Entering into and returning from an expanded state of consciousness is one of the core sacraments offered by the Congregation for Sacred Practices. Preparing members before the sacrament, conducting the sacrament, and supporting the integration of the experience of the sacrament into ordinary conscious life requires extensive training. To learn to hold the sacrament for others is a journey all its own.
The Training of Ministers is an experiential training program offered through the Congregation for Sacred Practices that trains licensed psychologists, chaplains, clergy, and those with sufficient clinical training to support members of the Congregation in expanded states of consciousness in a sacramental container. Graduates of this training are eligible for ordination as ministers in the Congregation. Graduates who do not choose ordination are prepared to add medicine work to their existing practices.
This training is distinct in the field in that it follows six key principles:
Ethical, caring relationships as the core resource for healing and growth
The requirement for extensive personal experience in assisting others in expanded states.
A non-pathologizing, developmental approach to spiritual and psychological growth
The focus on preparation and integration for the sacramental experience of the expanded state
The intersection of ancient and indigenous wisdom, modern psychology, and emergent spirituality
Unshakeable faith in both the impulse for growth as well as the human ability to heal
The Training Consists of Three Phases:
Step I: Foundations
Upon successful completion of Phase 1: Preparation & Reading Class, students will be prepared to enter the Training of Ministers: Basics. The Preparation & Reading Class is approximately seven months long.
The Preparation & Reading Class is open to anyone with an interest in learning more about medicine work and has an interest in enrolling in the Training for Ministers. Students may elect to only participate in this phase.
During the Preparation & Reading Class, students will explore readings, complete any remaining pre-requisites for the Training for Ministers (see below), complete an application, and complete an interview with the training staff. Paul and the staff will work with you individually to make sure you are moving through all of the pre-requisites in a timely manner.
At the end of the Preparation & Reading Class the Congregation offers an in-person retreat weekend in the SF Bay Area.
Being a medicine carrier is by its nature a cross disciplinary expression of both art and science. The preparation:
readings on medicines
readings on ethics
readings on working in a healing relationship
readings on spiritual growth and development
The Preparation & Reading Class will meet six times from June 2022 through November 2022. We will meet every month to work through and discuss the preparatory reading and explore questions related to the reading and other medicine topics. All monthly calls will be on Zoom and be recorded. On December 2-4 of 2022, we will meet in-person for a retreat weekend and group ceremony.
During the Preparation & Reading class students should be meeting regularly with a minister, guide, therapist or coach.
Students may enroll in the Preparation & Reading Class phase at any time. All candidates for the Training of Ministers: Basics must successfully complete all prerequisites, a written application, an interview, and the in-person retreat weekend in December to be eligible to enroll in Phase 2. For well-prepared candidates with extensive medicine and clinical experience, it may be possible to enroll in the Training for Ministers without attending the Reading Class.
Step II: Training of Ministers: Basics
Upon successful completion of Phase 2: Training of Ministers: Basics, students will be prepared to guide Congregational members and clients into expanded states of consciousness with skill, safety, and impact. Students will also be eligible for employment with the Congregation as Assistant Ministers. The Training for Ministers is 10 months long. Upon completion, employment by the Congregation is not required.
From March through December 2023, students will gather in-person for five residential training weekends and periodic Zoom calls. Some Zoom calls will be offered by the training faculty to provide new material. Some Zoom calls will be offered by assistants to work through any questions about the training and work through learnings that arise from student exchanges. Approximately, every two weeks, students will be attending either a class or an assistant call.
During the training, students will continue reading, explore important topics with faculty, do extensive practice sessions with each other (including sacramental exchanges), meet regularly with faculty and assistants, and grow in their knowledge and confidence as medicine carriers. In addition to their regular meetings with a minister, guide, therapist or coach, students will also begin monthly meetings with a mentor.
Step III: Integration & Practice Support
Upon successful completion of Phase 3: Integration and Practice Development, students will be eligible for employment with the Congregation as Associate Ministers. The Integration & Practice development period is two to four years long.
Phase 3: Integration & Practice Support. Upon the successful completion of Phase 2, graduates will be ready to work with people in expanded states, and, if desired, graduates are eligible for employment with the Congregation as an Assistant Minister.
Your formation as a medicine carrier and sacramental officiant does not end upon completion of the training and exchanges. All students, even if they choose not to join the Congregational staff, are expected to engage in three developmental areas upon completion of the basic training:
Mentoring & Supervision
Continuing Education. A medicine carrier is never finished learning. There are always more frameworks and modalities to support expanded states of consciousness. Students are expected to earn 36 CEUs (or equivalent) in each of the four years after their graduation from Phase 2. This coursework can be completed within and outside Congregational offerings.
Mentoring & Supervision. Students are expected to meet with a mentor at least monthly during Phase 2 and for a minimum of two years after. Students are also expected to attend a group case review session at least once a month for at least two years after completing Phase 2. With the support of mentors and group facilitators, students will be ready and encouraged to guide clients after December 2023 and once their trades have been completed.
Practice Development. All graduates of the training will work with their mentors or the training staff to set up their practices. This training will be facilitated through the Congregation for Sacred Practices, a 501(c)3 religious organization. During the training, students join a growing community of medicine carriers and are able to participate in Congregational functions.
Phase I: Preparation and Reading Class
Wednesday, October 4th, 6-9pm MST
Wednesday, November 8th, 6-9pm MST
Wednesday, December 6th, 6-9pm MST
Intensive Two-Day Introduction Weekend: The weekend of January 6th.*
Phase II: Training of Ministers: Basic
Residential Weekend 1 February 23-25, 2024, 9:30am-5:30pm MST
Residential Weekend 2 March 22-24, 2024, 9:30am-5:30pm MST
Zoom Call Tuesday, April 9th, 6-9pm MST
Zoom Call Tuesday, Tuesday, May 7th, 6-9pm MST
Residential Weekend June 28-30, 2024, 9:30am-5:30pm MST
Residential Weekend July 26-28, 2024, 9:30am-5:30pm MST
Zoom Call Tuesday, Tuesday, September 10th, 6-9pm MST
Zoom Call Tuesday, Tuesday, October 8th, 6-9pm MST
Residential Graduation Weekend November 15–17, 2024,
Phase III: Integration and Practice Support
Ongoing: Upon graduation students will enroll in the formation support program with monthly mentoring and group case review sessions.
Successful applicants will meet or be in the process of meeting the following four “Minister Training Requirements”:
Clinical training. A Master’s level, PsyD, or PhD clinical psychology degree, be currently enrolled or have completed a minimum of a 300-hour training program in psychotherapy, or be a licensed psychologist. Other clinical disciplines (coaching, body based therapies, intuitive medicine, etc.) may meet this requirement. During the Preparation & Reading Class, candidates for the Training of Ministers may consult with Paul and the training faculty to create a plan to satisfy this pre-requisite.
Psychotherapy. A minimum of one year of regular psychotherapy in the last three years. A portion of this requirement can be completed during the Preparation and Reading Class.
Medicine Experience. A minimum of 6 months working with a minister or guide and a number of guided experiences. At least two group experiences with expanded states, one of which may be the group experience at the end of the Preparation & Reading Class.
Readiness. Successful applicants will be sufficiently developed in their personal process to participate in the training and to support people in expanded states. This requirement protects the training container, the other students in formation, the ministers of the Congregation, and the future sacramental participants. It will be assessed as part of Phase 1 and the formal application process.
Requested Donations and How To Apply
There are three phases to our Minister training program which are listed below. This admissions form is to apply for the Phase I Reading and Preparation Class, which does not guarantee you entry into Phase 2.
Phase 1: Preparation and Reading Class
Phase 2: Training of Ministers
Phase 3: Integration & Practice Development
The first book we will be covering is Ralph Metzner’s Allies for Awakening if you’d like to get started reading. After you have sent in your application, keep a lookout in your email for further instructions.