Spiritual Directors International

The Home of Spiritual Companionship

SDI Training: Helping Those We Companion Move from Negative Narratives to Redemptive Life Stories

September 28, 2019

In a nutshell:

This full-day training session is designed for spiritual care practitioners who want to help people tell redemptive stories about their lives. Developed by master teacher Diane Millis, PhD, this approach invites people to investigate their negative life stories so they can unlock, release and integrate them in a positive way.

Date: September 28, 2019. Location: Mercy Center, Burlingame, California - only about 13 minutes drive from San Francisco International Airport. Cost: $199 for SDI members, $279 for non-members. Members save $80. 



"A redemptive story has nothing to do with a happily ever after story...  It is through the telling of a story that we discover the redemptive meaning within. I’m not asking people to find the silver lining of their lives; I’m asking them to discover the full truth about their lives, and that truth is almost always a pathway to generativity."

— Diane M. Millis, PhD

Investigation is the first step to turning the negative tales we tell about our experience into redemptive narratives. This in-person workshop offers training to spiritual care practitioners so they may support the people they companion in the quest to "discover the full truth of their lives."

Many of us know what it's like to live with stories we never would have chosen for ourselves - stories we often dislike or resent. Yet these same stories can become valuable resources to unlock, release and integrate into our lives-- for the positive.

In this continuing education workshop, Dr. Diane Millis, author of the new book from SDI Press, Re-Creating a Life:  Learning How to Tell Our Most Life-Giving Story, will introduce us to guiding principles and best practices for working with hard stories. While none of us can rewrite our life history, we can re-author the stories we tell about our lives.  Process is paramount here, and re-telling our stories can be a transformative process. An old American folk song about facing challenges, says it plainly:

We can't go over it.

We can't go under it.

We'll have to go through it.

--  "Goin on a Bear Hunt"/ American Folk Song

Re-creating our lives, through the stories we tell about them, has vast implications. Those who tell more redemptive stories tend to lead more generative lives. The more beauty, truth, and goodness we come to see in ourselves, the more beauty, truth, and goodness we tend to see in the world and its peoples.

Who Should Participate: - This workshop is designed for spiritual companions and directors, spiritual directors/companions in training, and all listening professionals who want to increase their capacity to work with difficult stories in one-to-one and group settings. Of course, anyone who simply wants to learn about about re-authoring their lives is also welcome.

Learning Outcomes -During our time together, participants will:

  • Become acquainted with guiding principles for investigating disruptive stories;
  • Experiment with best practices for working with the stories directees tell about their life’s difficulties, disappointments, and disruptions;
  • Examine one or more of their own disruptive stories through real play, one-to-one, and small group accompaniment.

The training will be from 9am to 4pm - Saturday 28 September 2019.

It will take place at Mercy Center in Burlingame, California. The address: 2300 Adeline Dr, Burlingame, CA 94010 - only about 13 minutes drive from San Francisco International Airport.





Workshop Leader

For almost three decades, Diane Millis has had the privilege of serving as a midwife for others as they give voice to the vast array of stories inside of them. Through teaching and advising undergraduate and graduate students, consulting and coaching in a wide array of sectors, facilitating retreats and leading workshops, producing the video series, Lives Explored, and ministering as a spiritual director, she has observed, listened, and inquired as participants learn how to tell their most life-giving stories—stories to which they are drawn. 

All three of her books, Conversation—the Sacred Art, Deepening Engagement, and her recently released Re-Creating a Life: Learning How to Tell Our Most Life-Giving Story, provide toolkits for both one-to-one and group spiritual companioning.

Diane is the founder of Companions on a Journey (where she introduced the process of group spiritual companioning to young adult college students), and the Journey Conversations Project (where she developed a model for interfaith group spiritual companioning).  Diane currently serves in a wide array of sectors introducing the 4, 4, 4 format for group spiritual accompaniment.  She teaches Narrative Leadership at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities (MN, USA).


These all come from participants of previous story-telling workshops led by Diane:

  • ·         “This presenter was outstanding, simply the best I have ever heard and I have attended hundreds of these kinds of things. She was engaging, organized in her materials, and very, very qualified.”
  • ·         “Her presentation and process were very good and helped me see how important telling our story is for spiritual direction.”
  • ·         “Valuable both personally and professionally.”
  • ·         “This workshop helps me to use the story the seeker tells me as a way into a deeper meaning.”
  • ·          “Clear presentation and love of her subject.”
  • ·         “Excellent content, presentation, interaction with participants.”
  • ·         “Best workshop [of the SDI Conference in St. Louis] ...outstanding.”
  • ·         “This was one of the most enjoyable and meaningful parts of conference for me - a gift to bring home to continue to challenge me and discovery around our story and narrative.”
  • ·         “Diane is a very personable presenters. Presents in engaging way - provided stimulating information with lots of practical applications and a bit of dyad sharing. “
  • ·         “So nice to be in a workshop with someone who can teach well.”
  • ·         “One of the best! Not only were there insights, but ‘how to’ as well.”
  • ·         “Diane did a wonderful job. And gave me some food for thought to take home in ‘writing the chapters of our story.’"
  • ·         “Diane's workshop was brilliant. Wonderful content and very well presented.”
  • ·         “Incredibly meaningful! Presented well! Good balance of presenting and sharing with neighbor! Excellent!”
  • ·          “Diane Millis was superb. Her presentation, content and aliveness were all exemplary."
  • ·         “I wish I could have spent a day-long intensive with her!”


Early-bird (free book) Deadline:

June 30, 2019

Regular Registration Deadline:

September 13, 2019


Commuter rate (lunches included)

Member Rate: USD$199

Non-Member Rate: USD$279

Lunch is included.

Members save $80, more than the cost of 12 months membership! See the benefits of joining SDI here.

Important: A one-time registration fee of USD$50 is included in this price. This fee of $50 is not refundable.

Cancellations: Tuition fees will be refunded with written notice prior to July 15, 2019  (less USD$50.00 non-refundable registration fee).

 Because space is limited and pricing may be below cost, after July 15, 2019 SDI provides 50% refunds on cancellations (less USD$50.00 non-refundable registration fee). There is no charge for sending a substitute. No refunds after September 15, 2019.

Scholarships Available

A limited number of scholarships are available for those facing financial hardship.

Apply for scholarship here

More Information:

If you need extra information, please contact office@sdiworld.org



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