Creative Contemplation


2025 Engaging Groups in Creative Contemplation


Overview and duration

Parker J. Palmer, an American Quaker scholar, has developed a model for exploring the inner spiritual life by drawing on the insights of Meister Eckhart, Carl Jung, Thomas Merton and other spiritual writers. This has been helpful in the formation of community; exploring religious and secular vocation; discernment and life decisions and the integration of the self with authentic action.

This unit will critique both the work of Parker J. Palmer and the contemplative group approach to spiritual growth. The focus of the unit will be on the principles and practices that lead to inner spiritual development and authentic action. The student will be introduced to and taught to use, the resources of narrative, poetry, art and personal and group reflection with a goal to spiritual growth and wellbeing. These objectives are achieved through lectures, discussion, contemplative group work and a retreat experience.


Duration: one semester

Course requirements / recommendations


  • none

Course dates

2025 - DATES TO BE DETERMINED - Lectures, discussion and a retreat

Course details, learning outcomes, assessments, structure & recommended reading

Additional course information

Lecturer: Rev Dr Christopher Page

This course includes lectures, discussion and a retreat experience. This retreat will be organised by the group and provide an opportunity to learn practical skills and about group dynamics in this context.

  • Please note that there will be an additional cost (TBA) for the two-night retreat

Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will:

  • Show competency in evaluating their personal inner spiritual landscape through a written journal and a critical essay
  • Demonstrate an understanding and analysis of the writings of Parker J. Palmer and other spiritual writers both classic and contemporary as to their effectiveness in contemplative group processes
    • This will be evaluated through an oral class presentation and a critical essay
  • Design, execute and evaluate the effectiveness of a contemplative group/circle which is presented to the class in an oral and written form
  • Critically assess a specific aspect of contemplative group work in a sustained and self-directed manner

Participants who audit the unit are encouraged to complete the written tasks to gain full benefit.

Cost (per unit)

This course is offered through Whitley College. Government fee help is available to qualifying Australian citizens.

For academic credit, costs are as per the University of Divinity fees schedule.

There is a reduced cost for Audit participants**. Please apply here: Application for Audit WellSpring

  • In addition, there will be a cost for a two-night retreat
  • Please note the above costs are based on 2024 University of Divinity Tuition Fees, which may change by 2025

Useful links for additional information:

**NB: If you choose to complete the unit as an Audit participant, no academic credit can be claimed for the unit, either at the time of enrolling, or retrospectively.

Enrolment process

Please enrol directly with Whitley College

Registrar, Whitley College
Email: | Ph: (03) 9340 8000

How to Apply - Whitley College

For more information

Please contact us at WellSpring

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