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Supervision in Spiritual Care using Critical Reflection

Critical spirituality is a way of working with what is meaningful in the context of seeking a socially just, diverse and inclusive society.  From this perspective, those engaged in this unit in spiritual care are encouraged to see the connections between individuals, families and communities which are often significant for spiritual and social support, for health and wellbeing.  What is central in critical spirituality is both valuing the individual experience of spirituality in all its diversity, with a critical perspective that asserts the importance of living harmoniously and respectfully at an individual, family and community levels.  Supervision using this perspective includes critical reflection: both a theory and a process which uses specific experiences to reflect on underlying assumptions and values that influence practice. This can be used as part of individual, peer or group supervision.  The aim is for chaplains, pastoral carers or others involved in spiritual care to develop skills in using critical reflection for supervision and practice using a critical spirituality framework. 

Lecturer: Fiona Gardner
Offered: Refer to Timetable

Postgraduate: Level 9 Elective

Discipline: DP Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies 

DP8015S The Art of Supervisory Practice or DD8115F Introduction to Supervision and DD9116F Peer and Group Supervision or equivalent unit/s at another recognised institution.

Learning Outcomes: 

Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Identify what is meant by critical spirituality and critical reflection;
  2. Describe and discuss the difference between stage one and two of critical reflection;
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the theory and an ability to use processes of critical reflection in practice related activities;
  4. Use critical reflection in supervision with an individual and in a small group setting and articulate clear connections with their practice.


Presentation and Reflection on Presentation (2000 words) 25%
Reflective Journal (2000 words) 25%
Video and Reflection (3,000 words) 50%

Select Bibliography:

*Recommended reading

Cobb, M., Puchalski C., & Rumbold B. (eds) (2012) Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare, Oxford University Press.
Fook, J. & Gardner, F. (2007) Practising Critical Reflection: A Resource Handbook. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
* Gardner, F. (2011). Critical Spirituality: A Holistic Approach to Contemporary Practice. Farnham: Ashgate.
Hawkins, P, & Shohet, R. (2006) Supervision in the Helping Professions. (Third Edition). Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Kavanagh, J. (2007). The World is our Cloister A Guide to the Modern Religious Life. Winchester, UK: O Books, John Hunt Publishing.
Lartey, E. (2006) Pastoral Theology in an Intercultural World.  Peterborough: Epworth Press.
McSherry, W. (2006) Making Sense of Spirituality in Nursing and Health Care Practice. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Miller-McLemore, B. (2012) The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Practical Theology, London: Wiley/Blackwell.
Pattison, S. (2007) The Challenge of Practical Theology: Selected Essays, London: Jessica Kingsley.
Roberts, S. (ed) (2012) Professional Spiritual and Pastoral Care. Vermont: Skylight Publishing.
Sneed, R. A. (2010). Representations of Homosexuality: Black Liberation Theology and Cultural Criticism. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Tacey, D. (2011). Gods and Diseases: Making Sense of our Physical and Mental Well-being. Sydney: HarperCollins.
White, G. (2006). Talking about Spirituality in Health Care Practice. London: Jessica Kingsley.