Clinical Pastoral Education Curriculum

The curriculum for the residency and student intern programs is guided by the standards of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. The CPE program has a strong commitment to understanding life from a theological perspective that is informed by the behavioral sciences and educational theory.

While basic skills and invitation to self-reflection are the foundation of the curriculum, there also is time for personal narrative theology and theological reflection. For example, exploring one’s personal spiritual journey enhances a person’s ability to help others explore theirs. One resource is the book “Mighty Stories, Dangerous Rituals: Weaving Together the Human and the Divine” by Herbert Anderson and Edward Foley. It is used to help bring together narrative theology, developmental psychology and pastoral care rituals.

A student intern CPE unit offers an overview of pastoral care ministry in a hospital setting. The emphasis is on pastoral identity and pastoral helping skills. Didactics on crisis ministry and bereavement as well as on building staff relationships equip students for intensive and extensive ministry. We offer a spring part-time and summer full-time internship. 400 hours of service and education are required.

Chaplain residents train for a year throughout Norton Healthcare facilities, serving as paid full-time employees. Our commitment is to help our chaplain residents become fully equipped to serve as competent pastors or chaplains at the end of their training. Resident curriculum includes spiritual assessment and interventions, systems theory, multidisciplinary experiences and greater depth in pastoral skills and self-reflection. In the final unit of a residency year, the educational focus is on transitions, interview skills and résumé writing as residents move toward the next step.

Curriculum planning is ongoing and flexible at Norton Healthcare. We offer a dynamic program in which students learn about themselves, their relationships and their professional potential for ministry, based on the needs of the individual learner.

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