St Marks National Theological Centre

10348NAT Graduate Certificate in Professional Supervision (Clinical) (Pastoral) 

*a Recognised Supervisor Training program by Australasian Association of Supervision 

What is it?

This post graduate level course gives counsellors and ministry workers the opportunity to study the theory and practice of professional supervision within a theological framework. 

The clinical stream is designed for experienced counselling and psychotherapy clinicians who wish to develop their supervision abilities and practice.

The pastoral stream is for experienced clergy, pastors, chaplains and ministry workers who are supervising church workers in pastoral settings. 

Each teaching intensive session will comprise theory and practice sessions on a variety of supervision theories and methods and topics essential for supervisors including legal and ethical responsibilities. Personal home study will supplement the teaching sessions.

Students are required to have a Supervised Field Placement where they work with one external supervisee for at least 10 supervision sessions during the course and receive external individual supervision from an approved supervisor.

What is covered?


Understanding supervision

This topic introduces the concept of supervision in clinical and pastoral settings, differentiating it from line management supervision, mentoring, coaching and spiritual direction. The usefulness and value of supervision to church workers and clinicians is explored, with reference to the normative, formative and supportive functions of supervision.

Supervision theory

Four main supervision theories are examined with reference to the different supervisory contexts in which the students participate.

Reflective practice

The use of reflective practice as a learning tool is examined theoretically and through classroom practice as a pedagogical tool and as an important adjunct in pastoral supervision for the foundation of theological reflection.

Supervision skills

Attention is paid to the use of counselling and communication skills within the supervision relationship and how they are used to assist the supervisee in reflecting on the case or situation for which they are seeking supervisory assistance.

Professional practice in supervision

Establishment and maintenance of the supervision relationship through contracting, managing disruptions and relationships with external systems is studied with the aim of ensuring professional boundaries and limits are maintained. The influence of supervisor/supervisee reactions and interactions is investigated from a psychological perspective to safeguard a good working relationship.

Legal, ethical and organisational matters are reviewed.

The person of the supervisor

The development of personal characteristics required of a supervisor is considered. This includes developing self awareness in relation to developmental needs as a growing supervisor, self care and impact of the work of being a supervisor, both in session and over the longer term.

Working in groups

The theory of group formation and group supervision is investigated through readings and research alongside being given the opportunity to develop group leadership and supervision skills.

Supervised Field Placement

Students need to access at least one person to supervise through the duration of the course and receive their own individual external supervision with an approved supervisor (at their own expense).

Professional recognition of the course

The 10348NAT Graduate Certificate in Professional Supervision (clinical stream) meets the 2014 Training Standards of The Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia Inc (PACFA). 

The course is a Recognised Supervisor Training program by the Australasian Association of Supervision (AAOS). To gain full membership as a Supervisor with AAOS an additional year practising as a supervisor is required after completing the course.

Entrance requirements

An undergraduate degree or higher qualification in counselling, psychotherapy, psychology, social work, social science or equivalent, OR

An accredited diploma or advanced diploma level or higher qualification in theology or ministry or equivalent and demonstrated experience in a pastoral counselling environment involving the self-directed application of relevant knowledge and a range of communication and counselling skills, AND

All applicants must have a minimum five years experience in their relevant field.

Clinical stream

Documents to submit:

  1. Certified copies of previous awards gained: An undergraduate degree or higher qualification in Counselling, Psychotherapy, Psychology, Social Work, Social Science or equivalent.
  2. Resume.
  3. One professional reference attesting to 5 years’ clinical experience.

Pastoral stream

Documents to submit:

  1. Certified copies of previous awards gained: An accredited Diploma or Advanced Diploma level or higher qualification in Theology or Ministry or equivalent.
  2. Proof of minimum 5 years ministry experience: Resume plus one professional reference attesting to 5 years’ ministry experience.
  3. Demonstration of experience in a pastoral counselling environment involving the self-directed application of relevant knowledge and a range of communication and counselling skills through provision of two of the following:
  • A ministry role/job description,  OR
  • Two professional or pastoral references: References must outline experience in a pastoral counselling environment involving the self-directed application of relevant knowledge and a range of communication and counselling skills,  OR
  • An accredited Certificate IV or higher level qualification in counselling,  OR
  • Recording of a pastoral counselling session (a 30 minute clinical or pastoral counselling session with a 500 word critique of that session (this should be a live session, not a role play, recorded with the person’s written consent).

One year attending face to face intensives and completing home study.


The 10348NAT Graduate Certificate in Professional Supervision (Clinical) (Pastoral) is offered through a flexible delivery mode. In order to complete the course students will be required to:

  • attend eight days compulsory intensive sessions (usually offered as 4 x 2 day intensives)
  • submit reading and assessment tasks
  • complete a Supervised Field Placement (where the student both provides supervision to a limited number of supervisees and receives individual supervision)
  • complete a reflective learning journal based on workplace or ministry placement.
Locations for 2017
  • Newtown, Sydney
  • Parramatta, Sydney
  • Barton, Canberra
  • Parkville, Melbourne (subject to change)


The course is comprised of two streams – clinical and pastoral. Each stream is made up of 6 core units plus one elective. The stream completed is determined by the relevant background of the applicant.

Code Description
SUPEMS801A Establish and manage the supervision relationship
SUPPPS801A Provide supervision
CHCCS505A Provide supervision support to community sector workers
CHCCS805B Undertake professional reflection
PSPGOV414A Provide workplace mentoring
CHCGROUP806B Plan group interventions

Electives (one to be selected) 

Code Description
Pastoral StreamDEFCH002C

Provide ethical and pastoral care

Clinical StreamCHCCSL508B Apply legal and ethical responsibilities in counselling practice

Required Textbooks
  • Hawkins, P. & Shohet, R. Supervision in the Helping Professions. (4th edn.) Open University Press, 2012.
  • Additional text for pastoral stream:  Leach, J. & Paterson, M. (2015) Pastoral Supervision: A Handbook. (2nd Edn) London: SCM Press.
Last updated: 25 August 2016