This unit provides an introduction to: (a) Physical, psychological, social and spiritual dynamics of loss. (b) Pastoral skills for working with people experiencing loss. (c) Pastoral issues in palliative care. The unit will use a variety of teaching methods, including video presentations, interviews with persons involved in palliative care or bereavement support, and lecture and discussion sessions.

Unit code: DP2004S

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies

Proposing College: Stirling College

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Learning outcomes


Identify a range of human experiences of loss.


Articulate strategies for caring for people facing or experiencing imminent loss.


Create a pastoral care plan to address issues of loss identified in a case study.


Articulate the effects of grief and loss on human spirituality.

Unit sequence



Lectures and tutorials.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Boss, P. Loss, trauma and resilience: Therapeutic work with ambiguous loss. (New York: Norton, 2006)
  • Dickenson, D., Johnson, M and Katz, J. Death, dying and bereavement. (London: Sage, 2000)
  • Dyregrov, A. Grief in young children: An adult’s handbook. (London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2008)
  • Dyregrov, K and A. * Effective grief and bereavement support: The role of family, friends, colleagues, schools and support professionals*. (London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2008)
  • Karaban, R. Crisis caring: A guide to ministering to people in crisis. (San Jose: Resource Publications, 2005)
  • Kelley, M. Grief: Contemporary theory and the practice of ministry. (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2010)
  • McSherry, W. Making sense of spirituality in nursing and health care practice. (London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2006)
  • Mitchell, C., Orr, R and Salladay, S. Eds. Aging, death and the quest for immortality. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004)
  • Mucha, C. Gently grieving: taking care of yourself by telling your story. (New York: Paulist, 2004)
  • Musgrave, B., and McGettigan, N. Eds. Spiritual and psychological aspects of illness: Dealing with sickness, loss, dying and death. (New York, Mahwah: Paulist Press, 2010)
  • Nuttall, D. The early days of grieving. (London: DLT, 2006)
  • Reed, F. Suffering and illness: insights for caregivers. (Philadelphia: FA Davis Company, 2003)
  • Rumbold, B. Spirituality and pastoral care: social and pastoral perspectives. (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2002)
  • Vogul, L. Rituals for resurrection: celebrating life and death. (Nashville: Upper Room Books, 1996).


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Case Study

Reflective Case Study 2000 words

2000 50.0

Research Essay 2000 words

2000 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 28 Oct, 2020

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