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Clinical Psycho-Spiritual Education

This program is widely recognized throughout North America and Great Britain as essential training for persons seeking to become professional Spiritual Care Practitioners/Chaplains. The program is accredited by the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC) and university credit is awarded through Martin Luther University.

The heart of the educational process employed in the program is highly experiential in nature, having a strong emphasis on emotional intelligence and the practice of self-reflection. Encounters with patients, staff, and fellow interns become occasions for learning the art of entering into the dialogue of profound meaning and or empathic support. This is accomplished through interns learning how to work within the world view of the patient, assisting the patient to express and interpret their experience of their illness in accordance with the patient’s own spiritual values and beliefs. 

Interns spend half of their time with patients and the other half in didactic sessions and supervised group interaction with their peers. For each course/practicum of CPE, interns must complete 400 hours in total, comprised of 200 hours of clinical service with a cooperating healthcare team and 200 hours of experiential group and didactic sessions. A CPE course/practicum can be intensive: around 35 hours per week for 3 months or extended: around 18 hours per week for 6 months. For more information about the CPE education program and CASC certification process feel free to visit the CASC website at

Coming CPE and deadlines for application:

CPE Unit Schedule 

Days and time 


Deadline to Apply 

Extended Fall 2024-Winter 2025 Course/Practicum 

20 hours per week 

Sept 9 – Dec. 6, 2024 & Jan. 6 – April 4, 2025 

June 3, 2024 

Intensive Spring/Summer 2025 Course/Practicum 

Mon. to Fri. full days 

April 22 – July 11, 2025  

Feb 1, 2025 

Intensive Winter 2026 Course/Practicum 

Mon. to Fri. full days 

Jan. 6 – April 4, 2026 

Oct 3, 2025  

All interns must pass a personal interview indicating their readiness for self-exploration and interpersonal dialogue at the level required for learning the art and science of Spiritual Care in a multi-faith setting. For pre-requisites please click on the link before you apply: CPE Instructions and pre-requisites

If you meet all the requirements please download this form CPE Application

And email it to

es please click on the link before you apply: CPE Instructions and pre-requisites

If you meet all the requirements please download this form CPE Application.

And email it to

Contact Us

Nicolas El-Kada L.Th., M.A., B.A.
Registered Psychotherapist
CASC Certified Supervisor-Educator
Professional Practice Coordinator
Adjunct Professor
Spiritual Care Services
The Ottawa Hospital
Tel: (613) 798-5555 ext: 19027

Vivian Stang, M.A.
Registered Psychotherapist
CASC Certified Supervisor-Educator
Clinical Chaplain
Spiritual Care Services
The Ottawa Hospital
Tel: (613) 798-5555 ext: 75455

Emergency Spiritual Care Assistance Team (ESCAT) Guide 

In times of emergency or disaster many different systems are engaged to respond to the varied needs that arise. Security and medical issues are understandably top priorities. However, literature shows that psycho-social-spiritual needs are also high and they too require quick intervention to ensure immediate stabilization as well as to lay the ground work for long-term healing.[1] In the everyday function of a hospital, the existing spiritual care staff is usually sufficient. However, the great influx of patients during an emergency or disaster will overwhelm the system unless measures are inplace and additional, pre-screened, well trained, spiritual caregivers are ready to respond. “Planning in advance is the key to a successful response to any emergent situation – this includes psychosocial (and spiritual care) planning.”[2] The Ottawa Hospital Emergency Spiritual Care Assistance Team (ESCAT) was created to address this need.

ESCAT consists of hospital staff chaplains, community faith leaders, and specially trained spiritual care volunteers who are ready to respond when requested to do so by the manager of Spiritual Care Services (SCS). ESCAT is a puzzle piece that fits into the hospital’s existing disaster response plan. The Ottawa Hospital values religious, multi-faith and spiritual support as part of comprehensive patient care on a daily basis. Through ESCAT the Ottawa Hospital is able to augment its spiritual care services with well-trained additional spiritual care support when and where they are most needed.

The ESCAT Guide outlines the structure, process and function of ESCAT pre-disaster, during disaster and post-disaster. This includes information about administrative committees, volunteer recruiting & screening, training workshops, and communication for before, during and after a disaster. The ESCAT Guide provides an outline for the creation and implementation of ESCAT in a hospital of any size in an inner-city, urban, suburban or rural community. Anything in the Guide may be modified to accommodate the specific needs and resources of each hospital within its setting.

You may request a copy of the ESCAT Guide and seek further information at

[1] Harris, J.I., Thornton, S. & Engdhal, B. (2010). The psycho-spiritual impact of disaster. In G. H. Brenner, D.H. Bush & J. Moses (Eds), Creating Spiritual and Psychological Resilience: Integrating Care in Disaster Relief Work, (pp.83-93). New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group
[2] 2 National Emergency Psychosocial Advisory Consortium

Last updated on: March 7th, 2024