Oates Institute

CCN Seminar 2: Boundaries and Referrals


One of the critical components of Spiritual caregiving is caring for ourselves. In order to be able to provide care for others, we are responsible for self-care and setting boundaries that are practical. This seminar explores physical, emotional, and theological aspects of self care.

In addition, it is important for care providers to know their limits. In particular, understanding healthy boundaries within a caring relationship can help prevent inappropriate expectations (on both sides) and can also help prevent burnout. Providers of congregational care should also be able to discern when their care recipient may have needs that are best addressed by professionals (perhaps a pastor, counselor/therapist, or physician) and provide encouragement, support, and contacts for such referrals.

Instructors:   Rick Underwood, Karen Lovett

Learning Objectives:

Following this seminar, participants should be able to:

1. Understand the importance of self-care, and how it relates to providing care for others.
2. Give encouragement and permission (to self and others) to make self-care a higher priority.
3. Discover how to set healthy and compassionate boundaries with care recipients.
4. Recognize signs that a care receiver might benefit from accessing the resources available through a professional (a pastor, counselor/therapist, or physician), and facilitate a referral to an appropriate person or organization.
5. Expand listening skills learned during Introduction to Congregational Care seminar.


Required texts:

A Primer in Pastoral Care, Jeanne Stevenson-Moessner

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Listening and Caring Skills in Ministry, John Savage

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Seminar Schedule

Week 0

Personal introductions or life updates
Reflection questionnaires (personal evaluations of stress, self care)

Week 1

Primer, Chapter 4
Listening & Caring, Chapter 4
Dr. Cliff Kuhn on Self Care
Video: “Lay Down Your Weary Tune”

Week 2

Listening & Caring, Chapter 5
Rev. Dr. Rick Underwood on Boundaries (see curriculum for seminar)
Ending a Caring Relationship
Your Right to Rest, Dr. Wayne Oates, Chapters 1-3.

Week 3

Listening & Caring, Chapter 6
Your Right to Rest, Dr. Wayne Oates, Chapters 4-5
Rev. Dr. Rick Underwood on Referrals (see curriculum for seminar)
Review concept of innkeepers from Primer

Week 4

Listening & Caring, Chapter 7
Your Right to Rest, Dr. Wayne Oates, Chapters 6-8
Review and wrap-up



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