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Objectives of Clinical Pastoral Education

CPE Objectives

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) programs provide an opportunity for ministers, seminarians and lay people to develop pastoral competency within a particular pastoral setting (usually a hospital, parish, hospice or retirement home). The CPE approach to training is based upon an "action-reflection" model of learning. Pastoral trainees function as ecumenical chaplains who provide pastoral care in assigned areas and use their experience in pastoral encounters as a basis for their learning.

CPE focuses on the development of personal and pastoral identity and the growth of professional competence as a minister. Specific objectives of CPE are:

  • To become aware of one's self as a minister and of the ways one's ministry affects people.
  • To become a competent pastor of people and groups in various life situations and crisis circumstances and to develop the maturity to provide intensive and extensive pastoral care and counseling.
  • To utilize the clinical method of learning.
  • To utilize the support, confrontation, and clarification of the peer group for the integration of personal attributes and pastoral functioning.
  • To become competent in self-evaluation and in utilizing supervision and consultation to evaluate one's pastoral practice.
  • To develop the ability to make optimum use of one's religious heritage, theological understanding, and knowledge of behavioral sciences in pastoral ministry to people and groups.
  • To acquire self-knowledge to a degree that permits pastoral care to be offered within the strengths and limitations of one's own person.
  • To develop the ability to work as a pastoral member of an interdisciplinary team.
  • To develop the capacity to utilize one's pastoral perspective and competence in a variety of functions such as preaching, teaching and administration, as well as pastoral care and counseling.
  • To become aware of how one's attitudes, values and assumptions affect one's ministry.
  • To understand the theological issues arising from experience and to utilize theology and the behavioral sciences to understand the human condition.


Pastoral Care Services
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
4301 W. Markham St. #561, Little Rock, AR 72205
(501) 686-6217