Clinical Pastoral Education Program Information

Clinical Pastoral Education Programs offer individuals an opportunity to gain basic and advanced competencies in pastoral care and counseling. Students experience hands-on spiritual care for hospitalized patients and families. Our Center offers Clinical Pastoral in a variety of formats and locations.

Program Formats

Program objectives

Pastoral competence - CPE helps learners understand and integrate pastoral theology and the behavioral sciences. Course content includes not only a broad knowledge of religious practices and spiritual assessment, but also of the emotional and social dynamics of personal and interpersonal relationships.

Pastoral reflection - Students learn to identify spiritual and theological foundations of their pastoral ministry. Reflection on pastoral practice is prompted by relationships with individuals in crisis, peers, chaplain mentors, the CPE educator and the hospital staff.

Pastoral formation - CPE encourages participants to move toward a clearer understanding of their personal and pastoral identity – their gifts and graces for ministry. Students will also explore a variety of appropriate responses and interventions within the context of pastoral relationships.


During a typical week, CPE students will experience:

  • Pastoral care with patients and families in assigned clinical areas
  • Clinical seminars including verbatim accounts of patient encounters, clinical simulation labs, theological reflection, personal narratives, and group processing
  • Didactic seminars with lecture/discussions on a variety of spiritual care topics, presented by diverse faculty including hospital educators and other health care professionals from the Omaha area
  • Book and film discussion
  • Corporate devotions and prayer
  • Educational supervision including individual and group conferences for goal setting and feedback on progress
  • Patient care planning sessions with interdisciplinary health care teams
  • On-call responsibilities for pastoral emergencies
  • Opportunities for preaching and leading memorial services
  • Some students have the opportunity to facilitate a spirituality group in a behavioral health setting