This unit will explore a broad range of personal, professional and ethical issues common in pastoral ministry, offering students an opportunity to engage in a reflexive process on pastoral practice. The unit will emphasise the interrelatedness of theory and practice in ministry, and the intersection of the personal and the professional. It will focus on issues such as: personal calling and discernment; personal virtues and professional skills as foundations to ethical practice; professional ethics; ethical decision making; confidentiality; professional boundaries, power and trust; and potential areas of professional misconduct. The unit will also focus on the significance of reflection, professional consultation and supervision in the maintenance of a compassionate and just ministry, and ministerial and spiritual health and wellbeing.

Unit code: DP3006Y (Approved)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning outcomes


Compare and contrast various ethical approaches within the “helping professions”


Analyse, articulate and reflect theologically on professional ethics in a pastoral setting


Demonstrate and illustrate a clear understanding of ethical standards in pastoral practice


Critically analyse complex ethical dilemmas within a pastoral setting, demonstrating theory, ethical decision-making and ethical resolutions


Synthesise the personal, professional and ethical complexities of the pastoral setting

Unit sequence

DP1001Y Foundations of Pastoral Practice


Lecture, seminars, and group work

Indicative Bibliography

  • Gula, Richard M. Just Ministry: Professional Ethics for Pastoral Ministers. New York: Paulist Press, 2010. (recommended for purchase)
  • Anderson, Ray S. Spiritual Caregiving as Secular Sacrament: A Practical Theology for Professional Caregivers. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2003.
  • Carroll, Michael and Maria C. Gilbert. On Being a Supervisee: Creating Learning Partnerships. London: Vakuni Publishing, 2011.
  • Carroll, Michael and Elisabeth Shaw. Ethical Maturity in the Helping Professions: Making Difficult Life and Work Decisions. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2013.
  • Corey, Gerald, M. S. Corey and Patrick Callanan. Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions. 9th ed. Sydney: Cengage Learning, 2014.
  • Davys, Allyson and Liz Beddoe. Best Practice in Professional Supervision: A Guide for the Helping Professions. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2010.
  • Estadt, Barry K., John R. Compton and Melvin Blanchette, eds. The Art of Clinical Supervision: A Pastoral Counseling Perspective. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2005.
  • Fook, Jan and Fiona Gardner. Practising Critical Reflection: A Resource Handbook. Milton Keynes, UK: Open University Press, 2008.
  • Lynch, Gordon. Pastoral Care & Counselling. Ethics in Practice, edited by Tim Bond. London: Sage Publications, 2002.
  • Robinson, Simon. Spirituality, Ethics and Care. London: Jessica Kingsley, 2008.
  • Welfel, Elizabeth Reynolds. Ethics in Counseling & Psychotherapy: Standards, Research and Emerging Issues. 6th ed. Sydney: Cengage Learning, 2015.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Essay: A focus on two significant elements in one ethical code. (1500 words)

1500 30.0

Essay: An ethical dilemma within a pastoral practice setting. (2500 words)

2500 50.0

Essay: Compare and contrast two different ethical codes. (1000 words)

1000 20.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 31 Dec, 2016

Unit record last updated: 2020-10-30 19:16:46 +1100