Personal Spiritual Direction
Required of all ISF M.A. and Certificate students. Insofar as the student is to be trained to do mentoring or spiritual soul care for the Church, it is incumbent that each student has the opportunity to experience his/her own spiritual direction. Each student is required to enroll in Personal Spiritual Direction (0 units) for each semester they are enrolled in courses. The student is required during each semester to arrange monthly direction meeting with an approved mentor who is to be his/her spiritual guide for the duration of the student's program (approximately 10 sessions per calendar year). Change of a spiritual director is by permission of faculty only. The student is expected to be open and honest with the spiritual guide, hiding nothing regarding one's relationship with God and, within reason, attending to the direction of the mentor. The fee structure between spiritual director and directee is to be arranged between the parties and is not the responsibility of the Institute or University.
Each Masters level ISF student is required to experience a minimal number of hours in personal didactic psychotherapy concurrent with enrollment with a clinical therapist approved by the faculty (a minimum of 25 hours for MA in Soul Care, 12 hours for MA Emphasis, encouraged for Certificate students). This is intended to introduce the student to the work and world of Christian psychotherapy as well as enhance the student's understanding and experience of the psychological dynamics and defenses at work in himself and in those with whom he shall work. For MA in Soul Care, this is to be completed before enrolling in one's second and final practicum. For MA Emphasis, this is to be completed before the end of the final semester for grades to be submitted. The fee structure between therapist and client is to be arranged between the parties and is not the responsibility of the Institute or University. Further therapy may be recommended in SF 543 Personal Foundations of Spirituality.
For all ISF students, along with weekly chapel, faculty and students participate together in a yearly weekend retreat for the purpose of developing a more intimate and meaningful community in relation to God. Faculty, advanced students, and outside lecturers will lead the community in seminars and spiritual disciplines. Student costs for such retreats are the responsibility of each student.
All students in the ISF program are required to go on one weekend retreat each semester for the purpose of cultivating the inner life before God (a total of four weekend retreats). This is to be done in consultation with one's designated spiritual director and one's advisor before and after the experience. The retreat requirement must be completed by finals week of the student's last semester enrolled to receive final grades (including written work). Student costs for such retreats are the responsibility of each student. MA Soul Care students will provide written description of retreats to advisor. For MA Emphasis and Certificate students, the student will enroll in four units of SF 672 Personal Retreat in their last semester, with the entire work load consisting of approximately 180 hours which includes the four weekend retreats (counts for 120 hours) and 60 additional hours which may include design and 5 page write-ups of each retreat, class-time, coursework, and additional personal retreats.
Preliminary Oral Interview (POI)
M.A in Soul Care students (only) will have an oral interview with a faculty committee to (1) assess their progress and potential to successfully complete the program and (2) assess the appropriate manner suited to the student's needs and capacity in which to complete the Intensive Journey Inward Retreat requirement. This interview is typically scheduled near the end of the second semester and/or with the completion of at least 9 units. The results are reported to the Institute faculty which determines the appropriateness of allowing the student (1) to continue the program, (2) to continue the program with certain conditions and/or a POI the following year or (3) to not allow the student to continue in the program (or in some cases, permission to continue by switching to the non-training MA Emphasis program.)
Intensive Journey Inward Retreat
Required of MA Soul Care students only. Due to the nature of soul work involved in spiritual direction and in harmony with its tradition, each student is required to have a total of three weeks of extended retreat in isolation or partial isolation (which will be defined in each student's POI process) to explore and cultivate the inner life in the presence of God under the supervision of a spiritual guide (as designated or permitted by the faculty) and one's advisor. Special instructions will be given in order to facilitate making the proper arrangements. This experience will attempt to integrate insight from various psychological as well as contemplative traditions for the intended purpose of drawing near to God in the Holy Spirit. The student should enroll in four units of SF 670 Intensive Journey Inward concurrently or upon completion of retreat (Spring of second year or final semester of enrollment). The Intensive Retreat is to be completed before graduation. The costs for such a retreat are arranged between the student and other parties and are not the responsibility of the Institute or University.
Soul Care Pre-practicum I and II
Required of MA Soul Care students only. Due to the nature of the relationship between spiritual director and directee, each student is required to pass Pre-practicum I and II training in which the student demonstrates abilities in empathic listening, interpersonal skills, and basic spiritual guidance techniques and skills under supervision of advanced TA's and faculty. The focus of this sequence is learning to listen to the Holy Spirit while listening to the directee, with appropriate response to both. These courses also provide a beginning framework for understanding issues relevant to professional ethics in the life and the practice of the spiritual director and his or her relationship with the directee. Includes direct observation and taping of the student's clinical spiritual direction practicum in the university's Center for Spiritual Renewal to provide a closely supervised introduction to the spiritual direction process. Courses also sensitize and educate the prospective spiritual director to recognize the more severe psychological adjustment disorders which may require other health care professional referral.
Soul Care Practicum I and II
Required of MA Soul Care students only. Due to the practical nature of a program in spiritual direction, students practice and complete a specified number of hours of supervised, individual spiritual mentoring of others while enrolled in Soul Care Practicum I and II. Work will be done at a faculty approved site (Biola, church setting etc.) under the supervision of the faculty. This also includes a weekly student small group experience which focuses on theoretical training as well as individual supervision and training throughout the semester to foster personal growth and insight into the work of doing spiritual mentoring.
Spiritual Formation Master's Project-Thesis
Required of students with an emphasis in Spiritual Formation only. Students are required to complete a Master's Project-Thesis in the are of spiritual formation, spiritual direction or mentoring (concurrent with enrollment in SF 740 which includes 3 units for writing and one unit for personal growth exploration). The project must involve both a theoretical and practical/experiential dimension in consultation with thesis advisor.