Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction

The DASD program has been the flagship spirituality program at SFTS. With nearly 300 alums, we have rich testimony to the power of this vision for training spiritual directors. The diploma is unique in its combination of academic rigor and spiritual formation. Its strong emphasis on supervised practicums has contributed to the high quality of directors that have emerged from this program.

Graduates of our program have provided national and international leadership as spiritual directors and supervisors of spiritual direction. They have created spiritual direction certificates in the United States and Korea. In addition, graduates have used their training to become retreat leaders, social activists, create programs in contemplative pedagogy, participate in interfaith dialogue, create programs in the spirituality of art. They have created national and international programs in coaching and reinvented their ministry to become pastor as spiritual guide.  In these various ways, graduates have creatively used and expanded the meaning of spiritual direction.

I have been so blessed by the community and leadership of the program. I can genuinely say that the DASD program helped save my faith. It’s been a community of grace, generosity, and encouragement, as well as a welcomed challenge in the academic sense.  2017 DASD Student, Adam L.

Program Requirements

Students wishing to obtain a diploma will participate in the same sessions that serve the certificate program. To obtain a diploma, participants must take one additional retreat (five in all). In addition, they will register for 1.5 unit on-line courses that are available in conjunction with each retreat. These courses will add an academic component and writing requirements to the emphasis on formation and practice in the certificate program.

The first retreat toward a Diploma is “The Art of Contemplative Listening” which offers training in “open-hearted listening:” listening from the heart, attending to the heart of others, seeking the heart of the matter. Through study and practice, participants will explore elements of deep listening.

Participants will also take three additional retreat modules:

  • Contemplative Listening
  • Fundamentals of Spiritual Direction
  • Discernment
  • Spiritual Practice for Spiritual Direction
  • Multiculturalism and Spiritual Direction

Between retreats participants will:

  • Be in spiritual direction
  • Work through a required set of readings and turn in short reflection papers on the readings
  • Participate in supervised practicum (see below)

Practicum & Supervision

After completing sessions in Contemplative Listening and Foundations of Spiritual Direction, participants will locate 2-3 directees to begin practicing their own style of spiritual direction. Students will work with a supervisor appointed by the program. The supervision program is subsidized by SFTS, but students will pay their supervisor $40 per session directly.

Students may complete the five retreats and additional background at the rate that suits their life circumstances. But they must have two years of supervised practice to receive the certificate.

Sessions, Study, and Community

Each session will combine study, spiritual practice, quiet, and community. Typically, each morning will be dedicated to the study of the session topic. After lunch and a break, participants will have opportunities to meet in small groups to practice what they are learning. The day begins and ends with worship or meditation. Students have opportunities to take their meals together as well as time for quiet, rest, contemplative walks. Participants will encounter models of practice from a variety of spiritual and cultural traditions.

Admission Requirements

All applicants must be in and remain in spiritual direction with someone who has themselves been trained in the art of spiritual direction.

Applicants must be committed to some form of spiritual or contemplative practice as the bedrock of their practice of spiritual direction.

Applicants will typically have a BA and some background in spiritual or theological studies. In the absence of sufficient background, applicants should contact the Director for guidance in how they might pursue some preliminary study to prepare for the program.

Housing & Meals

All students are invited to participate in a communal lunch as part of the cost of the program. If you require housing, choose the residential option when applying for this program.

Housing is available at Baird Hall, a dormitory style building with shared bathrooms, kitchen facilities, and living room. A self-service breakfast is available. Students can prepare their own meals at Baird. Often students end up cooking together or having potlucks. Students can also find meals in town. Many places are within walking distance. A number of places also deliver. A labyrinth is in the lawn outside the back door. Internet is available only in the main part of the building.

For further information, please contact:

Dr. Wendy Farley, Director, Program in Christian Spirituality

415.451.2867 | wfarley@sfts.edu

The SFTS Program in Christian Spirituality was one of first to offer spiritual direction training in a Protestant seminary. It presents a ground-breaking approach to spirituality that combines head and heart, prayer and public witness, ancient practices and contemporary experimentation across many faith traditions. Congratulations to the program, which celebrated its 20th Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction graduating class in 2016.