The precursors to clinical spiritual education occurred in the early 1900s when Dr. Richard Cabot in Boston and Dr. William S. Keller in Cincinnati involved theological students in medical and psychiatric social work settings and exposed them to the case study method. The first group of theological students to focus on the relationship between religion and mental health came to Worcester (Mass.) State Hospital in the summer of 1925 to be under the supervision of the Rev. Anton T. Boisen.
It was after some 40 years of experience, development, and practice of clinical spiritual education and after a decade of negotiations that several organized, but uncoordinated groups merged on Nov. 17, 1967, to form the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc. At that point ACPE became a truly national and unified organization representing the concerns of clinical pastoral educators, denominations and their seminaries. ACPE also became the standard-setting, accrediting and certifying agency in the field of clinical pastoral education.
Centers must meet program and organizational standards, assess their programs, and periodically be reaccredited, so that students benefit from the highest quality of CPE. Similarly, the standards for the certification of CPE Supervisors are rigorous. Several review steps are involved in the certification process. The Code of Professional Ethics mandates high standards of professional competence and conduct, so that students receive supervision that is knowledgeable and encouraging.
This web site was created from materials in the Geisinger Handbook for C.P.E. Students and several publications from the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. Call us at 570-271-3700 to discuss any of these programs or Geisinger Medical Center as a setting for ministry and pastoral learning. You may also fax your inquiry to 570-271-3708.