This unit will explore significant spiritual and psychological issues in spiritual companioning as well as the student’s developing sense of commitment to this practice. Students will consider: Assessment of appropriate approaches to companioning; Deepening awareness of connection with inner perception and spiritual influences; Listening to the deeper parts of self and other relational aspects of being attentive; Exploring human experience of transcendence, the divine and mysticism; Creating a safe holding environment for participants in spiritual companioning; psychological dynamics in practice including such elements as transference, countertransference and projection and referral and the role of spiritual companioning in challenging one’s own and broader perspectives to foster authentic spiritual engagement.

Students will undertake a research project in an area of personal interest in the ministry of spiritual direction.

Unit code: XD9770W

Unit status: Approved (Minor revision)

Points: 48.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Capstone

Unit discipline: Spiritual Direction

Proposing College: Whitley College

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Learning outcomes


Demonstrate creativity and initiative in integrating spiritual reflection, knowledge and skills of spiritual companioning, and the capacity to apply them to new situations in practice and/or further learning;


Describe and articulate the distinctive aspects of deep listening as it relates to body and emotional awareness, and our engagement the world and the transcendent aspects of life


Evaluate how psychological issues impact the practice of spiritual companioning in relation to dynamics within the professional relationship and the need for referral.


Articulate and identify the range of emerging spiritual dynamics that influence the shaping and reshaping of our stories.


Research an aspect of spiritual companioning and analyse its unique relationship with spiritual companioning practice.

Unit sequence

*The prerequisite unit for this unit is DD8203W Art of Spiritual Companioning 2 (Formerly named Art of Spiritual Direction 2) or equivalent. *Prohibited Combination: Art of Spiritual Companioning 3


Lectures, personal reflection, sharing in triad groups, supervised practice and supervised essay writing. A full day Street Retreat and reflection on the experience.

Indicative Bibliography

  • = set texts recommended for purchase *
  • Ahlberg-Calhoun, A. Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices that Transform Us. Illinois: IVP, Press, 2005.
  • Chittister, J. Scarred by struggle: Transformed by Hope, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 2003.
  • Conn, W. Christian Conversion: A Developmental Interpretation of Autonomy and Surrender. New York: Paulist Press, 1986.
  • May, Gerald G. Will and Spirit : A Contemplative Psychology. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1983.
  • Palmer, P. Let Your Life Speak. San Francisco: John Wiley, 2000.
  • Soelle, D. The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance. Augsburg: Fortress, 2001.
  • Ruffing, Janet K. To Tell the Sacred Tale. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2011.
  • Wagner, Nick. Spiritual Direction in Context. Harrisburg, Pa.: Morehouse Pub., 2006. *
  • Whitehead, Evelyn Eaton, and James D. Whitehead. Transforming Our Painful Emotions: Spiritual Resources in Anger, Shame, Grief, Fear, and Loneliness. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2010.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Project Report or Project Journal

Research project

8000 60.0

10 reflection papers for peer group work

5000 20.0
Seminar or Tutorial

One-hour presentation of the findings of research

3000 20.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 17 Sep, 2021

Unit record last updated: 2021-10-11 13:01:20 +1100