Spiritual Direction

Listen Differently. Explore Deeply.
Come closer to the mystery of existence
and companion others on their spiritual journey.

Discover an interspiritual, New Thought approach

to Spiritual Direction and Companionship.

 

 

Spiritual Direction is an intentional, conscious exploration of the sacred or Holy in life. It is a process of exploring what God is doing and saying in life, alongside a spiritual guide, within a collegial relationship. Spiritual direction explores spiritual questions and longings in a spiritual way, over an extended period. Directors meet with seekers over a period of at least six months, often working with individuals and groups over the course of several years or more. It can be a life-long experience.

 

A spiritual director, or companion, is a person who holds space for another as they navigate their spiritual journey. They hold sacred space and remain prayerful so they can support others in living in congruence with their highest self. Through practicing deep reflection and providing honest feedback, a trained spiritual director’s sole purpose is to support others in being deeply aligned with their own inner spiritual guidance.

 

"I tell people there are two questions we address in spiritual direction. "Who are you, and what do you want?" If you want spiritual awakening, my job is to be with you in a way that optimizes and provides resources for you. Really, spiritual direction is for me, to help people take the journey home to themselves." - Rev. Dr. Robert Brumet

Program Details

Spiritual Institute

 

  • Two-Year Program
    • Cohorts form every fall for a two-year program.
    • All classes must be completed consecutively and are unique to the program.
    • Other classes taken in other programs do not count as credit toward spiritual direction certification.
  • Online
    • Two online classes per quarter for two years.
    • One-on-one online meetups with designated mentors.
    • Online supervised Spiritual Direction practice and internship.
    • New cohorts form every September.
  • Interspiritual
    • This is an interspiritual program for individuals who are called to companion others of all religions and spiritual backgrounds.
  • Certificate Program
    • Program graduates receive a certificate of completion from UWSI’s program in the Art of Spiritual Direction.
    • The program has no credentialing status in Unity churches or Unity Worldwide Ministries.
  • Tuition
    • $3,500 for the first year and $3,000 for the second year of courses.
    • We offer a 10% discount for those who pay for the full year at the beginning of each, totaling $3,150 for year one and $2,700 for year two.
    • There is a payment plan available for those paying each quarter.
    • There is a $35 enrollment fee for those who are not already enrolled in Unity Worldwide Spiritual Institute.
    • You may apply at any time.
  • Unitive consciousness. We awaken into a consciousness of oneness rather than dualistic thinking.
  • Mystical wisdom. We apply transcendent wisdom from ancient to contemporary mystics to your life purpose.
  • Inner evolutionary spiritual consciousness. You connect with your inner evolutionary spiritual consciousness.
  • Authentic divine nature. You are encouraged to explore your authentic nature.
  • Many contemplative paths to inner peace. You will practice many paths to inner peace through contemplative or mindfulness traditions.
     

What is the purpose of the Spiritual Direction Certificate Program?

The Spiritual Direction Certificate Program is for individuals seeking a sacred path of service as a spiritual companion/guide that is spiritually oriented and not denominationally-oriented. It is designed to teach the art of spiritual companionship, so that individuals can tend to the holy through inner wisdom, healing, and compassion. Intended outcomes are for students to: 1. Experience a strong professional spiritual director identity with the foundational knowledge and skills needed to support others. 2. Demonstrate profound self-awareness, including one’s own internal movements and patterns of reacting to others and to similar circumstances. 3. Demonstrate adequate knowledge of human nature, including the findings of the human and behavioral sciences regarding attachment styles, personality differences, developmental stages, psychological obstacles to flourishing, and of the spiritual life and workings of supernatural grace in the human person. 4. Exhibit a professional, pastoral approach to encouraging gradual moral and spiritual development, while respecting a person’s spiritual path and honoring the divine in each person.

What type of certificate is issued upon completion of the program? Is it the usual certificate granted in other spiritual direction programs? How does it relate to being a spiritual director?

It is important to understand the distinction between certification and receiving a certificate. There is no professional designation or governing body in the United States that currently oversees the certification of spiritual direction programs. As such, programs can be as varied as lasting two weeks to three years. Receiving a certificate or diploma from a training program usually means that you have successfully completed your specific program’s educational requirements. It does not mean that you have met the practicing standards of a particular profession. By receiving our certificate, you show that you exhibited a dedication and commitment to the art and ministry of spiritual direction. Your certificate shows dedication to those you will serve and supports your integrity with the greater body of spiritual directors around the world. It should give you a common language to use, an understanding of the rich history of spiritual direction, sufficient practice working with others, and a rich exploration of the Self and the Holy.

Program graduates receive a certificate from UWSI’s program in the Art of Spiritual Direction. The program has no credentialing status in Unity churches or Unity Worldwide Ministries.

How much time will the program take?

Our program consists of:

  • Fourteen classes and two online weekend retreats. The weekend retreats occur in the summer of the first year and spring of the second. The program concludes with the spring quarter of the second year. 

  • One-on-one online meetups with designated program advisors every quarter

  • Regular monthly sessions with your own spiritual director

  • In the second year of the program, students engage in an internship involving monthly spiritual direction sessions with two directees and,

  • a monthly session with a spiritual direction supervisor

2.    What is required to receive this graduation certificate?
Although completing the tasks set forth by UWSI and your facilitators is a baseline, it is important to understand that our ultimate assessment of confidently issuing you a certificate lies in the nature of spiritual direction itself. It is as much a way of being, as it is a series of accomplishments you must achieve. However, we do have benchmarks. They are:

  • Complete the assignments in each class. There are 12 classes that total 48 class hours.
  • Be in communication quarterly with a program advisor.
  • Attend each class, or work with the facilitator of your class to fulfill the expectations set forth for any missed sessions. 
  • This program involves the care of souls, and it is a common requirement in spiritual direction programs, including ours, to meet with others and bring those experiences to a supervisor. An internship in the second year working with two individuals is how we can observe your healthy demonstration of serving as a spiritual director.
  • Sessions with two directees should be monthly during your second year in the program. The sessions will be used for supervision, which is “spiritual direction for the spiritual director.”

Who can enroll in the program?

While this program is unique to Unity principles and teachings, it is for individuals who are called to companion others of all religions and spiritual backgrounds. The program has no credentialing status in Unity churches or Unity Worldwide Ministries.

What does the program cost?

$6,650

 
What do I receive for the tuition and fees of $6,650?
You will receive training and education that will equip you to provide spiritual direction and companionship to others in your own spiritual direction practice. This practice can take place with church-going individuals and or members of the greater community. It is a service that can be provided to anyone, since it is interspiritual and not denominationally-oriented. The program is meant to be available to anyone, within Unity or otherwise.

  • Building spiritual companion cohorts to develop skills and competencies

  • Diving deeper into body consciousness through discovery and academic coursework and individual and group experiential practices.

  • Embodying and holding a space of love, trust, compassion and non-judgment

  • Learning and using contemplative practices to expand awareness of self and others

  • Creating environments to encourage and support others in the practice of deep listening and discerning inner guidance in service to those you’ll companion

  • Practicing vulnerability with others for healing and further integrate knowledge

What curriculum is being used for each of the scheduled sessions?  May I see a syllabus before applying?

The syllabi for classes are not available at this time. The curriculum is based on seven quarter focused/concentrated program.

Does the tuition and fees include manuals, workbooks and/or texts?
 
Unfortunately, no, you’ll be responsible for purchasing those separately.

Are there Unity education prerequisites for a Spiritual Direction Certificate?

No Unity education prerequisites are required. However, recommendation letters demonstrating an individual’s spiritual leadership, or desire to lead, are a part of the application process. The Spiritual Direction Certificate Program is for anyone called to minister to others through one on one or group spiritual companioning. 

Is the entire program be conducted virtually?

Currently, yes.

Are the training sessions pre-recorded or live?

Courses are done live, but to enhance the learning experience, some classes may include both synchronous and asynchronous learning modules.

How often do the training sessions take place?

Weekly.

Who are the instructors?

We engage instructors who are experts in their field, almost all of whom are spiritual directors themselves, for a rich, new, unique, spiritual direction learning experience.

If a student is unable to attend one of the sessions is it possible to make it up at a later date?

The Spiritual Direction Certificate Program is a cohort-based learning community. Each class will build upon the previous one experientially. Classes for the program are not available individually.

Will students be required to pair up with other classmates outside of the classroom experience in addition to the required monthly meetings with a Spiritual Director?

This depends on the class and curriculum of each instructor. You can expect some of this to occur. You will also be meeting with individuals under your care as a spiritual director.
 
Does a Minister qualify as a spiritual director for the required monthly contact?
 
Our sincere hope is for you to use a person trained specifically in spiritual direction. We have a list of spiritual directors who are also ministers or students of Unity that is available upon request. You can also visit the Spiritual Directors International website to choose from over 6600 spiritual directors. If you resonate with a spiritual director from a different faith tradition from yours they can often provide additional tools for your own growth and practice.
 
At the completion of the program will a certified Spiritual Director be required to take annual Continuing Education Units?
 
No, but ongoing formation is encouraged. It is also strongly recommended and ethically appropriate that if spiritual directors are providing spiritual direction for others that they remain in both spiritual direction and peer supervision. Spiritual Directors International provides ongoing formation classes for spiritual directors who wish to continue their development and practice.
 
Are Unity Spiritual Directors considered to have a role in the leadership team in Unity churches and centers as are Ministers, Spiritual Leaders and Licensed Unity Teachers?
 
No. Spiritual Directors certified in our program provide a different function that is not specific to Unity churches, though a spiritual director can work within a church in support of the ministry. Spiritual directors provide a reflective ministry to individuals and small groups through private practice. Their function is different than a minister.
 
Is it possible for someone with a full-time working schedule to be fully engaged in this program?
 
Absolutely! Class time will almost always be in the evening or on weekends. That time totals three hours, or two one- and one-half hour classes. A helpful, but generous estimate for time outside of class, should be no more than two hours weekly per class. Our program consists of two online evening classes per quarter for two years, one-on-one online meetups with designated program advisors every quarter and regular sessions with your own spiritual director. In the second year, students also engage in an internship involving spiritual direction with two directees and a monthly session with a spiritual direction supervisor.

Self-Awareness I
In this course students develop an understanding of spiritual direction and its role in religious life throughout the ages and explore their own religious/spiritual history.  Students gain the ability to advance with greater clarity of what they hold to be true for themselves and others and develop an understanding of the role of and approaches to spiritual direction in modern times.

The Art and Ministry of Spiritual Direction I
A foundational course in Spiritual Direction, this course invites the transformation of self, others, and the world by integrating mind, body, will, and spirit of the student. Students are introduced to the nature of spiritual direction and grow skills to deepen relationships with self, the Divine, and others.  Students gain a foundational understanding of Spiritual Direction, ethics, and basic skills for becoming a Spiritual Director in this class.

Self-Awareness II
Building on their experience from the first four quarters of the spiritual direction program and the exploration completed in Self-Awareness I, students will continue the pilgrimage of exploring themselves and those for whom they will provide spiritual direction. Students will continue to deepen what is true for themselves and create a rule of life. This class includes study of the Enneagram, Conscious Evolution, and elements of Transpersonal Psychology.

Art and Ministry of Spiritual Direction II
This class will explore group spiritual direction, images of the Divine and its impact upon the spiritual life, faith styles and their impact on the SD process. Students will grow through theological reflection, begin to discern faith styles in spiritual direction, and identify personal skills that support the spiritual direction process. Show a growing range as a director through theological reflection.

Contemplative Practices I
From the rich contemplative traditions to contemporary New Thought prayer, in this class students experience and demonstrate the power of affirmative and centering prayer, Lectio Divina, Examen, and more. This course provides foundational principles, as well as the experience, and application of prayer and meditation for the spiritual direction student while simultaneously providing tools to support directees. 

Practicum I  
A robust practicum is at the heart of every Spiritual Direction program. In real time scenarios, students engage in the process of spiritual direction and receive instructor and peer support for growing these skills. Students also gain practical knowledge in the practice of writing verbatims. In a safe and encouraging environment, students develop listening skills, explore tools for inquiry, and personally experience the movement of God within spiritual direction sessions with others.

Integrating Spirit, Soul, and Body
In this class students identify, expand, and build upon their existing prayer/meditation practice and develop a hearty, supportive, prayer consciousness/meditation plan based on their first year in the spiritual direction program. Using modalities studied throughout the year, students identify and share how these skills enhance their spiritual awareness. Students create active self-care programs and outcomes and adjust a personal self-care plan. 

Practicum - II
Students continue real time experiences of spiritual direction with their peers so they can experience growth in use of concepts, methodology, and the ethical practice of spiritual direction. Through safe and constructive support from instructors and peers in this class, students strengthen and continue to master skills in spiritual direction. 

Nature of Reality/ Mysticism
This class explores the many ways we experience the Holy. Students will “meet” the mystics from throughout the ages, engage in the practices of ever-expanding consciousness that deepen an experience of the divine, and examine the cultivation of a mystical life. Through personal practice, students gain tools to engage in the adventure and exploration of being present to the transcendent in the sacred space of spiritual direction.

Society and Spirituality

This class introduces students to cross-cultural knowledge, differing lifestyles and interfaith understanding as it concerns the practice of providing spiritual direction with diverse individuals and groups. Students will explore diversity and inclusion, interfaith and interspiritual understanding, East/West faith traditions, indigenous wisdom and more. The course also covers exploration of how cultural and spiritual beliefs affect worldview in a spiritual direction practice.

 

Addressing the Human Condition

Pain and beauty coexist in the experience of loss. This course explores images of and guidance from the Ground of all Being during times of loss and great change. What does spiritually companioning another during these times look like for spiritual directors? Students will address illness and hospitalization, death and dying, grief and loss, addiction, and mental health within the context of spiritual direction. 

Practicum 3

In the third practicum of the program, students will explore working outside of their comfort zone and delve into advanced themes in their spiritual direction practice. Resistance and trauma in spiritual direction practice, various group spiritual direction practices, and exploring specialized themes as a spiritual director will be covered in this course.

Society and Spirituality

This class introduces students to cross-cultural knowledge, differing lifestyles and interfaith understanding as it concerns the practice of providing spiritual direction with diverse individuals and groups. Students will explore diversity and inclusion, interfaith and interspiritual understanding, East/West faith traditions, indigenous wisdom and more. The course also covers exploration of how cultural and spiritual beliefs affect worldview in a spiritual direction practice.

Spiritual Direction, Discerned Action and Social Transformation

This course expands on and synthesizes the work of spiritual direction with and for the greater community through exploring generational variances, spirituality beyond institutions, new mystics, and contemplation as compassionate action. Students will explore the wider perspective of culture and its impact on beliefs and practices, the contribution of generational variances in spiritual direction, the connections between contemplation and compassionate action, and more, in this class.

Practicum 4

In this course, students will learn the “business of spiritual direction.” This class covers ethical and legal issues, establishing a business practice of spiritual direction, the administration of a spiritual direction practice, continuing education and other information toward making a living as a spiritual director. Additionally, students will explore spiritual direction supervision as an ongoing activity of a strong spiritual direction practice.