Certificate in Spiritual Direction

United’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction program will prepare you with the required knowledge and skills to effectively support others in their personal spiritual development in both one-on-one and group settings. This program addresses the increasing demands for credentials and competency in the field.

As a graduate of this program, you can pursue a career either in non-ordained church ministry with a specialty in spiritual direction or in a spiritual direction vocation outside of the congregational context. Settings for spiritual directors include churches and other congregations, retreat centers, wellness centers, and independently in your home or office. The contemplative skills gained through participation in this program are transferable to a wide variety of other helping professions.

If you also would like to receive a more comprehensive ministerial training, check out the MAL in Spiritual Direction or the MDiv in Spiritual Direction.


Learning Outcomes

A graduate of the Certificate in Spiritual Direction program will be able to:

  • Apply deep listening, their way of knowing, and their spiritual life to the use of discernment models used to guide others to go deeper into personal and communal wholeness and healing.
  • Apply deep listening, evocative questions, presence, silence, compassion, and empathy to the soul care and spiritual guidance of others.
  • Apply the Guidelines for Ethical Conduct to their professional role as a spiritual director/companion.
  • Effectively participate in a one-to-one spiritual direction/companionship session.
  • Effectively lead a group spiritual direction/companionship session.
  • Effectively teach a contemplative spiritual practice.
  • Demonstrate skills and articulate strategies for providing effective spiritual care for those experiencing trauma in a variety of given situations.


United’s Certificate at a Glance

  • 12 credits
  • Four 3-credit courses, including a practicum
  • Can be completed within two years on a part-time course load
  • All courses can be completed via distance learning; some courses can be taken completely asynchronously
  • All courses can be applied towards completion of United’s MAL or MDiv in Spiritual Direction


Program Course Guide Sheet for Academic Year 2023-2024

The Art of Discernment
Spiritual Direction/Companionship 1
Spiritual Direction/Companionship 2
Spiritual Direction Practicum (2 terms)


Learn More

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