Having started a new job several weeks ago, I have had the fortunate situation of overlapping with my predecessor, who was able to share her knowledge of the position with me, which has been greatly helpful. However, her last day was on Friday, which means I’m it as the chaplain at the senior living facility where I work.
When I reach out to other chaplains for advice, whether Jew or Gentile, a common refrain I hear from them is, “Take CPE units.” CPE, which stands for Clinical Pastoral Education, has units of 400 hours apiece, involving clinical work, didactic, and more. While I am very glad to hear that they took CPE units and greatly benefited from that training, there are no opportunities at the moment due to safety concerns arising from Covid-19.
Fortunately, though, I’m not chaplaining blindly, as I received excellent pastoral counseling training while attending YCT, my rabbinical school. While the training there did not count for CPE units, I certainly learned a lot of useful skills there relevant for chaplaincy.
Beyond my education, I also received great experience while in California working college students and young adults. While a different demographic, the people skills and listening skills I honed during that time were invaluable and helped set me up for success in other arenas.
I look forward to continuing to develop my pastoral schools while chaplaining.