THL520 Advanced Pastoral Counselling (16)

This subject integrates the student's prior knowledge and skills in pastoral counselling with the advanced knowledge, skills and critical reflection required for pastoral counselling involving complex issues. It includes critical reflection and rigorous examination of theological and pastoral counselling concepts, professional issues and skills apposite for advanced study in pastoral counselling.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 1 (30)
Online *
Canberra Campus
Session 2 (60)
Online *
Canberra Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: THL520. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



Two sessions


School of Theology

Enrolment Restrictions

Master of Pastoral Counselling
Master of Pastoral Counselling (Clinical)

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to demonstrate an ability to assess and work therapeutically with the client's complex issues including those requiring longer term pastoral counselling
  • be able to clearly articulate an integrative model of pastoral counselling which is appropriate for the student's pastoral setting
  • be able to critically reflect on the theological and psychological implications of the key issues in pastoral counselling of pain and suffering, forgiveness, hope, shame, grace, and despair
  • be able to reflect critically on theological and psychological understandings of human development and human nature
  • be able to demonstrate advanced skills in the choice and use of techniques assessed as appropriate for pastoral counselling from a wide range of psychological theories
  • be able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of spiritual and psychological dimensions within a pastoral counselling setting integrating with interpersonal and intrapersonal theory and practice
  • be able to demonstrate sensitivity, creativity and flexibility in their approaches to multicultural, interfaith, abuse, trauma, sexuality and gender issues in pastoral counselling
  • be able to critically reflect on their own process as a pastoral counsellor
  • be able to demonstrate a rigorous and responsible approach in addressing ethical and professional issues in pastoral counselling situations
  • be able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the challenges involved in the development of a pastoral counselling practice, including core competencies, advanced skills, ethical and administrative issues, limitations, specialisations and practical considerations


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • the therapeutic application of basic and advanced skills in pastoral counselling involving complex situations/problems
  • pastoral counselling tools and techniques including those from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Mindfulness), Emotion Focussed Therapy (EFT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Positive Psychology & Resilience, Motivational Interviewing and Gestalt therapy
  • assessment skills in pastoral counselling for complex pastoral counselling situations and problems
  • critical evaluation and self reflection in pastoral counselling
  • theological view of human development and impact on pastoral counselling practice
  • theological and counselling reflections on issues including pain and suffering, forgiveness, shame, grace, hope, despair, depression, and anxiety
  • sex, sexuality and gender issues in pastoral counselling
  • multicultural and interfaith issues in pastoral counselling
  • interpersonal and intrapersonal theory and practice in pastoral counselling
  • evidenced based pastoral counselling theory and practice
  • Child Abuse and Mandatory Reporting
  • professional and organisational boundaries in pastoral counselling and ministry
  • vicarious traumatisation, burn out and self care in pastoral counselling
  • pastoral counselling as professional practice and/or ministry
  • complex ethical and moral dilemmas in pastoral counselling practice
  • setting up a practice as a pastoral counsellor
  • organisation and management in pastoral counselling

Residential School

This subject contains a 6 day Compulsory Residential School.

The residential school will be divided into two sections. The first will be a 3-day residential in the February residential period, and the second will be a 3-day residential in the August residential period.

The compulsory residential schools will assist the student in the development and practice of Pastoral Counselling skills at an advanced level. The student will critically reflect, both individually and in groups, on the advanced pastoral counselling and theological concepts, skills and techniques encountered in face-to-face contact with the lecturer. The compulsory residentials will include experiential exercises, group discussion, practice counselling sessions, video critique and supervision and face to face lectures.


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.