Understanding Human Development

MS 3XK3/5XK5/6XK6

Fall 2022
Mon 9:00am - 10:50am

This course will seek a broad understanding of healthy human development over the life span, as it relates to counselling and ministry, integrating theological perspectives on the nature of man, maturity, and our goals in the “curing of souls”.  The course will survey psychological theories of healthy human development including psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioural, interpersonal, moral, and social systems paradigms.  In all phases of life, we will see the importance of the relational context of growth and change. After considering different approaches to integrating theological and secular views, we will explore how the normal issues of different stages over the life span influence the formation and development of faith. Student assignments will include applying the general theories to specific populations and circumstances, critiquing the theories presented, considering the implications of a developmental perspective for counselling and other areas of ministry, and reflecting on the significance of developmental theories in understanding our own psychological and theological formation and maturity.


  • To understand human development through a bio-psycho-social-spiritual lens, and recognize the important milestones, needs, and influencing factors in the different seasons of the life span.
  • To understand how these developmental issues are imbedded in the relational imperative of our human nature.
  • To understand how these developmental issues interact with the development of spirituality in general and faith specifically.


  • To gain self-awareness as a ministering person through self-reflection and self-evaluation of one’s personal developmental journey.
  • To reflect on and identify the growing edges of our own Christian maturity, and identify processes and goals for our own personal development.
  • To increase empathy and acceptance in hearing others’ experiences, and openness to the experience of one’s own inner conflict and struggles.


  • To develop a psychologically and theologically informed perspective on human development across the lifespan.
  • To practice empathic listening skills, effective responses, and appropriate support in all of our interactions and relationships, in order to communicate with people in a manner that is appropriate to their developmental level and socio-cultural identity.
  • To reflect on the use of developmental perspectives to understand faith formation, structure and content, and formulate a holistic conceptualization of Christian maturity
  • To read research and evaluate the implications of articles on human development that are pertinent to one’s area of ministry practice.
  • To apply developmental perspectives in designing ministry strategies in one’s area of ministry practice

Advanced Students:  To practice skills in facilitating other students’ learning through discussions interaction and class teaching.