Clergy / Laity


The Ecumenical Center offers the Specialty in Pastoral Counseling course and community-based workshops for clergy and lay leaders in Laredo, other parts of South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley. These programs were created especially with and for Latino and Latina pastors of South Texas.

Specific certification and training programs include:

  • Specialty in Pastoral Care and Counseling
  • Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)
  • Clinical Pastoral Education Supervision (CPE-S)

Specialty in Pastoral Counseling

The Specialty in Pastoral Counseling course is a bilingual, four-semester, theoretical and clinical program that integrates into pastoral practice the knowledge of theology, psychology, ethics and social sciences. This program is designed to help ministers and/or religious leaders in the process of equipping themselves for service to hospice, hospitals, correctional institutions, and God’s world at large. The syllabus (in English) for this course is provided farther down on this page. Helpful PDFs related to the course are provided here:

Weekend Workshops

Workshops are bilingual, day-long, informational seminars on a variety of pastoral care issues for Latino/Latina clergy and lay leaders.

To apply or for further information please contact:
The Rev. Dr. Esteban Montilla
8310 Ewing Halsell Drive
San Antonio, TX 78229
Phone: 210.616.0885
FAX: 210.616.0845


Specialty in Pastoral Care and Counseling

  • Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)
  • Clinical Pastoral Education Supervision (CPE-S)


About the Program
The Specialty in Pastoral Counseling and Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) programs are professional training courses in the field of pastoral care. This specialized educational experience integrates knowledge from theology, psychology, counseling, ethics and medicine. The interdisciplinary nature of this theoretical and practical program intends to equip participants from the helping professions such as pastors, chaplains, mental health clinicians and healthcare professionals with the required tools to assess and address spiritual and existential issues that might be impeding a person, family, group and community to develop their potential to the fullest.

Purpose and Objectives #2

The purpose of this program is to offer an adequate environment where trainees could develop and strengthen their competences in providing pastoral care and counseling. This experiential milieu context is prepared with the intention of assisting participants:

  • To become aware of oneself as a person of faith
  • To become aware of how one’s beliefs and values affect the way care is offered to others
  • To learn to integrate knowledge from theology, psychology, counseling, medicine and ethics into professional practice as clinicians and healthcare providers
  • To develop skills in assessing people’s spiritual, existential and emotional needs
  • To develop skills in providing pastoral care and counseling to people and groups in various life situations and crisis circumstances
  • To develop the ability to make optimum use of one’s religious heritage and theological understanding when working with people and groups
  • To develop skills in planning, implementing, and maintaining programs of pastoral care, including issues of quality improvement and information management.


Theoretical Content of the Curriculum
Specialty in Pastoral Counseling/Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)

This four-unit/semester program integrates knowledge from the fields of theology, psychology, counseling, medicine and ethics.
First Unit/Semester
SPC 5310 Introduction to Pastoral Care and Counseling
SPC 5312 Pastoral Counseling throughout the Course of Life
SPC 5314 Pastoral Crisis Intervention
SPC 5316 Internship and Community Service

Second Unit/Semester
SPC 5318 Health Counseling and Wellness
SPC 5320 Theories and Strategies of Pastoral Counseling
SPC 5322 Systematic Reflections on Theology
SPC 5324 Internship and Community Service

Third Unit/Semester
SPC 5326 Hope and Human Transcendence
SPC 5328 Ethics of Pastoral Counseling
SPC 5330 Mental Health and Wellness
SPC 5332 Internship and Community Service

Fourth Unit/Semester
SPC 5334 Theories and Strategies of Family Counseling
SPC 5336 End of Life Issues and Care
SPC 5338 Interculturalism and Religious Diversity
SPC 5340 Internship and Community Service

Participants of this clinical program will have the opportunity to apply their clinical knowledge and improve their clinical skills. A safe and learning-oriented environment will be provided where each participant will have the opportunity to present their clinical work using different practical tools. These clinical tools include role-playing, clinical case review, interpersonal process, critical incidents reports, personal reactions, process note, individual and group supervision. The ultimate intention of the program is to help trainees integrate their body of knowledge from the helping profession into their clinical practice. It is believed that this integration could lead to life-transforming attitudes, professional excellence, ethical performance, culturally competency and compassionate relationships.

Participants are expected to complete 1600 clock hours under clinical pastoral supervision for the entire program. For this end, trainees need to complete a total of 400 clock hours (120 direct and 280 indirect) per unit/semester. These clinical hours could be completed at different settings including current place of work such as church, hospital, clinics, private practice, nursing homes, hospice, prison/correctional facilities, armed forces, enforcement law centers, industries and non-profit institutions.


Clinical Pastoral Education Supervision Training #1
The Clinical Pastoral Education Supervision program is advanced training in clinical supervision that integrates knowledge of theology, counseling, teaching, psychological consultation, mentoring, coaching and pastoring. A participant of this program needs to demonstrate professional competence in these areas: 1) Clinical supervision, 2) Leadership and advocacy, 3) Pastoral Counseling Strategies, 4) Systematic Reflections on Theology, 4) Interculturalism and Religious Diversity, 5) Teaching, Mentoring and Coaching, 6) Psychological Consultation and 7) Human Communication. The length of the program could be 1 to 3 years depending on the academic, professional and pastoral background of the trainee.

Standards for Supervisory Clinical Pastoral Education #2
Supervisory training is designed to equip people with the required knowledge, skills and attitudes to practice competently as a clinical pastoral supervisor.

The Goal
The goal of supervisory CPE is to develop the uniqueness of the trainee’s person as a gift to be a healer and mentor to students within a dynamic and in-depth relationship that holds in tension the student’s unique history and the joys and struggles of the student’s life with professional development.

The trainee will learn the art of clinical pastoral supervision through:

  • Establishment of a unique, valued, respected, and intensive supervisory relationship with the CPSP mentor and Chapter that will support the professional development of pastoral educators.
  • Education in theological reflection, human personality, social counseling, theories and strategies of counseling, psychological consultation, group dynamics, interculturalism, gender and sex counseling, theories of learning and teaching as well as mental illnesses and relational issues.
  • Practice of clinical supervision under the supervision of a CPSP Diplomate. Specific attention will be paid to the improvement of pastoral assessment, teaching and intervention skills.
  • Integration of the theory and practice of supervision into one’s personal and pastoral identity and development of his or her identity as a healer and educator.

Learning Structures

  • Regular CPSP Chapter consultation for the CPSP Diplomate who is the trainee’s supervisor.
  • Regular consultation by the supervisory CPE student with CPSP Diplomates, CPSP Chapter(s), and other professionals.
    Didactic instruction in clinical pastoral supervision.
  • The actual practice of CPE supervision under the supervision of a CPSP Diplomate.

Objectives of Supervisory Clinical Pastoral Education
Clinical Supervisory Competence

  • Develop the use of one’s unique personality and history as instruments to facilitate the students’ healing, growth, and learning.
  • Competence in CPE program management.
  • Use of appropriate clinical education methods.

Pastoral Education Competence

  • Development of a professional identity as a clinical pastoral educator.
  • Integration of an educational theory, knowledge of behavioral science, theology, and pastoral identity into one’s own supervisory function.

Competence in Group Supervision

  • Acquire the ability to facilitate the development of group interpersonal interaction.
  • Develop the ability to lead a small group of peers, enabling the students to use their response to the program as a growth/learning experience.

Competence in Individual Supervision and Consultation

  • Develop the ability to supervise the students’ pastoral work, giving attention to unique patterns of personal and professional development, facilitating movement toward personal and pastoral identity.
  • Demonstrate sensitivity to the students’ psychological development, respect for the students’ individual learning patterns, and awareness of the students’ religious history.
  • Develop competence in the process of defining and evaluating the students’ pastoral and personal resources.

Conceptual Competence

  • Clear conceptualization on the following subjects: theological reflection, human personality, social counseling, theories and strategies of counseling, psychological consultation, group dynamics, theories of learning and teaching as well as mental illnesses and relational issues.
  • Achieve competence in using conceptual models from theory and practice to understand and articulate clinical pastoral supervisory methodology.
  • Develop a philosophy of CPE, including an appropriate educational model, which integrates theory and practice, and be able to articulate and demonstrate this philosophy.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of organization and program development with emphasis on organization and development of a CPE program.
  • Become knowledgeable of and critically conversant with the literature relating to the field of clinical supervision.

Specific Areas of Learning in the Clinical Pastoral Education Supervision program

1. Theoretical/Conceptual Learning
The candidate would be required to familiarize themselves with the following theoretical concepts:

  • Interculturalism and History of the Religion
  • History of the Pastoral Care Movement
  • Theories of Clinical Pastoral Supervision
  • Philosophies of Education
  • Theories of Learning
  • Human Personality Theories
  • Group Leadership and Dynamics
  • Social Psychology and Community Ministry
  • Theological Reflection
  • Qualitative Research
  • Assessment and Intervention in Pastoral Care and Counseling
  • Ethics and Gender Issues

2. Clinical Practice
The candidate would be involved in supervising CPE Interns in their clinical pastoral work in group seminars as well as in individual supervision.

  • Supervisory Alliance
    • Establishing, nurturing, and maintaining the supervisory alliance
    • Assessing CPE interns’ learning styles and patterns
    • Defining CPE interns’ learning needs, and learning objectives
    • Designing individualized supervisory training curriculum
    • Developing administrative and clinical skills
  • Individual Supervision
    • Identifying candidate’s learning needs and issues
    • Recognizing and fostering professional and personal growth
    • Identifying parallel processes in the supervisory relationship in relation to CPE interns’ work with patients/parishioners.
  • Group Supervision
    • Developing group relations and communication skills
    • Nurturing personal and pastoral authority and leadership skills
    • Providing forum for group supervision from other supervisors and supervisory candidates through consortium training groups and national supervisory training seminars.

About the Accreditation

The Center is accredited by the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy, New York, NY: to offer pastoral care and counseling training in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), Clinical Pastoral Education Supervision (CPE-S) and Pastoral Psychotherapy. The completion of the programs offered by The Center makes graduates eligible to seek certification as chaplains, pastoral counselors, pastoral supervisors, pastoral psychotherapist, clinically trained minister and hospice/palliative specialists.