Beginning with an outline of abuse and trauma, this unit will introduce students to spiritual care approaches and methods of research and reflective practice related to abuse and trauma as they are evident in individuals, their relationships, institutions and societies. It will provide opportunity for group and individual reflection on a number of specific forms of abuse and trauma arising in the pastoral and spiritual care context. A case study approach will enable the student to engage the theological/spiritual issues, develop their spiritual care skills and integrate insights and learning from other helping professions within their pastoral and spiritual care practice.

Unit code: DP2006S

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


Engage current research on patterns and cycles of relational and societal abuse, violence and trauma.


Describe the cultural, social, psychological and theological myths which perpetuate abuse, violence and trauma.


Articulate the rationale behind community and faith-community based programs with victim/survivors and perpetrators of a variety of forms of abuse.


Identify and develop spiritual care resources for responding to expressions of abuse within faith communities and in particular become familiar with spiritual and theological themes behind the use of ‘professional ethics protocols’ and ‘codes of conduct’.


Evaluate the limits and possibilities of spiritual care approaches to dealing with sexual abuse and violence specifically from within the faith community context.

Unit sequence

DP1001S Introduction to Pastoral and Spiritual Care (or equivalent) and two other foundational units in any discipline


Pre-recorded lectures, learning material and readings online. Weekly online discussion tutorials.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Van der Kolk, Bessel. The Body Keeps the Score:Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. New York: Viking, 2014.

Baker, L. Counselling Christian Women: On how to deal with Domestic Violence. Bowen Hills, Qld.: Australian Academic Press, 2010.

Batmanghelidjh, C. Shattered Lives. London: Jessica Kingsley, 2007.

Beck, Richard. Unclean: Meditations on Purity, Hospitality, and Mortality. Eugene: Cascade, 2011.

Chase, K., & Jacobs, A. (eds.) Must Christianity be Violent: Reflections on History, Practice and Theology. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2003.

Damasio, Antonio. The Self Comes to Mind. London: Vintage, 2012.

Fleming, P., Lauber-Fleming, S. & Matousek, M. (eds.) Breaking Trust: Stories of Pain, Hope and Healing from Clergy Abuse Survivors and Abusers. New York: Crossroad Publishing, 2007.

Fourré, C. Finding your Way through Domestic Abuse: A Guide to Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Healing. Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 2006.

Gardner, F. Critical Spirituality: A Holistic Approach to Contemporary Practice. London: Ashgate, 2011.

Girard, Rene. Violence and the Sacred. London: Bloomsbury, 1988.

Glasson, B. A Spirituality of Survival: Enabling a Response to Trauma and Abuse. London: Continuum, 2009.

Kofler, L. Healing Relationships: A Practical Theological Guide for Christian Counsellors and Carers. London: St Paul’s Publishing, 2007.

Lombard, N. & McMillan, L. (eds). Violence Against Women: Current Theory and Practice in Domestic Abuse, Sexual Violence and Exploitation. London: Jessica Kingsley, 2013.

Marshall, C. Beyond Retribution: A New Testament Vision for Justice, Crime and Punishment. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2001.

Miller-McLemore, B. (ed.). The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Practical Theology. London: Wiley/Blackwell, 2011.

Pagel, J. F. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Guide for Primary Care Clinicians and Therapists. Springer, 2021.

Pembroke, N. The Art of Listening: Dialogue, Shame and Pastoral Care. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2002.

Poling, J. The Abuse of Power. Nashville: Abingdon, 1991.

Swinton, J. Raging with Compassion: Pastoral Responses to the Problem of Evil. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007.

Valent, Paul. Trauma and Fulfilment Therapy: A Wholist Framework. Philadelphia: Brunner/Mazel, 1999.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Reading Report

1000 25.0
Case Study

Case Study

1000 25.0

Research Essay

2500 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 26 Oct, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-10-26 11:47:37 +1100