Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction (D.A.S.D.)

The D.A.S.D. 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.

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

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.


Session One
Contemplative Listening (Diploma/Certificate/Retreat).
Contemplative Listening is a meditative discipline that helps us listen closely to what is said and not said. It is listening from the heart to the heart of another. In larger and smaller groups, we will engage a variety of listening and other contemplative practices that help us drop into an open space where another can be listened into speech. This session is offered as the pre-requisite for further work in the Certificate in Spiritual Direction, Formation, and World-Engagement as well as for the Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction. This session has the option of 1.5 credit hours additional academic study for those who are working toward a diploma. This session is also open to the wider community as a Spiritual Retreat.

Spiritual Formation for Spiritual Direction.
The ancient practice of spiritual direction is rooted not only in what one learns in a classroom but in on-going commitment to spiritual practice and formation. This class will provide opportunities to encounter several classical and contemporary models of spiritual practice while also engaging in different forms of meditation, art, chant, and body prayers. By deepening our personal practice we will learn to “guard the heart,” inspire the spirit, welcome diversity, and remain more vibrantly present to others. So you will be prepared at the beginning of the course, readings will be sent out in advance. Please see department for course alpha and number.

Session Two
SP 2499 Discernment (Diploma/Certificate).
This course treats the theory and practice of personal discernment. It is designed to acquaint the learner with skills for their own discernment, but also assists in/accompany the discernment of others. It will serve those in preparation for a variety of spiritual care ministries, and is required for the Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction. Participants will discern an area of their own choosing in their personal lives, participate in contemplative listening dyads, serve as spiritual companions involved in each other's discernment and function as members of a discerning group during the week-long intensive. Prior to arrival, participants are expected to read at least three of the required books and to prepare a draft paper of about 6 pages in length covering the theoretical aspects raised in the readings. They will demonstrate learning during the intensive by revising the draft paper and also by preparing an additional paper of about 6 pages demonstrating the accompaniment of another person who could be a directee (preferred for D.A.S.D.), parishioner, colleague, friend. Limited to SFTS students only.

SP 2680 Fundamentals of Spiritual Direction (Foundation course for all Spiritual Direction students) (Diploma/Certificate)
This session is the continuation of the Contemplative Listening course and is required of new Certificate and Diploma students. It provides basic theory and practice for the work of spiritual direction. In addition to daily supervised practice sessions each afternoon, there will be a panel on multi-cultural and multi-racial issues in spiritual direction. Participation in this session is a prerequisite before spiritual direction students can begin to practice spiritual direction.

Please see department for course alpha, number, and description for Multiculturalism and Spiritual Direction.

For additional program information, please visit the D.A.S.D. program page https://sfts.edu/academics/diploma-in-the-art-of-spiritual-direction/.

Please see department for course credit offering and range.