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

This two-semester program that provides licensed mental health professionals and pastoral counselors with the foundational background and skills for working in an increasingly diverse world. The course of study enables therapists to broaden the scope of their practice to include the central role of spiritual and religious experiences and beliefs, and teaches meditative techniques and perspectives from world spiritual traditions that have been traditionally used to bring about a deep sense of well-being.

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

Students are required to complete 18 units, consisting of 3 units of core courses and 15 units of directed electives.

Students will all take this required course:

  • Spiritual Counseling Skills

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

Students who are enrolled in our MA and PhD programs may take these courses over four semesters instead of two semesters. For MA and PhD students who complete the certificate, East-West spiritual counseling becomes their area of specialization.

Course Description

Spiritual Counseling Skills (3 units)
This course explores-through experience and reflection-the meaning, purpose, and practice of the transformative art of spiritual counseling. This inquiry unfolds on the ground of global wisdom traditions and Western psychology. The class provides students with an opportunity to develop knowledge and skills towards their own East-West spiritual counseling practice by embarking on a threefold path: (a) inquiring into the student's own psycho-spiritual development, practice, and paradigms; (b) developing awareness- and mindfulness-based skills for working with conscious and unconscious layers of the psyche; and (c) exploring various existential topics related the spiritual counseling context.

For additional course descriptions, please see our MA program.


Licensure as a mental health professional, or training and experience in pastoral counseling, is a prerequisite for admission. Admission to the certificate program begins in the fall semester only, and is for currently enrolled students.

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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