Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: What qualifications do I have to have to be considered for a unit of CPE?

A: Students need to have a minimum education level equivalent to high school graduation as the course does require a significant amount of written reflection. A demonstrated ability to reflect on one’s own story and the impact of significant life events is essential.

Q: Do I have to be ordained or work in pastoral/spiritual care to apply for CPE?

A: No, however a supervisor will want to know how you plan to use this training.

Q: How do I find out what CPE units are on offer in WA?

A: If upcoming courses are not posted on the Royal Perth Hospital or Perth Community CPE Centre links on this website,  please contact the relevant Centre Director.

Q: Can I apply to both CPE Centres?

A: Yes, both Centres will consider your application independently and confidentially.

Q: How do I apply to do a unit of CPE?

A: For the Perth Community CPE Centre CPE Program, please email the Centre Director at:

Q: Why do I have to write so much in my application for a unit of CPE?

A: The application process is intensive. The CPE supervisor needs to assess your ability to reflect on your experiences before deciding if an interview would be appropriate. A CPE unit also requires a significant amount of written reflection.

Q: Is CPE offered in regional areas of WA or online?

A: From time to time CPE is offered in regional areas, please contact one of the CPE Centres for details of what they are currently offering. CPE is offered in different formats eg full time, intensive (3 day blocks each month), one day or one evening each week. Regional students may find one of these formats suitable. So far no online unit has been offered in WA, although we hope to do so in the future.

Q: How much does it cost to do a unit of CPE?

A: Costs for 2020 range from $2,100 upwards. Please contact the Centre Director. A payment plan may be available.

Q: Do I have to find my own CPE placement?

A: Royal Perth Hospital will provide the clinical placement at Royal Perth Bentley Group campuses. Perth Community CPE Centre applicants can negotiate for their current place of work as a placement if suitable or placements can be negotiated with a number of pastoral service providers, including aged care and tertiary hospital settings in Perth.

Q: I’ve completed my CPE application, where do I send it?

A: CPE applications are submitted electronically. Email addresses are provided on our centres’ websites.  Please contact your preferred CPE Centre for more details.


We are always delighted to receive enquiries from potential members. ACPEWA is incorporated as a not-for- profit association under the Associations Incorporation Act (2015). You can find a copy of our constitution on this website. Our current membership structure and annual membership fees are as follows.

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Please direct membership enquiries to

A membership application form can be found here.

Please complete and email to

Guests are welcome to attend our members meetings for an additional fee.

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Application Process

The application process begins by submitting a written application to one of our Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Centres. Your application will include a cover sheet and several reflective essays including an account of your life experiences, the development of your spiritual/religious/philosophical perspectives, your professional or work history, a description of a time of crisis in your own life, a description of how you helped another person in crisis, and your understanding of CPE.
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Once your completed application has been received, it will be reviewed and you may be invited for an interview.  During the interview we will assess your ability to reflect on your life and practice, your level of professionalism, your learning style and how you might use your CPE experience in your professional practice. Shortly after the interview you will be notified whether or not you have been accepted into the course.
Upon acceptance, you will be provided with a list of documents and tasks which will need your prompt attention. These include health assessments/ immunisations and background checks (police clearance and working with children check) and any other matters as required by the CPE Centre or clinical placement.

Please find application forms and other materials on our centre’s websites. Please direct your completed application as well as any questions you may have directly to one or both of the email addresses below.

Royal Perth Hospital - CPE Centre

RPH Triangle RGB (SCREEN) M150828001

Website: Click to visit

Contact: Michael Hertz OR
Helen Vester
Wellbeing and CPE Educators


For more information, upcoming program dates and application materials, visit the Royal Perth Hospital website CPE page

Perth Community CPE Centre

The Perth Community CPE Centre is registered by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education in Western Australia Inc. with Michelle Benjamin, an accredited CPE Supervisor with ACPEWA Inc. as the Centre Director.

The Centre invites expressions of interest from persons and organisations who are interested in Clinical Pastoral Education for their professional development or for their pastoral carers either as a first or subsequent CPE Unit or as part of a formation program for ordination into a faith community.

Upcoming CPE Programs:

An Intensive CPE Program in Albany will commence in July and conclude in November 2020. It is fully subscribed.

A Part time CPE Program in Perth Metropolitan area will commence in early February 2021 and conclude at the end of May 2021.

Closing date for Applications October 30 2020

Contact: Centre Director Michelle Benjamin

Email: for an Application Package and more information.


While the courses offered vary between our centres and our supervisors, there are basic elements which are present in all of our programs.

During Orientation, students are presented a Student Handbook which contains relevant information about the clinical context, course requirements, administrative structures, assignment guidelines, policies and procedures, learning outcomes and much more.  Group norms are set, institutional tours are conducted, clinical wards are allocated, relationships begin to form, individual learning goals are set, and the learning process begins.

Verbatims or Pastoral Intervention Reviews are at the heart of the CPE learning model.  These are analytical and reflective documents which students present to their peers and supervisor.  Students reflect on the impact of their attitudes, values and assumptions on the care they provide, while learning theoretical principles related to the practice of pastoral and spiritual care.

Case Studies are a more in depth analysis of the care provided by the student over the course of multiple visits and interventions.

Reflection Papers are individualised assignments geared towards encouraging students to practise further reflection and analysis related to some particular learning issue, theoretical principle, or the impact of some personal attribute or behavior on their professional practice.


Pastoral Labs offer students the opportunity to see their practice through the eyes of their peers and supervisors and to see themselves on video.

Open Group, also called Covenant Group, is an unstructured seminar for group supervision with peers and the supervisor.  The group time is an opportunity to reflect on success and struggles encountered in clinical practice, to engage in collegial relationships, to work on individual learning goals or the ACPEWA learning outcomes and to experience and learn about group processes and dynamics.

Individual Supervision is a time for one-on-one reflection with the supervisor.  Often this includes reviewing a specific example of professional practice, but may also include exploration of any issue related to the integration of personal and professional identity, reflection on the learning process, or addressing struggles encountered in the course of providing care.

Teaching seminars, or didactics, are the most academic part of the program and include the presentation of theoretical models and concepts related to the practice of pastoral and spiritual care. Sometimes these seminars are led by hospital or community experts on the specific topic.
Pat Kelly

Media Reviews require students to conduct research on a topic through engagement in a journal or website article on a topic related to the practice of pastoral or spiritual care.

Because our supervisors continually seek to refine their practice and to meet particular needs of their students, a variety of other components may be offered during certain CPE units.  Please contact a CPE Centre for more information about what will be included in upcoming units.


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We offer a variety of options to meet the needs of as many students as possible. There are full time and part time units, day and evening programmes, public and private hospital experiences, a variety of clinical placements and a diverse group of supervisors.
Underlying those options are some basic requirements.  Each course is a minimum of 400 hours of supervised education and experience.  Classroom time and individual supervision account for 100 hours, with the remainder of the time being spent in activities related to providing care for people in the clinical or placement setting.
Each programme begins with an orientation period designed to prepare students for the experiences ahead.  The curriculum includes a variety of seminars and experiential activities designed to foster the self-awareness, theoretical knowledge and professional competency necessary for providing compassionate care, guidance and support for people in challenging situations.
The classroom work begins with an individualised goal setting process and an introduction to the ACPEWA learning outcomes around which the course is designed.  At the midpoint of each unit there is a structured evaluation process and an opportunity to refine and re-focus learning goals.  At the conclusion of each unit there is a final evaluation process, opportunities to celebrate each participant’s achievements and an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of the programme offered.

At graduation, each successful participant is awarded a certificate of completion by ACPEWA.  The completion of at least one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education is an employment prerequisite for many pastoral and spiritual care jobs in WA.