Spiritual Care

Your spiritual health matters

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What is Spiritual Care?

Spiritual Care focuses on nurturing your spiritual health and well-being. Our department, staffed by a team of Spiritual Care Practitioners and educators, provides professional spiritual care. We offer one-to-one support, organize spiritual gatherings, rituals and celebrations, share resources and partner with volunteers, students and the community. Our focus is on providing spiritual care for St. Joseph’s patients, residents, clients and loved ones. 

What is Spiritual Health?

St. Joseph’s is committed to caring for the overall well-being of everyone we serve: body, mind and spirit. This includes caring for your spiritual health. Spiritual health care is about finding meaning and purpose, understanding your identify or connectedness with humanity, nature, God or the Transcendent.

Who are Spiritual Care Practitioners (SCP)?

Spiritual Care Practitioners are important members of the healthcare team. They provide compassionate and culturally-sensitive support and counselling. SCPs have graduate level training in spirituality and counselling, and follow the certification process of the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care. Many on the team are also members of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.

In whatever way you understand spirituality, we are here to support you.

How can a Spiritual Care Practitioner (SCP) help you?

Respectful of all beliefs and traditions, SCPs can help by:

  • Providing comfort when you are feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, isolated and anxious
  • Supporting you in crisis situations that may include end-of-life, unfavourable news, change in prognoses or sudden loss
  • Helping you make decisions in line with your spiritual beliefs and values
  • Connecting you with the spiritual supports that are important to you
  • Assessing your spiritual needs and offering choices for spiritually-focused therapeutic care, and in some areas offering spiritually-integrated psychotherapy

What other spiritual resources are available?

SCPs can help connect you with:

  • Multifaith and spiritual reflection spaces and Chapels
  • Sacred texts, spiritual reading materials, symbols and other sacred objects
  • Local spiritual communities and organizations

Clinical Psychospiritual Education

Watch the Clinical Psychospiritual Education video on YouTube

Placement Process

Program Structure: Clinical Psychospiritual Education (CPE) is an experiential-based educational program and provides students with rich and varied learning opportunities in the art, science and practice of spiritual care in a clinical health care setting.

Over 25 years of experience in the provision of CPE education has enabled us to continually refine and improve our experiential-based program. We use an adult-based teaching style to build on the knowledge base our students bring to the course.  Theological, psychological, psychotherapeutic, sociological and ethical themes are woven throughout every training unit.  

CPE units are provided on a variety of our hospital sites. Spiritual Care provides service in all programs in the hospital and across the continuum of health care.  St. Joseph’s services patients (adolescents to elderly) with complex and chronic diseases, chronic mental illness, rehabilitation and recovery needs, and veterans and residents in our long-term care programs.

We foster opportunities for students to roll up their sleeves and get right to work in clinical areas.  This is followed up with reflection, analyses, and integration of learning from caregiving experiences. CPE also fosters students’ personal learning goals to help them achieve their potential in providing spiritual care to others.  By working directly with patients, family and interprofessional team members from a variety of health care disciplines, students build their skills in supporting others on their own unique sacred paths. 

Clinical units of training are offered on a full time and part time basis. Three levels of training are offered at St. Joseph’s Health Care London:

  • Basic Level CPE (2 successful Basic Units are required to move to Advanced Training)
  • Advanced Level CPE (2 successful Advanced Units are required to move toward certification)
  • Supervisory Education for those who have achieved Specialist Certification and are interested in training as a Teaching Supervisor, CPE.

Placement options 

Spiritual Care offers a variety of placement opportunities depending on the availability of a teaching supervisor and on the sufficient number of successful student applications.  Each unit consists of a minimum of 3 to a maximum of 6 students.

Full time intensive 12 week (400 hour) units are offered during the summer months.  Part time (400 hour) extended units are also an option during Fall/Winter months if there are a sufficient number of interested and successful applicants.

Length of placement 

Each CPE unit involves 400 hours of training which is divided equally between a) direct clinical experience providing spiritual care to patients, families and staff and b) various group educational processes.

Written assignments also form part of the learning agenda.

Evaluation process

Students are evaluated utilizing a national CASC/ACSS standardized evaluation tool that is competency based.  Evaluations are completed by both the teaching supervisor and by the student themselves.

There is a mid-term evaluation and a final evaluation.

In addition, there is a formal feedback process through which students receive feedback from interprofessional team members in their assigned clinical areas.  

Student also have the opportunity to evaluate and provide feedback to their clinical areas as to how they have experienced the clinical area team’s support of their learning goals.

Regulatory Body/Professional Association

Our organization is accredited with CASC/ACSS (Canadian Association for Spiritual Care/Association Canadienne de soins Spirituels) as an official teaching hospital for Clinical Pastoral Education. Our teaching supervisors are certified members of CASC/ACSS [and are members of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario]. 

The Canadian Association for Spiritual Care/Association Canadienne de soins Spirituels. Business Office: 12-16715 Yonge Street, Suite 315, Newmarket, ON L3X 1X4. Toll Free: 1-866-442-2773.

Local University affiliations for our training program include the University of Western Ontario’s St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Seminary and Huron University College (Anglican); the Toronto School of Theology’s Knox College and Emmanuel College; and Wilfred Laurier’s Martin Luther University College.

Process for placements

To initiate the application process contact Teaching Supervisor: @email

The application process includes a written application, references and a face to face interview.

It is not necessary that college and/or seminary education requirements be complete for education to begin. 

See the CASC/ACSS website for information about establishing equivalency of past education and for academic requirements for advanced and supervisory training.

Clinicians with backgrounds in various health care disciplines also benefit from this training. 

More information about professional certification is available on the CASC website. 

Orientation process

Students participate in the organizational orientation processes.  In addition, they are oriented to their assigned clinical areas by the Spiritual Care Practitioners who cover that program/clinical unit.  Didactics provide orientation to processes such as charting, spiritual assessment processes, etc.

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