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What is Clinical Pastoral Education?

Clinical pastoral education (CPE) is multifaith professional education intended to assist clergy, candidates for rabbinate/ministry, and spiritual care workers to develop a spiritual care identity as well appropriate skills in the delivery of spiritual care. CPE is the primary method of training hospital and hospice chaplains and spiritual care providers. CPE is an experience-based approach to learning spiritual care, which combines pastoral care with qualified supervision and group reflection. Supervised encounters with those in crisis helps students develop their own awareness in meeting the needs of those with whom they work, including congregational and institutional settings, regardless of faith tradition. The program is open to clergy, theology students and lay persons with theology training. It aims to assist people in achieving their full potential for spiritual care provision.

Clinical pastoral education at Baycrest

Being part of a teaching hospital, Baycrest’s Spiritual Care team offers learning opportunities for students, clergy and those preparing to work in institutions as Spiritual Care Professionals (Chaplains) through courses in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). Baycrest offers CPE programs in affiliation with the Toronto Schools of Theology (TST), part of the University of Toronto, and may be taken for credit in conjunction with TST degree programs. Baycrest’s CPE programs are offered under the auspices of The Canadian Association for Spiritual Care / Association Canadienne de Soins Spirituels (CASC/ACSS) and its Teaching Supervisor is certified by CASC/ACSS as well.

All Baycrest CPE participants must also apply to and register through a TST member school. Students who are already enrolled within a TST program should communicate with their program director to determine whether a CPE unit fits within their program. All students are granted TST credit for successfully completed units (each unit is equivalent to two TST courses, or 1.0 credit).

The CPE Curriculum Structure

Baycrest offers CPE units in two modalities, including extended (part-time) and summer intensive (full-time) programs. The programs provide in-depth training with people in need in an environment where effective feedback from peers, teachers and students develop deeper self-awareness. The program’s structure provides 16 hours/week for a total of 400 hours in an extended unit and 34 hours/week for a total of 408 hours in an intensive unit. At least 200 hours are for Direct Clinical Service with an additional 190 hours of Group Supervision (didactics, case presentations, peer group, etc.) and at least 10 hours of Individual Supervision.

Unique features of CPE at Baycrest

There are several unique features of the CPE program at Baycrest:
  • Inter-professional Collaboration: CPE students work and train with other health professionals and students from diverse professions.
  • Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care: Baycrest provides a continuum of culturally and linguistically appropriate care to seniors of Jewish and other cultural backgrounds. The diversity of education opportunities available to CPE students greatly enhances the quality of the CPE unit.
  • Jewish Culture, Heritage and Religion: As a Jewish faith-based organization, students will have the opportunity to become familiar with and to gain knowledge in Jewish culture, heritage and religion and learn how to interact with Holocaust survivors, especially in the Apotex Centre – Jewish Home for the Aged, which has the largest concentration of Holocaust survivors in Canada.
  • Multifaith, Pluralistic Context: The diverse population of patients, particularly in the Hospital, and staff at Baycrest allows students to become familiar with and to gain competence in providing spiritual care in a multifaith context. Students have opportunities to learn central aspects of the major religious traditions (particularly as these relate to understandings of life, death, health, and illness) through their work with patients/family/staff from the many traditions.

Baycrest’s Teaching Supervisor

Rabbi Dr. Geoffrey Haber is certified through NAJC (Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains) with reciprocity from CASC/ACSS as a Certified Spiritual Care Provider. He is a Registered Psychotherapist with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) and a member of the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC), the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC) and the Military Chaplains Association (MCA). Rabbi Haber holds a DD in Practical Rabbinics and a DMin in Pastoral Care and Counseling as well as an MA in Jewish Studies and two BA degrees.

Rabbi Haber was recognised for his work in CPE and awarded Baycrest’s Outstanding Innovation Award and Baycrest’s Teaching Award for Outstanding Contribution to Health Discipline Education.

Rabbi Haber has been Director of Spiritual Care at Baycrest since September 2012 and served as a hospice care chaplain in Boston prior to returning to Canada. Concurrent with his healthcare chaplaincy, he is a commissioned officer in the US Navy Chaplain Corps (Reserve). Preceding his transition to fulltime chaplaincy, Rabbi Haber served as a synagogue rabbi for 24 years.

For more information about CPE, please check out these websites:

Canadian Association for Spiritual Care
Clinical Pastoral Education-Toronto
Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains