Exploring the Vocation of the Spiritual Guide
Participants explore their personal spiritual stories; clarify their own archetypal roles to learn how those roles influence their lives and their interactions with others; identify individual perspectives, biases, and worldviews; integrate knowledge and practice on an ongoing basis; clarify the similarities and differences between psychology and spiritual guidance; and identify the specific challenges of being a Spiritual Guidance practitioner.
The most important aspect of this program is the development of the Core Capacities, which are the foundation for working with others. Participants will engage in experiential exercises and practice sessions in which they can develop and enhance the needed professional capacities such as: establishing clear, alert presence; deep listening; generating a safe, spacious transformative field for inquiry; working with images, symbol, dreams, metaphors, and teaching stories to invite further insight; suspending “conclusions” and staying in curiosity and wonder using stillness and contemplation; developing intuition; identifying Soul Print; working with spiritual bypass; balancing the holding of space with offering insights and specific suggestions; recognizing and setting aside one’s own agenda and reactivity; and using the body as a feedback system.
Participants are exposed to a variety of spiritual practices that can be useful in working with others. Topics covered include, but are not limited to, the following: prayer, meditation, and contemplative practices; dream work, symbolic work, and shadow work; observing synchronicities; utilizing the creative arts; sacred readings and reflection; small group study; ritual, liturgy. and worship; embodied practices; relationship as spiritual practice; working with typologies; sacred activism; and council circle and other discernment circles.
Spiritual Literacy and Interfaith Awareness
One of the unique aspects of this program is that participants are exposed to other faiths and a variety of sacred texts, practices, and spiritual and religious orientations to expand their capacity for responding in meaningful ways to those who have a different religious or spiritual orientation. Equally important, spiritual guidance practitioners are trained in welcoming people with humanist, atheist, and agnostic perspectives as well as those who claim no religious or spiritual identification.
Special Topics and Niche Areas
The program’s teachers and mentors have different areas of expertise, which support participants who wish to focus on special topics in spiritual guidance: death and dying, and end-of-life issues; dream work in spiritual guidance; addiction and recovery; spirituality issues related to sexuality and sexual identity; mental health issues versus “spiritual emergence-y”; healing spiritual wounding from past experiences; spiritual perspectives in the world of business; leading groups and retreats; sacred activism; peacemaking; support and spiritual care for members of clergy; and more.
Ethics, Professionalism, and Marketing
The program includes discussion on ethics and professionalism, including boundaries; transference and countertransference; personal shadow work; confidentiality; navigating dual relationships; navigating sexual attractions and invitations; similarities and differences between spiritual guidance and psychotherapy; and when to refer to a mental health practitioner. Additionally, the program offers ideas for professional marketing, with tips to help establish and grow a viable practice after graduation. These include policies, pricing, and practice settings; intake and closure process; use of technology in practice; and methods of effective marketing that avoid spiritual materialism and “spiritual celebrity” culture. Finally, participants leave this program with a deep understanding of the importance of deepening their own practices, both for purposes of self-care and to become more effective guides.