A Brief History of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE)

Clinical Pastoral Education was conceived in the 1920's by Dr. Richard C. Cabot as a method of learning for pastors to proactively minister in a clinical setting under supervision. The concept was enlarged by the Rev. Anton T. Boise, a Congregational minister, to include a case study method of theological inquiry - a study of "the living human documents". As clinical pastoral education has developed over the years, other leaders have opened the doors toward integration into pastoral care services with knowledge garnered from medicine, psychiatry, psychology, social work and other behavioral sciences. Helen Flanders Dunbar, Carl Rogers, Seward Hiltner, Carroll Wise, Howard Clinebel have been notable leaders in the field.

The standards and objectives for the CPE Program at Ecumenical Institute's Cherokee Center are in accord with the national organization that sets standards and oversees the programs of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE).

Accredited centers such as Ecumenical Institute offer programs of clinical pastoral education as:

Many colleges, universities and theological schools give academic credit for CPE training according to the curriculum standards of their respective institutions.

More information is available at www.acpe.edu.

Ecumenical Institute

Our CPE program started at Cherokee Mental Health Institute (CMHI). CMHI was originally identified as the "Cherokee Asylum for the Insane" which sharply contrasts with the current mission, progressive and solidly established expertise in the field of mental health care delivery today.

The CPE Center

CPE Administrative History

Given all the historic and current realties from 1902 to 2008, many changes are still underway. Addressing these forthrightly is the only hope for the viability of the CPE program in rural areas such as this - in particular relating to a continuing population decline.

Having read the signs of the times more than a decade ago, the Ecumenical Institute was founded and has directed itself untiringly to develop an adaptation model that offers hope for CPE to continue to be offered here in the country. A model has been developed and is now being delivered that offers complement to the long-standing health care institutional model that has been the focus of CPE for nearly all of its history. Medical care has dramatically changed and has shifted in larger and larger measures to outpatient services and to in-community and in-home health care services. Adapting CPE training opportunities to this reality has been the vision and the driving force expressed in the mission of Ecumenical Institute.

The Cherokee Mental Health Institute is administered by the Department of Human Services (DHS), a governmental department of the State of Iowa with central offices located at Des Moines.

The on-site administration of the CMHI facility is the responsibility of the Leadership Team, a 4-6 member administrative board that is made up of department heads. The current Superintendent is Cory Turner.  

Until August 15, 2002, the CPE program and its staff were under the direct supervision of this administrative committee. It is now directed by the Board of Directors of Ecumenical Institute (organized in 1993) as a free-standing institute directed to offer certified pastoral education for Northwest Iowa.

Ecumenical Institute's Mission Statement

"To provide quality pastoral education through an accredited training center by certified personnel on an ecumenical, non-discriminatory basis in compliance with all local, state and federal laws and to provide these services primarily on behalf of the people of Northwest Iowa. Special concern is directed to meeting the needs of rural communities and to serving as a public trust in all matters related to the financial support of these educational services."

Although the State of Iowa DHS is no longer the direct tax-funded sponsor of CPE, CMHI continues its support of CPE in multiple ways including:

Further, Denise Green, Public Service Supervisor of CMHI is the official liaison with the EI Board of Directors. CMHI staff members routinely continue to provide didactic presentations on mental health and illness and on the modern treatment modalities. They provide links with the community for holistic continuity of care.

The rationale for all of this is that by history, now furthered by the direction that EI has taken, there is a connecting link between the stated missions of these two institutes as both direct themselves to public education and service.

Historical Information - Cherokee Mental Health Institute

The Cherokee Mental Health Institute was established in 1902:

For further information, contact CMHI's website at www.dhs.state.ia.us/Consumers/Facilities/Cherokee.html.