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Association for Supervised
Pastoral Education in Australia (ASPEA Inc)


CPE Centres
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CPE is defined by the ASPEA Inc Standards

ASPEA Inc’s Standards address requirements for basic unit, Advanced and Supervisory accreditation. (download pdf here) The following extract from the Standards of ASPEA Inc refers to a basic unit of CPE.

about Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)

1.1 Programme Rationale

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a programme of education and formation for the ministry of pastoral care. The programme's methodology utilises the action reflection model of learning. The action component entails the actual provision of pastoral care within a ministry setting. This care acknowledges and attends to the human condition, particularly life's religious and spiritual dimensions. The reflection component entails the exploration of the ministry experience, the dynamics present, and the theological and spiritual dimensions. This action reflection process is integral to the participants? understanding and the formation of their pastoral identity and competence. CPE is "learning theology from the living human document" (Boisen).


The goal of the programme is that the participant will be acknowledged first hand as the bearer of the sacred and the distinctive provider of spiritual and pastoral care.

1.2 Requirements and assessment

A CPE Supervisor or Clinical Pastoral Educator (or acting supervisors at these levels) is authorised to co-ordinate, plan and conduct a CPE programme. This supervisor will evaluate and accredit a participant's satisfactory completion of a CPE unit. The peer group of no fewer than three and normally no more than six participants, contracts for the duration of the unit. With an equivalent ratio of peer group supervisory hours (a minimum of eight hours for each additional participant over six), the peer group may be increased to a maximum of eight CPE participants. Foundational to the CPE process is a relational learning environment, based on the development of mutual trust, respect, openness and challenge.


1.3 Required Hours

A CPE unit can be completed over a minimum of ten weeks or a maximum period of forty four weeks. The course co-ordinator shall ensure that each CPE unit includes a minimum total of 400 hours of supervised learning in pastoral ministry. This includes at least:


1.3.1 ten hours of individual supervision,

1.3.2 sixty hours of peer group supervision,

1.3.3 two hundred hours in a clinical placement of which at least one hundred hours is the actual practice of pastoral practice to people, The clinical placement hours may include research and preparation for practice and rituals, interdisciplinary meetings, handover and statistical recording.

1.3.4 sixty hours for personal written reflection on experience and written course requirements.

1.4 Practical, written, supervisory and assessment requirements.

The following are guidelines for the course co-ordinator in accrediting a CPE unit. Participants shall be given credit for completing one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education if they have demonstrated that they have satisfactorily:

1.4.1 completed the required hours of pastoral ministry, individual and peer group supervision as set out in 1.3,

1.4.2 established a contract with the individual centre and fulfilled its requirements so that both participant and Centre Director are clear about issues of authorisation and accountability,

1.4.3 identified and worked towards strategic learning goals mutually acceptable to the participant and the supervisor,

1.4.4 within the supervisory process, critically reflected upon their experience of providing pastoral care. This care primarily occurs in the pastoral conversation and engagement with individuals and groups. It may also include preaching, conducting rituals, administration and education within a pastoral context.

1.4.5 Requirements to be completed during the unit include: a minimum of eight reports of their pastoral ministry to people the participant's CPE goals a faith/spirituality and ministry story case study mid term and final evaluations participants may be asked to complete other papers, presentations, and journals as required.

Each participant is required to make at least eight presentations from the above, for peer feedback in the learning group. Requirements to are to be presented in the learning group. The remaining requirements will be presented for written supervisory annotation and discussion in individual supervision.


The CPE program is accredited as a basic unit by the Association for Supervised Pastoral Education in Australia Inc. Successful completion of the unit can be credited as a subject for the Bachelor of Theology degree with teaching institutions associated with the Melbourne College of Divinity and other bodies. CPE participants seeking such credit should consult with the relevant teaching institution.

Placement Options
The hours of pastoral practice (Standards 1.3.3) can be undertaken in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, parishes, welfare institutions, tertiary institutions and industry.