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Certificate in Spiritual Direction

Our primary motive for becoming a spiritual companion should be
the love of others and desire to help them grow into the full measure
of holiness and wholeness that is their eternal destiny.

David G. Benner,  Sacred Companions: The Gift of Spiritual Friendship


The Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL) at Columbia Theological Seminary (CTS) will launch the first cohort in the Certificate in Spiritual Direction (CSD) in the fall of 2015.

The program of study is designed for individuals who discern a call to the ministry of Spiritual Direction. Grounded in the tradition of Christian Spirituality, the curriculum includes four week-long residencies on the CTS campus, online components, individual reading and reflection, and a supervised practicum in the art of spiritual direction. Organized on the cohort model, the certificate is intended to be completed in two and a half years. 


Admission Requirements and Application Information

Applicants to the CSD program should have completed a minimum of one year receiving spiritual direction with a trained spiritual director and agree to continue spiritual direction during CSD studies.  Completion of the Certificate in Spiritual Formation or equivalent preparation preferred. Preference will be given to graduates of the CLL’s Certificate in Spiritual Formation or the equivalent.

Computer and internet access are needed to use the seminary’s online learning platform and complete the distance components of the coursework.

We invite and encourage those who are interested in the program to get to know us by attending a course in the Certificate in Spiritual Formation program.  Applications for the 2017 cohort will be accepted in late 2016.


Course of Study

Each residency includes pre-course preparation and post-attendance submission of written reflections. Residencies include plenary sessions, supervised practice of spiritual direction, worship and time for study and reflection.


Cohort I Residencies

Spiritual Direction in Context

September 27-October 2, 2015

Leader: Jane Vennard


Incarnation:  Theology, Tradition and Practice of Spiritual Direction

March 13-18, 2016

Leader: Debra Weir


Discernment in Spiritual Direction

October 9-14, 2016 

Leader: Julie Johnson


Spiritual Direction, Discerned Action and Social Transformation 

March 12-17, 2017 

Leader: TBA


Supervised Practice in the Art of Spiritual Direction

Supervision is a spiritual practice as well as an ethical commitment on the part of all spiritual directors. We offer a well-developed supervision process to facilitate the learning process.

While on campus during each residency, students will receive practical training in the art of spiritual direction through supervised practice in facilitated small groups.

Back home, students are required to meet monthly for at least one hour with a supervisor.  The cost of supervision will be the responsibility of the student. Fees generally range from $50-100 per hour-long session. 


Certificate of Completion

Upon completion of the requirements of this program a certificate of completion will be awarded.

The certificate will attest to completion of this formation and training program to develop the gifts and sensibilities of spiritual directors and support their callings to this ministry.


Program Fees  

The cost of each residency is $1400, which includes several meals and residency-related course components. Housing is available for an additional fee. Fees may be adjusted on an annual basis.


For more information, please contact:

Debra Weir

Associate Director, Spirituality and Lifelong Learning