THL432 Pastoral Counselling: Relationship and Family (8)


This subject is an introduction to relationship and family counselling within pastoral settings. It will include an understanding of self in relationship; theological and spiritual perspectives on family and relationship; theoretical models of relationship counselling; and appropriate skills for counselling in these contexts. Students will develop knowledge and skills in dealing with separation, divorce and remarriage, communication, conflict resolution, intimacy, sex and sexuality, and parenting in traditional, blended and other family structures. Students will be encouraged to reflect on their own values and background.

+ Subject Availability Modes and Location

Session 2
Distance*Canberra Campus
*This subject offering contains a residential school. Please view following information for further details.
Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: THL432
Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject information

Duration Grading System School:
One sessionHD/FLSchool of Theology

Enrolment restrictions

Restricted to students enrolled in Graduate Diploma of Pastoral Counselling, Master of Pastoral Counselling, Master of Pastoral Counselling (Clinical) and Master of Ministry, who have met the prerequisite requirements for this subject.
THL400 and THL420

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of interpersonal relationships and family dynamics
  • be able to articulate a theological understanding of relationship and family
  • be able to reflect critically on their own values and family backgrounds
  • demonstrate the advanced skills required for working with couples and families in the pastoral counselling setting
  • be able to demonstrate the critcial application of the various theoretical approaches and models to working with relationships and families in the pastoral counselling setting
  • be able to apply appropriate pastoral counselling responses to complex relational situations
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding the spiritual perspectives that may emerge when working with couples and families
  • be able to demonstrate appropriate ethical practice, including referral


The subject will cover the following topics:
  • Introduction to Pastoral Counselling for Relationships and Families
  • Theological perspectives on relationships and families
  • Spiritual conflict arising in relationship and family issues
  • Systems theory and family-of-origin
  • Theoretical approaches to relationships and families
  • A Pastoral Counselling approach
  • Understanding of self in relationship
  • Impact of own values
  • Communciation skills
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Pastoral Counselling skills for couples and families
  • Separation, divorce and remarriage
  • Dealing with anger and violence
  • Sex and sexuality
  • Parenting and step-parenting
  • Professional and ethical issues

Residential School

This subject contains a compulsory 4 day residential school. The residential school will provide a supportive environment for students to develop skills, theoretical and theological knowledge, and self-reflection in the area of relationships and families within pastoral settings. It will incorporate practice skills sessions, self-reflection exercises and discussion groups.


The information contained in the 2016 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: 06 September 2016. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.