Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is professional education for ministry.  It brings theological students and ministers into supervised encounters with persons in crisis.  Out of an intense involvement with persons in need, and the feedback from peers and supervisors, students develop new awareness of themselves as persons and of the needs of those to whom they minister.  From theological reflection on specific human situations, they gain a new understanding of ministry.  Within the interdisciplinary team process of helping persons, they develop skills in interpersonal and inter-professional relationships.


The objective of the Clinical Pastoral Education is to help the pastoral care minister grow into so sensitive a person as to be able to lovingly and effectively respond to the needs of his/her fellowmen.  Thus, with better-prepared clergyman/woman, a more integrated approach is achieved in caring for the whole person, that is his spiritual as well as his physical, emotional, social and psychological needs.


Sometime in 1925, Anton Boisen was himself a patient in a hospital in Boston, U.S.A.  In one of his loneliest moments he needed someone to whom to address his needs; there was no one who could give him time.  He realized that health is an inner harmony of the many vitalities, which is not attained by medical materials alone, but also demands the combined efforts of spiritual and psychological instruments, such as, the Sacraments, prayer, scripture, guidance and counseling.  It is in the “wholistic” approach of healing the sick person that medical science, religious faith and other allied disciplines join forces and share their vast knowledge and resources to form the “Healing Team”.  Here many specialists work together in constant cooperation for the health and wholeness of the patient.

Through the efforts, therefore, of Rev. Boisen and other interested people, a program was begun in June 1925.  This program served a two-fold purpose:  better care for the patient, the supervised training for the clergyman/woman.  This evolved into what we now call Clinical Pastoral Education.  Although in the beginning it was usually based in a hospital, the training itself prepared the person for any apostolate he eventually found himself in, since the main thrust of the program was toward competent pastoral care.

CPE in the Philippines

In the Philippines, CPE started as a missionary venture of the Episcopalian Church.  Rev. J. Albert Dalton set up the first CPE program on June 7, 1965, at St. Luke’s Hospital with five students.  In September of the same year, Rev. Cirilo del Carmen started an experimental internship in Pastoral Care for Parish Clergy.  It was held three times a week.  A few months after CPE was launched at St.Luke’s Hospital, the hospital was accredited as a CPE center.  In summer of 1966, the first 12-week CPE program started with 12 students held at St. Luke’s Hospital and Quezon Institute.

Rev. Narciso Dumalagan was among the students to join the first CPE program supervised by Rev. Dalton.  He continued his supervisory training in the United States.  When Rev.Dumalagan was certified as full supervisor, he returned to Manila and continued the CPE program started at St. Luke’s Hospital.  One of his students was Sr. Janet Bielmann, who started the program at Makati Madical Center in 1971.  Other venues followed. (Click to see the current active centers.)

The PASTORAL CARE FOUNDATION, INC. is the organization that monitors and supervises the CPE program implemented in the different centers.  Its monitoring arm is the CERTIFICATION AND ACCREDITATION BOARD that certifies qualified CPE supervisors and CPE centers.




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