Taking a narrative approach to understanding human cognition and meaning making, this unit explores the nature of human interpersonal-psychodynamics from the perspective of the Christian theological tradition. The unit thus engages with the practical reflective skills required for supporting human relationships that enhance dignity and human flourishing in church settings. We explore the Christian understanding of Grace and the role it might play in human healing, and focus on the concepts of meaning, identity, purpose and culture and the interplay between each of these in healing.

Unit code: DP3700P

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Identify the key dimensions of human healing in a narrative approach to Christian pastoral practice


Critically integrate the key dimensions of a narrative approach with the fundamental lines of the Christian narrative.


Roleplay the 6 key skills that inform a narrative approach supporting human dignity in pastoral settings.

Unit sequence

Designed to be middle unit to a three unit sequence: Prerequisite Unit: DP2600P Life Abundantly in Christ With a further DP unit to follow


In order to address current grave concerns in pastoral practice and supervision in church settings, the learning and teaching strategy utilized in this unit draws extensively upon nearly 500 years of Jesuit educational philosophy and practice found in the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm (IPP).

The IPP understands learning and teaching as sequenced in exploration of context, experience, reflection, action, and evaluation. This process enables students’ readiness to engage in a learning process that is transformative of the whole person, mind and heart. The learning process that the IPP facilitates draws on the Christian view of the human person in its structure and content, for example, by emphasising the students’ dignity and creative contribution to the experience of learning. The vision of the IPP presupposes that learner and teacher enter into a mutual and reciprocal relationship whereby each searches for the insight of the other and in the service of shared learning.

The unit utilizes this strategy because it specifically offers a model of adult-learning that recognizes, supports, respects, and develops the wealth of experience and knowledge that students bring to this unit. This strategy aims at facilitating students’ appropriation of unit content in relation to their own learning needs and personal growth. As a result, this strategy generates readiness for personal transformation and meaningful professional impact

Indicative Bibliography

  1. Alison, James. On Being Liked. London: Dartman, Longman and Todd, 2003. Chapter 1 “Contemplation in a world of violence”.
  2. Freeman, Jennifer., Epston, David., & Lobovits, Dean. Playful Approaches to Serious Problems: Narrative Therapy with Children and their Families. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1997. Chapter 3, pp. 47-67.
  3. Madsen, W. Collaborative Therapy with Multi-Stressed Families. New York: Guildford, 2007.
  4. May MD, Gerald G. Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions. San Francisco: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988.
  5. Morgan, Alice. What is narrative therapy? An easy-to-read introduction. Adelaide: Dulwich Centre Publications, 2000.
  6. Raskin, F. D., and A. M. Lewansowski. The Construction of Disorder as Human Enterprise. Washington DC: American Psychological Association, 2000.
  7. White, M. Maps of Narrative Practice. New York: Norton, 2007.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Essay 2000 50.0
Oral Presentation 1500 40.0
Personal Reflection 1000 10.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 18 Sep, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2020-09-18 09:20:41 +1000