The spiritual and psychological needs of many of those who have had spiritually transformative experiences (STErs) are often profound.  Those needs can be best addressed by people who have had similar experiences, or share similar spiritual paths, faiths or religions.  These can assist STErs with integrating their experiences.  We believe this takes place in a supportive environment when people share perspectives, insights, referrals, and resources.

IMHU acknowledges that the needs of many STErs are distinct and generally go unmet.   Currently, there is no mainstream or required training to effectively attend to this population or the specific circumstance of spiritual emergence phenomena.  Unfortunately, this lack of training results in potentially ineffective or harmful treatment for STErs. IMHU’s preparatory coursework for becoming a Spiritual Emergence Coach® (SEC) is both a means to provide this training and a method to help SECs address the unique needs of STErs.

Purpose of IMHU Program for SEC Certification: To provide a high standard of care based on best-known practices and research for STErs dealing with issues that require the best personal empowerment that peer support can provide.

Completion of IMHU preparatory coursework to become a Spiritual Emergence Coach® demonstrates to an STEr that, among other things:

(1.) The SEC is better equipped to understand and provide guidance for their spiritual needs

(2.) Their experiences won’t be invalidated

(3.) New found perspectives will be explored in a way that honors the individual’s experiences

(4.) The experiencer will be assumed to be on a spiritual path

(5.) The person having the experience will not be subjected to pressure to convert to a given faith (via proselytizing from the SE Coach® in order to adequately deal with any given experience).

The SEC Practicum includes training in how to gather and focalize support groups to share experiences and resources with those seeking to integrate spiritually transformative experiences.  The Practicum is a series of experiential exercises (not lectures) that assist SEC applicants to become more skilled in ways to assist those seeking integration of STEs.

BENEFITS to YOU (for those who become SECs®):

  1. Continuing Education credit, if applied for before the Practicum
  2. Certificate documenting Course Completion and a unique Certification as a “Spiritual Emergence Coach®”. No one else in the world can offer this certification as we have registered it.
  3. A listing in the IMHU international Directory
  4. Promotions IMHU does via blogs, articles, Google Adwords, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to bring awareness to the public of the Directory.
  5. IMHU Directory listing includes each SEC’s contact information and website. This empowers self-referral by STErs seeking either live or online help as well as referral by agencies and other healthcare providers.
  6. Increasing numbers are now linking to the IMHU Directory of SECs. Amongst them are Crazywise Film Resource Guide, Shades of Awakening on Facebook, AlternativeMentalHealth.com, DisclosureSupport.org, and Spiritual Emergence Network in USA, org/
  7. SECs belong to a supportive team of peers in this area of specialization. Monthly meetups are a time to share experiences and obtain support for our own spiritual emergence.
  8. Inclusion in international networking with those in the Directory—all of whom are committed to supporting spiritual emergence in their communities and in the world at large.
  9. SECs have access to supervision with Emma Bragdon, PhD, and other SECs who are licensed psychologists or nurses.
  • IMHU provides continuing education courses including a “Refresher” each year specifically for SECs with IMHU faculty and guest presenters to continue to enhance our skills and knowledge of spiritual emergence.
  • SEC’s also receive recognition and satisfaction of knowing they are serving in a unique and specialized field and better able to meet the needs of their own clientele who are STErs;
  • SECs receive inspiration for personal and spiritual as well as professional growth through working with this population and within the IMHU network of SECs;
  • SECs add their perspective to the growing knowledge base of this new field through their own presentations, publications, and sharing in their communities.

Values: An IMHU-prepared SEC is committed to an ethical, high standard of care. Compassion, competency and a personal respect for the diversity of spiritual perspectives are qualities IMHU-prepared SECs will be expected to adhere to. IMHU does not condone or encourage any activity that is illegal in the jurisdiction in which the Spiritual Emergence Coach® lives or works. Evidence of such activity during preparatory work will disqualify an applicant from gaining certification.  Evidence of such activity after obtaining SEC status will result in disqualifying the SEC coach.

 Policies & Procedures

Prerequisites: Applicant must complete the online webinar series, including accessory “lessons” posted in the course given by IMHU titled “How to Effectively Support People in Spiritual Emergency” prior to taking the Practicum.

Applicant must also document previous work experience in one of three roles:

  • an official, coaching, mental health, spiritual guidance or cleric capacity with an established faith or religion OR –
  • if non-denominational or not associated with an established faith or religion – be a member of Spiritual Directors International or is a licensed Pastoral Counselor – OR
  • working with personally supporting individuals or groups who represent a vulnerable population or those seeking to optimize wellness. This includes peer counselors, yoga teachers, and specialists in various forms of alternative, holistic or integrative health.

Prior supervised practical experience as a certified life coach (Training needs to be accepted by the International Coach Federation), mental health professional or spiritual director is highly recommended.  Documentation of previous experience is requested on the application and can be given to us in narrative form or via a CV.

We understand that those who apply to be a SEC who are already licensed to practice psychotherapy will continue to practice under the authorization of their state-recognized license and may want to display their certificate as an SEC to signify their education in this area of special focus. Those without such appropriate state and/or federal licensure may not use SEC certification to present themselves as a healthcare or mental healthcare practitioner, e.g. licensed psychotherapist—however display of the certification will show the public that the SEC has received training to facilitate group support.


Candidates must complete the following steps and procedures to obtain and maintain certification.

  1. APPLICATION Filed with IMHU
  2. TRAINING Theoretical and Practicum with IMHU
  3. FEES fully paid
  5. INTERVIEW & EVALUATION after the Practicum

  1. APPLICATION: Candidates must complete the SEC application no later than 5 days after the Practicum. Please return by signing with your legal handwritten signature (not typed), scanning and emailing the completed application with supporting documentation to [email protected]. Along with your application, please provide a copy of your licensure document or equivalent documentation indicating legal ability to practice psychotherapy, or other healthcare or mental health practice if you have one. (Reminder-Becoming an SEC does not serve as any type of license to practice counseling or psychotherapy in a group or one to one.)
  2. TRAINING: Both theoretical education and practicum are involved.
  • Theoretical Education is available through IMHU’s online course titled “How to Effectively Support Someone in Spiritual Emergency”. This theoretical education is available to anyone including licensed healthcare providers and those who are not licensed healthcare providers. Continuing Education Credits are available to medical doctors, licensed psychologists, MFTs, social workers, counselors, and nurses.
  • Practicum: In addition to the above webinar series a live practicum on location (not online) authorized by IMHU must be attended if SEC status is sought. These will be held at least bi-annually and on each coast of the USA as well as in Europe with an IMHU authorized teacher/trainer.

3. FEES: Attending the course listed above and the practicum is available to all interested parties. However, fees and attendance are not a guarantee of being certified as an SEC, nor are the fees refundable. In cases of financial constraint, we will do our best to provide a partial scholarship.

4. CONFIRMATION OF COMPLETION: Candidate must show confirmation of having fully attended the IMHU webinar series on spiritual emergency and a live Practicum in order to receive their certificate of completion of all phases of becoming an SEC.

5. INTERVIEW & EVALUATION: Finally, an IMHU authorized representative will conduct a phone, Skype, Zoom or in-person interview and evaluation upon completion of the above steps.

6. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF SEC STATUS: Upon satisfactory completion of all of the above, candidates are acknowledged as IMHU authorized SEC and are certified. They receive a digital certificate of course completion and certification, and a digital badge with IMHU-specific logos to display on their own websites, social media sites, and business cards.

7. REFERRAL DIRECTORY: In addition to IMHU’s international Directory, SECs may be included in other international organization’s online referral directory, e.g., Crazywise film. IMHU is continually building mutually supportive alliances in this way.

8. PROBATION PERIOD: Upon becoming an SEC, the candidate begins a 6-month temporary or probationary period. Candidate must complete this period in a satisfactory way to maintain inclusion in IMHU’s SEC Directory. “Satisfactory” means that IMHU has received no valid complaints that violate the values and standards IMHU represents OR if there are valid complaints those complaints appear to be resolvable after an IMHU representative has communicated with the candidate.


  •   Attend 3 online meet-ups for SECs per year—you keep count of the dates.  The invitations will happen monthly and be sent to you via email.
  • Complete one “Refresher Course” offered by IMHU each year, for SECs only. This specific SEC course will go into more depth about an aspect of Spiritual Emergence/Emergency and build on the knowledge and skills you now have.  Course participation would include a course fee of $20 as well as yearly membership dues of $10.usd.
  • Each year sign that you are not engaged with illegal activity, e.g. offering or selling illegal drugs, or practicing psychotherapy without appropriate licensure from an authorizing body.
  • Changes to your certifications, e.g, as a psychotherapist, need to be forwarded to IMHU by you. Also, additions such as websites or changes in your email address –so we can amend the Directory as needed.
  • If you are hospitalized for mental health reasons and need to suspend being listed in the Directory for a period of time you inform IMHU and stay in contact regarding the appropriate length of your time out.

IMHU will send a notice to all certified SE Coaches in December of each year asking for dates of attended meet-ups for the previous calendar year, confirming participation in “Refresher” course, any changes to Directory, need for time out, as well as statement regarding maintaining legal activity.

How it adds up for YOU: For $90 USD per year you get to participate in 3 international online meetups, be listed in the SEC Directory, and get IMHU’s promotion for the listing.  You can use the logo as a Spiritual Emergence Coach®, be acknowledged for your special knowledge and skill, and you get an IMHU “refresher” course each year.  You have the satisfaction of belonging to a group of people with like interests who want to support a new paradigm of care in mental health. You have a resource for both personal and professional support that is unique in the world. You don’t have to pay $90USD all at once.

  1. DURATION: If above requirements are maintained, your status as an SEC continues to be valid.

Include, but are not limited to:

  • Failure to meet above requirements, or
  • Any evidence of illegal activity after certification will result in loss of SEC certification.
  • A valid complaint is filed with IMHU by a client of an SEC and after consultation with the coach, the grievance was not able to be satisfactorily resolved.

Please be sure you have read and agree to our Policies, Procedures and Requirements before completing the application.

Highly Recommended: If you are interested in becoming a peer specialist or improving your skills in peer support—We highly recommend the training offered through “Intentional Peer Support” at www.intentionalpeersupport.org.  This 5-day basic training is given in various parts of the world throughout the year.  It requires on-site personal participation.  We understand that learning how to be fully present while relating to others who might be in extreme states can be challenging—but it is also necessary for anyone interested in helping people in spiritual emergency. Training in “Open Dialogue” with Mary Olson, MSW, PhD or trainers she has authorized, is also highly recommended for licensed healthcare providers, www.dialogicpractice.net.


IMHU acknowledges ACISTE.org for permission to use the template it created for its Policies, Procedures and Regulations related to its trainings.