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Spiritual Direction Training

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

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Spiritual Direction Training
Spiritual Direction Training

Time & Location

Sep 22, 2018, 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM

San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA


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 meant 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.

• 9 two and a half hour in person meetings in the first year. 9 one and a half hour remote meetings in the first year.

• Monthly meetings with supervision cohort and at least two meetings with directees per month in the second for 10 months.

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

• One day cohort retreat in first year.

• One day practicum retreat at beginning of second year.

• 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 2018/2019 Cohort

Saturday (in person at 1430 Hayes St #B from 10am-12:30pm)


September 22

October 13

November 10

December 8


January 12 (Full Day 10am-5pm)

February 9

March 9

April 13

May 11

Monday Zoom Call Meetings 7-8:30pm


October 1

October 22

November 19

December 10


January 21

February 25

March 18

April 22

Individual Discernment Meetings regarding second year will take place in May 2019

Dates for 2019/2020 TBD by June 2019

Remote Possibilities

I realize that many of you may only be interested in a minimal residency program. I am in the process of researching what that could look like. If you have read through this and are still interested in a minimal residency program, please let me know. It would be helpful for me to know the level of interest in this option.


Please send the following application materials by September 7. I know this is a short turn-around, but in light of the interest, have been working hard to get this going for the fall. From there we will schedule an interview. I would like to keep the cohort to 8 participants. If there is enough interest, I may open up a second cohort, of course, with an additional set of dates. If you would like to attend, but are only interested in a remote cohort, please let me know. I am actively working on designing a remote version of this.

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

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

Additional Costs:

Books: Approximately $200/year

Make up days $100/session

• 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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