CPEI Code of Professional Ethics


  1. To set forth the ethical obligations for Supervisors/Educators, Chaplains, Pastoral Counselors, and Students.
  2. To provide the basis for processing inquiries and ethical concerns.

Common Standards for CPEI

  1. In Relationship with Ecclesiastical and Professional Institutions
    1.1  Maintain a good standing in their faith group.
    1.2  Abide by the professional practice and/or teaching standards of the credentialing organization and the institution in which are part of.
    1.3  Do not directly or by implication claim professional qualifications that exceed actual qualifications or misrepresent an affiliation with any institution.

  2. In Relationship with Self, Other Professionals, and the Community
    2.1  Accurately represents one’s professional qualifications and affiliations.
    2.2  Exercises stewardship of resources entrusted to their care and employ sound financial practices.
    2.3  Respect the opinions, beliefs, and professional endeavors of colleagues and professionals.
    2.4  Seek advice and counsel of other professionals whenever it is in the best interest of those being served and make referrals when appropriate.
    2.5  Provide expertise and counsel to other professionals in advocating for best practices in pastoral care and pastoral supervision.
    2.6  Seek to establish collaborative relationships with other community leaders, pastoral relationships, and healthcare professionals.
    2.7  Advocates for changes that would honor spiritual values and promote healing.
    2.8  Communicate sufficient information to other professional members and/or pastoral Supervisors/Educators while respecting the privacy of those being served.
    2.9  Ensure that personal behavior does not impair the ability to fulfill professional responsibilities or bring dishonor to the profession.
    2.10  Clearly distinguish between statements made or actions taken as a private individual and those made as a member or representative of CPEI.
    2.11  Monitor for signs of impairment-emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually and take the appropriate steps to address such signs.

  3. In Advertising and Promotion
    3.1  Represent one’s competencies, education, training, and experience relevant to their practice of pastoral care, education, and supervision in an accurate manner.
    3.2  Do not use any professional identification (business cards, letterhead, Internet, or telephone directory, etc.) that is false, misleading, fraudulent, or deceptive.
    3.3  List and claim as evidence only degrees, certification, and credentials that are earned from recognized educational institutions and/or training Centers.

  4. In Research
    4.1  Engage only in research within the boundaries of their competence.
    4.2  Ensure that research activities involving human participants are aware of the research question, design, and implementation.
    4.3  Adhere to informed consent, including a clear and understandable explanation of the procedures, a description of the risks and benefits, and the duration of the desired participation.
    4.4  Inform all participants of the right to withdraw consent and to discontinue involvement at any time.
    4.5  Maintain sensitivity to the cultural characteristics of participants when conducting research.
    4.6  Maintain confidentiality of all research participants and inform participants of any limits of that confidentiality.
    4.7  Use any information obtained through research for professional purposes only.
    4.8  Exercises professional ethics in attributing sources in their research and writing, thereby avoiding plagiarism.
    4.9  Report research data and findings accurately.

  5. In Relationship to the Social-Media
    5.1  Recognize that the CPEI Code of Professional Ethics applies to the use of social media.
    5.2  Engage in honest and respectful communication, both professionally and personally, in all Social Media activity.
    5.3  Maintain a clear professional identity and refrain from developing inappropriate social media relationships with students, other individuals.
    5.4  Do not speak formally or informally on behalf of CPEI when engaging in personal social media activity unless authorized to do so.
    5.5  Be mindful of the privacy and confidentiality of students and others and not engage in the use of social media in any way, which may pose as a conflict of interest or a breach of another’s privacy and confidentiality.

    Pastoral Supervisors/Educators, chaplains, members, and student members are aware that social media (for example, Internet, text messaging, email, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube, LinkedIn, as well as all other forms of electronic/digital communication) influences and informs our daily life and work.  We recognize that the World Wide Web records everything that is posted anywhere anytime and retains this information indefinitely.

Standards for CPE Supervisors/Educators and Supervisory Education Students

  1. In Relationships with Students and Clients
    1.1  Pastoral Supervisors/Educators understand that “students, clients, patients or parishioners” (refer to the same type of persons served and will be used interchangeably throughout this document) and describe any individual to whom they are providing pastoral supervision, pastoral care, or counseling.
    1.2  Speak and act in ways that honor the dignity and value of every individual.
    1.3  Provide care and supervision that is intended to promote the best interest of students and clients and to foster strength, integrity, learning, and healing.
    1.4  Demonstrate respect for the cultural and religious values of those they serve and refrain from imposing their own values and beliefs on those served.
    1.5. Acknowledge the imbalance of power in the Supervisor/Educator and student relationship and refrain from exploitation of that imbalance.
    1.6  Avoid or correct any conflicts of interest or appearance of conflicting interest(s).
    1.7  Refrain from any form of exploitative behavior, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, or sexual assault in relationships with students and clients.
    1.8  Refrain from any form of harassment, coercion, intimidation or otherwise abusive words or actions in relationships with students and clients.
    1.9  Safeguard the confidentiality of students and clients when using materials for educational purposes or written publications.
    1.10  Respect the confidentiality of information entrusted to them by students and clients when communicating with family members or significant others except when disclosure is required for necessary treatment, granted by client permission, for the safety of any person or when required by law.
    1.11  Understand the limits of individual expertise and make referrals to other professionals when appropriate.
    1.12  Provide clear expectations regarding responsibilities, appointment schedules, fees, and payments.
    1.13  Complete assessments and evaluations for students according to the standards.
    1.14  Do not represent the ability to provide supervision beyond one’s appropriate level of education and credentialing.
    1.15  Monitor for signs of impairment-emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually and take the appropriate steps to address such signs.

  2. Video/Audio/Distance Learning Center Standards

    2.1  The use of technology (computers, webcams, etc.) are accepted as an industry-standard in a variety of professional disciplines, including CPEI Affiliate Training Programs.  Supervisors/Educators choosing to make use of such a method are to ensure, at a minimum, that participants are knowledgeable as to what is required for participation, how to utilize the required programming, persons are informed when sessions are recorded, and address matters of confidentiality.  In addition, the risks and benefits of such use need to be identified.
    2.2  Pastoral Supervisors/Educators are authorized to use cameras and/or other technological equipment to record individual and/or group peer sessions for supervision and training purposes only. Recorded data will be maintained only to serve the purpose of supervision and credentialing, after which it will be destroyed.
    2.3  Pastoral Supervisors/Educators will safeguard client rights and confidentiality of recording in a secure setting as well as ensure the participants and Pastoral Supervisor/Educator review and sign a “Consent to Audio or Video Tape” Form

CPEI Code of Ethics for Student Recruitment

Clinical Pastoral Education International follows a Code of Ethics for Student Recruitment Personnel in regard to the recruitment of students.

A. As a student recruitment representative of an accredited distance education institution, including CPEI Affiliate Organizations, I recognize that I have certain responsibilities toward students, the public, and my institution. To fulfill these responsibilities, I pledge adherence to this Code of Ethics.

B. I will observe fully the accreditation standards, rules, policies, procedures, and guidelines established by Clinical Pastoral Education International, and any other authorized agency.

C. I will adhere to high ethical standards in the conduct of my work, and to the best of my ability, will:

  1. Observe fully the rights of all applicants and commit no action that would be detrimental to any applicant’s opportunity to enroll because of race, sex, color, creed, or national origin.
  2. Never knowingly make any false or misleading representation to any applicant or use any coercive practices in presenting the information.
  3. Enroll applicants only in the course or courses in which they have expressed their interest, provided they meet the qualifications and standards established by CPEI.
  4. Provide applicants only the information authorized by CPEI regarding the occupational opportunities for those who complete training and receive certificates, and never make claim guaranteeing employment, job promotion prospects, or income increases to an applicant.
  5. State accurately and clearly to prospective students the approvals, accreditation, business and employer recognition, and course acceptance accorded to my training center.
  6. Provide only full and accurate information on the transferability of completed course credits of CPE or PCE that are accepted by other accreditation entities, and disclose affirmatively the fact that the acceptance of completed courses is entirely the prerogative of the receiving entity and acceptance cannot be guaranteed.
  7. Provide prospective applicants only complete and accurate information on the total financial obligation they will be incurring to accepting their enrollment application.
  8. Provide students prior to enrolling complete and accurate information about financing options for students and answer any questions.
  9. Never use tuition assistance available from a government agency or other sources as the primary inducement for enrollment.
  10. Refrain at all times from making any statement or inference that might falsely impugn the integrity or value of any other CPE training center, entity, organization, method of training, or profession.
  11. Discharge faithfully, and to the best of my ability, all the duties and obligations and procedures established by CPEI and know all of my obligations as a CPEI representative
  12. Reflect at all times the highest credit upon myself, CPEI, and the field of distance education, and always strive to enhance the reputation of my profession through my conduct as a representative.