THL433 Pastoral Counselling: Mental Health and Trauma (8)

This subject is an introduction to working with mental health and trauma clients within pastoral settings. Building on the foundations of THL400 and THL420 it includes an understanding of theory and assessment in mental health work; theological and spiritual perspectives on mental health and trauma; and appropriate skills for counselling in these contexts. Students will develop knowledge and skills in dealing with mental health issues, trauma, stress and anger, domestic violence, addictions, appropriate ethical and self-reflective practice, and referral processes.


* 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: THL433. 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

Enrolment Restrictions

Enrolment restricted to students currently enrolled in the Graduate Diploma of Pastoral Counselling, Master of Pastoral Counselling, Master of Pastoral Counselling (Clinical) and Master of Ministry


THL400 and THL420

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to demonstrate an ability to assess people with cognitive, emotional, behavioural and spiritual difficulties who present in pastoral settings
  • be able to articulate assessment processes
  • be able to articulate knowledge of mental health issues, including depression and anxiety
  • be able to demonstrate critical application of appropriate interventions for people with a variety of presentations, including mental health issues, trauma, domestic violence and addictions
  • be able to demonstrate a knowledge of community resources within their own particular geographical settings together with the ability to refer appropriately
  • be able to self-reflect on their own pastoral counselling practice and skills
  • be able to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of and response to professional and ethical issues arising in pastoral counselling settings


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Assessment processes in pastoral counselling
  • The whole person - cognitive, emotional, behavioural and spiritual - a pastoral counselling response
  • Mental Health and trauma issues
  • Pastoral Counselling beyond crisis intervention
  • Counselling interventions for mental health and trauma issues, and working with childhood trauma
  • Emotional regulation for anger and fear
  • Referral - finding resources within the local community
  • Self-reflective practice
  • Professional and ethical issues

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of THL433 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 %
Recorded counselling session and transcript
Analysis of counselling session
Participation: residential and discussions

Residential School

This subject contains a 4 day Compulsory Residential School.

The compulsory residential school for this subject enables students to reflect on their pastoral counselling skills and practice and provides a supervision process. It will involve counselling practice, experiential exercises, supervision of students' counselling and discussion of relevant theoretical and theological concepts.

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.