This unit presents and integrates three theoretical frameworks within which to consider pastoral practice in its day-to-day experience: psychological, anthropological and theological. The psychological framework focuses upon human development, motivation and the influence of the unconscious. The anthropological (philosophical) frame of reference assists students to understand ways of knowing and responding, with particular reference to the symbolic, freedom and growth. The theological framework reflects on the principles of ecclesiology, grace, context and faith. The aim of the unit is for students to explore notions of the self (including its personal and communal dimensions), to articulate the assumptions upon which we engage in pastoral practice and to take responsibility for one’s stance.

Unit code: DP8001C

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit discipline: Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Describe and integrate the conceptual frameworks offered together with their research and experience into their own pastoral assumptions and ministry.


Illustrate through personal and theological reflection upon their practice a deepening awareness of their relational/pastoral strengths and growth points.


Demonstrate a familiarity with foundational social science texts and concepts.


Articulate an understanding of intra-personal and inter-personal dynamics at work in themselves, between ministry team members and those in pastoral need.


Demonstrate basic helping skills and attitudes necessary to carry out theologically reflective and responsible pastoral care and leadership.


Demonstrate and describe basic helping skills and attitudes necessary to carry-out pastoral care that is attentive, reflective, intelligent, and responsible


This unit offers an interdisciplinary exploration of the conscious, unconscious, communal, and contextual dialectics of the human person engaged in pastoral ministry. The unit offers a combination of input from anthropological, psycho-social and theological sources and invites, through seminar and class discussion, critical reflection on useful frameworks for engaging in pastoral practice that is attentive, reflective, intelligent and responsible.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Caligot, Eve, Otto Kernberg, John Clarkin. Handbook of Dynamic Psychotherapy for Higher Level Personality Pathology. Washington: American Psychiatric Publishing, 2007.
  • Conn, Walter E. The Desiring Self: Rooting Pastoral Counselling and Spiritual Direction in Self-Transcendence. New York: Paulist Press, 1998.
  • Cooper-White, Pamela. Shared Wisdom: Use of the Self in Pastoral Care and Counselling. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006.
  • Ghoson, Margaret. The Miracle of Love: A Guide for Catholic Pastoral Care. Bayswater: Coventry Press, 2018
  • Graham, Elaine. Transforming Practice: Pastoral Theology in an Age of Uncertainty. Oregon: Wipf and Stock, 1996
  • Kraft, Charles H. Christianity in Culture: A Study in Biblical Theologising in Cross-Cultural Perspectives. Rev. 25th Anniversary ed. Maryknoll: Orbis, 2005.
  • McWilliams, Nancy. Psychoanalytic Diagnosis: Understanding Personality Structure in the Clinical Process. New York: Guilford Press, 2011.
  • Rulla, Luigi M., Joyce Ridick, and Franco Imoda. Existential Confirmation. Vol. 2, Anthropology of the Christian Vocation. Rome: Gregorian University Press, 1989.
  • Ormerod, Neil, and Jacobs-Vandegeer, Christiaan. Foundational Theology: A New Approach to Catholic Fundamental Theology. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2015
  • Sweeney J, Simmonds G, and Lonsdale D. Keeping Faith in Practice: Aspects of Catholic Pastoral Theology. London: SCM Press, 2010


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

5,000 word Research Essay

5000 80.0

1,000 word Reflection paper

1000 20.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 27 Jul, 2019

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:50 +1000