Graduate Certificate of Pastoral Care for mental health


Course Description

The Graduate Certificate in Pastoral Care for Mental Health is aimed at equipping Christians to respond in a God-Centred way to those who are living with mental health struggles and those who are suffering.

This course equips students with both the theological grounding and the practical skills for engaging in effective pastoral care across professional, ministry, mission and personal settings.

In providing this course, we are partnering with an organisation called Living Wholeness. Living Wholeness have been providing support and training for the wider church across Australia and Asia. The approach is aimed at equipping the whole church to understand how each member of Christ’s body contributes to God’s healing work for those experiencing mental health struggles and those who are suffering. This incorporates our greater concern of God’s mission, by offering a framework that is cross cultural, whole church focussed and, above all, gospel centred.

This course is for:

  • People who are interested in developing their thinking and practice for supporting this ever increasing area
  • Pastors and their spouses
  • Pastoral Care Team & leaders
  • Mental health professionals looking to integrate faith and practice
  • Caring professions e.g. Allied health and nursing, teaching, support work
  • Chaplains – school, hospital, armed forces, etc
  • School Teachers especially when involved in guidance and counselling
  • Medical/Nursing/Paramedical/Allied Health/Counsellors/Mental Health workers
  • Member Care – mission agencies, leaders, missionaries
  • Youth Workers
  • Counselling Supervisors, coaches, and mentors.

A coursework certificate at AQF level 8 which equips students with a non-theological background or theological undergraduate award with a current and advanced knowledge of pastoral care for mental health in the local church and other ministry contexts. The primary discipline units equip students with a rigorous theological framework for pastoral care for mental health and wellbeing, while the elective units integrate theological reflection with advanced skills in pastoral care. This is a specialist award that equips graduates with the specialist knowledge necessary for gospel ministry in today’s world, as well as to prepare graduates for further learning and research.

Academic Qualifications:

  • Completed 3 year bachelor degree or equivalent

Language Qualifications for NESB: IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum of 7.0 in reading and writing, and 6.5 in listening and speaking OR 10 years in Australia with English being the language primarily spoken both at home and work.

Australian College of Theology Coursework Course Enrolment Policy

Course Delivery:
This course will be offered in hybrid mode either on-campus or off-campus live streamed through zoom.

How it will be offered at BST:
The three core subjects will be offered over the course of 3 semesters (1.5 years) part-time study. You can enter the course at the beginning of any semester.

Core units

PC137-812 Theological Perspectives on Mental Health
IN004-812 Mental Health Issues in Christian Counselling
PC136-812 Theological Approaches to Wellbeing 

Specific Elective (one unit)

PC003-812: Pastoral Skills and Methods
PC008-812: Spiritual Formation for Professional Ministries
PC094-812: Practical Ministry Field Education
PC134-812: Child Abuse in Christian Communities: Prevention and Response
PC200-812: Pastoral & Church-Focused Ministry Project – 7,000 words


For dates and times see the Timetable and calendar.


Unit cost $2640

Course minimum cost $10,080 (4 units) * Subject to increase annually

This course is FEE-HELP and Centrelink approved.

What is FEE-HELP?
FEE-HELP is a loan that helps eligible fee paying students pay their tuition fees.

For eligibility and more information on FEE-HELP go to:

Timetable and Calendar

To see when these units are offered here is the link to the timetable and calendar.

Discipline Knowledge and Understanding

1. Demonstrate current and advanced knowledge and understanding of pastoral care for mental health and wellbeing in a local church and other ministry contexts

2. Examine biblical-theological frameworks for pastoral care for mental health and wellbeing that can be utilised for theological reflection in ministry practice.

Inquiry and Analysis

3. Collect, analyse, evaluate and synthesize advanced scholarship in inquiry-based learning within the specialisation of pastoral care for mental health and wellbeing within the local church and other ministry settings.

Problem Solving and Integration

4. Construct evidence-based perspectives on advanced issues in pastoral care for mental health and wellbeing by using recognized source materials and scholarly literature, evaluating alternative explanations and drawing reasoned conclusions.


5. Present advanced ideas, knowledge and principles in pastoral care for mental health and wellbeing in the local church and other ministry contexts, and engage with specialist and non-specialist audiences using a variety of formats.

Teamwork and Professional Practice

6. Apply advanced understanding of pastoral care for mental health and wellbeing in formal ministry contexts and in the wider community.

Engagement with the World

7. Bring developing professional and vocational capacity in issues concerning pastoral care for mental health and wellbeing to engage with the challenges of contemporary Christianity, society, and the wider world.

Dr John Warlow

John is an experienced counselling and coaching Adult, Child and Family Psychiatrist and as the developer of the Christian Wholeness Framework (CWF) is passionate to facilitate the development of Christian mental health professionals and growing the body of Christ.

Karen Nivala

BSpPath (Honours), GradDipDiv, MDiv
Karen completed her Masters of Divinity at BST in 2017. She worked as a speech pathologist for 10 years both in Queensland and in the UK. She gained experience in training and mentoring. She is currently pursuing PhD studies and is passionate about supporting the church to integrate God’s word in pastoral care practice.

When you have completed the Graduate Certificate of Pastoral Care for Mental Health you can continue your theological studies with either:

Graduate Diploma of Divinity

Master of Divinity

Master of Theological Studies