
  • 1998 Annual Service held at St John of God, Murdoch “Partners in Healing”
  • Allison Whitby visited from ASPEA and ANZACPE at Annual Service and AGM in 2006

Professional Focus


Since 1990, ACPEWA members, along with the other CPE associations, were asked to explore and respond to supervisory and professional issues raised at ANZACPE annual meetings, such as:

  1. Appeal processes for Supervisory Reviews
  2. How prior learning may be recognized
  3. Ways of promoting and recognising supervisory qualifications by academic institutions
  4. How cross-cultural and interfaith issues impact CPE programmes?
  5. “Is the CPE philosophy and methodology culturally specific?”
  6. An evaluation of the CPE educational model for Australian aboriginal students
  7. The development of a code of Ethics in 2002
  8. Common Standards for accreditation of ANZ CPE Centres
  9. Initiating professional indemnity insurance for supervisors, members and centres.
  10. Ensuring privacy legislation requirements are met
  11. Support for formation in 2004 of the ANZACPE Professional Standards Committee to address supervisory standards and responsibilities and processes of supervisory reviews.
  12. Use of consistent terminology for supervisory status across all member associations;
  13. Seeking a common ground across ANZ for the use of 400 hours’ certification of completion of a CPE unit


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Since 2011, ACPEWA has supported supervisory trainees and CPE students to achieve professional certification of learning outcomes and accreditation of supervisory qualifications. In particular:

  • Rev’d. John Hewitson accredited as a Level II CPE Supervisor and granted acting Level III supervisory status
  • Dianne Bertolino accredited as a Level I CPE Supervisor and granted acting Level II supervisory status
  • Patricia Kelly accredited as a Level I Supervisor
  • Michael Hertz accredited as a Level II CPE Supervisor and appointed CPE Director RPH Centre.
  • Michael Hertz granted acting Level III CPE supervisory status
  • Wendy McKay accredited as a Level II CPE Supervisor and appointed CPE Director SJOG Centre
  • Michelle Benjamin accredited as a Level II CPE supervisor
  • Michelle Benjamin appointed CPE Director SJOG Centre
  • Helen Vester granted acting Level II Supervisory status
  • Michelle Benjamin appointed CPE Centre Director, Perth Community CPE Centre

In 2016, the ACPEWA Website was constructed and launched.

In 2017 ACPEWA Inc. hosted the annual ANZACPE Supervisor’s Conference at Safety Bay Rockingham where it was very well received.

In 2018 a revision of the ACPEWA Constitution was commenced and was presented at the Annual General Meeting for Members on February 4 2019.

In 2019 the Perth Community CPE centre will offer the first CPE program in the community and will be funded by the CPE participant fees. This model is used by other CPE Associations in Australia and New Zealand[ ANZACPE]


What is CPE?

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 limited to hospitals, but we are expanding the scope of how and where we offer our programmes.

The model of education used in CPE is highly 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 for better or worse.

Hands-­on practice lies at the heart of our method; students learn by doing as they care for people experiencing change, loss, stress, or any feeling evoked by significant life events.  We call our primary text “The Living Human Document” because we recognise the depth and breadth of learning that can happen when working with people at deep and significant levels.

Practice is followed by structured processes of review and analysis, a process we call the “action reflection” model of learning.  Through writing and discussion with peers and a supervisor, students become aware of  their gifts and strengths for caring for people, as well as their limitations.  They also gain insight into the ways their ingrained attitudes, values and assumptions influence the care they offer.

With the support, confrontation and clarification of peers and supervisors, students can make significant and lasting improvements in their ability to listen, assess spiritual needs, formulate a plan of care and respond effectively.


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.  Because the method deals with deeply held belief systems and values which are often rooted in an explicit or implicit view of God or other Higher Power, our education model is inherently theological.  We acknowledge, however, that increasingly Western Australians find meaning and spirituality in a wide variety of practices and experiences; therefore our programmes are open to those with any sort of religious belief, those who understand themselves as spiritual but not religious, and those who are grounded in more humanistic perspectives.

Our Supervisors

Michelle Benjamin

Michelle is a Clinical Pastoral Educator, having been awarded her credential in 2015.

Academic: Bachelor of Applied Science (Nursing Primary Care), Graduate Diploma in Christian Studies, Graduate Diploma in Spiritual Direction.

Professional:  Michelle is the Centre Director of the Perth Community CPE Centre.  She also maintains an independent supervisory practice.  She is an active and committed member of ACPEWA, having served as Vice President, President and Secretary of the Management Committee and Chair of the Registration and Certification Committee.

“Supervision of another who is testing a call to furthering their development as a pastoral person and professional is a privilege.  As I accompany another in this journey, I work in such a way that the term “The Living Human Document” can become more real and appreciated.”

Michael Hertz

Michael is a Clinical Pastoral Educator, who is learning the Western Australian culture and context after supervising in American healthcare systems since the early 1990’s.

Academic: Bachelor of Science (Bacteriology), Master of Divinity

Professional:  Director of The Centre for Clinical Pastoral Education at Royal Perth Hospital

“I seek to ground all aspects of my practice in theory, including human and personality development, group dynamics and process, ethics, psycho/social/spiritual assessment, reflective practice and mindfulness.  I incorporate expressive arts along with healing rituals from a variety of cultures and spiritualities into the curriculum.  The human brain learns best through play, therefore I seek to create a stimulating and creative learning environment.  My deepest satisfaction is witnessing professional development in my students, which I measure in terms of deepened awareness of their strengths and limitations, heightened emotional and relational intelligence, increased compassion, and enhanced competence in providing effective care for those in spiritual distress.”

Pat Kelly

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Pat is a Clinical Pastoral Supervisor, ACPEWA’s first in regional Western Australia.

Academic:  Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Graduate Diploma in Counselling, Diploma in Frontline Management, Diploma in Theology.

Professional:  Pat is the Pastoral Services Manager at St. John of God Hospital in Bunbury.

“I have worked in healthcare for over forty years, during which time I have become a passionate supporter of the Clinical Pastoral Education model of learning.  As a supervisor, I use a transformational teaching and learning model, and I mentor students in such a way that allows for self-discovery and reflective practice.  It is satisfying to see the resulting skilled practitioners providing compassionate care at the bedside.”

Judith Peterkin

Judith is a Clinical Pastoral Educator, now retired after twenty-five years as the Director of Clinical Pastoral Education at Royal Perth Hospital.

Academic:  Diploma in Pastoral Studies, Bachelor of Theology, Masters in Social Science (Counselling)

Professional:  Judith is an accredited Level 2 clinical pastoral supervisor and a supervisory member of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ANZACPE).  She is also an honorary fellow of ACPEWA and President of the ANZACPE.  Judith is a licensed Anglican priest in the Diocese of Perth.

“Within my small supervisory practice, I function as an independent CPE supervisor with a reflective focus on pastoral and supervisory identity.”

Helen Vester

Helen is a Clinical Pastoral Educator, enjoying helping others to discover and form their pastoral identity.

Bachelor of Theology (distinction), Master of Arts (Theological Studies), Graduate Diploma of Education (distinction), Bachelor of Technology (1st class honours)

: Helen is a CPE Educator at the Royal Perth Hospital CPE Centre, running part-time CPE courses, a Senior Pastoral Practitioner at St John of God Murdoch Hospital and provides private professional supervision to people working in pastoral care and ministry roles, or in training. She is a supervisory member of ACPEWA and Secretary to ANZACPE – the Australia and New Zealand Association for Clinical Pastoral Education.

“I am passionate about helping people form their unique pastoral identity, informed by their understanding of faith, sources of meaning, purpose and connectedness in life and desire to journey with others through difficult circumstances. I utilise an adult education model grounded in theory, research, self-reflection and experience of the living human document.”

Contact Details: helenvester@yahoo.com.au

Location: Attadale