Theory and Practice of Pastoral Counselling

This postgraduate unit introduces various pastoral counselling models and theories to enhance understanding of effective methods for engaging with and assisting people in pastoral contexts. The unit covers the nature and organisational context of pastoral care and counselling, the theological understandings of pastoral care and human growth, the relevance of the history of pastoral care and counselling in relation to pastoral theology. It also explores the broad spectrum of approaches to pastoral counselling, human problems within the context of theological themes, theological understandings of suffering, human limitation, guilt, sin, forgiveness, addictive behaviours, illness, meaning in life, death, conscience and ethical decision making, and evidence based research and practice.

Study Level



Christian Life and Ministry

Sub Discipline

Pastoral Counselling

Credit Points




Learning Outcomes

At the end of this unit students will be able to:

  1. appraise and critique the concepts and theories of pastoral care and counselling as a distinctive professional activity from other modes of counselling practice
  2. appraise, assess and critique information pertaining to various pastoral counselling models
  3. select a counselling model for use in pastoral care and develop the skills associated with the model so as to enhance the framework for pastoral counselling
  4. formulate an advanced theological conclusion regarding an anthropological model of the human person, with reference to a Christian typology
  5. establish and demonstrate a thorough knowledge regarding human ‘limit’ experiences (eg suffering; sin; forgiveness; meaning, etc.) as experienced in pastoral care and counselling relationships.
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