Tuesday, November 30, 2021
The iTHIRST Spiritual Companionship Certification Training Program returns to Seton Hall Spring 2022, with two cohorts - February 1 to March 24 and April 19 to June 9. Offered by the Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies, sessions will run every Tuesday and Thursday, 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.
The iTHIRST program is offered at a critical time. Per provisional data from the CDC, "more than 100,000 people died of drug overdoses in the U.S. between May 2020 and April 2021. That's the deadliest year on record for America's drug epidemic and represents a 28.5% increase from the same period a year earlier. Drug deaths have nearly doubled in the past five years."
The Program seeks to provide a spiritual remedy for the desolation, abandonment and guilt that are all "hallmarks" of the addicted life through specialized programs that students are trained to develop and implement. The iTHIRST Program also aims to provide support for treatment facilities and those incarcerated, and to develop an aftercare community for the afflicted and their families. Upon completion of the program, students will be able to offer spiritual consolation and recovery resource information to the afflicted and their families as well as work with their pastors to develop or supplement a recovery ministry that fits the needs of their parishes. Academically certified through both iTHIRST and Seton Hall University, participants who successfully complete the program are eligible to receive 4.8 Continuing Education Units.
The program is led by Keaton Douglas, alumna of Seton Hall's Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology and founder and executive director of the iTHIRST initiative, which is an acronym for "The Healing Initiative—Recovery, Spirituality and Twelve steps." The initiative seeks to give people in recovery the spiritual tools they need to stay clean and lead the faith-based fight against substance-use disorders, especially opioid addiction. The iTHIRST curriculum has been taught in the Archdiocese of Boston at the behest of Cardinal O'Malley's Opioid Task Force; to seminarians in Heredia, Costa Rica; and at the Shrine of St. Joseph in Stirling, New Jersey.
iTHIRST, in collaboration with Seton Hall, has trained individuals in 12 different states as well as internationally, bringing spiritual consolation and recovery resource information to individuals throughout the U.S. and in Ireland.
What participants are saying after completing the program:
"…The information was useful, engaging, and worth returning to again and again, not only to learn and encourage one's self, but to journey alongside others in an increasing world of addiction…" – Linda F., Ireland
"…This initiative gives clergy, religious and lay people the skills needed to reach out to those with addictions and the family and friends that love them." – Karen F., Braintree, MA
"…The program has been a blessing for my spiritual growth and ability to give back to my parish and quench the thirst of the afflicted and their families." - Mark P., Andover, MA.
Please visit the iTHIRST Spiritual Companionship Certification Training Program page to register for one of the Spring 2022 cohorts.
About the Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies
Continuing Education offers a wealth of opportunities for those who wish to enhance their education, expand their skillset or pursue new interests. The Division provides superior programs and training in cutting-edge subject areas and trending topics, either on campus, off-site or online. Continuing Education, with its diverse offerings of credit, non-credit, degree, professional certificate and training programs, helps job-seekers and truth-seekers alike to learn what works to enhance their lives, improve the world and achieve success in their careers. Its programs are taught by distinguished University professors and leading practitioners in the field. Schedules are flexible and designed for the working professional or the adult student with a busy life. The Division also offers corporate and small business training, small group and independent learning.