2nd semester                                    (Min. No. 8)

Intensive Unit:   4-5 August; 8-9 September; 20-21 October



This unit will explore two important areas of understanding underpinning good pastoral practice: human development theory, and theological notions of the self. After exploring theories of human psychological development, the unit will explore how we come to understand the self within a pastoral setting. This will involve developing a theological understanding of the person within context: personal, familial, social and global. This unit will explore key concepts in developmental theory as well as selected theological works that bridge the gap between pastoral psychology and pastoral practice.





Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the main theories of and approaches to human development
  2. compare and contrast selected theoretical positions (both theological and psychological) on human development and the theology of the self
  3. identify key notions of the self within different social and cultural contexts
  4. demonstrate an understanding of the place of human development theory, and a theological understanding of the self, within pastoral practice
  5. formulate a pastoral practice strategy with this understanding in mind.



1000 word essay demonstrating a clear understanding of human development theory (20%);

1000 word seminar paper on one specific cultural understanding of the self (20%);

2000 word essay demonstrating how human development theory, and theological perspectives on the self, are relevant to a pastoral practice environment. (60%)



Boyd, Denise, and Helen Bee. Lifespan Development. 6th ed. Sydney, NSW: Pearson, 2011.

Harré, Rom. The Singular Self: An Introduction to the Psychology of Personhood. London: Sage Publications, 1998.

Harter, Susan. Construction of the Self: Developmental and Sociocultural Foundations. New York: Guilford Publications, 2012.

Kopas, Jane. Sacred Identity: Exploring a Theology of the Person. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1995.

Lerner, Richard M. Concepts and Theories of Human Development. 3rd ed. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1997.

Loder, James E. The Logic of the Spirit: Human Development in Theological Perspective. Hoboken, NJ: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1998.

Nouwen, Henri J. M. The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society. 2nd ed. New York: Image Books, 1979/2010.

Rogoff, Barbara. The Cultural Nature of Human Development Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Taylor, Charles. “The Dialogical Self.” In The Interpretive Turn: Philosophy, Science, Culture, edited by D.R. Hiley, J.F. Bohman and R. Shusterman, 304-314. Ithica: Cornell University Press, 1991.

Welker, Michael, ed. The Depth of the Human Person: A  Multidisciplinary Approach. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2014.


Lecturer:    DAVID LEARY OFM