The International Guild of Certified Spiritual Counselors and Coaches
An international Guild of certified spiritual counseling and coaching professionals and graduate students who have received advanced training in spiritual counseling and coaching skills and techniques in addition to their graduate-level programs. The Guild is further dedicated to advancing understanding of and knowledge in this burgeoning field.
What is the Guild?
The Guild is made up of professionals in the counseling and coaching fields who have received specialized training and skills in applying spirituality and spiritual methods in conjunction with their counseling or coaching practices. Combining the best of psychology, psychiatry, spirituality, and practicality, spiritual counselors provide an effective holistic healing modality that transforms people from the inside out and the outside in.
In addition to bringing in Buddhist, Judeo-Christian, Native American, Neopagan, Islamic, New Age and other spiritual themes, we use spiritual tools such as inner child regression, chakra and energy balancing, past life regression, shamanic journeys, Akashic Record and Tarot Readings, Reiki, guided meditation, hypnosis, and so on. See the Mission and About Us page for Our Mission Statement.
What is the Training Program?
Guild members are certified at four levels of expertise based on the four-tier training program: Initiate, Adept, Master, and Master Teacher. Additionally, members participate in ongoing community forums and regular mentoring sessions. Through their training, they will become knowledgeable and skilled in a variety of spiritual traditions and counseling methodologies that builds upon their graduate-level programs. Navigate to our Training Courses page for more detailed information.
Why is the Guild Needed?
Today, many who call themselves spiritual counselors are not well-trained or credentialed. Credentials are not everything, but they are not to be dismissed so easily either. We know some excellent spiritual counselors and they do not have a master's degree or a doctorate in a counseling field. Unfortunately, we know some who provide spiritual counseling who are in way over their heads. Of course, holding a master's or doctorate is no guarantee of competency either. However, for any of us in the counseling and coaching fields, our specialized training gives us a window into the complexities of the human psyche, dealing with traumatized people, working with people in complicated and dysfunctional family and partner relationships, helping them find their way in life, and of seeing people at their best and their worst. Counseling is not for the faint of heart or the unskilled. Hence, the guild is directed toward those counselors and coaches and graduate students with professional credentials who have the requisite educational training and experience. They already have a solid foundation to build upon, allowing for the addition of these new and reframed skill sets. (1)
Why Add Spirituality to Counseling?
The United States' spirituality heritage can be traced back to the 19th Century where there was a huge interest in metaphysical and spiritual matters, including the birth of Madame Helena Blavatsky's Theosphical Society in 1875. (2) Later, the Children of the Sixties reawakened our more universal spiritual leanings by pulling in rich Native American, Neopagan, and Eastern traditions (Yoga, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism), in addition to our Western heritage (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). In 1988, the Harmonic Convergence was a worldwide event intended to stir people's awakening and draw in balancing and harmonizing energies to the planet, essentially to raise the planetary love vibration. Concurrently, the 1980s and 1990s saw a huge increase in spiritual books and a multitude of spiritual practices, which influenced the various counseling professions. Many in psychiatry, psychology, social work, mental health, nursing, marriage and family therapy, and coaching began to introduce spiritual practices into their work. As we go around the world, we will discover a similar spiritual evolution in many countries.
There was a good reason for this. A number of us began to observe that the people we worked with eventually hit a wall in psychotherapy. It was still helpful, but they were not making a lot of progress. This was particularly true for those dealing with severe trauma or seriously dysfunctional family backgrounds. Many of us wondered if the tools that helped us on our own spiritual and healing journeys might also be useful to our clients. Thus, we began to introduce spiritual traditions and techniques such as meditation, the Native American Medicine Wheel, Yin and Yang, the Buddha Eightfold Path, chakra balancing, inner child regression, past life regression, yoga, and so on. The results were amazing. Our clients loved it and their therapy accelerated so much that their healing progressed two or three times faster than with more traditional therapies. We were sold and have not looked back since.
There is a yearning out there for something more, and it is not confined to the United States. Wade Clark Roof was a pioneering sociologist studying religion. He found that although many Americans are no longer very religious, they are still quite spiritual. James Beckford has likewise found this to be a worldwide phenomenon. (3)
Who is a Spirtual Counselor?
We are going to reframe the concept of counselor for you. When you add spirit, you are no longer just a counselor, you are also a healer. Taking a cue from our shamanic, Hindu, and Buddhist cousins, we are holistic in approach. We work with all five Lightbodies: physical, mental, emotional, etheric-karmic, and spiritual-soul. We work multi-dimensionally and have learned real healing cannot take place without addressing all these levels in some manner. Of course, Medicine Men and Women have known this for tens of thousands of years, so we are beginning to remember and regain this ancient knowledge.
Spiritual counseling works with all major therapy areas: individual, group, marriage, couples, and family counseling. A spiritual counselor or coach also has a lot of tools in his or her healing toolbox. Many are also hypnotherapists, Reiki Masters or Healing Touch Practitioners, and are certified in a variety of spiritual and healing practices like energy and chakra work, shamanic traditions, spiritual readings, past lives, sound healing, bodywork, mantras, ministry, and so on.
Spiritual counselors and coaches tend to align more with their respective religion's liberal and progressive end. They tend toward inclusivity rather than exclusivity. They welcome diversity. They lean towards pluralism--a respect for all faiths--and universalism, ackowledgiing that all spiritual traditions hold some fundamental, underlying truths in common. Ours is a service profession. We serve people from all religions and traditions, even agnostics and atheists. We are Lightworkers dedicated to bringing a bit more light to the planet and the people we work with. In actuality it is a calling, part of our Higher Purpose, so pay attention if you feel you have been called to this blessed work.
(1) Thomas Norris, A Fresh Cup of Counseling: A Handbook of Spiritual Counseling (2021), 4.
(2) Courtney Bender, "American Reincarnations: What the Many Lives of Past Lives Tell Us about Contemporary Spiritual Practice," Journal of the American Academy of Religion 75:3 (September 2007), 592-593, and Diana Eck, A New Religious America (2001), 181-182.
(3) Wade Clark Roof, Spiritual Marketplace (1999), 9, 81, and James Beckford, "New Religious Movements and Globalism"' New Religious Movements in the 21st Century (2004), 254-257.