Our program is pleased to offer two certificates, either of which may be applied toward our MA or PhD.

Certificate in East-West Spiritual Counseling

The Spiritual Counseling Certificate is designed to provide a foundation for students working as therapists, counselors, coaches, and caregivers to navigate spiritual and existential questions related to meaning and purpose, the nature of reality, and the sacred dimension of life fo rthose they serve. 

The certificate is not a licensure program and does not prepare students to offer licensed psychotherapeutic or clinical counseling services. 

Program Outcomes

After completing this program, participants will have:

  • An understanding of the relationship between one's spiritual container and psychological health.
  • A realization of the importance of bringing to consciousness the underlying spiritual assumptions that hold us.
  • Specific tools for facilitating the examination of spiritual assumptions.
  • A working knowledge of the world's spiritual teachings that can be transformative to people seeking spiritual counseling, regardless of spiritual orientation.
  • Development of the fundamental basis of their spiritual counseling practice.

Curriculum Overview

The 18 unit spiritual counseling certificate provides a foundation to navigate spiritual and existential questions related to meaning and purpose, the nature of reality, and the sacred dimensions of life. The certificate program prepares non-clinical students to serve in these spiritual counseling functions and enables students with clinical backgrounds to broaden their scope and attune to spiritual and religious domains in their work.

Core Courses (6 units)

EWP 7794 East-West Spiritual Counseling Skills 1: The Art of Listening (3 units)

EWP 7795 East-West Spiritual Counseling Skills 2: The Counseling Relationship (3 units)

Applied Skills Electives (6 units)

Drawn from program electives*

Applied Wisdom Electives (6 units)

Drawn from program electives*

*The list of suggested spiritual counseling electives will be given each semester. Students can select electives they feel would be most beneficial to their practice with the approval of the certificate director.

Course Description

EWP 7794 Spiritual Counseling Skills 1: The Art of Listening. This course explores - through experience and reflection - the meaning, purpose, and practice of the transformative art of spiritual counseling. This inquiry unfolds within a creative dialogue between global wisdom traditions, depth psychology, and current trends in mindfulness-based and transpersonal therapeutic approaches, providing a foundation for a spiritual counseling paradigm and practice. Throughout the semester, students embark upon a threefold path that includes a) developing mindfulness-based listening skills and deep presence for working with clients seeking spiritual counseling b) a personal inquiry into their own psycho-spiritual development and paradigms and c) an exploration of various existential topics that are deemed significant for the spiritual counseling context.

EWP 7795 Spiritual Counseling Skills 2: The Counseling Relationship (prerequisite: SCS 1). This course explores the intricacies of the spiritual counseling relationship and container. It develops an understanding of the participatory, co-creative nature of the alchemical encounter of spiritual counseling, explores transference and countertransference concepts, and provides an understanding of practical aspects like assessment and referral, ethical considerations and boundaries, planning of individual sessions and overall care, as well as an understanding of self-care and resiliency. This course draws from established knowledge within western psychology as well from global wisdom traditions, honoring extended epistemologies and diverse ontologies in creating healing contexts. 

For additional course descriptions, please see our MA program.


Enrolled EWP students can apply for the Spiritual Counseling Certificate; acceptance will be granted on an individual basis. The certificate can be completed alongside and applied to EWP’s M.A. and Ph.D. programs.

Certificate in Eco-Resilience Leadership

This certificate offers MA and PhD students the knowledge and mentoring to address global ecological crises like climate change psychologically. Students learn practices and models for helping people move from passivity, trauma, and other counter-productive states into responses that blend deep reflection with thoughtful action on behalf of earth-honoring forms of eco-resilient community. Ways of relating to self, community, nature, and place depend ultimately on recovering a deep sense of re-enchantment, and of inhabiting an animate, wondrous world.

Program Outcomes

After completing the certificate, students will be able to:

  • Facilitate discussion circles for people concerned about climate change.
  • Offer tools for educating others about the psychodynamics of global ecological change.
  • Mentor others in their quest to feel more deeply at home in their lives and work.
  • Gather and utilize knowledge geared toward fusing deep reflection with effective action.

Curriculum Overview

Students are required to complete 12 units, consisting of 6 units of core courses and 6 units of directed electives. Students can spread the coursework over four or more semesters as they weave the certificate requirements in with those of the MA or PhD degrees. When students enroll in the certificate program, Eco-Resilience Leadership becomes their area of specialization.

Students will all take these required courses:

  • Eco-therapy
  • Leadership, Evolution, and Transformative Change

Students will then choose, in consultation with their advisor, several directed electives.

Course Descriptions

Eco-Therapy (3 units)
Psychology, in its mainstream applications, has been from the beginning a psychology of departure—a psychology of alienation from the elements, from the natural world, and ultimately from ourself and each other. This course poses the question: What would psychologies of homecoming look like? One of these, eco-therapy, is an applied form of eco-psychology: a blending of psychological insights with ecological practices, which includes many methods and teachings for reconnection to the natural world. Using seminar-style lecture, film, and various exercises to get students outside, this course explores eco-therapy as a mode of deep eco-psychological homecoming.

Leadership, Evolution, and Transformative Change (3 units)
This course is an experiential exploration of leadership action that arises from deep spiritual wisdom and that fosters personal, professional, and planetary transformation. Students will study the following topics and apply them to a specific idea or project of their choice: (a) East-West psychology, evolutionary wisdom, and the "Bodhisattva Vow" as a foundation for leadership that empowers self and others toward greater service, alleviation of suffering, and a more profound expression of self in one's workplace, community and the world. (b) Leadership competency that is sourced from compassion, integrity, and clarity of purpose, and that solves problems and shifts systems, and can design projects for personal, professional, and social well-being. (c) Tools for envisioning the future, and for creating new patterns, stories, and paradigms for the present, and for manifesting desired results. (d) Leadership practices for enhancing courage, empowering and motivating others, creating conversations that generate possibility, transform breakdowns into breakthroughs, walk the talk, and embody the highest ideals in practical ways with visible results in the world.

For additional course descriptions, please see our MA program.


This certificate is available only for matriculated East-West Psychology students and to other CIIS students whose degree programs allow for at least 12 units of electives in another program.

Questions about admissions or our program?

Admissions Counselor:
Richard Wormstall
(415) 575-6156| rwormstall@ciis.edu

Program Manager:
Stephen Julich, PhD
(415) 575-6189| ewp@ciis.edu

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