Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Mari V. Tinney


This qualitative case study addressed the problem at a West Indies theological college that lacked the ability to provide courses for spiritual care training by using the teaching methodology of clinical pastoral education (CPE). CPE is an experiential process using a clinical method of learning to interpret human conditions. Spiritual care training through CPE teaches clerics how to help persons find meaning in life's situations and make connections with their God. Guided by the frameworks of transformative learning and critical theological reflection, this study explored the lived experiences of 5 purposefully selected CPE students who participated in 1 unit of CPE training at the college. Interview data were coded and analyzed to uncover emergent themes. The findings revealed these overarching themes: (a) personal empowerment, (b) increased pastoral care competencies, (c) increased sensitivity to suffering, and (d) connectivity to self-care and ministry. The interview data provided the impetus for the developed CPE Orientation (CPEO) to help students obtain basic skills in pastoral/spiritual care and critical theological reflections. It is recommended that persons with advanced CPE training could conduct the CPEO training, negating the need for a certified CPE supervisor expertise. Positive social change may occur when pastoral/spiritual care training is provided to clergy and laity to improve basic pastoral/spiritual care skills by helping clergy and parishioners respond to stressors in a healthy manner. Theological education that promotes spiritual care for persons in crisis may benefit the world and presents an avenue for social change to occur in the communities where clergy serve.