Arizona Clinical Pastoral Education Program  

What is CPE?


Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) was conceived by Dr. Richard C. Cabot as a method of learning pastoral practice in a clinical setting under supervision.  The Rev. Anton Boisen enlarged the concept to include a case study method of theological inquiry – a study of  the “living human document”.  As CPE developed, other CPE leaders expanded CPE to integrate into pastoral practice a knowledge of medicine, psychology, and behavioral sciences.  Today many supervisors emphasize the importance of pastoral relationship being formed through an integration of personal history, behavioral theory and method, and spiritual development.

CPE is a theological and professional education for ministry.  In CPE, theological students, ordained clergy, members of religious orders and qualified laypeople minister to people in crisis situations while being supervised.  Out of intense involvement with supervisors, other students, people in crisis, and other professionals, CPE students are challenged to improve the quality of their pastoral relationships.  Through pastoral practice, written case studies and verbatims, individual supervision, seminar participation, and relevant reading, students are encouraged to develop genuine caring pastoral relationships.  Through viewing complicated life situations from different viewpoints, students are able to gain new insights and understandings about the human situation.  Theological reflection is important in CPE as pastoral people seek ways to integrate theology with life experience.

Essential elements in CPE include an accredited ACPE center ready to receive students, certified ACPE supervisors to provide pastoral supervision, a small group of peers engaged in a common learning experience, providing pastoral care to people in crisis, detailed reporting of pastoral practice, a specific time period, and an individual learning contract.

Reprinted from the ACPE Website:




Arizona Clinical Pastoral Education Program
1111 E. McDowell Road
Phoenix, AZ 85006
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