Theses Doctoral

Spiritual Formation in the Practice of Clinical Spiritual Care Education and Supervision

Alleman, Megan

Historically, clinical spiritual care and education (or clinical pastoral education, CPE) has focused on pastoral formation, pastoral competence/conversation, pastoral understanding, and interpersonal dynamics. With the rise in holistic education in adult education this research sought to understand how students’ spirituality is affected by the CPE process. The primary research question was: Does CPE affect the spiritual lives and formation of its students? And if it does, how? A secondary research question was: Does CPE affect students’ connection to the god(s)/higher power/divine entity of their understanding? And if it does, how?
First, the researcher developed a qualitative survey that allowed participants to self-define their spirituality and provide open-ended descriptions on how CPE affected their spiritual formation, or not. The survey was published with ACPE, Inc. and 17 participants answered. The data was analyzed through thematic coding and five themes emerged: Changes in Relationality, Things That Came Out of Struggle, Changes in Spiritual Beliefs & Spiritual Practices, Importance of Essential Elements in CPE, Things that Came Out of Struggling Related to Divinity. My assessment of the results of the themes is that CPE has been implicitly addressing the spiritual needs and spiritual formation of its students. Therefore, my recommendation is for Educators to find ways to make the implicit explicit thus enhancing what is already present in the curriculum.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Union Theological Seminary
Thesis Advisors
Cooper-White, Pamela
D.Min., Union Theological Seminary
Published Here
April 23, 2021