This unit explores concepts of developmental theory and selected theological works linking pastoral theory and pastoral practice. It introduces some theories of psychosocial development across the lifespan, and explores how we reach an under-standing of the self within personal, familial, social and cultural contexts.

Unit code: DP1001Y

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 1

Unit discipline: Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies

Delivery Mode: Blended

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning outcomes


Demonstrate an understanding of some selected approaches to human development.


Compare and contrast some theological and psychological positions on human development and a theology of the self.


Outline some key notions of the self within different social and cultural contexts.


Describe the place of human development theory and a theological understanding of the self within pastoral practice.

Unit sequence

Entry level unit for pastoral studies discipline


Face to Face or online: lecture

Indicative Bibliography

  • = set texts recommended for purchase
  • Balswick, Jack O., Pamela Ebstein King and Kevin S. Reimer. *The Reciprocating Self: Human Development in Theological Perspective. Illinois: IVP, 2005.
  • Doehring, Carrie. The Practice of Pastoral Care: A Postmodern approach (Revised and expanded edition). Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2014.
  • Harter, Susan. Construction of the Self: Developmental and Sociocultural Foundations. New York: Guilford Publications, 2012.
  • Hermans, Hubert J. M. and Giancarlo Dimaggio. The Dialogical Self in Psychotherapy. New York: Routledge, 2016.
  • Hoffnung, Michele, Hoffnung, Robert, Seifert, Kelvin L., Burton Smith, Roseanne, Hine, Alison, Ward, Lynn, Paus√©, Cat, Yates, Karen, and Swabey, Karen. Lifespan Development: A Chronological Approach. 3rd Australasian Edition. Milton, QLD: John Wiley & Sons Australia, 2016.
  • Lerner, Richard M. Concepts and Theories of Human Development. 4th ed. New York: Routledge, 2018.
  • Loder, James E. The Logic of the Spirit: Human Development in Theological Perspective. Hoboken, NJ: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1998.
  • Patton, John. *Pastoral Care: An Essential Guide. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2005.
  • Williams, Rowan. Being Human: Bodies, Minds, Persons. London: SPCK, 2018.
  • Welker, Michael, ed. The Depth of the Human Person: A Multidisciplinary Approach. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 2014.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Assessment Task 1: A short essay on a human development theory.

1000 20.0

Assessment Task 2: A short essay on a cultural understanding of the self.

1000 30.0

Assessment Task 3: An essay on human development theory and theological under-standing in relation to pastoral practice.

2000 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 23 Sep, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:49 +1000