Clinical Pastoral Orientation

We will begin Clinical Pastoral Orientation this February. It will be on Monday afternoons from 1pm until 4 or 5pm, for 7 weeks, starting on February 1st. It will be held at the Bukal Life Care office on the grounds of PBTS in Baguio City.

It can be taken for credit with Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary (2 units). However, it can also be taken as a stand-alone course.

Clinical Pastoral Orientation is an introduction to Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) and following the structure and methodology of training of CPE. In actual work, it constitutes about 25% of one full unit of CPE.

CPO is useful for those who seek the benefits of CPE but can’t commit to the time. It is also useful for those who are curious about CPE, but want to know more about it first. NOTE:  CPE with Bukal Life Care is certified by both CPSP and CPSP-Philippines. However, CPO has not formal certification, except as tied to an accredited educational institution, such as PBTS.

Clinical Pastoral Orientation. What and Why

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

Clinical Pastoral Orientation (CPO) Graduation

Clinical Pastoral Orientation (CPO) had its graduation on February 20, 2012. The Graduation ceremony was held at West Baguio Baptist Church. We had 17 graduates, 15 of them attending Philippine College of Ministry, and 2 attending International Christian Colleges. Dr. Sim Dang-Awan, the president of the Board of Trustees of Bukal Life Care & Counseling Center was the graduation speaker.

Afterwards, everyone went to Riverview Park, for picnic, swimming, and final evals. Great time had by all.

CPO (Clinical Pastoral Orientation) is a program of approximately 60 hours or training, supervision, and practical work, to prepare for CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education)