This unit will introduce students to research, spiritual care approaches and methods of 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: DP9006S

Unit status: Approved (Assessment revision)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies

Proposing College: Stirling College

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Learning outcomes


Outline and 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’.


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


Critically engage current research and integrate reflectively with a spiritual care approach to the politics of gender and social change.

Unit sequence

DP8001S Introduction to Pastoral and Spiritual Care Two other units at post graduate level

OR AIFC Graduate Diploma in Counselling and Integrated Psychotherapy (Spiritual)


Lectures and seminars facilitated by Chris Turner with multi-disciplinary clinicians and practitioners.

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).
  • Cameron, H., J. Reader and V. Slater. Theological Reflection for Human Flourishing: Public Theology and Pastoral Practice. London: SCM Press, 2012.
  • 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 (%)
Report - Critical Reading Report

Critical Reading Report

2000 25.0
Case Study

Case Study

2000 25.0

Research Essay (4000 words)

4000 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 19 Jul, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-07-19 16:13:05 +1000