Clinical Pastoral Education and Formation Program

(Reference: Escandor, Maria Theresita, Clinical Pastoral Education and Formation Handbook, 2014)  Click here for Online Application

Ongoing CPE Schedules for the Second Semester of 2021:

Extensive CPE

Mixed group: Teachers, Pastors, Missionaries, Ministry/Organization Leaders & Chaplains

Mixed group: Pastors, Missionaries, Ministry/Organization Leaders, Chaplains & Corporate Supervisors


Clinical Pastoral Education and Formation (CPEF) program evolved from an academic, theoretical, and scientific training to a “hands-on” care of patients as living human documents at the bedside.  The program develops the knowledge and skills that are vital to the effectuation of healing and treating patients and caregivers by addressing their affect and relationships.  It is also an avenue for the chaplains or caregivers to gain awareness leading to a deeper understanding and analyzing of various dynamics or structures that reveal self during the patient visits.  In the Philippines, it is a program that is gaining acceptance in preparing persons for religious ministry, clinical jobs, leadership and management positions, professional excellence, and community service.  The value of the program is in honing skills in the areas of pastoral counseling and ministry.

Early History

Clinical Pastoral Education came about from a man named Anton Theophilus Boisen (1876-1965). The concept emerged from his experiences at the mental institutions where he was confined due to his schizophrenic episodes.  These confinements led him to discover that theology is best learned from a first hand study of human experience.  In other words, the reading of “the living human document” was the essential supplementation to enhance the theological education.

Value of “The Living Human Document” Concept

Full Unit Evaluation

Full Unit Evaluation, (Baguio, 2013)

The concept of the living human document is gaining greater appreciation in garnering deeper knowledge and skills in doing pastoral ministry to the sick, the dying, the chronically ill, and those who are into grief.  It veers the chaplains away from “boxing in” their patients or clients based on the medical diagnosis or labels.  The chaplains learn the value of doing their own pastoral diagnosis based on what the patients and clients feel and struggle on.  In doing this pastoral diagnosis, chaplains are able to provide the proper plan of care. The experiential method of listening to the patients and clients have allowed the chaplains to discover more of the self that wrestle with the issues of pain, death and dying, theology of sin, salvation, forgiveness, and meaning in life, ethics, culture, and so many others.  In facing the tensions within that could hinder the proper disposition of care, the chaplains are able to gain deeper maturity that enables them to gain confidence and authority.

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The reading of the living human document has paved the way for laity and professionals to experience learning sense of self in a context that is not limited to seminarians or ordained ministers. This method has expanded the relevance and application of CPEF programs to professionals including people in leadership and management positions. For them, CPEF has helped them developed greater self-awareness and better quality of professional leadership and management.

Methodologies Used In CPEF

a. Seminars:

A group of 4-8 persons is formed.  A schedule is then agreed upon for the group to come together to journey as one in going through the process of enhancing areas of clinical and pastoral experiences.  The seminars are centered on the interns and their issues for the purpose of understanding the living human document that minister to others.

b. Cases:

Each intern is required to present cases encountered during their pastoral visits in the hospital or in the community.  During the case discussion, the group is expected to provide feedback and consults that would foster pastoral counseling proficiency, professional skills, and conceptual competence that would result to greater self-awareness.

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c. Didactics/Reading Reports:

This is the method used where topics from various disciplines of study that could nurture the interns’ theoretical, professional and practical knowledge as chaplains are presented and discussed.  The supervisor and other professional experts could present information on the pastoral, theological, clinical, health and ethical issues.

d. Group Relations:

This is the learning process where the interns, including the supervisor, are given the opportunity to probe personal and professional issues that surface while doing ministry in a group setting.  The group interaction is an important tool in developing greater awareness of specific life issues and relational behavior that would otherwise not have surfaced when done alone.

e. Individual Supervision

Interns meet one-on-one with the supervisor to discuss personal and professional issues, to share reflections on things learned, and to review pastoral work.

Uniqueness of CPEF

Completion Ceremony

Completion Ceremony (Baguio, 2017)

The CPEF Program is a specialized way of learning that is appropriate for the modern times and for post-graduate continuous learning.

  • The curriculum is flexible and adapts to the needs of the interns. Likewise, the time schedule is flexible.  The formed group decides on the matter as one.
  • The issues tackled thru the case presentations, readings and didactic seminars are varied. The topics could be personal, cultural, ethical, theological, professional or behavioral.  Thus, the learning is extensive.
  • The group processing is interactive providing each intern the time to speak and share. No one is allowed to monopolize the discussions.
  • The group context is inter-faith, safe, and intentional for the development of one’s personal knowledge, skills, pastoral identity, competence, and authority while providing care to the patients, caregivers, and hospital or community staff.
  • It is an interdisciplinary kind of program that allows the interns to collaborate with various medical practitioners and personnel, volunteers, and service workers attending to and needed by the patients. Each intern is given the opportunity to work jointly with other disciplines to bring in their expertise to the bedside and their specific plan of care.
  • The intern’s issues, arising from the patients and caregivers, are processed in the group and individually. These activities enable the intern to have an in-depth look on his/her issues.
  • The program unit received is an entry point for the intern to pursue the certification process that would allow her/him to become a professional Interfaith Clinical Chaplain or Pastoral Counselor. A minimum of four units of CPEF is required to qualify for the certification process.

Read more: The CPEF offers two (2) types of programs, the Extended Unit and the Intensive Unit:

Requirements Extended Unit Intensive Unit
Term 26 weeks 13 weeks
Seminars Once a week for 4 hours. Twice a week for 4 hours or once a week for 8 hours
Case Study  Presentations

Each intern will present a total of ten (10) case studies throughout the program.  Generally, two

(2) case studies are presented and reviewed at each seminar.

Readings and Didactics Reading assignments and didactic seminars are incorporated in the syllabus.
Group Relations Seminar Once a week.
Individual Supervisory Sessions Interns meet with supervisor privately every two (2) weeks for one (1) hour. Interns meet with supervisor privately once a week for one(1) hour.
Reflections/Journal Entries Interns record reflections/journal entries once a week and submit them to their supervisor prior to scheduled individual supervisory sessions.
Activity Log

Interns maintain an activity log, which is reviewed with their supervisor during their individual

supervisory sessions.

Mid-Unit Evaluation Interns write a mid-unit evaluation, which is reviewed by their peers and supervisor in the group.
Final Unit Evaluation

Interns write a final-unit evaluation, which is reviewed by peers and supervisor in the group.

The supervisor writes an individual final evaluation,

which is reviewed with each intern and signed by

both within 45 days after the end of the unit.

Certificate of Completion A certificate of completion is awarded for the unit earned (1 unit = 400 hours).

***This can be modified to suit the availability of the interns.



Summer CPE Program-Central Philippine University

Summer CPE Program-Central Philippine University (Iloilo, 2013)

CPEF Program is designed to provide theological and professional education utilizing the clinical method of learning in diverse contexts of ministry. There are professional benchmarks of expected outcomes from CPEF Program, which formulate the competency objectives. They are as follows:

Standards of Practice Competency
(Learning Commitment Objectives)
Pastoral Counselor/Spiritual Care Counselor Competencies

The candidate shall possess the ability to articulate and demonstrate CPE competencies/ learning objectives within a clinical or ministry context. Therefore, the Certification Review Board must be able to affirm that the candidate:

Read more: Standards of Practice Competency

  1. Demonstrates the ability to understand and make use of the clinical process and the clinical method of learning. This includes the ability to understand and formulate clinical data, the ability to receive and utilize feedback and consultation.
  2. Demonstrates the ability to creatively utilize individual supervision for personal and professional growth and for developing the capacity to evaluate one’s ministry.  
  3. Demonstrates the ability to provide a critical analysis of his or her particular religious or spiritual tradition.
  4. Demonstrates the use of “the self” as a work in progress and as the principal tool in pastoral/spiritual care and counseling. This includes the ability to reflect on self and interpret one’s own life story psychologically, theologically or spiritually.
  5. Demonstrates knowledge, experience, and inclusion of integrative spiritual care in a clinical practice or ministerial setting.
  6. Demonstrates basic care and counseling skills, which includes listening, empathy, and reflection, analysis of problems, conflict resolution, and theological, or spiritual reflection.
  7. Demonstrates familiarity and ability to present sacred ceremonies, sacred rites and Holy days particular to one’s own religious or spiritual tradition.
  8. Demonstrates the ability to relate with high personal and professional proficiency with persons in crisis across cultural and faith boundaries and empower people to tell their story.
  9. Demonstrates the ability to establish a pastoral/spiritual bond expressed as a calm, non- anxious presence with persons and groups in various life situations and crisis circumstances.
  10. Demonstrates an understanding of the dynamics of group behavior, the variety of group experiences, and to utilize the support, confrontation and clarification of the peer group for the integration of personal attributes and pastoral/spiritual functioning.
  11. Demonstrates the ability to articulate spiritual assessment tools utilized in a ministry or clinical context, including the ability to make an integrated and age-specific clinical/pastoral/spiritual assessment with special reference to understanding psychodynamics, the meaning and significance of religious symbols and spiritual values.
  12. Demonstrates the ability to make a pastoral or spiritual assessment with special reference to the nature and quality of religious and spiritual values; to assess embedded theology/spiritual philosophy in relation to self and others.
  13. Demonstrates familiarity with, and effective use of, core literature in clinical, behavioral sciences, theological and spiritual disciplines, including but not limited to: crisis intervention theory and practice; grief and loss; interdisciplinary and faith-based patient care; spiritual assessment; group and family systems theory and behavior; gender issues in pastoral/spiritual care; ethical issues; and personal/professional boundaries in the delivery of pastoral/spiritual care.
  14. Demonstrates leadership ability and personal/pastoral authority.
  15. Demonstrates the ability to work as a pastoral/spiritual care team member on an interdisciplinary team.
  16. Demonstrates evidence of high ethical commitment, including absolute respect for the worth and rights of persons, and an understanding and assent to the CSCPF Code of Ethics.
  17. Demonstrates the ability to incorporate theological and spiritual insights into the nurturing and supportive development process that makes use of the traditions, beliefs, and resources of one’s own particular faith community.


  • The person must have the emotional maturity and stability.
  • The person has the capacity to work and function independently.
  • The person has the ability to work in a group setting.
  • The person is able to function well in an interfaith, interdisciplinary and intercultural setting.
  • The person has the ability to integrate one’s experiences in his/her learning process.
  • The person has the capacity to relate well with authority.
  • The person has the willingness to be vulnerable before his/her peers.


A unit of CPEF requires the completion of a minimum of 400 hours of training.  Of this, around ¾ (300 hours) shall be spent providing direct care to patients, families, and/or interdisciplinary team colleagues.  The intern shall document direct care hours, which would be verified by the supervisor.  Direct patient care and presentation of clinical cases arising from visits from any or all of these individuals for review and consultation in the group seminars are the heart and soul of the CPEF program.

NOTE:  While 300 hours is the minimum requirement, trainees are expected to be engaged in patient care throughout the entire training program even beyond the 300 hours before the scheduled end of the CPET program.

A half unit will require completion of 200 hours of work and training divided as indicated above.

The remaining 100 hours of training will be devoted to the following program components:

  • case study seminars
  • group relations work/pastoral concerns
  • individual supervision
  • didactic seminars
  • reading reports
  • theological reflection
  • mid-unit and final evaluations
  • completion ceremony/awarding of individual certificates

Actual schedule will be determined and published at the beginning of each CPEF unit.  Schedule will be subject to change based on the number of interns, holidays, and unforeseen needs of the interns, and/or the institution.  No changes to the schedule shall result in less than 400 hours of training.

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Antel Global
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Ortigas Center, Pasig,
1605 Metro Manila

(02) 7719 4876

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