A Practical Theology of Mental Health. John Swinton

John Swinton is Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care in the School of Divinity, Religious Studies and Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen. He is the founder and Director of the Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability at the University and in 2014 also established the Centre for Ministry Studies. John has published extensively within the area of practical theology, pastoral care, mental health studies, disability theology and nursing. Recent publications include:

  • Becoming Friends of Time: Disability, Timefullness, and Gentile Discipleship (2018)
  • Mental Health: The Inclusive Church Resource (2014) (with Jean Vanier)
  • Dementia: Living in the Memories of God (2012)

Further information about John: https://www.abdn.ac.uk/sdhp/profiles/j.swinton

Content will include:

1: Introduction to Practical Theology, Disability and Mental Health

2: Understanding Depression and Anxiety: Towards a theology of liberation & joy

3: Understanding schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

4: Theology and mental health and illness: Understanding psychosis differently

5: Mental health in New Zealand

6: Forgetting Whose We Are: A practical theology of dementia

Details about teaching:

Teaching is from 1pm on Monday 27 January to 1pm on Friday 31 January, 2020. The course is jointly offered by the Theology Programme, University of Otago, and the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership.


The paper can be taken as PAST 307 or MINS 405. The former can be credited to a BTheol or Diploma for Graduates, the latter for a Postgraduate Diploma of Ministry or a Master of Ministry, or for Postgraduate qualifications in Chaplaincy. (See https://www.otago.ac.nz/courses/subjects/chap.html). Alternatively, the paper can be taken as a ‘Certificate of Proficiency’ and credited to a qualification at a later point.  Fees for 2020 are not yet set, but the cost in 2019 for PAST 307 was $887 and for MINS 405 was $1,120. For further details contact: Katie Marcar, Theology Programme; katie.marcar@otago.ac.nz.


You can attend the course as an audit student by contacting KCML. This will cost $500. Under this option, you would not do any assessment, and the paper would not be credited to a qualification, but it would count as ongoing professional development for PCANZ. Ministers in the PCANZ can apply for study grants amounting to 50% of course fees. To register for this option, contact: Susan Peters, Registrar, Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership; registrar@knoxcentre.ac.nz; 03 473 0783.

A partnership between

Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership; Theology Programme,University of Otago