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Canadian Association for Spiritual Care
Vancouver School of Theology
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)
The spiritual care teaching program at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is fully accredited the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC). This type of training has been known for decades by the terms "Clinical Pastoral Education" (CPE) and "Supervised Pastoral Education (SPE)". We have been conducting both basic and advanced levels of Clinical Pastoral Education through our Spiritual Care and Multi-Faith Services department at Vancouver General Hospital for decades and were approved by CASC to add Richmond Hospital as a teaching site in 2019. Basic, Advanced and Supervisory levels of education are all being provided currently at both Vancouver General and Richmond Hospitals. CPE is taught in an multi-faith context with and for persons from all faith traditions and walks of life. After completion of two basic units and one advanced unit, if one has a M.A. degree in Theological studies or equivalent one can become eligible to apply for positions in BC public health facilities to work as a Spiritual Care Practitioner. Theological schools may also require their students to take CPE units as part of their training to be a minister or denominational chaplain. Please see below under VST for more information.
Usually there is one Extended part time unit (13hrs per week) (Sept – April) and one Intensive full time (40hrs per week) (April – August) being taught in a calendar year at VGH and Richmond Hospital. Other teaching sites may start operating in hospitals under the VCH program in the future.
Phone: (604) 875-4111 Ext. 68875
Vancouver General and Richmond Hospitals offer an Extended Unit of CPE with a schedule designed to meet the needs of students who are taking other coursework, working part time or in a flexible full time position. At both hospitals, the unit typically runs from the 2nd or 3rd week of Sept to the first week of April. Group sessions will be on Tuesdays at both hospitals with the first class in 2020 being, Tuesday Sept. 15th, For VGH, Tuesday teaching days begin at 2pm and end at 7pm (with a 30 min break for supper). For RH, Tuesday teaching days begin at 1pm and go till 5:30pm (with no 30 min break for supper). For both units, slight adjustments in the Tuesday commencement and ending time may occur if the supervisor and all students agree. Time slots for individual supervisory sessions and ward assignments will depend upon the schedule of each hospital ward as well as each student's availability. Students are expected to average 8 hours per week on the hospital wards, to be delivered on 2 separate 1/2 days each week between 8 am and 6 pm Monday – Friday. This time is spent, providing bedside spiritual care and attending inter-professional team meetings. Average weekly commitment on site for all functions will normally total 13 hours. All advanced students and basic students who are deemed to have sufficient competencies may also provide a week of on call after-hour service. Students enrolled in Vancouver School of Theology intercession week are not required to be at the hospital for their clinical hours for the week of Jan VST Intensives but are expected to attend Tuesday group session. December holidays, will be observed so that there will be no group sessions for the week leading up to and following Christmas Day but students remaining in the city may elect to continue ward visitations as long as the supervisor is on site, in order to reach their 200 clinical hour requirement. The Tuesday group session continues to meet during VST reading weeks. During the first two weeks of class there will be some additional group session times negotiated in addition to the regularly scheduled group times in order to prepare new students for the wards. The normal application deadline is, July 10 but may be extended if the unit is not filled by that date. Application forms cannot be processed until after a screening interview is conducted by the Supervisors at either VGH or RH.
At both VGH and RH, a spring/summer intensive unit is also offered most years. An intensive unit involves a commitment of 40hrs per week on site over the course of 12 weeks. The 2020 unit will start Mon May 04 at RH and end on July 24. The VGH summer unit will run from May 18 – August 07 with individual final in person evaluations done the following week. There are breaks only for statutory holidays. The content and design of the unit is the same as the fall/winter unit described above despite its being condensed into a 12 week period of time. The normal application deadline is Feb 30th, but may be extended. Credit for an intensive unit is the same as for an extended. For further information, or to make application, contact Silvia, the Administrative Assistant listed below or one of the CPE supervisors. Application forms cannot be processed until after a screening interview is conducted by the supervisors at VGH and RH.
Admin Assistant for Spiritual Care
Phone: (604) 875-4111 Ext. 68875
Profession Leader & CPE Supervisor
Vancouver General Hospital
Phone: (604) 875-4643
CPE Supervisor at Richmond Hospital
Phone: (604) 244-5506
Subsequent to completing all CPE units students may apply for a residency that includes a stipend. This may be formatted as one full-time position or two half-time positions. The prospective student completes the residency at VGH through directed studies in an area of specialization in conjunction with the Vancouver School of Theology and the VGH Teaching Supervisor. Residencies are renewable up to two years. A post-graduate diploma may be incorporated.
We have partnered with VST, so that students are able to take a Master's degree in Public and Pastoral Leadership (PPL) in Spiritual Care with CPE units as a part of it. The Spiritual Care stream of this degree was designed to meet the certification requirements of the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care as well as the Province of British Columbia's Framework for Spiritual Care Practitioners. Learn more about VST's PPL in Spiritual Care Graduate degree program.
The BC Ministry of Health requires all Spiritual Care Practitioners, to have achieved the equivalent of 2 basic units and one advanced unit of Clinical Pastoral Education. In Canada this training is provided by supervisors certified by the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC). CASC is a national organization, committed to the professional education, certification and support of persons providing spiritual care, pastoral counselling, education and research. It welcomes persons of all faith traditions. It provides educational programs for persons who are preparing to become professional providers of Spiritual Care and Pastoral counselling in a variety of institutional and community settings such as health care, corrections, education and private practice. It also welcomes ministers, priests and faith leaders of all traditions who may simply wish to take a unit of CPE to augment their professional work as clergy.
Visit the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care website for more information