Vancouver School of Theology

Forming thoughtful, engaged and generous Christian leaders for the church in the 21st century


Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) – Vancouver Coastal Health

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C.P.E. is an experiential action/reflection model of education. It is in many respects a hybrid blend of the pastoral/spiritual-tradition and modern sociological and psychological approaches to care. As a member of an inter-professional team, each student’s educational experience involves providing pastoral care to patients, families and staff.

Learning occurs through direct experience, use of reflective tools, didactic sessions, dialogue around cases in an interfaith peer group, as well as individual supervision.

C.P.E. is an intense form of adult education that actively explores human emotion, meaning making, and interpersonal relationships with reference to their relevance for Spiritual Care practice. There is an emphasis on staying present in the moment to our experiences. Each student is part of the group and each student’s learning is largely dependent on the dedication of group members to providing honest feedback and support. As such, personal maturity is as important as academic background in assessing a student’s readiness for this form of education. Students learn to integrate their understanding of head and heart, emotion and thought, theology and experience. Students should expect to commit a significant amount of energy and creative imagination towards making the maximum use of the time and opportunity.

Fall Unit Start Date: September 11, 2018

Teaching Session: 3:30 – 8:00pm – Tuesdays

Location for teaching sessions – Room 202 Doctor’s Residence, Vancouver General Hospital

Application to do a CPE unit is administered through the hospital that hosts the Clinical Pastoral Education unit.  Vancouver School of Theology serves only as the educational institution for registration and academic credits.  To apply to do a unit of CPE at Vancouver General Hospital please contact:

Rev. Doug Longstaffe (Vancouver Coastal Health) – 604 875-4643 or

Students enrolled in VST degree programs will receive priority into CPE units.  To address the problem of people indicating interest and then withdrawing at the last minute, CPE registrations will be due at least 2 months prior to the start-date of the unit, along with a $250 non-refundable deposit.  

Registration into a CPE unit entails BOTH registration procedures and paperwork at the hospital, and the registration form at VST, and registration is not considered complete until both places have the required paperwork and deposit.


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