We’ve all heard reassurances from news presenters following the announcement of a community tragedy that “counselling has been offered to those involved”. This unit equips the student for this special type of critical incident counselling by exploring the impacts of trauma as well as understanding the phases of a disaster and the standards response used by emergency services. Particular attention is given to the spiritual impacts of crises and the assessment and management of thoughts of suicide.

Unit code: DP9779S (Approved)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies

Proposing College: Stirling Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Describe the symptoms and nature of complex trauma and critical incidents and explain the effects on the body, soul and spiritual dimensions if individuals and groups


Articulate the stages of disaster response and evaluate implement intervention strategies for psychological and spiritual care during each stage


Compare and contrast various types of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and articulate and implement a response plan in keeping with the Australian Inter-service Incident Management System (AIIMS)


Describe and evaluate spirituality and religious practices that can support healing and how they can cause further harm.


Articulate and evaluate constructs related to effective ministry in situations of acute stress, crisis and trauma causing individual suffering from a Christian perspective.


Undertake suicide risk assessment and management.* (* NOTE: This is a PACFA requirement)

Unit sequence

36 points in field D or AIFC’s Graduate Diploma in Counselling and Integrated Psychotherapy (Spiritual) Prohibited combinations: Students cannot do this unit who have also completed IPSTRA806A Provide counselling support in response to trauma reactions and critical incidents as part of their Graduate Diploma in Counselling and Integrated psychotherapy (Spiritual)


The course will be divided into 4 topics: • Definitions, Stress and Stress reactions • Suicide assessment and supporting individuals • Stages of Disaster and AIIMS • Critical Incident Stress Management Each topic will include a 20 minute lecture. These will be delivered during the one-day workshop and available by video. In weeks 4, 10, 14 and 18 a non-compulsory on line tutorial of no more than 2 hours will be available for students. This occurs the week after a topic is introduced and is designed to help with assessment related questions and clarification of points. Students will be allocated a learning partner and have structured formative discussion items they may use if they wish.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Adsit, C. (2008) The Combat Trauma Healing Manual: Christ-centered Solutions for Combat Trauma, Newport News, VA Military Ministry Press
  • Briere, J.N., (2014) Principles of Trauma Therapy: A Guide to Symptoms, Evaluation, and Treatment (DSM-5 Update), Thousand Oaks, SAGE
  • Everly, G. S., Lating, J.M. (2013) A Clinical Guide to the Treatment of the Human Stress Response, New York, New York, Springer
  • Everly, G.S. & Mitchell, J.T. (2008)* Integrative Crisis Intervention and Disaster Mental Health (Innovations in Disaster & Trauma Psychology)*, Ellicott City, Chevron Publishing
  • Floyd, S. (2008) Crisis Counseling: A Guide for Pastors and Professionals, Grand Rapids, Kregel (recommended for purchase)
  • Hoff, L.A., Briwn, L & Hoff, M.R. (2009) People in Crisis: Clinical and Diversity Perspectives, New York, New York, Routledge
  • Robinson, S.G. (2007) *Ministry in Disaster Settings: Lessons from the Edg*e, Northcote, Victoria, Uniting Church Press
  • Wright, H. N. (2012) The Complete Guide to Crisis & Trauma Counseling - What to Do and Say When It Matters Most! Ventura, California, Regal Publishing (recommended for purchase)


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Personal Reflection

Personal Reflection paper (2,500 words)

2500 30.0

Discussion forum topic 3 (500 words)

500 10.0

Discussion forum topic 4 (500 words)

500 10.0
Case Study

Critical Incident case study paper (3,000 words)

3000 30.0

Discussion forum topic 1 (500 words)

500 10.0

Discussion forum topic 2 (500 words)

500 10.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 15 Oct, 2019

Unit record last updated: 2020-10-30 19:16:47 +1100