Foundational unit, Intensive                                                                              (Min. No. 8)

1st semester: 9am-4pm Friday and Saturday: 2 and 3 March; 13 and 14 April; 11 and 12 May



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 pastoral practice strategies with this understanding in mind
  6. demonstrate how this understanding can apply in complex and challenging pastoral situations



Short essay focussing on the student demonstrating a clear understanding of human development theory 1500 words (20%); a seminar paper, written and presented, on one specific cultural understanding of the self, e.g. Vietnamese, Polynesian, Anglo-Celtic, Indian 1500 words (20%); an essay demonstrating how human development theory, and theological perspectives on the self, are relevant to a pastoral practice environment 3000 words (60%)



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

Harré, Rom. The Singular Self. London: Sage, 1998.

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

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

Lerner, R. 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, 1998.

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

Rogoff, Barbara. The Cultural Nature of Human Development. Oxford: OUP, 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, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991.

Welker, Michael, ed. The Depth of the Human Person. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2014.