Trauma and Wellness for Spiritual Directors and Companions Self-Paced Online Course

Student Plan$249.00 $149.00
Standard Plan$249.00 $149.00
Enhanced Plan$249.00 $134.00
Premium Plan$249.00 $119.00

A 12 session online course on how to become a more informed, more integrative spiritual care provider, holding listening space for the whole person.

Want to learn more? Click the graphic on the left to access a free one-hour webinar!

As spiritual directors and companions, how can we manage the trauma that we all carry?

In our work as spiritual care providers, we invite our companions to share their most intimate and vulnerable parts of their journeys with us. And, we listen compassionately as their spiritual journey unfurls. 

As spiritual companions, we are well equipped to tackle issues of spiritual joy, suffering, grief, and ultimate meaning. All of us are rooted in spiritual tradition or orientation that give us the language we need to help others discern their unity with God, The Universe, Allah, Brahman, or however we name The Ground of All Being.

But what happens when our journeys include physical, psychological, or emotional stress? Or trauma?

The spiritual journeys of our companions increasingly require us to address these issues, for which we may feel ill-equipped. And as spiritual directors and companions, we have a duty to refer to other professional services, such as psychological counseling, psychotherapy or somatic (body) help, when needed. But does this mean all issues related to mental or physical health fall outside our purview? There are among the many new challenges that spiritual directors are facing these days. 

Properly trained spiritual directors and companions should be able to work with at least some of these issues under the umbrella of spiritual care. It is a matter of having tools and knowing when to employ them. It is most of all a matter of discernment. When exactly is it appropriate to defer to a professional’s expertise, and is it possible to still explore and perhaps bring healing to physical, psychological, and physiological issues through the integrative lens of one’s spirituality? This is not a science – each person we meet with has unique experiences and circumstances.

This SDI Course will present a broad range of spiritual directors and companions who also work across the fields of counseling, psychotherapy, trauma care, and somatics. From these diverse approaches, we will learn how to identify mental or physical health issues, and learn what to do when a client brings them to spiritual direction.

After these twelve sessions, you will come away a more informed, better integrative, and more confident spiritual care provider who can hold listening space for the whole person.

Spiritual care for the Whole Person

What to Expect

Learn from a diverse faculty across multiple modalities of spiritual direction and companionship


Shannon Michael Pater

Shannon Michael Pater, M.A.R., M.Div., Psy.D., E-RYT 500, is a trauma-informed spiritual director and restorative yoga teacher in private practice for more than 15 years. In 2020 he suddenly became an international COVID refugee while traveling in India on a long pilgrimage. For 21 months he took refuge in McLeod Ganj, a small village in the Himalayas, the home-in-exile of H.H. the Dalai Lama. While there, he was rescued from near-total isolation by the companionship of street dogs.

Informed by ancient Wisdom Traditions and modern neuroscience, he offers individual and group spiritual direction, supervision and consultation, and an Apprenticeship in a Trauma-Informed Scope of Practice. His soul is deeply nourished by the poetry of Mary Oliver and he practices Miksang, a Tibetan form of contemplative photography. For more about him and his practice:

Sunyata Kopriva

Sunyata Kopriva Sunyata Kopriva (they/them) MSW, RYT, LCSW was a New Contemplative with Spiritual Directors International from 2019-2021. They are a psychotherapist, artist, and researcher specializing in culturally congruent care for complex trauma, and in 2019 they established their own private therapy practice, Healers Hive. They guide people in integrating multifaceted experiences, internal and external, over time, so that they can reach new levels of beingness in this fast-paced and challenging time in the world. As a dedicated student and teacher of Vajrayana Buddhism and yoga for over two decades, they blend wisdom from many traditional and modern sources to support people at different points in their integration process. This work is deeply meaningful and personal, and Sunyata has learned to hold peoples’ unique and universal stories with dignity. Currently residing in California on unceded Ohlone land, Sunyata enjoys dancing with the redwoods and laughing with the Pacific.

Allie Kochert

Allie Kochert, MA, LPC, CSD holds space for others to grow into their resiliency, authenticity, and soul’s purpose. As a certified spiritual director, licensed psychotherapist, and resiliency coach, she holds multiple certifications and two decades’ experience supporting folks on the healing journey. She is passionate about trauma-informed care to reclaim resiliency in mind, body, and spirit. She serves seekers at her spiritual direction practice, Root Grow Thrive, where she offers mind-body-soul care and dreamwork for women in ministry and caregiving professions. She is also a psychotherapist in private practice at Rooted Growth Counseling, offering psychotherapy and integrative mental resiliency support for helpers and healers in PA and beyond. In her off time you’ll find her fostering her own resiliency to prevent burnout—by hiking in the Central PA mountains, cooking innovative desserts with her 13 year old daughter, or kicking the soccer ball with her two boys, 10 and 8. You can find her at and

Hailey Mitsui

Hailey Mitsui is a spiritual director, trained at Hesychia School, who is supporting herself offering spiritual companionship and embodiment coaching. She works with individuals, groups and communities at the intersection of spirituality, identity, justice and healing. She participated in CAC’s Living School, serves as a board member of Mystic Soul, completed a Foundations of Energetic Ecology Reiki Apprenticeship, done Somatic Abolitionist Training with Resmaa Menakem, and apprenticed with Rev. angel Kyodo williams. One of her distinctive approaches is to focus on women, non-binary and trans people as her directees. She says: “As a mixed race, Japanese American, I grew up with my feet in two words but never felt at home anywhere. As the grandchild of survivors of the Japanese American concentration camps, I am acutely aware of social and economic injustice and how life-threatening it can be to live in America with the ‘wrong’ color of skin or the ‘wrong’ shape of eyes.” This deep compassion has led her to be very clear – and very honest – in her invitation to new directees.  Learn more:

Angie Fadel

Angie Fadel has a Master of Spiritual Formation from Portland Seminary University and also received certification from George Fox University. Angie’s specialties include Enneagram, Transformational Life workshops, Jungian Intensive Journaling, and Body, Mind, and Spirit connection. Angie writes curriculum and leads classes around rage, anger and loss (giving permission to feel all our feelings, not just the convenient ones), teaches archery workshops, and hosts a podcast called Soul Care.

Lucy Abbott Tucker

Lucy Abbott Tucker will guide the first session of this Course, grounding us in the importance of trauma-informed spiritual care. She is one of the founders of Spiritual Directors International and she led the task force to write and establish SDI’s official Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for all spiritual directors, regardless of culture or tradition. She has worked in adult formation and the preparation of people for the ministry of spiritual direction for 35 years. Lucy has led in retreats and workshops throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, and Canada. 

Harry Pickens

We are pleased to introduce Harry Pickens as a faculty presenter for this course! Harry is an award-winning musician, educator, and life transformation coach. He  holds practitioner and trainer certifications in EFT and Spiritual Technology and a Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology from the Flourishing Center. He is the developer of the From StageFright To Standing Ovation™, From Burnout To Bliss™ and Rewire Your Brain For Inner Peace™ Workshops, and creator of Emotional Empowerment For Personal Mastery™, a step-by-step protocol that is designed to help his clients quickly and easily release the pain of the past, fully embrace the miracle of the present moment, and consciously create their best possible future.

Want to learn more? Click the graphic on the left to access a free one-hour webinar!


Twelve live weekly 90-120 minute courses, Wednesdays beginning January 11, 2023 and concluding on April 5, 2023. Sessions will occur over Zoom each Wednesday from 9am Pacific to 11:00am PDT. To find your start time based on time zone, click here.

Students can participate live or watch at their convenience later.

Course Outline

Jan 11: Lucy Abbott Tucker – Being with People who Have Experienced Trauma 
Jan 18: Shannon Michael Pater: Polyvagal Theory 
Jan 25: Shannon Michael Pater: Attachment Theory
Feb 1: Shannon Michael Pater: Internal Family Systems
Feb 8: Sunyata Kopriva: Dynamically Congruent Spiritual Integration Through the Lens of Trauma Psychology and Vajrayana Buddhism Part 1
Feb 15: Sunyata Kopriva: Dynamically Congruent Spiritual Integration Through the Lens of Trauma Psychology and Vajrayana Buddhism Part 2
Feb 22: Hailey Mitsui – Body-Led Spiritual Direction
Mar 1: Hailey Mitsui – Building a Library of Grounding Practices
Mar 8: Allie Kochert – Trauma Competencies for Spiritual Care Providers
Mar 15: Allie Kochert – Humility and Power Differentials in Spiritual Companionship Relationships
Mar 22: Angie Fadel – Working with Trauma, in Courage and Confidence, as a Spiritual Director
March 29: Harry Pickens – Co-regulation Without Collapse: How to maintain a centered, grounded, compassionate, clear presence in the face of emotional reactivity and traumatic activation.
April 5: Panel Discussion with Faculty

Ground your practice in spiritual trauma-informed care, to be of service for our times.

There Are So Many Online Courses. Why This One?


SDI is the largest and oldest network of spiritual companions in the world. For 30 years we have been creating and curating educational offerings for spiritual companions across religious traditions, and we have our finger on the pulse of the spiritual companionship movement in the US and beyond.


Our instructors are the best in the field. You will be in an intimate learning environment with some of the most renowned and sought-after spiritual teachers in the field of spiritual companionship.


We are committed to making our courses widely available and accessible. We are keeping the course tuition low and have a generous number of scholarships to give out. We strongly encourage any for whom the cost is a challenge to apply for a scholarship.


Watch the lessons when you can, complete the course at your own pace. You will have access to the course content for an entire year after purchase.


A moderated community forum offers space online to engage with your fellow students, the course instructors, and SDI staff to synthesize the lessons and apply them to your own spiritual companionship practice. Bring your questions, your stories and experiences! The instructors will share theirs as well.


This introductory level course is open to all! There are no prerequisites and no required readings. Each session will include a basic primer in the fundamentals of that week’s tradition or orientation. It will be easy to experiment, ask questions, and try out some of the techniques taught in the course.


24 CEU credits available.



This course is intended to give spiritual directors tools for working with trauma and potential mental health issues within the context of their profession as spiritual care providers. It is for educational and informational purposes only and is not a replacement for proper certified training in these fields. Nothing offered in this course is to be considered medical or mental health advice for yourself or others. The Faculty and SDI assume no liability or responsibility for any actions or behaviors you or your clients undertake. Please consult your licensed medical and/or mental health professionals before making any changes in your mental or physical health routines. You are responsible for your own health and wellbeing and for staying within the scope of your professional practice.

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