Clinical Pastoral Education Program Description

The Clinical Pastoral Education Program offers individuals an opportunity to develop and expand professional caring skills for addressing a person’s spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. Students experience hands-on spiritual care for hospitalized patients.

For more than 40 years, Saint Luke’s outcomes-based program has trained seminary students, pastors, ministers, rabbis, imams, and other religious workers in a clinical setting.

Learn more about curriculum features specific to the CPE programs (PDF)

Clinical Pastoral Education program group photo

Our program offers two levels of CPE credit plus supervisory education. Learn more about the programs and their admissions requirements:

Program Objectives

Pastoral Competence

CPE helps the pastoral caregiver understand and integrate the disciplines of theology and the behavioral sciences. This includes not only a broad knowledge of religious practices and spiritual assessment, but also of the emotional and social dynamics of personal and interpersonal relationships.

Pastoral Reflection

The program helps pastoral caregivers identify spiritual and theological foundations of their pastoral ministry. Pastoral reflection is prompted by relationships with individuals in crisis, peers, ACPE Educator (Supervisor), and the hospital staff. The primary activity for this type of education has come to be known as the clinical method of learning or the Action/Reflection/Action Model.

Pastoral Formation

CPE encourages participants to move toward a clearer understanding of their personal and pastoral identity—their gifts and graces for ministry. Students will also explore a variety of appropriate responses and interventions within the context of pastoral relationships.

Act, Reflect, Act Methodology

CPE’s core learning methodology is Action/Reflection/Action. Developed more than 75 years ago by the Rev. Anton Boisen, this method encourages students to “act,” “reflect,” and “act” again with a renewed sense of professional competence and skill.

Program Structure

During a typical week, CPE students will experience:

  • Pastoral care with patients and families in assigned areas of the hospital
  • Clinical seminars including verbatim accounts of patient encounters, video role play and practice session, theological case conferences, preaching/worship reflections, and group development
  • Didactic seminars with lecture/discussions on a variety of spiritual care topics, presented by diverse faculty including supervisors, department staff, hospital staff, and several other health care professionals from the Kansas City area
  • Health care team rounds with interdisciplinary staff during patient care planning sessions
  • On-call opportunities to experience being a primary spiritual care provider for the entire hospital community
  • Worship, prayer services, and grief recovery offer opportunities for preaching, leading healing and memorial services, and participation in hospital-sponsored grief recovery program

Apply Now

Apply for the Clinical Pastoral Education program.