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Pastoral Theology 5272B
Pastoral Counselling II

Winter 2011
Wednesday 1:30 - 3:30/4:30 PM

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

Instructor:  Ciaran McKenna
Phone: (519) 646-6100, ext. 64395


This course will introduce students to the theory and practice of pastoral care and counselling with families from a theological perspective as a ministry of the church. From this perspective, students will examine the basic principles of developmental and systems theory as they pertain to various stages of the individual and family life cycle. Students will be provided with a working knowledge of the conceptual and methodological apparatus by which to analyse their families of origin. Students will continue to develop their clinical skills through study and through practical exercises. The course will include a review of the tenets of spiritual direction. 


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 learn basic developmental theories and family systems concepts that will inform ministry with individuals, couples and families at various stages in the family life cycle.
2. To reflect on one’s own family of origin and to explore its impact on life and ministry through doing a genogram and timeline
3. To continue to develop basic clinical skills in working with individuals, couples and families.
4. To highlight spirituality and theological reflection and its place in pastoral counselling. 


1. Assigned reading and class attendance

All students are required to complete the readings assigned for the week, and be prepared to discuss them in class. As many classes will involve practical exercises, 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. Unexplained absences will result in a deduction of two (2) marks from the class participation grade (total 10 marks). Students will also be responsible for starting each class with a short devotion (no more than five minutes) incorporating a passage from Scripture that will inform their pastoral ministry. Students will submit a one (1) page reflection on their devotion and its implication for their practice of pastoral ministry at the class following the devotion.  Students will also prepare and present a 1-2pp chapter summary selected from Strategies for Brief Pastoral Counselling.

2. Genogram and timeline

Using the techniques learned in class, students will diagram their own family of origin, and submit a clear and legible copy of their own genogram, using accurate diagramming techniques (resource material and a text on genograms will be a resource). Students will also submit a written report based on the following questions:

a. Reflections on the biographical details and strengths and challenges of your family history
What were the most significant insights for you as you traced your family history?
What were the stories associated with these insights?
Did you notice any family patterns that you were not previously aware of?
Were there any gaps in your knowledge of your family? What is the significance of those gaps?

b. Implications for your faith journey
What connections, if any, can you make between your childhood image of your parents and your image of God and your current image of God?
How might possible unresolved issues in your family of origin be impacting you on your faith journey? What can you do to strengthen or resolve any parts of your personal story which might seem unfinished?

c. Implications for your personal growth
After studying your family of origin, where do you see your growing edges as a person? What do you see as your strengths of character and personality? Where do you see God impacting your vocational story? What might your next “chapter” be of the story of your life? What would you like it to include?

The genogram, timeline and written report should be 4-5 pages, typed and double-spaced. Reports are due at the Week 5 class on February 5. I will meet with each of you individually for 15 minutes before or after class to go over this exercise.
Please note: The content of your genogram and your reflections on your family will be kept confidential.

3. Case Study/Verbatim Report and reflection paper

Students will work on (a) finding a person to have a pastoral conversation with (permission for this being received), or (b) will work in pairs to record a role play of a pastoral counselling encounter in the seminar portion of the class, or (c) the student may use the movie Stolen Summer, or another video with permission.

In their role as counsellor, students will select and transcribe (or write out if not taped) a portion of the encounter that includes at least twelve (12) counsellor responses. In the assessment portion of the paper, the student will identify the particular pastoral counselling skill, or Helping Style Inventory intervention they used in each of the responses. Students will include a written assessment of attending / listening / counselling stance and describe any self-learning that occurred through the process. The emphasis of the assessment is on the overall appropriateness of the students’ responses. Students may suggest alternative responses for any actual responses they gave which they would wish to change. This paper will include a verbatim report and this format will be given to the student ahead of time, highlighting a theory or theories of pastoral counselling with which they feel comfortable and which inform their ministry. A theological reflection is part of this paper. Paper 11-14pp- due at final class


Students will be assessed on:

1. their constructive participation in class and in the clinical exercises
2. their understanding of, and ability to apply, academic material covered in the course readings
3. their ability to construct, and to reflect on, a genogram and timeline of their own family of origin
5. their understanding and implementation of attending, listening and counselling skills, their understanding of theory and their use and analysis of responses in a pastoral encounter.

Assessment will be allocated as follows:

Class participation (including chapter summary) 35%
Genogram exercise 30%
Integrative case study paper & theological reflection 35%

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 should consult with the instructor before the due date. Students will need to furnish supporting documentation if seeking an extension for medical reasons.

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


Week 1

January 5 (Ciaran 1:30-3:30)

Role Play Skill Integration
Review SC&T Ch 1-3

Week  2       

January 12 (Colleen 1:30 - 4:30)

Introduction to the course
Review of a Rogerian, Person-CenteredApproach to the Helping Relationship and other Counselling Frameworks, Genograms and Timelines
Discuss highlights of SC & T Ch 1,2,3,4 and 7

Week 3

January 19 (Ciaran 1:30-3:30)

Role Play Skill Integration

Week 4

January 26 (Ciaran 1:30-3:30)

Genogram presentations 1,2
Role Play Skill Integration

Week 5

February 2 (Ciaran 1:30-3:30)

Role Play Skill Integration
Genogram Continued - Presentations 3 and 4
Read: Strategies, Ch 1 & 2

Week 6

February 9 (Colleen 1:30-4:30)

Pastoral Care of Depression
Genogram Continued - Presentations 5 and 6
Read: Strategies, Ch 3 & 4

Week 7

February 16 (Ciaran 1:30 - 3:30)

Role Play
Genogram Continued - Presentations 7 and 8
Read: Strategies for Brief Pastoral Counselling, Ch 5 & 6

Week 8 February 23 - Reading Week - No Class
Week 9

March 2 (Ciaran 1:30-3:30)

Role Play Skill Integration
Strategies for Brief Pastoral Counselling
Student Summary Presentations, Ch 1 and 2

Week 10

March 9 (Colleen 1:30 - 4:30 pm)

Brief Pastoral Counselling:
Strategies for Brief Pastoral Counselling
Student Summary Presentations, Ch 3,4, 5 and 6
Read: Strategies for Brief Pastoral Counselling: Read Stone, Ch 7 & 8, Watch Stolen Summer DVD

Week 11

March 16 (Ciaran 1:30-3:30)

Role Play Skill Integration
Strategies for Brief Pastoral Counselling
Student Summary Presentations, Ch 7  and 8

Week 12

March 23 (Ciaran 1:30 - 3:30)

Role Play Skill Integration
Presentation and discussion on Learnings and Evaluation

Week 13 March 30 (No Class) Papers handed in


Howard Stone, Strategies for Brief Pastoral Counselling, Augsburg Fortress Publishers (April 15 2006)
ISBN-10: 0800632990 ISBN-13: 978-0800632991


Glendon Moriarity, 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

Spirituality and Health: Multidisciplinary Explorations edited by A. Meier, T.O’Connor and P. VanKatwyk, 2003