THL400 Pastoral Counselling Skills (8)

This subject develops professional counselling skills that are relevant to pastoral counselling situations. It includes the establishment of a therapeutic pastoral counselling relationship and environment, the use of counselling microskills within pastoral counselling situations, and professional, ethical and theological issues for pastoral counsellors. Students will be encouraged to develop self-reflective practice.


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

Session 1 (30)
Online *
Canberra Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: THL400. 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



One session


School of Theology

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to demonstrate use of appropriate communication skills within a pastoral setting;
  • be able to articulate knowledge of professional, ethical and theological issues relevant to pastoral counselling;
  • be able to demonstrate the use of counselling microskills in pastoral counselling interventions;
  • be able to establish a safe pastoral counselling environment and relationship;
  • be able to set realistic goals for pastoral counselling interventions;
  • be able to articulate their individual strengths and growth areas as a potential pastoral counsellor; and
  • be able to reflect on their pastoral counselling work with increasing self awareness.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Introduction to Pastoral Counselling in the Australian context
  • Establishing a pastoral counselling relationship
  • Self awareness, utilisation of self and self-reflective process within pastoral counselling
  • Counselling microskills including joining and listening, reflection of content and emotion, use of questions, summarising, reframing, reflection, challenge, and normalising.
  • A basic model of pastoral counselling intervention
  • First contact and creating closure in a variety of pastoral counselling settings
  • Application of pastoral counselling skills
  • Practical, ethical, professional and theological issues in pastoral counselling

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of THL400 in Session 1 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Tape and analysis
Participation in residential school and forum
Journal essay

Residential School

This subject contains a 4 day Compulsory Residential School.The compulsory residential school will involve experiential and practical sessions where students will be able to practice pastoral counselling skills, explore interpersonal dynamics, integrate theoretical counselling and theological knowledge and develop increasing self-awareness through self-reflective process.

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.