Clinical Pastoral Education International (CPEI) is accredited by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). CPEI complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard, which is recognized internationally as a standard of excellence in instructional practices. As a result of this accreditation, CPEI is authorized to issue the IACET CEU.
In the early 20th century theological education focused primarily on academic classroom learning with little emphasis on experiential learning. This changed with the influence of Anton Boisen and others who helped shape a new way of learning and ministry.
Clergyman Anton Boisen gave attention to listening, observing, and reading of living human documents. He was convinced that the type of mental illness he experienced was a religious experience and because he believed that religion had a curative, problem-solving nature, he concluded that many forms of insanity are religious rather than medical problems and that they cannot be successfully treated until they are so recognized. Boisen defined theology as the study of religious belief—the “spiritual forces” which operate within us—rather than as a systematic statement of belief. “We have sought to determine the origin and meaning of these beliefs, their function in the individual’s life, and their implications for a general system of values.”
In the following years others such as Dr. Richard Cabot, M.D., also known as the father of social work, began supervising seminarians in a hospital setting, using an internship/case model study. Although Boisen and Cabot agreed on the basic concept of clinical training for theological students, they differed in other areas. Cabot proposed a sophisticated professional training model in mind, in which students learn to carefully record their observations in history, diagnosis, treatment plan and goal formulation. However, in this context, Cabot has no particular interest in the relationship between mental disorders and religion.
Over the next several years several groups offered clinical pastoral training and were formed primarily around theological organizations, and pragmatic ideas regarding clinical training. Unfortunately, not all persons from theological organizations felt welcome in some of these programs, or the educational process was not formed around the most current educational and supervised concepts.
Therefore, in 2018 Clinical Pastoral Education International (CPEI), Inc., a 501(c)3 organization was formed with a commitment to provide measurable learning objectives and outcomes for its students; a clear and achievable path for chaplains and supervisors/instructions to be credentialed/certified, and one in which persons of all faiths would be valued.