An exploration of what it means to be a human being by focusing on the theological implications of the experiences of people living with mental health challenges.
This course seeks to offer insights, understandings and practices that can help Christians to understand and respond faithfully to complex mental health issues. The course will use a multidisciplinary approach to explore some of the ways in which theology in its theoretical and practical dimensions can throw fresh light on mental health issues. Amongst other things the course will develop understandings of mental health challenges such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression and anxiety, as well as thinking through crucial issues in relation to areas such as dementia and brain damage. At the end of the course students should have a firm grasp of the nature of mental health and il-health from a variety or perspectives and should be able to offer understanding and assistance to people living with mental health issues.
|Paper title||Special Topic: A Practical Theology of Mental Health (Advanced)|
|Teaching period||Not offered in 2023 (Distance learning)|
|Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD)||$1,206.91|
|International Tuition Fees||Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.|
- Limited to
- BA(Hons), PGDipArts, PGCertChap, PGDipChap, MChap, BTheol(Hons), PGDipTheol, MTheol, PGDipMin, MMin
- May not be taken concurrently with PAST307.
Any student can study Theology, whether they are of the Christian faith, another faith or of no religious faith at all. Theology is an examination of the scriptures, history, content and relevance of the Christian faith, but it presupposes or requires no Christian commitment from students. All it requires is an inquiring mind and an interest in those skills that can be gained through the study of any subject in the Humanities.
- More information link
- Teaching staff
Professor John Swinton
- Paper Structure
Module 1: Introduction to Practical Theology and Mental Health
Module 2: Understanding Depression and Anxiety: Towards a theology of liberation and joy
Module 3: Understanding schizophrenia
Module 4: Bipolar Faith?: Reflecting theologically on bipolar disorder
Module 5: Forgetting Whose We Are: A practical theology of dementia
Alongside of the various papers that will form the reading for the course, there is one required textbook which all students are expected to read.
John E Colewell (2014). Why Have You Forsaken Me?: A Personal Reflection on the Experience of Desolations. Paternoster: London
- Course outline
- Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Scholarship, critical thinking, and ethics.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
- Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper will be able to:
- Develop a familiarity with the discipline of practical theology with its core emphases on the interconnectedness between theory and practice.
- Critically analyze a wide variety of literature within the area of mental health issues.
- Have a critical perspective on a number of key theologians’ thinking on mental health.
- Be able to distinguish clearly between medical understandings of mental health and theological perspectives.
- Critically evaluate the ways in which issues related to mental health lead to understanding of the meaning and nature of Christian community.
- In the light of their own knowledge, practice and experience, develop critical perspectives on key theological issues that are involved in the study of mental health.