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Hmmm... Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)

Today I spoke with the Director of Field Education at VTS about Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE).  

Typically, seminarians in the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) or Licentiate in Theology (Lic.Th.) programs who are pursuing holy orders devote part of their summer between the junior and middler (1st and 2nd) years to a ten-to-twelve week program in CPE.  While not a degree requirement, CPE is required by most dioceses, including The Diocese of Virginia.  For many, this serves an important role in ministerial formation.  Certified supervisors in accredited hospitals, mental health facilities, correctional institutions, and nursing homes offer clinical education fostering pastoral formation and personal growth.  Seminarians learn from their ministry through reflection, discussion, and evaluation with other students and their supervisor.  For summer-time seminarians, CPE programs are full-time during the five weekdays, with occasional weekend duties.  One unit of CPE is roughly 400 hours for which three hours of academic credit are given for satisfactory completion.

A friend who serves as one of the diocesan spiritual discernment facilitators (and Chrissie's Spiritual Director) suggested I might consider using the time I have now to take some units of CPE before entering seminary (hopefully) in the Fall of 2008.  Since I am not a seminarian (yet), I'd be operating as a "free agent".  Jacques at VTS basically said doing CPE depends on my time.  There is full time CPE over a three month period and there are part-times opportunities with one full week day in group work over 8-9 months.  Either would fulfill the one unit requirement.  While I could do the CPE "immersion" full-time, I am more inclined to consider the part-time option.  He cited the Mid-Atlantic CPE website to see the different accredited sites in the area; I had long since found and already bookmarked this one.  Jacques also mentioned some questions to ask site supervisors:  1) Which day of the week would be the "one full weekday"? and 2) Is there flexibility in the patient visitation and care schedule?  In closing he suggested I might reconsider the FT option because most CPE centers offer sessions in Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer, but not all offer Extended (PT) sessions.  

Anyway, its all just "grist for the mill".  No decisions will be made until after Chrissie returns home from the J2A Pilgrimage to Germany and I have the initial meeting July 12th with my DSDF.   But I think I'll start looking into the application process, and make some calls to the various sites to get more information. I've also been reading the exploits of several individuals presently in CPE who are sharing their experiences via their blogs: shewillsinglittlesacredspace, revwags and abayye (actually a CPE supervisor).  Pretty cool!  WOO HOO!!  

Almighty Father, your Seeking Servant prays for guidance.  Amen.   


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 30th, 2007 11:29 am (UTC)
Great stuff
This is great stuff. I have been considering doing CPE before entering seminary as well. This is mainly to save money (I could work part-time over that Summer) and to get a better feel for what I'm getting myself into. You're doing all that legwork I haven't made the time to do!

I do have a DSDF as well. Since my rector is off on vacation through July, we'll be kicking things off this August. I can't wait!

Jun. 30th, 2007 09:40 pm (UTC)
Do it! Do it! Do it! (Ooops, that's right, you're listening for God's voice, not mine!)

And if you can do it in a psychiatric hospital, all the better. No kidding. I think St. Elizabeth's has a program. Get with God's beloved poor. You'll love them and they'll love you! Connie
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )