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Graduate Certificate of Pastoral Care for Mental Health – Overview of units

Theological Approaches to Wellbeing

The unit will expose you to key questions and perspectives related to a Christian understanding of human flourishing and wellbeing. It will enable you to reflect upon approaches to understanding wellbeing within the history of ideas and Christian thought, and to critically assess the contribution of positive psychology from a biblical and theological framework, with a view to application in ministry and professional settings.

  • Human flourishing in the history of ideas and Christian thought
  • Human flourishing and wellbeing in the Old Testament
  • Human flourishing and wellbeing in the New Testament
  • Theological reflections upon positive psychology and contemporary understandings of happiness
  • Suffering, resilience and wellbeing
  • Virtue and its relationship to wellbeing
  • The contribution of the church to wellbeing

Theological Perspectives on Mental Health

This unit will develop your knowledge in relation to mental health and the church. It will help you to develop solid theological frameworks for understanding mental health concerns in light of biblically informed theological principles. The unit will also help enable to you to apply this theological understanding in Christian ministry and professional settings.

  • Approaches to mental health throughout the history of the church
  • Theological anthropology and its implications for mental health
  • Sin, personal responsibility, and mental health
  • Cultural impacts upon theologies of mental health
  • The role of the demonic in mental health concerns
  • The impact and consequences of poorly conceived theologies of mental health
  • Mental health concerns and issues of suffering and theodicy
  • Theological implications for diagnosis and treatment of mental ill-health
  • Mental health and the church
  • Eschatology and hope in relation to mental health concerns

Pastoral Care for those with Mental Ill-Health

Pastoral Care for those with Mental Ill-Health

This unit will help inform you to common health conditions and treatments provided by mental health professionals. The unit will present a biblically and theologically informed approach to providing effective pastoral care for people living with mental ill-health and those caring for them. This unit will help you understand the distinctive contributions that churches and pastoral carers can offer alongside the work of mental health professionals.

  • Common mental health disorders and their treatment
  • Responding to the stigma attached to mental ill-health (in society and the church)
  • The mental health system in Australia
  • The experience of mental ill-health
  • Key pastoral skills in providing care for those experiencing mental ill-health
  • The role of the church in providing friendship and support
  • The role of the Bible and prayer in effective pastoral care
  • Referral to professional services
  • Professional conduct for the pastoral carer
  • Self-care for the pastoral carer

Pastoral and Church-Focused Ministry Seminar: Theological and Pastoral Perspectives on Trauma

In this unit, you will have the opportunity to consider the nature and impact of trauma in its various forms upon individuals, families and communal groups. The unit provides you with a biblical and theological framework for understanding trauma and will help equip you apply the principles of trauma-informed care and practice in ministry and professional settings.

  • Understanding trauma and its impact upon individuals, families and communal groups
  • The neurobiology of trauma
  • Biblical and theological perspectives on trauma
  • Intervention and support strategies for trauma
  • Narrative approaches to trauma in biblical perspective
  • The role of the church in responding to trauma
  • Pastoral responses to trauma
  • The nature of trauma informed care and practice
  • Case studies on various forms of trauma: domestic violence, sexual abuse, natural disasters, intergenerational trauma, spiritual abuse, war-related trauma
  • Community resources for assisting those who have experienced trauma

Specialist lecturers in Trauma Informed Care

  • Richard Elms (Clinical Services, Accreditted Mental Health Social Worker)
  • Linda Dunstan (Family and Domestic Violence Advisor, Anglicare)
  • Tim Dyer (The Johnmark Extension)

Unit teacher

Since 2016 Rev. Dr Keith Condie has been Co-Director/Founder with his wife Sarah of the Mental Health & Pastoral Care Institute (MHPCI) at Mary Andrews College. The MHPCI provides resources and training in mental health and pastoral care for the Australian church. Keith holds a BSc (Psychology) from UNSW, a BTh and MA (Theol) from the ACT and a PhD in History with a focus on pastoral theology from the University of Sydney. He has taught at Mary Andrews College since 2018. Prior to founding the MHPCI, for nearly 20 years, Keith was Dean of Students and lecturer in ministry and church history at Moore Theological College.

Mode of teaching

This unit will be taught in hybrid mode, i.e., students can attend class in-person on campus or attend online.

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