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.