What is Clinical Pastoral Education

ACPE logoIn general Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) "serves as a part of one's preparation for parish ministry, chaplaincy, lay ministry, teaching, and counseling."  More specifically, CPE is an "interfaith professional education for ministry. It brings theological students and ministers of all faiths (pastors, priests, rabbis, imams and others) into supervised encounter with persons in crisis. Out of an intense involvement with persons in need, and the feedback from peers and teachers, students develop new awareness of themselves as persons and of the needs of those to whom they minister. From theological reflection on specific human situations, they gain a new understanding of ministry. Within the interdisciplinary team process of helping persons, they develop skills in interpersonal and interprofessional relationships."

The CPE program at UC Davis Medical Center is accredited by The Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. (ACPE) to offer Levels I and II CPE, and Supervisory Education.

ACPE is "a multicultural, multifaith organization devoted to providing education and improving the quality of ministry and pastoral care offered by spiritual caregivers of all faiths through the clinical educational methods of Clinical Pastoral Education."


ACPE Objectives for CPE and supervisory education will guide the curriculum at UC Davis Medical Center.  ACPE Outcomes for CPE and supervisory education will also provide the evaluative tools for successful completion of each unit.  Throughout the CPE training, supervision will help each student to:

  1. Develop and sharpen skills that will enable him/her to respond appropriately to any emotional state he or she encounters while providing pastoral/spiritual care.
  2. Come to a better understanding of himself/herself as a person, and of his/her role as a care provider
  3. Develop a healthy sensitivity to the emotional needs of other persons.
  4. Practice with pastoral tools to make them reflective and competent pastoral care-providers.