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Spiritual Direction Distance Training 2021/2022

Learn the life-giving craft of spiritual direction through a two year intensive training cohort.

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Spiritual Direction Distance Training 2021/2022
Spiritual Direction Distance Training 2021/2022

Time & Location

Sep 10, 2021, 3:00 PM – May 15, 2023, 8:30 PM

Online via Zoom w/ 1 in- person day retreat


This spiritual direction modality of ministry is the art and craft of skilled sojourning.  Spiritual direction finds itself in a unique place among helping professions.  It is richly rooted in the history of the church, steeped in contemplative tradition, and was in its pre-modern time, the quintessential discipline for attending to matters of the interior life.  Modernity replaced this practice with the field of psychology.  While in some ways, psychological research, Freud and beyond, served the modality of spiritual direction well, the contemporary discipline of psychology has provided an ill equipped substitute for the spiritually discerning, attuned accompaniment of spiritual direction.  This course seeks to harness both, the richness of the tradition of spiritual direction as well as the contributions of object relations psychology and even more recently, interpersonal neurobiology.  For this reason, the content spans the spectrum of graduate level and popular level reading, personal prayer and reflection assignments, as well as rigorous clinical practicum (second year).  

What makes this program distinct from other offerings is its over indexing in cross-disciplinary study and an overview approach to other relevant (but less relevant) topics.  Our points of focus are curated to ministry with Christian professionals living and working in a post Christian context.  


• 2 year training program resulting in all requirements met for membership into Spiritual Directors International and Evangelical Spiritual Directors Association.  You do not have to join these organizations, but you will need to join at least one if you want to secure insurance for your spiritual direction practice.  

• In the 1st year: 9 monthly three hour Large Group Supervision and Book Discussion Zoom meetings and 9 monthly one and a half hour Prayer Project Review meetings. 1 in-person all day cohort retreat. (dates and times listed below)

• In the 2nd year: Monthly meetings with supervision cohort and at least two meetings with directees per month  for 10 months.

• Monthly  prayer and reflection assignments to be turned into instructor.

• You must be in personal spiritual direction.

• Discernment period between first and second year where instructors will help you determine your calling into the next year.

• Approximately one book per month of reading due. 

Meeting Dates for 2021/2022 Cohort

In-Person San Francisco Cohort Retreat

Saturday, January 8, 2022 from 10am-5:30pm PT

Fridays (Large Group Supervision 3-4:30pm PT, Book Discussion 4:30-6pm PT)


September 10

October 1

November 5

December 3


January 7 

February 4

March 4

April 1 

May 6

Mondays (Prayer Project Review 7-8:30pm)


September 20

October 11

November 15

December 13


January 17

February 14

March 14

April 11

May 16 

Individual Discernment Meetings regarding second year will take place in May and June 2022

Dates for 2022/2023 TBD by June 2022


If you have questions please email or are ready to apply, send the following application materials by August 1 to

From there we will schedule an interview.  I would like to keep the cohort to 8 participants.  

Application Materials

Spiritual Autobiography (no more than 5 pages double spaced)

Answers to the following questions (approximately 100 word answers)

• What makes you interested in spiritual direction training?

• What is your understanding of what spiritual direction is?

• What is your relationship to Scripture?

• What are some books that have influenced your spiritual growth?

• What have you been saying to God lately?

Letters of Reference 

• One from a pastor or mentor

• One from someone who has benefited from your spiritual care


$2600 for each year 

Total of $5200 for entire Spiritual Direction Certificate Program

This can be paid each year or split into semester payments.  

Additional Costs:

Books: Approximately $200/year

Make up days $100/session

Personal spiritual direction $50-100/month

• Comparable programs are generally about $1000 more.  There are less expensive programs that do not provide adequate clinical hours for membership with spiritual director professional organizations.   

About the Instructors

Julie Barrios

Spiritual direction is my primary craft.  I hold an MA from the Institute for Spiritual Formation at Talbot School of Theology and a certificate in Ignatian Spiritual Formation from the Loyola Institute (the spiritual director training affiliated with Loyola Marymount University).  In 2006 I began a year long supervisors apprenticeship with the Institute for Spiritual Formation and trained directors there until I moved to San Francisco in 2013 to take the role as Minister of Spiritual Formation at Reality SF.  There I built and oversaw our lay pastoral care ministry, designed with an emphasis in the spiritual direction modality.  I currently specialize in spiritual direction and consulting with founders and C-suite executives.  Still, I love training spiritual directors. It was my first vocational love and I am excited to offer this program.  

Courtney Towery

I was focused on missions, serving in Mexico, when God called me to be a spiritual director before I even knew what spiritual direction was. I am so grateful He did. This call brought me to the Institute for Spiritual Formation at Talbot School of Theology for my MA in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care. While in school I started giving spiritual direction in 2006, became a teacher's assistant for Advanced Listening Skills, taught as an adjunct professor for Talbot's Spiritual Formation Focus, and served as a supervisor to spiritual directors. In 2009, I married my husband, Nathan, and eventually landed in the California bay area for his job in 2011. Since then, I have continued to give some spiritual direction, but mostly have been at home with my 3 young kids learning a new kind of spiritual direction through parenting. Spiritual direction holds such a special place in my heart. I count it a privilege to be a part of this program and God's work in people's lives.

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