This unit will introduce students to spiritual care approaches and methods of research and reflective practice related to the use and abuse of power within relationships, institutions and society. It will provide opportunity for group and individual reflection on a number of specific forms of abuse arising in the 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 spiritual care practice.

Unit code: DP3006S

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies

Proposing College: Stirling College

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Learning outcomes


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


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


Articulate and critique 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.


Draw upon experience, research and reflective practice to develop an integrated spiritual care approach to the politics of gender and social change.

Unit sequence

45 points in Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies and 45 points in Biblical Studies and/or Systematic Theology.


Lectures and seminars facilitated by Chris Turner with multidisciplinary practitioners and clinicians.

Indicative Bibliography

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


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Case Study

Case Study (1250 words)

1250 25.0

Research Essay (2500 words)

2500 50.0

Reading Report (1250 words)

1250 25.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 31 Dec, 2017

Unit record last updated: 2019-06-14 15:02:37 +1000