This unit will focus on pastoral and spiritual care for persons, patients and families in a multi-faith, multi-disciplinary setting. The semester will include three field immersion days, five professional supervision sessions and two face-to-face seminar days. Students will visit three religious communities other than their own. In order to enhance their understanding of the needs of patients, family members and communities each visit is designed to maximise the participant’s experience of: spiritual care practices; cultural distinctives; rituals, both corporate and personal of that faith group. The context of care will be hospitals, other healthcare facilities or community-service settings and faith communities during times of crisis, illness, suffering, death and dying. Areas of cultural differences within the practices of each faith group will be highlighted. Assessment tasks will evaluate these themes contextually, vocationally and theologically, develop guidelines for reflective practice as spiritual care practitioners in a multi-faith setting and thus provide an opportunity for integrative reflection.

Unit code: DP9022S

Unit status: Archived (Major 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


Demonstrate a critical awareness of the multi-religious themes that influence current pastoral and spiritual care practice in hospital, healthcare and community settings;


Identify the ways in which a multi-religious setting influences the practice of spiritual care and reflect upon how this in turn influences their own practice of care;


Describe, evaluate on the basis of the principles of spiritual care and explore through theological reflection, the essential elements of care offered from a multi-faith perspective within community, faith and healthcare settings;


Articulate, theologically integrate and illustrate from within their own practice, belief and faith identity their responses to the diversity of beliefs and practice of individuals and families;


Demonstrate the ability to communicate in a team and group context their understanding of spiritual care interventions in a multi-cultural, multi-religious setting.


Apply learning and current research to a theological, spiritual and systemic critique of the context where they offer spiritual care.

Unit sequence

DP8001S Introduction to Pastoral Care or AIFC Graduate Diploma in Counselling and Integrated Psychotherapy (Spiritual)


6 days during a semester (each day hosted by a different faith community). Guided research, seminars, interviews and stories.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Anderson, R. Spiritual Caregiving as Secular Sacrament: A Practical Theology for Professional Caregivers, London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2003.
  • Augsburger, David W. Pastoral Counselling Across Cultures, Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1986.
  • Barry, C. & Abo-Zena, M. Eds. Emerging Adults’ Religiousness and Spirituality: Meaning-making in an Age of Transition. London: Oxford University Press, 2014
  • Bowker, John. Problems of Suffering in Religions of the World. London: Cambridge University Press, 1970.
  • Bouma, Gary. Being Faithful in Diversity: Religion and Social Policy in Multi-faith Societies. Hindmarsh, South Australia: Australasian Theological Forum, 2011.
  • Cobb M., Puchalski, C. & Rumbold, B. (Eds). Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • Heelas, P. & Woodhead, L. The Spiritual Revolution: Why Religion is Giving Way to Spirituality. Malden: Blackwell, 2005.
  • Lartey, E. Pastoral Theology in an Intercultural World. Peterborough: Epworth Press, 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.*
  • Schipani, D., & Bueckert, L. (eds) Interfaith Spiritual Care: Understandings and Practices, Kitchener, Ontario, Pandora Press, 2009.
  • Sorajjakool, S., & Lamberton, H. – Spirituality Health and Wholeness: An Introductory Guide for Health Professionals, Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press, 2004.
  • Sorajjakool, S., Carr, M. & Nam, J. (Eds) – World Religions for Healthcare Professionals, London: Routledge, 2009.
  • Swift, C., Cobb, M. & Todd, A. (2015) A Handbook of Chaplaincy Studies: Understanding Spiritual Care in Public Places. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate.
  • Wingate, A. Celebrating Difference, Staying Faithful: How to Live in a Multi-faith World. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 2005


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Integrative Essay (2000 words)

2000 25.0

Three Immersion Reports (Supervised) (1000 words each)

3000 50.0

Critical Reading Journal (2000 words)

2000 25.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 15 Oct, 2019

Unit record last updated: 2022-11-25 11:20:38 +1100