Art of Spiritual Companioning

 Art of Spiritual Companioning Program

The WellSpring Art of Spiritual Companioning Program is a four year program that is recognised by the Australian Ecumenical Council for Spiritual Direction as meeting its standards for the formation of spiritual companions in Australia. The Program involves three units of academic study and practical application and one unit of practicum supported by supervision and professional development seminars. 

The first three units can form part of a Graduate Diploma in Spiritual Direction or Masters of Spiritual Direction through Whitley College of the University of Divinity. These courses are offered through Whitley College. Government Fee-Help is available to qualifying Australian citizens.

Application process

Step 1:

If you would like to apply for the Art of Spiritual Companioning Program in 2023, please fill out and submit this application form ASAP.  There are limited spaces.

Step 2:

Following receipt of your application, we will make time with you for an interview with two members of our Discernment Team. The Discernment Team will then prayerfully consider all applications, and we will contact you with the outcome of your application.

Step 3:

If you are invited to enter the Art of Spiritual Companioning Program, you can either enrol in the unit for academic credit or register as an audit participant. Both options happen through Whitley College, a college of the University of Divinity.

Please email us if you have any questions about this process. 

 

Lecturers: Rev Dr Peter Bentley and WellSpring  Formation Team

In 2022 the Formation team comprised: Rosanne Arnott, Lynette Dugan, Jennifer Guild, Leslie Hangar, Andrea Long, Tim Mc Cowan, Jane Ormonde, Andrew Woff and Joan Wright Howie. 

View a video trailer about the WellSpring formation units on offer through University of Divinity

Featuring Anne Mallaby (Former Academic Dean of Whitley College) and Peter Bentley (Senior Lecturer in Formation, WellSpring Centre)


Academic Credit:

These units can be taken for academic credit through Whitley College, a college of the University of Divinity.


Unit 1: Introduction to the Art of Spiritual Companioning (UD code DD8202W)

This unit introduces the Art of Spiritual Companioning in theory and in practice and provides a context in which to test a sense of call to this ministry. The seminars include teaching on the history of the tradition, characteristics of the ministry, common misconceptions, issues of discernment, human experience of God / Divine, important psychological considerations, development of listening skills and growth in prayer and faith.

Students have regular practice in both giving and receiving spiritual companioning and the opportunity to reflect on this experience. In addition, they participate regularly in personal and peer group supervision sessions. Two written assignments and a number of written verbatims are required.

The course will be offered via weekly online sessions, three intensives at WellSpring Centre in Ashburton, monthly group supervision, and monthly personal supervision sessions.

Pre-requisites:

  • Students are invited to register for this course following a discernment process. Click here for the application form.  
  • Students need to have been in spiritual companionship themselves for at least six months prior to commencing the course.
  • In addition, students need to have some sense of call to this ministry.

Completion of the Art of Contemplative Practice 1 is strongly recommended.


Unit 2: The Art of Spiritual Companioning (UD code DD8203W)

This unit extends the work done in the previous level. Teaching seminars cover mysticism, sexuality and spirituality, culture and religious diversity, listening, discernment and psychological considerations. This unit also includes a city street retreat experience.

The experience of giving and receiving spiritual companioning is continued at a deeper level. Supervision – personal and in peer groups – remains a significant aspect of the training. Two written assignments and a number of written verbatims are required.

The course will be offered via weekly online sessions, three intensives at WellSpring Centre in Ashburton, monthly group supervision, and monthly personal supervision sessions.

Pre-requisites:

  • Successful completion of Unit 1.
  • Recommendation from formation leaders of the course regarding proceeding to this level.
  • Receiving regular spiritual companioning.
  • Minimum of two people coming for spiritual companioning.

Unit 3: The Art of Spiritual Companioning 3 (UD code DD9204W or XD9770W)

The course will be offered via weekly online sessions, three intensives at WellSpring Centre in Ashburton, monthly group supervision, and monthly personal supervision sessions.

Teaching seminars continue to develop listening skills, growth in prayer, discernment, psychological considerations, spiritual accompaniment, the holding environment and converging.

Each participant chooses an elective research project and studies it during the year. One 8,000 word essay on the research topic is required, along with written verbatim reports.

At a final intensive workshop, students give a presentation of their papers to the group for reflection and discussion.

Pre-requisites:

  • Successful completion of Unit 2.
  • Recommendation from formation leaders of the course regarding proceeding to this level.
  • Receiving regular spiritual companioning.
  • Minimum of four people coming for spiritual companioning.

Unit 4: The Art of Spiritual Companioning (Professional Year)

This is a post-course year of personal and peer supervision and professional development seminars, and is an essential part of the program, although it is deliberately set within a post-graduate context. This provides generous support in the first year of ministry, aims to establish collegiality with peers and the wider community of WellSpring directors, and establishes ongoing personal and professional development. We encourage graduates to join one of the Australian Spiritual Direction Associations and thus become part of the wider community of Australian Directors.


Team: Rev. Dr Peter Bentley

Peter works with an ecumenical formation team of teachers, supervisors and other professionals who are experienced spiritual companions. Together they bring a creative and balanced approach to this ministry. Numbers are limited at all levels to allow maximum participation. 

University of Divinity accreditation for these units is available to those doing post-graduate Diploma in Spiritual Direction or Masters of Spiritual Direction.

For more information, please email us.  


 

Course dates for 2023

The dates are similar for units 1, 2 and 3. 

The eighteen weekly online sessions will alternate between seminars and quads. Unit 1 students will meet online on Tuesdays and Unit 2 and Unit 3 on Mondays from 7.30 pm to 9 pm (AEDT).

There will also be three two day Intensives in-person at WellSpring Centre, Ashburton.

Unit 2 and 3 will start with an orientation session.

In addition students are required to participate in a monthly group supervision session and have personal supervision monthly.

2023 First Semester:

Weekly Session 1

Mon 20 Feb or Tuesday 21 Feb
(7.30 to 9 pm AEDT)

Orientation

Units 2 and 3 only

ONLINE via Zoom

Forthnightly Mon 6 Mar and 20 Mar and 3 April (7.30 to 9 pm)

Units 2 and 3 Only 

ONLINE via Zoom

2 Day Intensive

 Fri 21 and Sat 22 April

2 day in-person Intensive at WellSpring Centre

Weekly Sessions 2-7

Mon 1 May or Tues 2 May

to

Mon 5 June 4 or Tues 6 June
(7.30 to 9 pm AEDT)

Units 1, 2 and 3

Seminars and
Quads alternating ONLINE via Zoom 

 

 

 

2023 Second Semester:

2 Day Intensive

 Fri 21 and Sat 22 July 

2 day in-person Intensive at WellSpring Centre

Weekly sessions 8 – 15

 

Mon 31 Jul or Tues 1 August

to

Mon 11 Sept or Tues 12 Sept (7.30 to 9 pm AEDT)

Units 1, 2 and 3

Seminars and
Quads alternating ONLINE via Zoom

Weekly sessions 16 -18

 

 

Mon 2 Oct or Tues 3 Oct

to

 Mon 16 Oct  or Tues 17 ) Oct (7.30 to 9 pm AEDT)

Units 1, 2 and 3

Seminars and
Quads alternating ONLINE via Zoom

 

2 Day Intensive

Fri 27 Oct and Sat 28 Oct 

2 day in-person Intensive at WellSpring Centre

 

Costs:

Costs are as per University of Divinity schedule (post-graduate double unit).

Students who enrol through University of Divinity may be eligible for FEE-HELP to cover course fees.

If you already a student with the University of Divinity, contact the registrar at your own Home College to arrange enrolment.

Contact for New Students:

Dorothy Morgan
Registrar
Whitley College
Ph: (03) 9340 8000
Email: registrar@whitley.edu.au

Auditing:

There is also the option of auditing this unit, at a reduced cost.

Fees for auditing for 2023 are payable in full to Whitley College at the time of registering as an audit participant.

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

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

To register as an audit participant:

Please download/complete this form and return to Dorothy Morgan, Registrar at Whitley College.

ud-logo-300x121whitley-logo-300x130