This unit gives an overview of the disciplines of formation for the practice of spiritual care. Theological and philosophical aspects of care are presented, and personal and spiritual formation sessions focus on the student’s spiritual care identity, skill development and reflective practice. Small group sessions and verbatim supervision provide an introduction to basic counselling skills in the context of the practice of spiritual care and offer opportunities to practice and obtain feedback on those skills.

Unit code: DP8001S

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit discipline: Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies

Proposing College: Stirling College

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Learning outcomes


Demonstrate at an advanced level, integration of experience, listening-skills development and theological reflection as the foundational elements of reflective practice that embodies safe, sustainable and professionally-responsive care.


Identify and describe biblical and theological themes and motifs which inform and complement their spiritual/pastoral identity and practice.


Critically reflect on historical and textual examples of the practice of spiritual care from a variety of spiritual and religious traditions.


Discern and apply the skills of contemplation, mindfulness, meditation and prayer to the reflective practice of spiritual care.


Critically engage current research and integrate this within theological reflection on spiritual/pastoral identity, ministry and the practice of spiritual care.


  1. Lectures to the whole group with opportunity for dialogue groups and discussion times.
  2. Participation in a supervised group with a focus on a personal spiritual care encounter presented through a verbatim process.
  3. A series of practical workshops (with input and Notes and skill development) on listening skills.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Swift, C., Cobb, M. & Todd, A. (2015) A handbook of chaplaincy studies: Understanding spiritual care in public places. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate
  • Thompson, J., Pattison S. & Thompson, R. (2008) SCM study guide to theological reflection.
  • Anderson, R. Spiritual Caregiving as secular sacrament: A practical theology for professional caregivers. London, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2003.
  • Cooper-White, P. Shared wisdom: Use of the self in pastoral care and counselling. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2004.
  • Doehring, Carrie. The practice of pastoral care: A postmodern approach (revised and expanded edition). Louisville, John Knox Press, 2015. (recommended for purchase)
  • Dykstra, Robert C. (ed) Images of pastoral care: Classic readings. St Louis, Chalis Press, 2005.
  • Lartey, E. Pastoral theology in an intercultural world. Peterborough: Epworth Press, 2006.
  • Leech, Kenneth. Soul Friend: Spiritual Direction in a modern world. London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1994.
  • McSherry, W. Making sense of spirituality in nursing and health care practice. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2006.
  • Miller-McLemore, B. The Wiley-Blackwell companion to practical theology. London: Wiley/Blackwell, 2012.
  • Pattison, S. The challenge of practical theology: Selected essays. London: Jessica Kingsley, 2007.
  • Pembroke, N. The art of listening: Dialogue, shame and pastoral care. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2002. (recommended for purchase)
  • Pembroke, N. Trinitarian perspectives on pastoral care and counselling. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006.
  • Puchalski, C. Making healthcare whole: Integrating spirituality into healthcare, W. Conschocken. PA: Templeton Press, 2010.
  • Roberts, Stephen (ed.) Professional, spiritual and pastoral care: A practical clergy and chaplain's handbook, Woodstock. Vermont: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2012.
  • Stevenson-Moessner, J. A primer in pastoral care. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2005.
  • Wicks, R. & Rodgerson, T. Companions in hope: the art of Christian caring. NY: Paulist, 1998.
  • Woodward, J. & Pattison, S. The Blackwell reader in pastoral and practical theology. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Verbatim Report (1500 words)

1500 25.0

Book Report (1500 words)

1500 25.0

Essay (3000 words)

3000 50.0

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

Unit record last updated: 2019-06-19 11:39:51 +1000