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Graduate Certificate in Theology of Psychology and Counselling

  • 12 credit points
  • Minimum duration: One semester (six months) full-time or equivalent part-time

The Graduate Certificate in Theology of Psychology and Counselling is designed for university graduates with at least two years of studies in psychology or a similar field (or who have sufficient professional or life experience in areas related to this area to qualify them for entry at a graduate certificate level in an Australian university), and have experience in providing counselling or psychotherapy as part of their responsibilities in paid or voluntary employment in the fields of health, community services, education or pastoral work.

The course would benefit those engaged in psychology, social work, medicine, psychiatry, psychiatric nursing, general nursing or pastoral care.

The purpose is to provide those who hold to Christian values in their professional life, or who wish to offer assistance to clients or patients who would prefer a Christian faith dimension to the assistance they receive, with a Christian theological and philosophical understanding of the psychological sciences. The course aims to provide the capacities necessary to work within a fully informed Christian perspective and the ability to respond to issues of morality and character from a faith perspective. 

The program also prepares the graduate for further studies at a Graduate Diploma level.

The Graduate Certificate course, satisfactorily completed, will be credited to the Graduate Diploma in Theology of Psychology and Counselling should a student decide to do such further study.

The course is theological and not accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC); completing the course will not lead to registration with the Psychology Board of Australia.

The course does not count toward any continuing professional development requirements for counsellors, psychologists or medical practitioners in relation to a student's professional membership.

Applications for entry to the course are assessed by the Dean or delegated nominee.

This course is not available to overseas students.

Expected Learning Outcomes

On completion of the Graduate Certificate in Theology of Psychology and Counselling, students should be able to demonstrate:

  • knowledge of the theological evaluation of the psychological sciences and the bio-psycho-social-spiritual model, and in particular the integration of these fields of knowledge;
  • knowledge of the needs of those who are Christian believers and seeking counselling support that recognises a faith dimension in decision-making, in healing after loss or trauma, in coping with physical or mental illness, or planning for end-of-life care;
  • understanding of the idea of a fruitful and equal relationship of love between the persons of the Holy Trinity (the “Trinitarian mystery”) as a model for human relationships;
  • understanding of marriage (the “nuptial mystery”) as the basis of Christian anthropology and of the communion of God’s people;
  • knowledge of a morality of love and excellence and of the Christian vocation to love and happiness;
  • critical and analytical abilities, and enthusiasm to search for further knowledge and understanding of the human condition and of our relationship to the Creator, in relation to the evaluation of the psychological sciences and their application in the helping professions;
  • information literacy, communication and interpersonal skills in discussing the evaluation of the psychological sciences and in assisting people with pastoral needs;
  • the skills to articulate a coherent integration between Christian theology and professional psychological or counselling frameworks and approaches;
  • the communication skills necessary to conduct adult education programs based on Christian faith and respectful of the dignity of the human person made in the image and likeness of God in relation to issues at the beginning and end of life, family support, marriage and sexuality education, marriage enrichment, marriage and family breakdown, illness and disability;
  • capacity to analyse professional ethical standards in the helping professions and, in particular, the dimension that the intersection of faith and reason brings to being personally committed to professional excellence in service to others as a work of faith, hope and love;
  • a spirit of service to the community;
  • commitment to good citizenship and to the common good, including respect for individuals, empathy with persons of differing cultural and religious backgrounds, community responsibility and concern for the environment;
  • a high regard for equity and human rights, understood in terms of the social teaching of the Church and respect for the dignity of each person;
  • the ability to initiate, plan, implement and evaluate the particularly Christian dimensions of therapeutic interventions in health, welfare and education;
  • the ability to initiate, plan, implement and evaluate the particularly Christian dimensions of organisational, social and community frameworks in health, welfare and education;
  • responsibility and accountability for taking personal initiatives in the workplace or parish in relation to the establishment of Christian psychotherapy/counselling services.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to this Graduate Certificate program, applicants must:

  • have an undergraduate degree from a recognised institution; or
  • be able to demonstrate sufficient professional or life experience in areas related to the specialisation of the graduate certificate to qualify them for entry at a graduate certificate level in a recognised institution.

Program requirements

All candidates for the Graduate Certificate in Theology of Psychology and Counselling must complete 12 credit points (four subjects of 3 cp each) over a minimum of one semester of full-time study or over a minimum of two years' part-time study.

In certain cases, credit may be given for previous studies at a graduate diploma or certificate level in a recognised institution, upon application to the Academic Board via the Dean.

Students are encouraged to attend the seminars, conferences and public lectures that are arranged from time to time.

The course of study must include the three compulsory subjects plus one other from the list.

Compulsory Theology of Psychology and Counselling Subjects:

JP 9135 Foundations of Theological Anthropology OR JP8241 Foundations of Christian Bioethics
JP 8674 Christian Contributions to Psychology
JP 8675 Theological Issues in the Psychology of Gender, Marriage and Family

Other Theology of Psychology and Counselling subjects:

JP 8107 Eros, Logos and Agape
JP 8116 Cor Novum: Towards a New Theology of the Heart
JP 8324 Scripture and Tradition in Human Life and Health Care
JP 8121 Biblical Theology of Marriage and the Family
JP 8125 Theology of the Body
JP 8347 Theology and Practice of Natural Family Planning
JP 8244 Beginning-of-Life Ethics
JP 8345 End-of-Life Ethics
JP 9346 Current Controversies in Bioethics