Clinical Pastoral Orientation (CPO) is a training program we have been using to teach pastoral care skills within the Bible School setting. It is designed to fit into the curriculum of a standard Bible School course, both in length and effort. Yet it has characteristics that are different than a normal Bible school course. Differences include:
1. Follows the training philosophy of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) but involves approximately 60hrs of real time instead of 400hrs.
2. Utilizes small group interaction and 1-on-1 supervision.
3. Utilizes hospital or parish pastoral counseling with case study method.
Why is this useful? Here are a few possible reasons:
- Provides a better training platform for pastoral care than the standard lecture-based system.
- Gives a taste of what CPE entails to help the trainee determine whether to move forward in this direction.
- The system (with properly trained supervisors) provides a healthy environment for mentoring and self-understanding.
So can anyone set up CPO in their own Bible School? Theoretically, yes. However, we recommend that trainers/supervisors are properly trained in CPE. We recommend that a trainer/supervisor is at least certifed as an Associate Clinical Chaplain (CPSP system of certification), although higher would be recommended.
Can CPO be done outside of the Bible School/Seminary setting? Absolutely. It is true, however, that it is a challenge. The requirements require a commitment that can be challenging outside of a formal academic setting.
Is CPO a certified program? No. As the program is incorporated into a Bible School or seminary, the school provides the accreditation. We at Bukal Life Care set standards for school programs that work with us. These standards are based on the standards set for CPSP-certified CPE (and our standards for teaching/supervising CPO is based on CPSP certifications). By doing this, the transition from CPO to CPSP-certified CPE is normal.
We (and partners of ours involved in CPSP) have led CPO at Philippine College of Ministries, and Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary, and locations in Manila. The version that we presently recommend was developed by Dr. Ryan Clark at PBTS based on lessons learned from previous programs.
If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org