Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a program of education and formation for the work of pastoral care. The program’s methodology utilises the action/reflection model of learning. The action component entails the actual provision of pastoral care within a pastoral setting. This care acknowledges and attends to the human condition, particularly life’s religious and spiritual dimensions. The reflection component entails the exploration of the ministry experience, the dynamics present, and the theological and spiritual dimensions. This action/reflection process is integral to the participants’ understanding and the formation of their pastoral identity and competence. CPE is “learning theology from the living human document” (Anton Boisen). The goal of the program is that the participant will be acknowledged first hand as the bearer of the sacred and the distinctive provider of spiritual and pastoral care.

Unit code: DP9100S

Unit status: Approved (Minor revision)

Points: 48.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies

Proposing College: Stirling College

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Learning outcomes


Develop goals for their learning which identify their learning edges for the Unit


Begin, develop and conclude pastoral interactions with people with varied experiences


Identify and respond to a person's spiritual needs and resources in ways that contribute to a person's wellbeing


Demonstrate a basic capacity to engage with inter-disciplinary staff


Engage in reflection on their experience of spiritual care in writing, with a group of peers and with their supervisor, as they work towards their goals and objectives


Reflect upon their encounters and pastoral experience within a spiritual/theological framework


Articulate how the insights gained from theological/spiritual reflection on the pastoral experiences can be incorporated into future pastoral practice


Demonstrate a growing awareness of their identity as a spiritual carer

Unit sequence

Pre- or Co-requisites in Undergraduate programs: At least one unit at level 2 or higher in CT AND at least one unit in DP AND at least one unit in Field B; AND demonstrated pastoral competence; AND a successful interview with the CPE Centre Director or delegate.

Pre- or Co-requisites in Postgraduate programs: At least one Unit in Field B or in CT AND One Unit in DP; AND demonstrated pastoral competence; AND a successful interview with the CPE Centre Director or delegate.


Peer group review of presentations of spiritual care and other materials Individual supervision Group didactic sessions

Indicative Bibliography

The essential resource is "the living human document” (Anton Boisen). The following is a guide to some useful resources.

RECOMMENDED READING (Note that only a selection of these items will be available at most CPE centres):

Cobb, Mark, & Christina M. Puchalski, Bruce Rumbold. Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare. Oxford University Press, 2012.

Dykstra, Robert C. (ed,) Images of Pastoral Care. St Louis: Chalice Press, 2005.

Egan, Gerard. The Skilled Helper: A Problem-Management and Opportunity-Development Approach to Helping. Brooks/Cole, 2010.

Fitchett, George. Assessing Spiritual Needs. Academic Renewal Press, 2002.

Hillsman, Gordon. How to Get the Most Out of Clinical Pastoral Education: A CPE Primer. Siegelman, E. Y. 1990.

Kelly, Ewan. Personhood and Presence: Self as a Resource for Spiritual and Pastoral Care. T & T Clark, 2012.

Kinast, Robert L. "What are they saying about Theological Reflection?" Paulist Press, 2000.

Lartey, Emmanuel Y. In Living Color: An Intercultural Approach to Pastoral Care and Counseling. Jessica Kingsley, 2003.

Nouwen, Henri. The Wounded Healer. Doubleday; DLT, 1972-2014.

Palmer, Parker. Let Your Life Speak. Jossey Bass. 2000.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Statement of Learning Goals (200 words)

200 5.0

Faith/spirituality and ministry story (min 1000 words)

1000 5.0
Case Study

Case study (2500 words)

2500 10.0

Final evaluation paper (2500 words)

2500 30.0

Mid term evaluation paper (2500 words)

2500 20.0

Reports of spiritual care with people (8 of) (approx. 6000 words)

6000 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 14 Dec, 2021

Unit record last updated: 2021-12-14 18:01:33 +1100