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 Part I (the Story)

  • Foundations Part II (the Conversation)

  • Self-Awareness and Image of God

  • Group 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.

This is fundamental to formation as a spiritual director. We’d prefer you find a director who has been trained / formed by Sustainable Faith so that you can experience it in the way we teach it, but this isn’t a requirement.

Participants agree to offer spiritual direction to two people, meeting a minimum requirement of 10 sessions.

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 learning. Combined with the reading, receiving and offering direction accelerates learning.

We won’t leave you adrift here. During Module 1 we’ll discuss how to get the word out, how to describe what you’re offering, what to say about your and their commitments, and how to begin the work of offering Spiritual Direction, etc.

A Summary Reflection is a simple 1-2 page reflective paper in which you recap your experience of the following:

  • receiving direction

  • offering direction

  • engaging in spiritual disciplines and practices

  • any pertinent life experiences you want to share with the cohort

  • questions you may want addressed during the next cohort meeting

Group Supervision is a way of going deeper with our spiritual direction practice by examining, in a reflective way and with the help of others, a portion of a particular session that you choose where you experienced some form of interior turbulence. We have a Contemplative Reflection Form that you will fill out with a portion of your spiritual direction conversation.

From the very start, use a smartphone, tablet or laptop to record all your sessions. (You’ll need written or oral permission, of course; additionally, let directees know we’ll protect their anonymity.) The added benefit of recording all your sessions is that you can go back and listen to yourself as a director, noticing things that escaped you during the live session. When you choose a particular session for a Supervision Form (see above), upload the recording on which it’s based. Your teacher will listen to these and give constructive feedback.

Our development as directors is tightly knit to our own spiritual formation. Consequently, practicing spiritual disciplines together is a valuable part of our time in and between module sessions. The shared practice between modules positions us for a richer conversation when together. In particular, we encourage you to go deeper with particular practices that will introduce you to each Module we are together.