Training Tomorrow’s Spiritual Healers

Union sat down with Union Rabbi Jeffery Silberman, Director of the new Doctor of Ministry program in supervisory spiritual care education, to ask him how this new program will help CPE supervisors. The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Union: Can you tell me a little bit about your background, what brought you into this work?
JS: I’ve been doing Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) for over 30 years now. I started 37 years ago, doing CPE for the first time. I’ve always enjoyed it. When I was ordained as a rabbi, I started out in a synagogue in Boston, and it was not particularly fulfilling for me. When I went into CPE, meeting people one on one, it was a totally different ballgame. I felt like I made a difference. I felt like I got to know people on a different level. And then, when I got a chance to teach CPE students, and I got to work with them on their own development, their own growth and self-awareness, that was very fulfilling to me. So I’ve kept at it: I became a supervisor in 1985 and have been doing it ever since.
Union: How has the field changed in that time?
JS: It’s changed a lot, particularly in recent years. I was the first Rabbi who was certified as an ACPE supervisor, and I was essentially alone for a long time. Now there are over 20 rabbis who are CPE supervisors, so that’s a big change. Then, the Association for Clinical

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