The Level I CPE Curriculum

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The specific content for any unit of Level I CPE may vary according to the needs of students or the discretion of supervisors, but the Objectives and Outcomes listed in The Standards of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc., remain the foundation for curriculum design at Seton.  The core content of the Level I curriculum consists of five elements.

Pastoral Functioning

  • Program Objective: For students to learn about basic skills for pastoral care to persons in a variety of situations.  These skills include effective use by the student of his or her religious/spiritual heritage and application of theological understanding and knowledge of the behavioral sciences in pastoral ministry to persons and groups, collaboration as pastor with members of an interdisciplinary team, and utilization of pastoral as well as prophetic perspectives in a variety of functions.
  • Curriculum Emphasis: Introduction to methods and materials that enable students to demonstrate the ability to initiate helping relationships.

Self Awareness

  • Program Objective: For students to become aware of how their attitudes, values, assumptions, strengths and weaknesses affect both their self understanding as ministers and the ways in which their ministry affects persons.
  • Curriculum Emphasis: Introduction to methods and materials that enable a student to articulate central themes of his or her religious heritage, theological understanding, and life experience that inform his or her pastoral self-understanding and pastoral functioning.

Interpersonal Awareness

  • Program Objective: For students to learn how to accept and utilize the support, confrontation, and clarification of the peer group for the integration of personal attributes and pastoral functioning.
  • Curriculum Emphasis: Introduction to methods and materials that enable students to initiate peer group and supervisory consultation and to risk offering and receiving appropriate critique.

Conceptual Ability

  • Program Objective: For students to learn how persons, social conditions, systems and structures affect the lives of the students and of the people with whom the students interact, and how effectively to address these issues in ministry.
  • Curriculum Emphasis: Introduction to methods and materials that enable students to integrate into their practice of ministry theoretical concepts presented in the curriculum.

Ministry Development and Management

  • Program Objective: For students to become practiced in use of the clinical method of learning, the peer group, and supervision for the purpose of developing greater capacity to evaluate the ministry in which the students are involved.
  • Curriculum Emphasis: Introduction of methods and materials that enable students to utilize the clinical method of learning to achieve educational goals and to formulate clear and specific goals for continuing pastoral formation with reference to personal strengths and weaknesses.

We believe that CPE is a form of adult education.  Accordingly, we assume that students not only come to Seton Family of Hospitals with knowledge and experience, but also have the capacity to identify those areas of ministry about which they wish to learn.  These assumptions lead us to require that each student develop, in consultation with her or his supervisor, a “contract for learning”   that establishes the learning goals of the student and the means she or he will use to achieve these goals during the unit of CPE.

At the end of the unit, students in their peer group and with their supervisor will reflect on progress made toward the goals of the contract for learning and the Outcomes for Level I CPE.  Students also will have the opportunity to offer oral and written feedback on the effectiveness of the curriculum.  Each student will complete a program evaluation and meet for an exit interview with one or more members of this center’s Professional Consultation Committee.   At their next scheduled meeting following the end of a unit, supervisors and the CPE Consultation Committee will review student feedback and engage in a process of program evaluation.

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