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Advanced Pastoral and Spiritual Care & Listening Skills

Double subject over two semesters – Students who enrol in this unit will need to enrol in Part A (DP2/3/9007S) in first semester and Part B (DP2/3/9207S) in second semester

Second and third levels for undergraduates
Elective unit for postgraduates


This unit builds upon the spiritual care and listening skills framework developed in the introductory unit. The unit will develop, to an advanced level, the skills of listening and reflective practice as elements of theological reflection in the practice of spiritual care. Concurrent skills practice, special issues and interventions, will be developed over two 12 week sequences designed to enable students to develop competence in the practical art of spiritual care and integrative reflective practice.  Advanced learning will be consolidated through lectures and a verbatim/workshop approach will be complemented by tasks that invite students to engage in theological reflection upon: role and identity; safe, sustainable professional practice; and their spiritual care style.

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe and critically evaluate a number of spiritual care theories.
  2. Articulate the sequential steps of a model of spiritual care by drawing upon an integrated process of personal experience, listening skills development and theological reflection.
  3. Identify and describe the limits of their spiritual care as they develop referral skills and an awareness of personal issues that may influence, positively or negatively, the listening process.
  4. Describe, illustrate and implement the essentials of safe, ethical spiritual care practice.
  5. (Level 3) Engage current research and integrate reflectively with spiritual care practice
  6. (postgraduate) Critically engage with current research and integrate reflectively with spiritual care practice.

Pre-requisites: One foundational unit is each of the following disciplines

  • Pastoral and Spiritual Care
  • Biblical Studies (Old or New Testament)
  • Systematic Theology

Faculty: Chris Turner and Mary Dewberry

Offered: 2019 over semester 1 and 2 on Tuesday afternoons


2nd level
One 2,000 word essay (25%)
One 3,000 word Video verbatim report  (35%)
One 3,500 Learning Journal Reflection (40%)

3rd level
One 2,500 word essay (25%)
One 3,500 word Video verbatim report  (35%)
One 4,000 Learning Journal Reflection (40%)

One 3,000 word essay (25%)
One 4,000 word Video verbatim report  (35%)
One 5,000 Learning Journal Reflection (40%)

Select Bibliography:

* = set texts recommended for purchase

Cook, C. Ed. (2013) Spirituality, theology and mental health: Interdisciplinary perspectives. London: SCM.
Schipani, D., & Bueckert, L. Eds. (2009) Interfaith spiritual care: Understandings and practices. Kitchener, Ontario, Pandora Press.
*Cooper-White, P. Shared Wisdom: Use of the Self in Pastoral Care and Counseling (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2004).
Corey, G., Corey, M., & Callanan, P. Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions, 7th ed., (California: Brookes-Cole, 2007).
Cozad-Neuger, C. Counselling Women: A Narrative, Pastoral Approach (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2001).
Culbertson, P. Caring for God’s People: Counselling and Christian Wholeness (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2000).
Grant, B. A Theology for Pastoral Psychotherapy: God’s Play in Sacred Places (New York: Haworth Pastoral Press, 2001).
Louw, D., Ito, T. & Elsdörfer, U. (eds.). Encounter in Pastoral Care and Spiritual Healing: Towards an Integrative and Intercultural Approach (Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2012).
Merton, T. The Inner Experience: notes on contemplation. New York, Harper Collins, 2003.
Pembroke, N. The Art of Listening: dialogue, shame and pastoral care. Edinburgh, Eerdmans, 2002.
Whitehead E., & Whitehead J. Transforming our Painful Emotions: Spiritual Resources in Anger, Shame, Grief, Fear, Loneliness (Maryknoll: Orbis, 2010).
Wicks, R. & Rodgerson, T. Companions in Hope (New York: Paulist, 1998).
Wicks, R. The Resilient Clinician (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008).