Spiritual Direction Supervision Certification

Spiritual Direction Supervision Certification


The Spiritual Direction Supervision (SDS) certification program is designed to equip seasoned spiritual directors to serve as professional spiritual direction supervisors. The program offers training from experienced Christ-centered spiritual direction supervisors.

The Curriculum

Our spiritual formation curriculum is biblically grounded and Christ-centered and our understanding of spiritual formation involves the intersection of Scripture, theology, psychology, and social-cultural factors. The focus of our curriculum is to build on a student’s awareness, empathy, and compassion skills that are essential for effective spiritual direction supervision.

Program Outcomes

The SDS certification program will:

  • Enable students to deepen ethical skills and professional practices in spiritual direction supervision
  • Enhance student capacity for noticing and attending to self while maintaining effective spiritual direction supervision relationships
  • Expand knowledge of effective spiritual direction practices for a variety of contexts
  • Train spiritual directors in professional skills for developing a supervision practice


Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Reflect on the effectiveness of their conversations in guiding their clients into integrating challenges in life and experiences of God
  • Demonstrate an understanding of attuning to and assessing developmental (spiritual, moral, emotional etc.) phases and processes in clients
  • Implement (& evaluate effectiveness of) new skills for establishing & maintaining spiritual direction relationships in various contexts
  • Articulate vision, mission, and ethical standards for their spiritual direction and supervision practice
  • Identify and evaluate their own formational journey as a spiritual direction supervisor, and of conforming to the image of Christ for the sake of others

Admission Requirements

A well developed understanding of spiritual formation and a biblical and theological foundation are required prior to completing the certification. Applicants seeking admission to the SDS certification program must:

  • hold a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 2.5
  • hold a master's degree from an ATS-accredited seminary with a minimum GPA of 2.5
  • have successfully completed spiritual direction training and have fulfilled at least 90 hours of spiritual direction with a minimum of nine clients over three years

Completed graduate degrees must meet equivalency for the Portland Seminary Master of Arts in Spiritual Direction degree, or leveling courses will be required. If training was completed at another institution, we will do a leveling evaluation on a case-by-case basis in light of the standards for this certificate program.

Applicants must complete the following to be considered for admission to the program:
  • Portland Seminary application form and application fee
  • Submit one official transcript from each college/university attended
  • Personal mission statement and statement of faith
  • Letter of recommendation from spiritual-direction instructor and/or trainer (SFAD 571/572 at Portland Seminary) or interview with a current instructor

Applicants who do not hold a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university may apply to the university, but will be required to submit additional documentation to be considered for admission.

Transfer Credit

No transfer credit is awarded for this certification.

Credits in Residence and Program Delivery Formats

Residence, as described in this section of the catalog, does not refer to the time a student spends on campus. It refers to the portion of a degree program that students are required to earn with Portland Seminary, as compared to transfer credits and credit applied as advanced standing. With regard to the SDS certification program, students are required to complete all of the program requirements (4 semester hours) directly with Portland Seminary. A leave of absence is valid for up to one year, after which the student must reapply to the program. Reinstatement to the program after withdrawal requires Admissions Committee action and may subject the student to additional requirements for the certification.

Course Requirements

The certification program includes:

  • Successfully completing SFAD 578 Spiritual Direction Supervision Certification I & SFAD 579 Spiritual Direction Supervision Certification II
  • Completing 30 hours of spiritual direction supervision with at least three spiritual directors, while continuing to meet monthly with at least three spiritual direction clients over one year
  • Receiving 10 hours of supervision
  • Providing a written recommendation from student’s supervision instructor after all supervision and direction hours are complete
  • Passing a final interview with a Portland Seminary spiritual-formation professor
Note: There is a course fee for SFAD 578 and 579 to cover the cost of contracting with program-selected spiritual directors and supervisors.

Graduation/Certification Requirements

In order to receive the SDS certification, students must:

  • Satisfactorily complete a minimum of 4 semester hours with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Be recommended by the seminary faculty for certification from Portland Seminary of George Fox University

Spiritual Direction Supervision Certification

Curriculum Plan

Spiritual Formation and Discipleship Courses (4 hours)

SFAD 578 Spiritual Direction Supervision Certification I     2
SFAD 579 Spiritual Direction Supervision Certification II 2