Courses and Schedule

The Certificate in Spiritual Direction and Social Transformation has eight core modules:

  • Contemplative Psychology and Spirituality
  • An Introduction to 1:1 Spiritual Direction
  • An Introduction to Group Spiritual Direction and Facilitation
  • The Practice of Discernment
  • Spirituality and Social Systems
  • Christian Mystical Traditions I
  • Christian Mystical Traditions II
  • Socio-Political Discernment

COURSE SCHEDULE

We follow a semester system with elections during January and Summer terms. Students in full enrollment must begin in the Fall.

2021/2022 School Year

Fall Semester:

  • Contemplative Psychology & Spirituality
    Daniel Wolpert

    What is the nature of mind? How do individual and collective ‘minds’ come into being, and how are they maintained? In this class we will explore such fundamental questions, applying the insights and observations of the contemplative traditions to understand how we create ‘the world.’ Having a working knowledge of these core principles is central to the practice of spiritual direction. The course will rely both on academic reflection and our own observation via spiritual practice.

    Every Tuesday from 11am-1pm Central from September 7 to November 9

  • Spirituality and Social Systems
    Ashe Van Steenwyk

    In this course, we explore the intersection of the spiritual life and the social systems in which we live. Emphasis will be given to our social, economic, and political systems and the ways in which these systems “form” us as people, for good or ill. What animates these systems? What do they have to do with the Pauline notion of the “principalities and powers?” As we explore social systems and oppression with a spiritual lens, we will also briefly examine potential approaches to counter-formation and subversive action.

    Every Thursday from 6-8pm Central from September 9 to November 11

J-Term (Electives):

  • Black Sacred Music as Spiritual Practice
    Rev. Dr. Donald H. Matthews, PhD.

    Black Religion is noted for its narrative character. This narrative character is found most profoundly in it music. It is no mistake that Howard Thurman, the most well known of African American Spiritual Masters experienced, researched and wrote about the “Negro” Spiritual. Scholars like W. E. B. Du Bois. Zora Neale Hurston and James Cone based their interpretation of Black Religion as it was found in the Black music of the Spirituals, Blues and Gospel music.

    This course will seek to help the student gain a deeper understanding of the ways that this music informs the spiritual practice of Black individuals and communities in their quest for Spiritual Wholeness. In engaging the fundamental expressions of this faith through its musical recordings, the written text, in discussion and in meditation, the student will gain a lived experience of its spiritual depth.

    Schedule TBA.
  • Spiritual Reading for Challenging Times: Meditating on the Works of Catherine of Siena
    Daniel Wolpert

    “For discernment is nothing else but the true knowledge a soul ought to have of herself and of me, and through this knowledge she finds her roots.  It is joined to charity like an engrafted shoot.”    -Catherine of Siena

    Join us to meditate on the powerful words of a great mystic: To say that we find ourselves in the midst of challenging times is almost a gross understatement.  How do we navigate such moments in history in a manner that is life-giving, healthy, and helpful for others?  This is a question central to the practice of Spiritual Direction.

    One of the resources that we have at our disposal to aid in such work is the writing of teachers who have come before us. Catherine of Siena is one such wisdom master. Born into a merchant family in the mid-14th Century, this illiterate woman mystic became a powerful spiritual leader in a time of turmoil, plague, and war.  In a patriarchal society and church, she was recognized as someone who could lead people through the most challenging times.  I find that her words echo through the centuries and resonate in a remarkable way as we consider the work of social transformation.  

    In this course we will experience her work, learn how to engage spiritual wisdom from another time, and listen deeply together to eternal truths that can ground us in this moment, helping us to move forward in a confident, loving manner.

Spring Semester:

  • The Practice of Discernment
  • Introduction to 1:1 Spiritual Direction

Summer: Electives

Year B

Fall Semester:

  • Christian Mystical Tradition I
  • Introduction to Group Spiritual Direction and Facilitation

J-Term: Elective

Spring Semester:

  • Christian Mystical Tradition II
  • Socio-Political Discernment

Supervision and Practicum Requirements

Each student in the certificate program should log 50 hours of practical application and 3 semesters of supervision. Practicum hours could come from a variety of sources: one-on-one direction, group direction, group facilitation, retreat leading, etc. As part of their practicum, each student will propose a project unique to their own context.

Students must log hours in multiple modalities. In other words, they should each meet with a one-on-one directee, engage in some form group practice, and engage in some form of creative project. The mix of these can vary per student, but it is important to demonstrate competency in traditional direction, group process, and justice-oriented social engagement (which can take a lot of different forms).

A cohort of students will meet with their direction supervisor 4 times per semester, except for their first semester.


*We supplement these core modules with a variety of electives. Here are some examples:

  • The Spirituality of Catherine of Siena
  • The Religion of Empire
  • The Mystical Radicalism of Simone Weil
  • Creation’s Wisdom: Spiritual Practice and Climate Change
  • The Tradition of the Holy Fool
  • Apocalyptic Spirituality and Revolutionary Movements
  • Mindful Self-Compassion
  • Luminous Darkness: Black Spirituality as Resistance