The aim of this course is to empower persons who do not have any academic background in the psychological sector, such as pastoral workers; volunteers; and other persons interested in improving their relationships, with the basic knowledge, skills and attitudes needed whilst interacting with parishioners or other persons. This course introduces pastoral workers or volunteers to helping skills, theories, and approaches.

Through studying and discussing these methods, students become more aware of the tools which help them in their work with different people who come from various cultural and social backgrounds. The course aims to create an opportunity to reflect on the methods they use during their work and relationships and evaluate their work.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this course, the student will be able to:

  • understand the basic helping theories and skills;
  • know how to listen and respond appropriately;
  • be able to support the person emotionally and spiritually;
  • know when to refer a person to professional help.

If you are a registered pastoral worker with the Archdiocese of Malta, you can benefit from a 43%  discount on this course. Start your application process as a pastoral worker on

Persons who do not have any academic background in the psychological sector. Namely:

  • Persons who listen and accompany colleagues and friends on a regular basis at their workplace, within their family, etc…
  • Pastoral workers, volunteers or those who come in contact with persons, families in need, or visit residential homes.  
  • Persons who are interested in developing their relationships. 

Target Audience Age: 18+

In this session participants will explore helping skills used during pastoral work, including listening to people, supporting, and validating feelings.

The learning outcomes of this session are:
  • to learn how to be present with people physically, emotionally, and mentally.
  • to learn how to help a person feel accepted, understood and not judged.

In this session, the important skill of being empathic when helping people will be discussed. There will be the opportunity to practice this skill during the session. At the same time, the practice of maintaining boundaries will be thoroughly discussed, as having clear and established limits in our work contribute to safe connections.

The learning outcomes of this session are:
  • to become aware of the importance of empathy;
  • to be able to practice ways of empathic communication;
  • to be able to practice self-care through having healthy boundaries.

In this session, the student will become more self-aware; the individual is encouraged to reflect and be aware of his/her strengths, challenges, beliefs, thoughts, and emotions.

 The outcomes of this session are:

  • to be able to engage in reflective practice;
  • to be able to identify one’s strengths and challenges;
  • to be able to bring about changes in the attitudes and ways of working.

In this session, students will be invited to look at their own spiritual life and become aware of how this is manifested and expressed in their personal lives and within the community. It will also investigate cultural varieties and other religious denominations and/or spiritual practices and trends within the parish, and how these influence individual as well as community/parish life, and vice versa. This session will also touch on the notion of spiritual accompaniment and religious practices, how they differ, and how they can complement each other.

The outcomes of this session are:
  • to gain a better understanding of the spirituality as lived in the community;
  • to gain awareness by reflecting on one’s own spiritual lives and discourse and how these can influence the community they are part of;
  • to gain an understanding of the notion of spiritual accompaniment and how this can be put into practice.

In this session, the student will become aware of when s/he should refer a person to professional help, why confidentiality is important when working in a pastoral context and what are the limits to confidentiality.

The outcomes of this session are:
  • to learn and be able to differentiate amongst various helping professionals and services available;
  • to be able to guide and link people to further specialised help when required.


The course is delivered in 5 sessions (10 contact hours) over 5 weeks. The 2 hour weekly sessions are held on Mondays between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm. at Ta’ Mlit Pastoral Centre. Free parking facilities are available.

Mondays at 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
DateLecture TitleLecturer
9th OctoberLearning how to listen, contain and validate feelings Mr Joseph Pellicano
16th OctoberLearning how to empathise while keeping healthy boundariesMr Joseph Pellicano
23rd OctoberLearning how to support others emotionallyMr Joseph Pellicano
30th OctoberHow to support others spirituallyMs Marisa Gatt
6th NovemberLearning when, where and how to refer someone to professional helpMr Joseph Pellicano

This course has three exit certificate options: 

  1. Certificate of Attendance

To obtain a Certificate of Attendance, students must attend all the course contact hours. 

2. Certificate of Participation

To obtain a Certificate of Participation, students must attend all the contact hours and pass the short multiple-choice online exam. 

3. Certificate of Achievement 

To obtain a Certificate of Achievement, students must: 

  • attend all the contact hours;  
  • pass the short multiple-choice online exam; 
  • and successfully complete a Case Study Analysis;

Teaching and Awarding Institution: Pastoral Formation Institute

Qualifications: Every application will be considered on its individual merits. The Pastoral Formation Institute accepts a wide range of qualifications, and we always try to judge applications on the basis of academic potential. We do consider a very wide range of academic, vocational, and professional qualifications, as well as work and other appropriate experiences and skills.

Language: Primary level understanding of Maltese and English.

Digital: Knows how to access the internet and use a word processor.


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