(UD code DS9207W)

Parker J. Palmer, an American Quaker scholar, has developed a model for exploring the inner spiritual life by drawing on the insights of Meister Eckhart, Carl Jung, Thomas Merton and other spiritual writers. This has been helpful in the formation of community; exploring religious and secular vocation; discernment and life decisions and the integration of the self with authentic action.

This unit will critique both the work of Parker J. Palmer and the contemplative group approach to spiritual growth. The focus of the unit will be on the principles and practices that lead to inner spiritual development and authentic action. The student will be introduced to and taught to use, the resources of narrative, poetry, art and personal and group reflection with a goal to spiritual growth and wellbeing. These objectives are achieved through lectures, discussion, contemplative group work and a retreat experience.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

  • Show competency in evaluating their personal inner spiritual landscape through a written journal and a critical essay.
  • Demonstrate an understanding and analysis of the writings of Parker J. Palmer and other spiritual writers both classic and contemporary as to their effectiveness in contemplative group processes. This will be evaluated through an oral class presentation and a critical essay.
  • Design, execute and evaluate the effectiveness of a contemplative group/circle which is presented to the class in an oral and written form.
  • Critically assess a specific aspect of contemplative group work in a sustained and self directed manner.

This unit can be taken for academic credit through Whitley College, a college of the University of Divinity.

2018 dates:
  • 5 days: Monday 16 to Friday 20 July 2018, 9am to 5pm at WellSpring AND
  • Offsite Retreat: Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 August 2018 (cost TBC)
Enrolment for academic credit:

Did you know that you can enrol for this course for academic credit through the University of Divinity?

Different costs apply depending on the basis of your enrolment, and are payable directly to the University of Divinity. FEE-Help may be available for those enrolling through University of Divinity.

NB: The cost of the offsite retreat is additional to your academic fees and is not covered by FEE-Help.

Contact Dorothy Morgan at Whitley College for more information.


There is also the option of auditing this unit at a reduced cost (plus the cost of the offsite retreat).

Students who audit the course are encouraged to complete the written tasks to gain full benefit of the course, but they do not receive academic credit.

Contact Dorothy Morgan at Whitley College for more information.


Chris Page can also be emailed for more information about the unit, or call him on 0417 506 338.