FAQ About Accreditation

Why does CPSP offer accreditation?

CPSP formed as a community of practice, that is, a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. 

Clinical supervision was – and is – the practice that forms and informs life within CPSP. Mutual recognition of training programs and shared responsibility for oversight – accreditation, in a word – lies at the heart of The Covenant.

What does accreditation by CPSP represent?

Accreditation validates the training program’s achievement in offering the highest standard of clinical pastoral training, and in administering the program in compliance with CPSP Standards.

Accreditation assures the public – to include prospective trainees and future employers – that one’s experience in training actually fulfills the CPSP objectives for clinical training.

How are accreditation standards developed?

The U.S. Department of Education provides a process for the recognition of accrediting agencies that includes defining the tasks of accreditation (34 CFR §§ 602.14-602.29).

The Accreditation Manual assigns responsibilities and prescribes procedures for the activities that comprise accreditation, within the frames of CPSP’s emphasis on the role of the chapter and the principle of members’ service to the community.

How does the accreditation process influence the contents of training, and the methods used?

The contents of training are developed within the CPSP community (acting through the Standards Committee and either the Executive Chapter or Governing Council), and express the emerging consensus about the theories underlying clinical chaplaincy practice, and client issues encountered in the contemporary training/ministry environment.

The accreditation process does not dictate aims or impose methods on clinical pastoral training from the perspective of some educational orthodoxy, but, instead, provides an orderly, systematic, and fair assessment of how well the training program fulfills the objectives for clinical pastoral training as defined by CPSP. The supervisor’s imagination and creativity are respected and valued.

What kinds of training programs are accredited by CPSP?

CPSP currently accredits programs in clinical pastoral training.

The Standards provide for accreditation of pastoral psychotherapy training, but there are no accredited training programs in pastoral psychotherapy currently active.

Who is responsible for accreditation within CPSP?

The chapter’s role is described in the Accreditation Manual, Chapter Two.

The roles of clinical supervisor and training supervisor (if applicable) are defined in Chapter Three.

The role of the Accreditation Oversight Committee is defined in Chapter Four.

The role of the Accreditation Commission is detailed in Chapter Five.

Why does CPSP have both an Accreditation Oversight Committee and an Accreditation Commission?

The Committee studies and recommends action, or carries out decisions already made by either the Governing Council or the Executive Chapter. It submits a full report to the Governing Council (or the Executive Chapter, in the interim). Its recommendations require action. 

The Commission is empowered to consider and conclude matters assigned to it in the Accreditation Manual (Chapter Five), or referred to it. The Commission is expressly authorized and empowered to take actions specified in the Manual. 

What other accreditations are recognized by CPSP?

Accreditation awarded by the [former] Commission on the Accreditation of Pastoral and Psychotherapy Training (CAPPT) continue to be honored and published (on this web site) by CPSP. CAPPT accreditations referenced the CPSP Standards and Accreditation Manual (2016) then in effect.

What are the benefits of accreditation?

Training programs directed by CPSP diplomates that have been approved for accreditation are listed in the directory of training programs, with their current status noted.

Training programs that have fulfilled the requirements for pre-accreditation (including authorization by the supervisor’s chapter) are listed in the directory, with their status noted.

(The directory includes both US-based and internationally-based training programs.)

Within the United States, accreditation by an agency that is recognized by the US Department of Education confers particular benefits – namely, the ability to participate in specific federal programs – on those programs that have been accredited subsequent to the agency’s recognition. (CPSP is working actively towards seeking this recognition.)