|Clinical Pastoral Education program earns accreditation|
San Francisco Theological Seminary’s Clinical Pastoral Education program has joined elite company following recent accreditation by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc.
According to Rev. Laurie Garrett-Cobbina, the Shaw Family Chair for Clinical Pastoral Education, SFTS is one of only a handful of seminaries in the country that has earned the standing of being an accredited CPE Center by ACPE. The only CPE program among Graduate Theological Union members, SFTS has evolved into a key training ground for the skills and arts for chaplaincy/pastoral care on the West Coast.
“SFTS is extremely proud that this innovative program has achieved full accreditation so rapidly,” said SFTS Dean Dr. Elizabeth Liebert. “This achievement is due to the splendid work of so many people under the able leadership of Professor Laurie Garrett-Cobbina.”
Garrett-Cobbina joined the SFTS faculty in 2006 and the CPE program was launched in 2007. SFTS earned the 2010 John Rea Thomas Award for excellence in the fields of pastoral care and counseling for its CPE program last summer. Garrett-Cobbina, SFTS Interim President Dr. Laird J. Stuart and John Shaw received the award at the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly in Minneapolis.
What makes the SFTS program unique is that it is community based, according to Garrett-Cobbina. Training is done through small-group settings on campus, and practical experiences are offered through congregations, faith-based advocacy groups and healthcare institutions. Most CPE programs are solely hospital based.
Garrett-Cobbina praises the academic setting of the SFTS program, which integrates faculty expertise in theology, history, sacred texts, ethics, spirituality, pastoral counseling and preaching with traditional CPE training. This unique combination draws students from around the country, including Master of Divinity students, pastors desiring continuing education, ministers considering a transition into chaplaincy, and lay people who may be called on to make home and hospital visits on behalf of their congregations.
CPE training at SFTS is both ecumenical and interfaith. This is particularly important since SFTS serves as the CPE training ground for the GTU, which is the largest and most diverse partnership of seminaries in the United States. The GTU includes the Center for Jewish Studies, Center for Islamic Studies and Buddhist Studies.
Additionally, the SFTS program is accredited for Supervisory Education, an educational process by which CPE supervisory students become certified CPE supervisors.
Among the community benefits of CPE are:
· Persons offering caring ministries gain greater awareness of their own strengths and weaknesses, and how their personal history impacts their care giving.
· Leaders improve skills for crisis intervention, conflict management, grief process and group dynamics.
· Lay persons and religious leaders enhance skills in listening, caring, making spiritual assessment, integrating theory and practice, and pastor counseling.
· Spiritual directors are better equipped to lead worship, provide meaningful rituals and attend to the sacramental needs of the community they serve.
· Spiritual leaders are more competent to consult with other professionals and make referrals.