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Pastoral Theology 5271A
Pastoral Counselling I

Wednesdays 1:30 - 4:30 pm Colleen  (1:15 - 3:15 Ciaran)
Room 102, St. Peter's Seminary

Instructor: Sr. Colleen Lashmar, CSJ, D.Min.
(519) 621-2333, ext. 2124

Instructor: Ciaran McKenna


This course will introduce students to the theory and practice of pastoral care and counselling from a theological perspective as a ministry of the church. Within this context, students will explore some of the salient features of giving counsel, including the creating of a listening environment, the art of pastoral conversation, the interpretation of stories, the use/misuse of Scripture, and the management of boundaries. Attention will be given to specific topics, including death and grief, suffering and depression, violence and abuse, and addiction. Students will be encouraged to formulate their own theology and ethic of pastoral care and counselling.


The Department of Pastoral Theology will facilitate students’ growth in knowledge, skills, and attitudes in the following ways:

1. By facilitating students’ awareness and development of their pastoral presence, embodying compassion and sensitivity towards the needs and hurts of those to whom they will minister.
2. By providing students with an understanding of human developmental patterns and their implications for Pastoral Ministry.

1. By facilitating students’ growth in the skill of attentive listening, especially to those who are in situations of struggle or need.
2. By assisting students in gaining the skills necessary to recognize key problems articulated by those seeking their ministry, and to respond to these problems in appropriate ways.
3. By conveying to students skills appropriate for accompanying persons in crisis which will help the persons experience greater balance and peace in the midst of their difficult circumstances.

1. By facilitating within students the development of genuinely caring and attentive listening, seeking the root of people’s problems, and accompany them in their quest for healing.
2. By assisting students to accepting that their goal is not to resolve people’s crises, but rather to help them discover resources (within themselves and in their community) which will move them towards greater balance. 


For students at the graduate level:
1. To be able to name a personal and a professional identity and the integration of these into a pastoral identity
2. To describe the salient components of spiritual and religious care and counselling
3. To understand some of the issues involved in pastoral situations and to develop some strategies and interventions in order to be helpful in these situations
4. To reflect theologically and psychologically on a case, and to develop and hone learnings from the experience of offering pastoral counselling in a role play or “virtual visit” context


1. Assigned reading and class attendance and class presentations

All students are required to complete the readings assigned for the week, and be prepared to discuss them in class. Students are expected to be present at each class. If for any reason, they cannot be present, they will need to contact the instructor in advance. Students will also be responsible for starting each class with a short devotion (no more than five minutes). All students will prepare and students will take turns presenting a one page summary and reflection on the weekly readings. The second half of the class time will be spent in seminar time – with discussion on application of theory and role plays.

2. Theological Reflection Papers

Students will submit two (2) theological reflection papers during the course of the semester. In the first paper, students will select a passage from Scripture that inspires and informs their identity and role as a ‘giver of counsel.’ They will describe why they have chosen the passage, what it means to them, and how it will inform their understanding and practice of pastoral counselling. In the second paper, students will describe their understanding of theological reflection as described by Robert Kinast in his book, Let Ministry Teach and summarize how they will utilize related insights on the human person in their delivery of pastoral counselling. Each reflection paper should be three to four (3-4) pages, typed, double spaced, with title page and appropriate referencing.

3. Pastoral case study

For the case study, students will engage in, analyze and interpret a pastoral conversation. Pastoral conversations need to be held with an individual, couple or family who is outside the seminary community, and outside students’ circle of family and friends. For example, students may choose to converse with someone in their faith communities. (Students would need to advise their Rector or Senior Minister, or other supervisory person as appropriate). Students will need to identify themselves as ‘pastoral counselling students in training,’ in seeking verbal consent from the prospective conversation partner(s), and must take all the necessary steps to ensure confidentiality of the person(s) with whom they are talking. Students are invited to consult with the course instructor if they have any questions regarding their conversation partner(s) or the nature of the conversation. The student is also welcome to discuss alternate possible methods of obtaining case study material and writing a research paper addressing a school of pastoral counselling.

Students will be provided with a case study outline that sets out how the case study is to be written up. Case studies should be a10- 12 pages, typed, double spaced, with title page and appropriate referencing.


Students will be assessed on:
1. Their constructive participation in class, including preparation of an opening devotion. Each week the student will be interacting with the assigned readings.
2. Their understanding of, and ability to apply, to an initial degree, the academic material covered in the course readings
3. Their ability to analyze and interpret a pastoral conversation using theological and psychological categories

Assessment will be allocated as follows: 

Class participation and presentations 30%
Theological Reflection Papers (2)
Due 1st Wednesday in October and November
Pastoral case study (integrating readings with either research on pastoral counselling or a case study on a ministry experience
Due 1st December 14th


Week 1          

Sept. 15
Colleen + Ciaran [brief introduction]) 1:30-4:30

Introduction and overview: the Basics of Pastoral Counselling
Essentials of Caring: Therapeutic Models and Therapeutic Communication and Therapeutic Relationships & the Helping Styles Inventory

Psychological Frameworks Presentation - powerpoint
(Video of Carl Rogers and/or Ken Pargament)

Week 2

Sept. 22 (Ciaran 1:30 - 3:30 pm)

Role Play Applications

Week 3

Sept. 29 (Colleen 1:30 - 4:30 pm)

A theological reflection of pastoral care and counselling as a ministry of the church-introduction
Read:  Kinast, Let Ministry Teach,Intro, Chapters 1 and 2
Van Katwyk, Spiritual Care and Therapy, Introduction & Chapters 1 and 2

Week 4

Oct. 6 (Ciaran 1:30 - 3:30 pm)

Role Play Applications
Read:  Kinast, Let Ministry Teach, Chapters 3, 4
Van Katwyk Chapter

First Theological Reflection Paper due

Week 5

Oct. 13 (Ciaran 1:30 - 3:30 pm)

Role Play Applications
Read:  Kinast, Let Ministry Teach, Chapter 5
Van Katwyk Chapter 4

Week 6

Oct. 20 (Colleen 1:30 - 4:30 pm)

Essentials of Caring and Contexts of Caring: The Family Connection and Life Cycle Transitions
Contexts of Caring-Crisis and Loss and Parental Loss and Marital Grief

Van Katwyk, Spiritual Care and Therapy, Chapters 10 & 11
Dr. Peter Van Katwyk - DVD on Grief

Week 7 Oct. 27 - No Class
Week 8

Nov. 3 (Ciaran 1:30 - 3:30 pm)

Role Play Applications
Read: Kinast, Let Ministry Teach, Chapter 6
Van Katwyk, Chapter 5

Second Theological Reflection Paper due

Week 9

Nov. 10 (Ciaran 1:30 - 3:30 pm)

Role Play Applications

Week 10

Nov. 17 (Colleen 1:30 - 4:30 pm)

Pastoral Counselling Techniques & Frameworks & Professional Ethics in Pastoral Counselling Theological Reflection Paul Pruyser and Marie-Line Morin (Marie Line Morin Presentation or DVD)

Read to end of Let Ministry Teach
Summary of Pastoral Counselling Core Principles
Van Katwyk, Spiritual Care and Therapy, Chapters 6, 7

Week 11

Nov. 24 (Ciaran 1:30 - 3:30 pm)

Role Play Applications

Week 12

Dec. 1 (Ciaran 1:30 - 3:30 pm)

Role Play Applications - Possible skype (video) summary with Colleen on Psychological frameworks or Ciaran will do this

Week 13

Dec. 8 (No Class)

Take Home Exam to be emailed back to me and to Ciaran by Dec. 14
Pastoral Care Study due Dec. 14


Robert Kinast, (1996) Let Ministry Teach: A Guide to Theological Reflection.  Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press.

Peter L. VanKatwyk, Spiritual Care and Therapy: Integrative Perspectives.  Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier Press, 2003, Pp. xiv+224. Paper, ISBN O-88920-434-9


Farris, Margaret.  Compassioning: Basic Counselling Skills for Christian Care-Givers.   University of Western Ontario Bookstore.

Glendon Moriarty, Pastoral Care of Depression: Helping Clients Heal Their Relationship with God.  New York: The Hawthorne Press, 2006; 239 pages Hardbound (ISBN-13: 978-0-7890-2382-7)  Softbound (ISBN-13: 978-0-7890-2383-4)


Finley, J. (1978;1992).  Merton's Palace of Nowhere: A Search for God through Awareness of the True Self. Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press.

Frankl. V. (1963).  Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy.  New York: Pocket Books.

Freedman, J. and Combs, G. (1996).  Narrative Therapy: The Social Construction of Preferred Realities.  New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Gutierrez, G. (1987).  On Job: God-Talk and the Suffering of the Innocent.  (M.J. O'Connell, Trans.). New York: Orbis Books.

Hargrave, T.D. (1994).  Families and Forgiveness: Healing Wounds in the Intergenerational Family.  New York:  Brunner/Mazel.

Kinast, R.L. (2000).  What Are They Saying About Theological Reflection?  Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press.

Kinast, R.L. (1999).  Making Faith Sense: Theological Reflection in Everyday Life.  Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press.

Kushner, H.S. (1981).  When Bad Things Happen to Good People.  New York: Avon Books.

Kushner, H.S. (1996).  How Good Do We Have To Be?  Boston: Little, Brown and Co.

McFague, S. (1987).  Models of God: Theology for an Ecological Nuclear Age.  Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

Miller, S., Huble, M. & Duncan, B. Eds. (1996).  Handbook of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy. 1996. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

O'Connor, T., Meakes, E., McCarroll-Butler, P., Gadowsky, S., and O'Neill, K. (1997).  "Making the Most and Making Sense: Ethnographic Research on Spirituality in Palliative Care." in Journal of Pastoral Care. Spring, Vol. 51, No. 1

O'Connor, T. (1998).  Clinical Pastoral Supervision and the Theology of Charles Gerkin.  Waterloo, ON: Wilfred Laurier Press.

Rahner, K., (1975).  The Order of Creation and the Order of Redemption.  In G. Kool, Ed., The Rahner Reader. New York: Crossroad.

Rahner, K. (1983).  "Why Does God Allow Us to Suffer?" in Theological Investigations 19.  New York: Crossroad.

Rahner, K. (1987).  Foundation of Christian Faith: An Introduction to the Idea of Christianity.  (W. Dyck, Trans.). New York: Crossroad.

Rohr, R. (1996). Job and the Mystery of Suffering: Spiritual Reflections.  New York: Crossroad.

Rupp, J. (1988).  Praying Our Goodbyes.  Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press.

Satir, V. Banmen, J., Gerber, J., and Gomori, M. (1991).  The Satir Model: Family Therapy and Beyond.  Palo Alto, CA: Science and Behaviour Books, Inc.

Soellee, D. (1975).  Suffering. (E.R. Kalin, Trans.) Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

Staudacher, Carol (1991).  Men & Grief: A Guide for Men Surviving the Death of a Loved One: A Resource for Caregivers and Mental Health Professionals.  Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

Teilhard de Chardin, P. (1960).  The Divine Milieu.  New York: Harper & Brothers.

Van Katwyk, P.L. (1995).  "The Healing Styles Inventory: An Update." in The Journal of Pastoral Care, Vol. 49, No. 4, Winter.

Van Katwyk, P.O. (1997).  "Healing Through Differentiation: A Pastoral Care and Counselling Perspective." in The Journal of Pastoral Care, Vol. 51, No. 3, Fall.

Walsh, F. and McGoldrick, M. (1991).  Living Beyond Loss: Death in the Family.  New York: W.W. Norton.

Walsh, F. Ed. (2003).  Normal Family Processes.  New York: The Guilford Press. 


Students are responsible for knowing the University’s academic policies and regulations and any particularities of their own course of study. These can all be found at the University’s website ( Ignorance of these policies is not an excuse for any violation thereof. The following policies are particularly important to note:

Submission of Assignments: Written work is due in class on the date assigned. It is the policy of the seminary to deduct 10% of the final mark for each day the written work is overdue without permission. Anyone seeking an extension needs to consult with the instructor before the due date. Students will need to furnish supporting documentation if seeking an extension for medical reasons.

Plagiarism: Written work submitted by students must be original. Students will need to acknowledge use of other sources. Plagiarism is a significant academic offence (see ‘Scholastic Offence Policy’ in the UWO Academic Calendar). The University of Western Ontario uses software for academic checking. Students may be required to submit their work in electronic form for plagiarism checking.

Selection and Registration of Courses: Students are responsible for ensuring that their selection of courses is appropriate and accurately recorded, that all prerequisite course(s) have been successfully completed, and that they are aware of any anti-requisite course(s) that they have taken.