Clinical pastoral training involves a “clinical” (action-reflection-action) model of learning that engages with real people in real situations of crisis, distress, uncertainty, suffering, loss or grief.
Utilizing the hospital as a container for learning, our training provides Chaplain Interns and Residents a wide range of ministry opportunities among a very diverse community of patients in a number of settings.
The founder of clinical pastoral training, Anton Boisen, situated theology among the social sciences and believed that a religious or theological education alone was insufficient for meeting the needs of those persons chaplains care for. A distinctive aspect of our program is how seriously we take the significant contributions that the behavioral and social sciences and other fields offer to understand the people we care for. Chaplains-in-training in our program will find that integrating learning from fields as diverse as systems theory, interpretive anthropology, neuropsychoanalysis, and others, will significantly enhance their ministry and help them to care for others.
In addition to the supervised direct ministry experience itself, our training includes:
Case Study Reviews
Case studies are the principal learning tool in clinical chaplaincy training and each Chaplain Intern or Resident is required to write up and present to their cohort group case studies of actual caregiving encounters.
The goals of the case study are to promote individual self-reflection by the chaplain and to use peer consultation and that of the clinical supervisor to refine the chaplain’s clinical pastoral competence.
Our cohort groups utilize key aspects of the Tavistock Model of group relations. The small peer group provides opportunities for chaplains to explore issues in the “here and now” and fosters an experiential learning about issues such as boundaries, authority, roles and tasks using the cohort experience as a tool to understand unconscious processes in group systems.
A variety of presentations are provided by Supervisors and others.
The subject matter, always tied to real cases and situations, is wide-ranging and includes a material drawn from the behavioral and social sciences. Special topics are drawn from the supervisors’ areas of expertise and the clinical placements of the chaplains.
Trainees may also have an opportunity to offer didactics of their own choosing to their peers.
Regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings with a clinical supervisor provide the chaplain-in-training an opportunity to review cases and aspects of one’s pastoral care and counseling, to reflect upon personal and professional aspirations and growth, to seek consultation, and to evaluate progress toward individual learning goals.
In keeping with the scope of our program, readings and other resources come not only from the pastoral care literature but also the broad range of behavioral and social sciences.
Films and Internet-based media are also key resources in our program.
Everyone in our program has 24-hour access to the robust Kaiser Permanente clinical library network. Its librarians actively support the learning goals and interests of each program participant.