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:

Man sitting on rock contemplating

Step I: Foundations


Upon successful completion of Phase 1: Preparation and Reading Class, students will be prepared to enter the Training of Ministers: Basics.

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. 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.

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

During the Preparation & Reading class students should be meeting regularly with a minister, guide, therapist or coach.

All candidates for the Training of Ministers: Basics must successfully complete all prerequisites, a written application, an interview, and the in-person retreat weekend 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.

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 to become 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 to become an Assistant Minister.

Your formation as a medicine carrier and sacramental officiant does not end upon completion of the training and exchanges. All students are expected to engage in three developmental areas upon completion of the basic training:

  • Continuing Education
  • Mentoring & Supervision
  • Practice Development

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. Students will also be required to finish 80 hours of Body/Energywork during their first year of Phase 3.

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 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.

Training Schedule

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,
    9:30am-5:30pm MST

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. We will also require 80 hours of Body/Energywork during the first year of Phase 3. 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 II Training of Ministers, which will be located in the San Francisco, Bay Area.

  • Phase 1: Preparation and Reading Class
  • Phase 2: Training of Ministers
  • Phase 3: Integration & Practice Development