The Four Elements

After completing the 2-year Wayfaring Companions training, one may consider honing their skills to become certified as a Wayfaring Companion. The certification learning and experience hours are gained through five modules:

Module 1: PRESENCE – the evocative practice of spiritual companioning, holding a posture of curiosity

Module 2 : MYSTERY – Using metaphor and imagination

Module 3: VITALITY – Somatic body work, triggers, grief and loss

Module 4: MOXIE – Discernment

Module 5: CUSTOM – specific to a student’s desired area of interest (examples: using art, Enneagram, listening with those at end-of-life, listening with clergy, etc) – Concludes with a presentation at the upcoming Companionfest

Program hours (during a 9-month period): 
15 hours of teaching and introspective reflection
30 hours of focused skills practice 
10 hours of group supervision
5 hours individual supervision

What does it mean to be a Wayfaring Companion? What skills would I have?

A. Contemplative Posture of Presence

1. Demonstrates Ethical Practice 
Definition: understands and consistently applies spiritual direction ethics and standards. 
  • Demonstrates personal integrity and honesty in interactions with companions
  • Is sensitive to companions’ identity, environment, experience, values, beliefs, and culture
  • Uses language appropriate and respectful to companions
  • Maintains confidentiality with companion information
  • Maintains the distinctions between spiritual direction, counseling, psychotherapy, coaching, pastoral care, consulting, and other support professions.
  • Refers companions to other support professionals, as appropriate
2. Embodies a Growth Mindset 
Definition: Develops and maintains a personal spiritual practice that is open, curious and flexible. 
  • Engages in ongoing personal spiritual practices
  • Engages in ongoing shadow work individually and with a spiritual director
  • Pursues ongoing reflective practice in supervision to enhance one’s companioning
  • Remains aware of and open to the influence of context and culture on self and others
  • Discerns movement of Vitality in one’s own life and the larger world
  • Develops and maintains ability to regulate one’s own emotions
  • Prepares for sessions mentally, emotionally and spiritually
  • Discovers and honors one’s Moxie, strengths and limitations
  • Seeks help from outside sources when necessary
  • Engages in continuing education
  • Nurtures a life balance of Presence and Moxie

B. Co-Creating Connection

3. Begins and Ends Well 
Definition: Discerns and creates clear parameters of the spiritual companioning relationship  
  • Explains clearly what spiritual companioning is and is not and describes the process to the potential companion
  • Reaches agreement with companion about guidelines of the relationship, such as fee, scheduling, duration, termination, confidentiality, etc.
  • Partners with the companion to determine compatibility
  • Maintains list of referral options
  • Partners with companion in reviewing discernment of continuation or termination of direction
  • Recognizes one’s limits and when to refer
4. Holds Space 
Definition: Cultivates an environment of safe and brave space for the companion to share freely. 
  • Maintains mutual respect and trust
  • Seeks to understand the companion within their context (identity, environment, experiences, beliefs, values)
  • Demonstrates respect for companion’s identity, perceptions, style and language and adapts to the companion
  • Shows support, empathy, and concern while keeping appropriate boundaries
  • Acknowledges and supports companion’s expression of feelings, perceptions, concerns, and beliefs
  • Demonstrates openness and transparency (within appropriate limits) as a way to build vulnerability and trust
  • Releases personal agenda
  • Promotes companion’s agency
5. Maintains Presence 
Definition: Is fully conscious and present with the companion, employing a style that is open, flexible, grounded, authentic and confident 
  • Remains focused, observant, empathetic and responsive to the companion
  • Holds posture of curiosity
  • Creates space for silence and reflection
  • Manages one’s emotions to stay present with companion
  • Demonstrates confidence in working with strong companion emotions during a session
  • Honors Mystery, is comfortable not knowing

C. Layered Listening

 6. Listens Actively 
Definition: Focuses on what the companion is and is not saying to fully understand what is being communicated 
  • Integrates the companion’s words, tone of voice, and body language to determine the full meaning of what is being communicated
  • Recognizes and inquires when there is more to what the companion is communicating
  • Notices, acknowledges and explores the companion’s emotions, energy shifts, non-verbal cues or behaviors
  • Reflects or summarizes what the companion communicated to ensure clarity and understanding
  • Considers companion’s context, identity, environment, experiences, values and beliefs to enhance understanding of what companion is communicating
  • Notices trends in companion behavior, language, or emotions across sessions to discern themes and patterns
  • Acknowledges and supports companion growth over time
7. Evokes Awareness 
Definition: Facilitates companion insight and learning individually and in community 
  • Trusts and responds to intuition and leading of Vitality
  • Recognizes and responds to Vitality in the companion and community
  • Asks powerful open questions that lead to further exploration and depth
  • Unearths new perspectives using imagery, metaphor and analogy
  • Gently guides the companion toward spiritual conversation
  • Challenges (when appropriate) the companion as a way to evoke insight
  • Adjusts companioning approach in response to companion’s needs
  • Supports the companion in reframing perspectives
  • Shares observations, insights, feelings and wonderings, without attachment, that have the potential to create new learning for the companion
  • Knows about and can choose, facilitate and teach appropriate spiritual practices with individuals and groups
  • Welcomes Mystery and alternative sources of wisdom

D. Lifelong Learner

8. Collects Effective Techniques 
Definition: Seeks out opportunities for continuing education and support, incorporating alternative sources of wisdom
  • Understands and acknowledges the strengths and limitations of persons in the history of spiritual direction (past, present, future)
  • Experiences and teaches a variety of prayer practices
  • Facilitates guided meditation with individuals and groups
  • Facilitates group spiritual companioning
  • Demonstrates comfort taking companions into deep work within common topics: Grief, Discernment, Contemplative Prayer, De- and Re-construction of faith, Triggers
  • Recognizes intersection of spiritual companioning with one’s own unique gifting
  • Nurtures one’s passion for learning in specific topic areas, such as: Dreams, Enneagram, Iconography, Grief, Trauma, social justice, age-related listening
  • Seeks out and participates in opportunities for peer support and sharing