This unit examines the more common loss-related events and some key theoretical approaches with regard to loss, grief and bereavement. Loss and grief contexts considered here include: family related loss, assault and domestic violence; abuse; discrimination; complicated grief; loss in educational contexts; unemployment and financial loss; natural, and human disasters; asylum-seeking, and refugees. It includes pastoral, spiritual, and theological considerations in addressing loss, grief and transition experience, and examines ethical and boundary issues in pastoral contexts. It also considers collaborative, resilience-based approaches in the context of providing holistic care for those impacted by loss, grief and bereavement experiences.

Unit code: DP9004Y

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies

Proposing College: Yarra Theological Union

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Learning outcomes


Show an effective understanding of some major theories exploring loss, grief and bereave-ment experience through a critical reading of current literature.


Critically assess a range of loss and grief experiences in a variety of life situations.


Evaluate a range of theoretical and pastoral approaches to loss and grief in their application to ministry practice.


Appraise the ethical and role boundaries routinely occurring in a therapeutic relationship.


Critically review and validate a range of pastoral, theological and spiritual contributions within a loss-related therapeutic context.


Determine the value of loss-related pastoral collaborations with specialist professional services, including in a multi-disciplinary setting.


Critically assess the value of particular pastoral intervention strategies in their applications to complex loss and grief situations.

Unit sequence

Elective unit in the YTU schedule.
Prerequisites: DP8001Y Foundations for Pastoral Practice, or an equivalent.


Face to Face or online: lecture, group work.

Indicative Bibliography

set texts recommended for purchase = *

  • Attig, Thomas. How we grieve. Relearning the World. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.
  • Brownell, Philip. Spiritual Competency in Psychotherapy. New York: Springer Publishing Company, 2014.
  • Earle, Sarah, Komaromy, Carol and Bartholomew, Caroline (Eds.). Death and Dying: A Reader/Making Sense of Death, Dying and Bereavement: An Anthology. London: Sage Publications, 2009.
  • Giddings, Philip, Down, Martin, Sugden, Elaine, and Tuckwell, Gareth. Talking about dying. Help in facing death and dying. London: Wilberforce Publications, 2017. *
  • Kelley, Melissa M. Grief: Contemporary Theory and the Practice of Ministry. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2010.
  • Machin, Linda. Working with Loss and Grief: A Theoretical and Practical Approach. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2013. *
  • Mallon, Brenda. Dying, Death and Grief: Working with Adult Bereavement. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2008.
  • Musgrave, Beverley A., and McGettigan, Neil (Eds.) Spiritual and psychological aspects of illness: Dealing with sickness, loss, dying and death. New York, Mahwah: Paulist Press, 2010.
  • Nolan, Steve. Spiritual care at the end of life: The Chaplain as ‘hopeful presence’. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2012.*
  • Read, Sue. Supporting People with Intellectual Disabilities Experiencing Loss and Bereavement: Theory and Compassionate Practice. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2014.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Case Study 2000 20.0
Critical Review

A critical review of assigned reading - 250 words per week over ten weeks.

2500 30.0
Essay 3000 50.0

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

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:48 +1000