spiritual care

Clinical Pastoral Education

Clinical Pastoral Education in Bakersfield

Providing a new understanding of your call to ministry

Clinical pastoral education (CPE) is professional education for ministry. It is an action-reflection-action model of adult education based on the interaction between a student's ministry and reflection within a supervised group.

CPE teaches an individual to understand personal motivations and patterns in human relationships, which is essential in providing quality patient care. The student is also given a new understanding of their call to ministry and relationship with faith, focusing on psychology as much as theology.

Career opportunities with CPE

Receiving CPE education, combined with other educational requirements, opens career opportunities in hospital, hospice, government and police chaplaincy.

Theological schools may give academic credit for work successfully completed in these programs in accordance with the credit system of each school.

CPE objectives

The objective of CPE is the development of personal and pastoral identity and the growth of professional competence as a chaplain or pastor.

Specific goals of CPE are:

  • To become a competent pastor of persons and groups in various life situations and crisis circumstances and to develop the maturity to provide intensive and extensive pastoral care and counseling
  • To become competent in self-evaluation and in utilizing supervision and consultation to evaluate pastoral practice
  • To become aware of how attitudes, values and assumptions affect ministry
  • To utilize support, confrontation and clarification of the peer group for integration of personal attributes and pastoral functioning
  • To understand the theological issues arising from experiences and to utilize theology and the behavioral sciences to understand the human condition
  • To develop the ability to make optimum use of religious heritage, theological understanding and knowledge of behavioral sciences in pastoral ministry to persons and groups

Core subjects of CPE include:

  • Tavistock Theory: Understanding group behavior/dynamics
  • Understanding the “self” through the ability to articulate one’s life story
  • Knowledge of use of the behavior sciences
  • The use of listening, empathy, reflection and the ability to analyze a client’s problem
  • Development of pastoral identity, role and function
  • Ability to make pastoral diagnosis
  • Theology reflection

CPE schedule

  • Spring Unit: January through May
  • Fall Unit: August through December

A unit of CPE consists of 400 supervised hours. At least 100 hours are spent in the group process, and at least 200 hours are spent in direct ministry to persons.


Adventist Health Bakersfield is accredited by the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy Inc. (CPSP). For more information, go to www.cpsp.org. CPSP is a full member of the Coalition on Ministry in Specialized Settings (COMISS), along with NACC, ACPE and NAJC.

Apply for CPE at Adventist Health

Download the Clinical Pastoral Education Application. Once you’ve completed the application, please email it to andrewa1@ah.org or mail to:

Adventist Health Bakersfield
Attn: Tony Andrews, Pastoral Care
2615 Chester Avenue
Bakersfield, CA 93301

For more information, please call Adventist Health Bakersfield pastoral care at (661) 869-6629.