School of Spiritual Direction : Year 1 Overview

Year 1 offers participants an immersive, integrated and robust introduction to the ministry of spiritual direction. Through the combined experience of reading superb literature, engaging in individual and group exercises, paying close attention to one’s life, practicing spiritual disciplines, receiving spiritual direction, and offering direction — all in a communal setting — students move toward competency as spiritual directors.


There are 5 modules (the 2-day sessions), with a theme to each one:

  • Foundations: The Story
  • Foundations: The Conversation
  • Self-Awareness
  • Group Spiritual Direction & Discernment
  • Journey: Stages of Faith

In our present culture we have a nasty habit of confusing information with wisdom. We mix up the intellectual comprehension of a spiritual fact with the embodied practice. In this training we read for formation, not information.

There are 10 required books to read: 2 for each of the 5 modules, with a reading pace of about 1 book per month.

Each participant agrees to be receive direction for the duration of the training. Allowing a compassionate and wise person to companion you as you reflect on your life is a mark of humility. Yet it's also a part of your training since you get to experience how another person offers direction. If you need help finding a director, we can probably assist you.

Participants agree to offer spiritual direction to two people, meeting a minimum requirement of 10 sessions. Two sessions are recorded and sent to the cohort leader so (s)he can give helpful feedback.

We don’t believe seeing directees from the start is premature. Yes, it may feel like being thrown into the deep end of the pool, but you won’t die, you won’t kill your directees (who will likely be grateful for a listening ear), and it will accelerate your learning. Combining the reading, receiving and offering direction accelerates learning.

1-2 weeks before each of the five modules you’ll post online a 1-2 page report in which you:

  • comment on your experience of the readings
  • comment on your experience of receiving direction
  • speak about what you're noticing as you offer direction to others
  • share the current circumstances of your own life and spiritual journey
  • submit any question(s) you’d like to discuss in the upcoming module

In the course of the training you’ll submit a minimum of 2 verbatims. These are more detailed transcripts of excerpts from your spiritual direction sessions with your directees. It’s a learning experience in itself to write out and evaluate a session, but they will be used in the group as a way to practice peer supervision.

You'll also submit to the teacher / supervisor 2 audio recordings of sessions you've had with your directees (one from each directee). Your teacher will listen to these and give constructive feedback.

Each participant selects 1-2 spiritual exercises to engage in more deeply over the course of our time together.