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Pastoral Care at end-of-life: Advanced Theory and Practice

Elective unit for postgraduates

This unit of study builds upon DP 8032S Pastoral care at end-of-life: An Introduction and presents opportunities to explore in depth some specialist interventions which are particularly relevant to pastoral care in the end of life context. Narrative therapy and the link between story-telling and identity will be explored. Particular focus will be given to the following areas: ways of exploring and working with illness, grief and death as a spiritual journey; working with the whole family – challenges benefits and a meeting model; key issues of forgiveness and hope with a particular focus on ways of approaching these potentially religious concepts, which have a strong theological basis, in ways that are also inclusive and practical for the non-religious person.

Upon successful completion students it is expected that students will be able to

  1. Articulate a clear understanding of the unique issues that arise when working with people in a variety of settings who are receiving  end of life and palliative care and outline an integrated model of care for their family members;
  2. Describe and illustrate in practice the importance of story-telling and illustrate how the use of the principles of narrative therapy can assist those with whom they work;
  3. Articulate a clear understanding of the principles of family systems theory and demonstrate how they can be used in working effectively with family groups as they journey through illness, grief and death;
  4. Demonstrate an informed model of reflection on some of the processes and spiritual and theological decisions associated with preparing to die;
  5. Describe, and integrate in practice, pastoral responses appropriate to the spiritual needs of the dying, in particular the issues of forgiveness and hope when there is no hope of cure.

Faculty: Dr Heather Tan

Pre-requisite: DP8032S Pastoral Care at end of life: An Introduction

Offered: in second semester 2017


(Level 9)
Book Review 1,500 words 20%
Case Study 2,000 words 40%
Verbatim and reflection 2,500 words 40%

Recommended reading:

Cobb, M., Puchalski, C.M., Rumbold, B. Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012
Corke, C. Saving Life or Prolonging Death: Finding the way in a world of medical technology. York, UK, Erudite Medical Books, 2010
Craddock, F., Goldsmith, D. and Goldsmith.Speaking of Dying: Recovering the Church’s Voice in the Face of Death. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2012
Davey, J, and Ellis S. Counselling Skills in Palliative Care. Buckingham UK: Open University Press, 2000
DeSpelder, L.A., DeSpelder, A.L. The Last Dance: Encountering Death and Dying (8th edition). USA: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2010
Enright, R. Forgiveness is a Choice: A Step-by-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope. Washington: American Psychological Association, 2001
Frank, A. The Wounded Story Teller: Body Illness and Ethics. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2013
Gibson, F. The Past in the Present: Using Reminiscence in Health and Social Care. Baltimore: Health Professions Press, 2004
Gilbert, P (Ed) Spirituality and End of Life Care: A handbook for service users, carers and staff wishing to bring a spiritual dimension to palliative care. London, UK: Pavilion Publishing & Media Ltd. 2013
Kissane D., Bloch, S. Family Focused Grief Therapy. Berkshire: Open University Press, 2002
Kleinman, A. Illness Narratives: Suffering, Healing and the Human Condition. USA: Basic Books, 1988
Kellehear, A. Death and Dying in Australia. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2000
Lair, G.S. Counselling the Terminally Ill: Sharing the Journey. Washington USA: Taylor &Francis, 1996
MacKinlay, E. (Ed). Aging, Spirituality and Palliative Care. Binghampton USA: The Haworth Pastoral Press, 2006 [Co-published simultaneously as Journal of Religion, Spirituality and Aging, Volume 18, Numbers 2,3 and 4 2006].
MacKinlay, E., Trevitt, C. Finding Meaning in the Experience of Dementia: The place of spiritual reminiscence work. London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2012
Martin, A How we Hope: A Moral Psychology. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014
Murphy, M. The Wisdom of Dying: Practices for Living. Boston: Element Books, 1999
Musgrave, B. and McGettigan, N. Spiritual and psychological aspects of illness: Dealing with sickness, loss, dying and death. New York, Mahwah: Paulist Press, 2010
Nadeau, J. Families Making Sense of Death. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 1998
Nolan, S. Spiritual Care at End of Life: The Chaplain as Hopeful Presence. London & Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2012
Rumbold, B. (Ed). Spirituality and Palliative Care: Social and Pastoral Perspectives. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2002
Schipani, D., & Bueckert, L (eds) Interfaith spiritual care: Understandings and practices. Kitchener, Ontario: Pandora Press, 2009.
Worthington, EL(Jr). Dimensions of Forgiveness: Psychological Research and Theological Perspectives. Pennsylvania: Templeton Foundation Press, 1998