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Spirituality moves into the mainstream

The first nationally accredited course extolling the health benefits of spirituality will launch at Alternatives (London) and Findhorn College (Scotland) in the autumn

‘Spirituality’ and ‘spiritual but not religious’ have become widely used terms to describe a widespread, global cultural shift, yet they are sometimes described as ‘whacky’ and ‘unsubstantiated’, with claims that they have no tradition or depth.

However, a ground-breaking new Diploma in Practical Spirituality & Wellness – the first fully-accredited qualification on the Ofqual Register teaching the health benefits of spirituality – shows that this movement has now come of age.

Rigorously developed, the new Diploma course is the first qualification of its kind to be on the register of the government exam watchdog. It will launch at Alternatives in London on 16th September, and at Findhorn College in Scotland on 14th October, 2017. A level 3 Diploma qualification for the Health and Social Care sector, the course is accredited by the Crossfields Institute (Qual No: 601/8673/2).

With a mounting pool of scientific evidence validating the considerable health benefits of spirituality – along with increasing mainstream interest in traditional and proven spiritual practices like yoga, meditation and its modern derivative, mindfulness – this marginalised “new age” approach has now achieved the professional credibility it deserves.

This leading-edge Diploma course has been developed and is led by Dr William Bloom, the UK’s foremost holistic educator and founder of the Spiritual Companions Trust, the educational charity delivering this and other innovative programmes at the interface of health, wellbeing and spirituality.

Dr William Bloom, author of The Power of Modern Spirituality, says: “In the last decade an immense amount of rigorous and scholarly research has been published, most significantly led by Duke University in the USA, providing evidence that spirituality brings considerable mental and physical health benefits. It can help alleviate a wide range of issues, from heart disease, cancer and immune dysfunction to dementia, depression and psychosis.  In essence, spirituality helps to relieve existential angst and relax tissue tension. It helps people feel more at ease. It brings meaning. It tends to provide a community of support and to inspire healthier lifestyle and dietary changes, while spiritual practices themselves – such as yoga, meditation and fasting – also improve our physical and psychological health.

“At the Spiritual Companion’s Trust we suggest that spirituality is everyone’s natural instinct to connect with the wonder and energy of life and to explore its meaning,” Dr Bloom continues. “Today there are innumerable ways to make this connection to god, spirit, our joie de vivre – or whatever we want to call it – from yoga, meditation, prayer and caring for others, to dancing, walking, singing and sport. Our approach helps people explore and discover their own best circumstances and practices for connecting with life’s magic. We then help people find ways to deepen that connection, supporting their growth and capacity to care for others, as well as the wider community of life. They also learn how to help others develop their own spirituality.”

Bringing a holistic approach which welcomes diversity, Dr Bloom says the course will train spiritually competent people for pastoral and chaplaincy roles, but without being anchored in a single faith tradition.

Dr Bloom co-founded Alternatives, the UK’s landmark speaking platform for international spiritual teachers, over 30 years ago, and has been on the faculty of the Findhorn Foundation, Europe’s leading eco-spirituality centre, since 1987. His many bestselling books include The Endorphin Effect and Feeling Safe.

The Diploma in Practical Spirituality & Wellness consists of four units:

  1. The Science and Context of Spirituality and Healthcare
  2. A Person-centred approach to Spiritual Practice
  3. Reflective Practice to Support Mindfulness, Compassion and Self-Care
  4. Giving Spiritual Care in Daily Life

Benefits of the course include:

  • Explore and deepen your own spirituality
  • Improve your physical and mental health
  • A more meaningful lifestyle of mindfulness, compassion and service
  • Professional qualification to give person-centred and spiritual support / pastoral care
  • Spirituality integrated into your mainstream CV
  • Joining a network of carers delivering spiritual support in a person-centred and holistic way, with peer support, insurance scheme and ongoing CPD
  • Trained to support friends, family and colleagues through improved relationships, communications and caring skills

Timings and Structure

The course consists of 90 hours in-person classroom contact organised in three-hour sessions, which may be arranged over weekends or shorter/longer periods, depending on the host centre. Students are also organised into small peer groups meeting several times during the course either in person or by conference call/Skype. Students are also required to support their learning between modules with time spent reading, doing spiritual practice, companioning others and reflective writing assignments.  Dr Bloom will teach the courses at both Alternatives and Findhorn, supported by a team of skilled spiritual practitioners for one-to one and group work.

Dr William Bloom says: “Our Diploma in Practical Spirituality & Wellness will support your health and wellbeing in many ways. Feeling down, it will help lift you. Feeling good, it will help you feel even better. You will also learn the exact science of how these health benefits are achieved and how to support others in improving their lives too. Admissions for the course open on Monday 5th June. Places will be limited to 35 people per course and are expected to fill quickly – so register now to become a pioneer and propagator for this exciting new approach to healthy, enlivened and compassionate living.”

 

NB: iNews (Independent) ran a very interesting article about the new Diploma course last weekend featuring an interview with Dr William Bloom, see here 

For more information and to register for the Diploma for Practical Spirituality & Wellness visit: http://www.spiritualcompanions.org/courses

 

 

 

 

 

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