My Goals for Clinical Pastoral Education, or CPE.

We are instructed to create personal goals at the beginning of CPE training, with the instruction that they may morph or out-and-out change over the course of the work, but start somewhere, and make it challenging. Here are my goals for this September through January training:

Theological/Religious/Spiritual–To take the spiritual well being of the patient seriously enough that I risk asking more and more uncomfortable questions in order to better understand their need.

  • Indicator: I sometimes avoid asking questions that I think might make the other person uncomfortable in order to continue to see myself as “a diplomat,” i.e. attempt to make sure the other person keeps liking me. I emphasize pleasantness over finding something true.
  • Process: Ask at least one open-ended question of each patient in response to what they’ve told me, and listen and incorporate their response.

Interpersonal–To step further into the authority of the chaplain role.

  • Indicator: While I feel I have received a calling for working with the dying and the grieving, I still hold an attitude that those with hands-on skills, such as doctors and nurses, or those with more training, have more authority in their roles and deserve more respect.
  • Process: Take the educational process seriously, completing all homework and taking an active part in peer group and supervisory consultations.

Intrapersonal–To be more open to making mistakes and be less than perfect in the learning process, thus allowing me to better receive feedback and learn what I need to.

  • Indicator: Although better with this than I once was, I still feel resistance to putting myself into situations where I might fall short of my initial intentions.


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