Needful Things: Pastoral Care as Spiritual Practice


Field of Study
Class #
M 623
Currently Offered?
Start Date
End Date
May 19 - 23, 2014

The purpose of this course is to explore the interface between mystical theology, contemplative psychology and the art and practice of pastoral care. Positing atomistic (binary) thought as a dominant paradigm in the western mind, the course introduces a contemplative perspective drawn from the Christian Mystical tradition, Gestalt and Jungian Psychology, General Systems Theory and Buddhist frameworks. Students will examine the interface and implications of these perspectives for personal spiritual formation and the practice of pastoral care with individuals, couples, families and larger systems.

Gerald L. Toshalis is an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church, a pastoral psychotherapist, spiritual director, teacher and consultant.

His academic background includes a B.A. from Albion College (Religion & Psychology), 1966, M.Div from Chicago Theological Seminary (Religion & Personality), 1969, D.Rel from Chicago Theological Seminary (Pastoral Counseling), 1970.

He is a Diplomate in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, a Clinical Member in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and a Member of Spiritual Directors International.

His 40 year professional career includes parish ministry, administrative and clinical service in pastoral counseling centers in Michigan, Indiana and California, and teaching pastoral counseling, spiritual formation and spiritual direction courses. In addition, he continues to provide spiritual direction for clergy representing a variety of faith traditions, as well as organizational consultation to medical, academic and religious institutions.