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Clinical Education for Pastoral Care

Jefferson University Hospitals' Pastoral Care Program is accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). We offer training to those who wish to minister to the emotional and spiritual needs of patients through our CPE Program: Level I, II, and Supervisory Education.

Seminary students, clergy, members of religious orders and laypersons may participate in a level of training appropriate to their qualifications and serve as chaplains in training at Jefferson. This training may be in preparation for parish ministry, institutional chaplaincy, pastoral counseling, volunteer work at a religious institution or for help in clarifying suitable ministry options. Training may also be taken for purposes of continuing education.

Pastoral Care Training and Service Opportunities

CPE Programs are offered as either a 15-week course (Extended CPE) designed for those in school or another career or a two-and-a-half-month ministry (Summer CPE), which focuses on ministry formation and development. These programs provide clinical education for theological students, parish clergy and laypeople.

Students may also participate in this unit of training as a prerequisite for a nine-month CPE residency at Jefferson or elsewhere or a nine-month ministry and training experience (CPE Residency) designed for clergy, theological students or laypeople. This training experience provides a more in-depth learning opportunity for those wishing to increase their pastoral care skills in preparation for a parish, institutional ministry or supervisory education. Stipends and employee benefits are provided.

Students will train under the guidance of a qualified CPE supervisor, and thus be the primary sources of pastoral care and emotional and spiritual support for Jefferson patients, their families and the staff.

The CPE Programs are undertaken within a community composed of a peer group and a supervisor. This community supports, encourages and helps students explore old and new territories of their lives, behaviors and feelings.

Another community – that of the hospital patients and their families, the professional staff and employees – provides a multifaceted group with whom to interact while coming to understand human relationships.

Those accepted into a CPE Program will function as staff chaplains in care programs, such as neuroscience, psychiatry, medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, surgery and cardiopulmonary, as well as the Emergency Department and Trauma Unit.

Students also have the opportunity to establish longer-term relationships with many transplant, cancer, surgical and neurosurgical patients, who are hospitalized for extended periods of time.

Clinical Pastoral Education Seminars Available

Jefferson offers many CPE Seminars depending upon your needs:

Group Process and Teaching Seminars

Each of the CPE Programs offered incorporates group process and seminars, which foster an educational and psychological environment where students can engage in consultation, reflection, analysis, feedback and support.

Clinical Seminars

Provides an opportunity for students to present their firsthand account of a pastoral contact to a group of peers to teach pastoral care skills and theory; to reflect upon strengths and weaknesses of the student's interaction; and to invite critical feedback.

Interpersonal Relations Seminars

Open-ended, relying primarily upon students sharing their thoughts and feelings with each other in an atmosphere of relative safety in order to promote personal and professional growth and open students to a great range of emotional, intellectual and theological perspectives that would otherwise be unavailable.

Didactic Seminars

Scheduled in every CPE unit, to increase students' knowledge of people, theories or experiences, that will produce personal and professional growth in ministry.

  • Professional Concerns Seminar: to increase students' knowledge of the interrelationship of pastoral care with a particular subject and promote interdisciplinary cooperation
  • Pastoral Identity, Skill or Role Seminar: to enhance the understanding and practice of pastoral care
  • Theological Reflection Seminar: to learn and explore a variety of theological perspectives
  • Dream Discussion Seminar (Optional): To explore and discover hidden or disguised meanings of personal and professional functioning
  • Reading Seminars: To acquire information, perspective or research on a particular topic from reading material
  • Interdisciplinary Seminars: for summer interns and residents, to foster interdisciplinary cooperation and a holistic approach to patient care
  • Duty Report and Departmental Business: daily opportunity for the supervisor and students to share experience and knowledge of handling loss and crisis situations

To Apply to CPE Programs

For the Extended and Summer CPE Programs, applicants should:

  • Complete an ACPE application or call us at 215-955-6336 for an application
  • Send a screening interview from an ACPE supervisor or request an interview at Jefferson
  • Have completed the first or second year of seminary. Exceptions are made for laypeople on an individual basis

For the CPE Residency Program, applicants should:

  • Send a completed CPE application
  • Send a copy of previous CPE evaluations
  • Schedule an interview with the Jefferson supervisor and screening committee
  • Have successfully completed one unit of CPE
  • Have completed or be in the process of completing a Masters of Divinity Degree or equivalent

For Further Information About Pastoral Care Education

Please contact:

Rev. Joseph Leggieri, PhD, Director
Pastoral Care and Education Department
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
111 South 11 Street
Room 1880
Philadelphia, PA 19107-5098
Phone: 215-955-6336
Fax: 215-923-7094