Supervised Pastoral Education (SPE) is an experience-based approach to learning ministry, which combines pastoral care with qualified supervision and group reflection. The program is open to clergy, theology students and lay persons with theology training. It aims to assist persons in achieving their full potential for ministry. Programs are offered at facilities throughout Canada, including general and psychiatric hospitals, correctional centres and a variety of other locations. Each centre is connected to a theological college. Supervisor-Educators are Certified by the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care/ Association canadienne de soins spirituels (CASC/ACSS).

SPE is education in which a student develops the arts and skills of pastoral work together with a small group of colleagues while being guided by a qualified supervisor-Educator. This education may be conducted in a health or correctional institution, parish, pastoral counselling centre or other setting where the student’s ministry may be closely supervised. SPE is normally in an inter-disciplinary context where the insights of other professions promote creative dialogue and where co-operation is encouraged with other workers and agencies serving the community. SPE consists of two different streams: Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) or Pastoral Counseling Education (PCE). What are the essentials of a SPE Program?

  1. Spiritual Care provision with others who may or may not be in a crisis situation. The frequency and intensity of visits depends on factors unique to each situation.
  2. Reflective consideration of spiritual care encounters facilitated by reports (written or taped), role playing, seminars, and discussion with peers and a supervisor-educator. This reflective process considers the dynamics of the one being ministered to as well as the one ministering from theological, psychological, and sociological perspectives.
  3. A group process in which SPE students and their supervisor-educator share and learn together.
  4. Individual supervision for each student with their supervisor.
  5. An opportunity to acquire relevant theoretical information through an educational process including directed reading. Clinical seminars are integrated with the education.

During summer months, students are usually involved for eight hours a day, five days a week over 12 weeks. During fall and winter months, students are offered programs on a one or two-day-per-week basis. Courses are offered at Basic and Advanced levels for those interested in becoming Certified Spiritual Care Practitioners or Psycho-Spiritual Therapists.

CASC/ACSS Members, please visit Manual Chapter 2: Education for further information.