Often we get asked about Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) or Clinical Pastoral Training (CPT). Actually, CPE and CPT are the same thing… two different terms for the same type of training that points back to conventions from either Cabot (CPE) or Boisen (CPT). While CPSP-Philippines sees its roots more with Anton Boisen, we utilize either term. In Clinical Pastoral Training there is a lot of flexibility. Because of this, it is often hard to answer detailed questions about how CPT is (or can be) done.
There are a number of things that we at CPSP-Philippines would say do not change:
- Hours. A single unit is 400 hours
- Small group. The primary learning experiences happen communally with a group of 4 minimum (including a supervisor) to around 10 or 11 maximum.
- Practical ministry. The learning process is active in service and reflective of that service.
- Supervisor. The group is headed by a certified supervisor associated with an accredited training center.
- Learning modes. Several components come together to complete the learning process including: practical ministry, group work, didactics, individual supervision, and case presentations.
- Diversity. There may be times that the trainee pool available results in a CPT group being all from one religious camp, or all male, or all female. That is not in itself a problem, but is generally considered undesirable. What is inflexible, however, is that all CPT training centers and supervisors embrace diversity and do not turn away potential trainees due to race, religion, gender, nationality, or sexual orientation/preference.
- Ladderization. CPT is broken up into units, but these units (for those that seek to expand their training beyond one unit) are established sequentially. With CPSP-Philippines, we normally apply a four unit system since it links well with our individual certification program. However, we do sometimes partner with outside organizations that utilize a residency system for further training. Regardless, there is a system in place to measure accumulated training towards higher levels of certification.
There are a large number of variables that are flexible. This does not mean that all of our training centers and supervisors apply all of this flexibility. But these are some flexible qualities that have been used in CPSP-Philippines training centers, or at least have been seriously discussed by our supervisors.
- Unit Type. As noted above, one unit is 400 hours. However, some supervisors utilize Half Units. Each half unit is about 200-240 hours. Not surprisingly, two half units would add up in time and in requirements to equal one “full” unit. Additionally, some supervisors also do “ClinCical Pastoral Orientation.” This can be thought of as a mini-CPT. It is normally 60 to 100 hour total.In many ways it can be thought of as an “Intro to Pastoral Care & Counseling” course, utilizing the learning processes of CPT. CPO is useful to get a taste of CPT (CPE). But it must be noted that CPO, while recognized as useful by CPSP-Philippines, is not certified by our organization. Certification for CPO comes from the individual training center and/or bible school.
- Duration. The two major durations are described as “Intensive” and “Extended.” An Intensive Full Unit is normally around 10-12 weeks. An intensive half unit is normally 5-6 weeks. Extended versions can vary depending on the supervisor. For example an extended full unit can be 16-26 weeks typically. An extended half unit can be 12-16 weeks, most commonly.
- Setting. We have three major options at this time: “Hospital Residential,” “Single-Ministry Non-residential” and “Varied Non-residential.” Some of our programs have the trainee living (part-time or full-time) in the hospital and ministering there. For single non-residential, the trainee does not live in the hospital, but does all of his or her ministry work in a single setting such as a hospital, drug rehabilitation center, or other. For varied non-residential, the supervisor works with the trainee to have a number of different venues for ministry, such as hospital, jail, women’s shelter, church community, and others. Each of these types have advantages and disadvantages.
- Types of Ladderization. CPT units are cumulative, but there are different ways that the levels are handled. One complaint about CPE/CPT in some places is that the units are just repeats… without defining progress. We seek not do that, but individual supervisors have different ways to to ladderize. One way is through separation. First unit (or “Basic”) CPT is sometimes done separate from the Advanced units CPT. This ensures that one group gets an overview of CPT principles while the other group is tailored for those seeking advanced training. On the the other hand, some do integrated training (different level CPT trainees in the same group). In these, the ladderization is done through different required readings, different responsibilities in ministry, and specially targeted individual supervision. For example, one system follows the Bloom Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain: Understanding of basic principles (unit 1), Application of historical and clinical pastoral care (unit 2), Synthesis of trainee’s pastoral theology and practice (unit 3), and Evaluation of the CPT training and supervisory processes (unit 4).
- Meetings. This is perhaps the most varied. In a residential system, group meetings can be quite frequent– even daily. For non-residential, meetings may be done weekly. On the other hand, in some non-residential systems, the trainees may be separate from each other and/or from the supervisor. This leads to three options. Option 1, the training members live apart, and they gather together on occasion for group work. For example, one center has trainees come together for 3 days a month in its extended half-unit program. The rest of the time the trainees minister in their own location. Option 2, the supervisor is away from the trainees. The supervisor may visit them on occasion. Perhaps he or she will visit the team for intense training a few days early in the training and a few days late in the training. In both options 1 and 2, communication should be enhanced through email, skype, or phone calls. Option 3 is the Skype option. At CPSP-Philippines, this has never been completely utilized, but some other organizations have, where the entire training with the supervisor is done through “Skype” or similar video communication. We have one supervisor who has utilized this method as part of the overall training. The challenge with using this method completely is the group process work.
This does not delve into the full range of potential flexibility, but it does give some idea of the options that are possible. In the end, CPT works through a partnered negotiation between the supervisor, the trainees, and the underlying principle of CPT.