I have some friends doing CPE this summer and all I can say is "Been there! Done that! Donated the shirt to a worthy cause!"
CPE is an important part of the seminary process, but I'm not sure if anyone ever really understands how difficult it really is. For some, the congenitally shy, it means forcing yourself to "bother the sick and dying" when you're pretty sure that they'd rather see "a real pastor" or no pastor at all. For others, the trouble comes with the therapy. They've never been in therapy before and now they aren't sure why anyone would pay $150 an hour for that kind of torture.
I didn't mind the therapy, but I did find it hard to walk into rooms unannounced and unrequested. But it got better with time. And it was great training for the future.
Personally, one of the things that made CPE the hardest for me was a member of my small group who, unbeknownst to any of us, was trying to kick a heroin addiction while doing CPE. Needless to say, he was very moody! He confessed all of this to me on our last day together. Talk about your pastoral dilemmas! Do you share this kind of info with the supervisor? Or take it to the grave as a confidence?
Any great CPE survival stories are most welcome for my friend KS who, when she isn't tapping on hospital doors, finds a few moments to read this blog.