Examining the various factors that hinder and destroy the family, this course provides an in-depth study of the issues encountered in pastoral counseling. Areas of discussion and examination include common mental health disorders, as well as issues that impact both the individual and family including family composition such as blended families, childbirth, parenting, and additional pertinent topics throughout the lifespan.
With the world of the pastoral counselor changing with ever-increasing frequency, it is important that the student stay up-to-date with contemporary issues in society. The focus of this course is on how the meaning of “family” is changing and how the individual fits into this new paradigm. This knowledge will better prepare the pastoral counselor to face these issues as they are presented to and in the church, as well as to help them form a biblical response to these new challenges.
Measurable Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Analyze and discuss the various forms society claims makes a family, and what those stresses are.
- Demonstrate the appropriate awareness related to the unique cultures that the modern church is faced with, including spirituality, sexuality, gender issues, ethnicity, and values.
- Evaluate contemporary topics and issues pertinent to pastoral counseling by discussing current research and addressing societal understanding as it relates to meeting the needs of a modern-day congregation.
- Apply a biblical basis for marriage and families, and research what God defined as to what marriage is in His eyes and why the strength of the family is key to a strong church.
Textbook readings and lecture presentations
Course Requirements Checklist
After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.
Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each discussion. Each thread must be at least 400 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to at least 3 other classmates’ threads during the same Module. Each reply must be 100–200 words. The first three Discussions (Proposed Research Topic, Case Study of the Family, and Case Study of a Couple) are worth 80 points. The last Discussion, Class Evaluations and Conclusions, is worth 60 points.
Research Paper Assignment
The student will write a 12–15-page research-based paper in APA format meeting current professional standards. The paper focuses on the student’s choice of a current issue affecting pastoral counseling. The paper must include at least 10 references in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible. Students need to follow the paper instructions very carefully.
Case Study Assignments (2)
The student will write 2 case study papers that are 4–6 pages each while meeting professional standards, using current APA format. One case study will be on the family, and the other one on marriage. Both will be based on working with a family and also a couple in a church. The paper must include 3–4 references in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible.
Each quiz will cover the material under the Learn section for the assigned Module. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes, contain 15 multiple-choice and true/false questions, and have a 30-minute time limit.