You’ve Been Nominated for… CPE!


My husband recently finished a summer unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) which is a group of pastors and chaplains with a supervisor coming together to learn about pastoral care, write verbatims, and work through issues of their family of origin, conflict resolution styles, emotional processing, etc. Generally working through their own ‘Stuff’ so as not to get in the way of how they care for others. Or as my pastoral care professor put it, “hurt people hurt people.”

Anyways, I am a fan of CPE for the most part. With a good supervisor it is invaluable. I’ve done three units and somewhere in the middle of that last unit I had a great idea!

So, have you ever watched “What Not to Wear?” (I loved that show!) Stacy and Clinton would get nominations from friends and family members and then they’d surprise some unsuspecting soul and tell them, “Your friends and family are concerned about your style and have secretly been filming you, and they’ve nominated you for — What Not to Wear!” The person who’s been nominated generally agrees to have their wardrobe critiqued and gotten rid of because they get a lot of money to go shopping, so here’s my idea.

What if we could nominate people to go to CPE? Come up to them and be like, “Your friends and family have been noticing how you interact with them, how you tend to triangulate and how you still seem to be working through family of origin issues, and they’ve nominated you for… CPE!!!!”

At the end of the show they do a big reveal and have all the friends and family there to gush over how great they look, which would work perfectly. At the end of CPE, we send them to a big family gathering (the perfect place to see if CPE took), and they can show off their good boundaries, their lack of enmeshment, and how they better articulate their feelings. It would be beautiful! We could follow up with them a year later to see if they’re still using I-statements and not being passive aggressive.

Somehow I feel like TLC is not going to be funding this project, (even though it truly would make the world a better place) so until then, it’ll just give me something to daydream about….

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