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Clinical Pastoral Education

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is an interfaith professional education for ministry. It brings theological students, seasoned chaplains, and interfaith clergy into supervised encounters with persons seeking spiritual care.

Out of an intense involvement with persons in need and the feedback from peers, staff chaplain mentors and ACPE Certified Educators, students develop a new awareness of themselves as persons and of the needs for whom they minister. From theological reflection on specific human situations, students gain a new understanding of ministry. Within the interdisciplinary team process of helping persons, students develop skills in interpersonal and inter-professional relationships. 

CPE is designed for people at various stages of life, for example, clergy seeking to develop their skills as pastoral caregivers, military chaplains seeking specialized training in the hospital setting, and seminarians or lay people preparing for ordained ministry.

Learn more about Clinical Pastoral Education.

Program Description

The San Diego VA-DoD CPE program is a joint venture with the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). We have four residency positions at the VA and four residents who are Active Duty Navy Chaplains. The VA students may be civilians or Veterans.  In addition, we accept up to six Extended Unit Interns, twice per year, depending on interest. The CPE residents and interns rotate to different clinics and services within the VA throughout the year. 

The VA residents and interns rotate to various services and clinics throughout the San Diego area, where clinical opportunities and on-site supervision are available to enhance the learning experience. Students in the program are considered part of the team and attend interdisciplinary team meetings on the unit where they are assigned. They work with staff chaplains who cosign their notes and offer clinical guidance and consultation. Services that the CPE students typically serve include:  Spinal Cord Injury, Psychiatry, the Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation Treatment Program (SARTP), Medical/Surgical, Ambulatory Surgery, the Community Living Center, Palliative Care, ICU, DOU (Direct Observation Unit), Emergency. Chaplain students also provide spirituality groups and individual counseling for veterans recovering from PTSD in the Community Based Outpatient Centers (CBOC’s) at Mission Valley and the ASPIRE treatment program for homeless Veterans.

CPE Program - Frequently Asked Questions

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The San Diego VA-DoD Center is accredited by ACPE: The Standard for Spiritual Care & Education to provide Level I/II, and Certified Educator CPE. For more information, contact ACPE;  55 Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard, Suite 835, Atlanta, GA 30308.  .