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: DP1001C

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 1

Unit discipline: Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Identify and describe the links between the conceptual frameworks offered, academic research and personal experience into their own pastoral assumptions and practice


Demonstrate the application and relevance of the theory and themes covered to current ministry.


Demonstrate a familiarity with key social science texts and concepts


Demonstrate basic helping skills and attitudes necessary for theologically reflective and responsible pastoral care and leadership.


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 (%)

2,500 word essay

2500 60.0
Written Examination

1 hour written examination

1000 30.0

500 word report

500 10.0

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