Christian Counseling Certification on Spiritual Mentoring and Spiritual Formation

A strong spiritual life involves prayer, detachment from the world and union with God.   The world attempts to block this union through illusions and distractions.   Grace from the Holy Spirit helps produce virtue within our lives that lead towards better habits in developing union with God.

Virtue is a good quality, or internal disposition towards good.  It is habitual in nature and becomes part of one’s character.  It guides one’s actions and leads one to a closer spiritual life with God.  Virtue rejects the vices of the world and focuses on the good.   In many cases, virtue are supernatural in nature or moral.  Some virtues deal with one’s relationship with God while others direct one in proper relationship with others. (1)

Virtue is a consistent and habitual quality or disposition of the soul towards a particular good. Please also review our Christian Counseling Certification

The three theological virtues are faith, hope and love and direct one to God.  The four moral virtues are prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude.   While virtue can exist naturally in humanity, grace alone infuses them at a supernaturally level and allows one to utilize virtue towards the action of good.  Without grace, one cannot earn virtuous merit.  So while, one may cultivate virtue in one’s daily lives, it is only through co-operation with the grace of the Holy Spirit, that such endeavors can ever produce the fruit of a healthy spiritual life.  (2)

Hence, it is critical to in spiritual life to cultivate virtue.  Virtue and its natural disposition and habitual nature, allows the person to maintain a constant relationship with God and a healthy relationship with one’s neighbor.  Grace is essential in feeding virtue.  In this, one must cooperate with grace and indulge in spiritual practices that allow virtue to grow.  One’s spiritual garden can become neglected without the Word of God, the sacramental life, and daily prayer.

The devil and the world have a way of eroding one’s spiritual garden with a variety of weeds and drought when one does not cooperate with grace and feed the soul the many graces the Holy Spirit affords the soul.   Too many times, individuals become distracted from what matters most and the temporal illusions of this world and their false promises of happiness, lead good Christians away from God.

St Teresa of Avila refers to this in and out of one’s spiritual life as the first mansion with God.  In this mansion, the individual discovers God and realizes there is more to this world than temporal things.  While this is only an invitation to spiritual life, it is an essential mindset.  In this mindset, the individual begins to seek out God. So many individuals walk and in and out of this mansion, regaining fervor only to lose it months later.   Many spiritually are in this mud of the temporal world, escaping, only again to fall. (3)

This constant tug of the war of the soul between the world and God is a natural state of humanity’s broken nature.  The scars of Original Sin, lead one to one’s lower flesh.  The will identifies lesser goods as superior and in some cases, bad consciences identify evil ends as good.   Without prayer, virtue and grace, the soul sputters into bad habits, or vices.  The soul falls to the seven capital sins, of pride, envy, anger, lust, greed, gluttony, and sloth.  (4)

In some cases, the spiritual war that leaves individuals in between the first and second mansions of spiritual union is a back and forth conflict, until one master emerges victorious over dominion of the soul.  In this struggle, the soul eventually chooses a life of virtue or vice, God or the world, good or evil.

While Christ the Good Shepherd, will always run after the stray lamb, the lamb still must wish to be found.  In this, Christian Counselors, pastors, spiritual advisers and confessors find the most common soul.   This type of soul is neither truly saintly or evil, but is inherently good, but lost.  These souls wish entrance into the first mansion of spiritual life, but falter.  Virtue is far from a habit, prayer life is inconsistent, and the love of the world is still too high of a priority.  Yet, the desire to be saved remains.

It is important in developing spiritual development in one’s spiritual children to help direct these souls to sources of grace and better habits.   A confessor or spiritual mentor must be patient with the conflict.  Habits, especially bad habits are difficult to break and one must gradually move from them and seek God.   More frequent prayer, scripture and for Catholics, sacramental participation are essential to opening oneself to the graces needed to convert to a more spiritual orientated life.

As a spiritual mentor, one does not merely direct the soul to better choices and habits, but also teaches the soul how to better discern.  Forming a good conscience that is based on the absolute moral law of God.  One’s conscience must reflect the Ten Commandments and mirror virtue.  It cannot be subjective, or worldly, but must be aligned firmly with God’s law. Only through this can a conscience be of any service to a soul and help it find a more healthy and balanced spiritual life.

Spiritual mentors can be elders, ministers, priests, confessors, or close spiritual friends who can help guide you towards God

What spiritual directors, mentors and pastors must also present is the image of God as a loving father.  In this, God’s love is so intense, so passionate, that he seeks out the soul.  Even beyond this analogy, God’s love is so strong, it even bypasses any of our most intense relationships.   God is so passionate, He awaits our call, our time.  It pleases Him so greatly to receive even the smallest token of our love or even our smallest effort to do good.  As Christ taught, the Father rewards ten fold for even the soul’s smallest endeavors.

However, there is a very thin line a spiritual director must walk with a troubled soul when preaching God’s mercy and love.  While it is infinite, one cannot over emphasize it at the expense of God’s justice.  God demands change from the soul.  Christ Himself forgave the sinners but also instructed them to sin no more.  While the soul may falter, it still must look towards perfection.  It must try despite the struggle and understand that change is necessary for union and salvation.    Only a spiritual director who knows the soul in question can truly discern if mercy or justice needs to be emphasized at a given time.

In conclusion, spiritual life and union with God is a conscious decision.  It is habitual and its ultimate end is God for the sake of loving Him.  Grace fuels the soul’s broken ability to enter into this union.  Prayer is the language and virtue is the map.  The soul is fed through the Word of God and the sacraments in maintaining a healthy relationship.  Through these tools given to the soul by God and the direction of a spiritual adviser, a soul is able to enter beyond the initial mansions and begin to enter into true union with God in the later stages of spiritual life.

If you would like to learn more about AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification or would like to become a certified Christian Counselor, then please review the program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.  For other spiritual traditions, please also review our Spiritual Counseling Certification




Christian Counseling Certification Article on St Teresa and the First Mansion

St. Teresa’s Interior Castle

The first castle is the first step into meeting Christ. Many are unable to enter into this initial relationship due to the many traps of the evil one.

I find the First Mansions St. Teresa talks about interesting because I believe they are the most difficult to enter as one begins a spiritual life, with all the distractions in the world that keep us from fully entering into a life with God.  St. Teresa describes snakes, vipers and poisonous creatures, which could be analogous with technology, secularism, and the constant barrage of noise created by television and radio.

It is heartening to know that God has created within us, this beautiful castle that is ours to explore if we make the conscious choice to do so.  It does not come without being vigilant to our own failures and constantly striving to do good so as not to offend God.  He created us in his image and so we have the ability, love and support we need to become One with Him.  Why then, do we not do what we need to do in order to obey him?

We have fallen short of the task God has set before us – to know ourselves through Him.  We don’t take the time to understand and know God, so we do not understand ourselves.  We are like zombies walking through life – without life.  We don’t understand that God is an ever-lasting river flowing through us.  We thirst for Him, but through our own ineptness, we don’t know that we thirst and we wouldn’t know how to quench that thirst even if we did.  Only through Him can we hope to have life.

In our darkness we cannot see the beauty that lies within us.  We look outside of ourselves to satisfy the need that resides within us, but it cannot be filled by outside influences, people or things.  Only God can feed our souls and nourish us.  The food of which I am speaking is in Scripture and in praising God for his goodness, for the blessings He grants us, and for the mercy He shows us.

By understanding ourselves, through God’s eyes, we see where we fall short and are able to enter the Mansion with hope and a will to succeed.  Through prayer and meditation and an understanding of who we are praying to, we come to know God’s will for us and we strive to release ourselves from the ways of the world in order to please Him.  This is not a one-time event.  We must continually come into communion with Him so we are prepared as we move through the First Mansion and into the other mansions.

Unless we have the understanding that our soul belongs to God, and we always strive to please Him, we can, through our ignorance, fall into the darkness of mortal sin.  We believe we are separated from God and because we are distant from Him, it gives the devil pleasure to do evil works through us.  We must be constantly vigilant and discerning that our thoughts and actions are pleasing to God, and in all humility realize that He is our one and only source of good.

Through self-knowledge and our desire to know God, we realize our true nature and strive more every day to be in alignment with that.  We put aside worldly concerns, even for just a little while, and commune with God.  We come back to our true source and we live better lives in accordance with God’s will for us.

By Teresa Martens

“It is necessary in every state of life for our help to come from God.

May His Majesty grant us this through His mercy.  Amen.”

~ St. Teresa of Avila ~



Please also review our Christian Counseling Certification Program and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.  The program is online and independent study.  After completing the four core courses, one can apply for a four year certification.  Most individuals who apply for this certification are counselors, ministers or pastoral care givers.  If you would like to learn more, then please review.


Also please review our Meditation Instructor Program.  It is also online and independent study and focuses on mindfullness meditation and other stress reducing strategies in meditation.   Various schools of meditation are identified and reviewed as well.

Grief Counseling Program Article on Living Grief and Terminal Illness

Grief is more about just physical loss but also the thought of loss itself.  When someone is diagnosed with an illness or disease that is terminal, one has yet to lose but acknowledges that loss will come.  This type of anticipatory grief is very common with family who live with terminal diagnosis of a loved one.  Parents can also live with this type of loss when a child is diagnosed with a disease, terminal or not.  They have to live with the new reality imposed by the disease or the potential future of loss.  This can create an uneasy existence of hope and loss existing side by side.

Sometimes while anticipating loss, we still must enjoy the present. Please also review our Grief Counseling Program

The article, “The ‘Living Grief’ I Carry After My Child’s Diagnosis” by Kat Barlow looks at this type of living grief.  She states regarding a family and their child Noah and his terminal diagnosis,

“Noah has a living life list, not a bucket list. The difference being, we are not waiting for the end. We are instead celebrating and living life now. We seize every opportunity to make memories. We make time; we don’t sweat the small stuff. We cancel appointments to sit in the sunshine instead. We make up stories.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Living and dealing with grief with hope and love is a difficult thing to do but sometimes it is the best thing to do even if darker days lay ahead.  One cannot deny the future, but one can definitely love the present.  Please also review our Grief Counseling Program


Pastoral Thanatology Program Article on Hospice and End of Life Care

Hospice has been a big part of end of life care since 1970.  It is an essential comfort giving service to the dying.  It allows the terminally ill to receive the pain management and comfort they need in their final days.   Many unfortunately never utilize this service and instead suffer more than they need to in the final days.

End of life care and hospice are important services that allow the dying to receive the care they need. Please review our Pastoral Thanatology Program

Hospice has always been about improving care and comfort for the dying.  In the article, “Hospice: Improving Care at the End of Life”, the author, Mary Kane, answers some basic hospice questions and why it so critical to better care at end of life.  She states,

“When hospice first started to take off, there was a lot of enthusiasm and a sense you were rescuing a person from the clutches of a medical care system gone mad.  That has eroded. Hospice has become both a business, in the sense people are making a lot of money on it, and it’s become routine. Now just about half of Medicare recipients use hospice before they die.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Hospice is growing and it is being seen more important everyday, but many still need to understand its importance in their own end of life care.  To learn more about thanatology and the needs of the dying, please review our Pastoral Thanatology program

Grief Counseling Certification Article on the Necessity of Healthy Grieving

Grief that is not processed or acknowledged can cause long term mental issues.  Complications in grief are due to not facing grief and processing the loss in a healthy fashion.  When we purposely ignore our feelings due to loss, we open ourselves to greater damage down the road.   Grief is part of healing and is essential to adjusting to the loss in a healthy fashion.  If we do not grieve, we will suffer more.  Acknowledging grief is an essential ingredient to recovery.

One must accept the grief associated with their journey in life. Please also review our Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic goals

One cannot dismiss emotion due to shame or fear of weakness, but realize that anything worth love is also worth grieving over.

The article, “The Grief We Avoid Is The Grief That We Need” by LaLaine Dawn looks at how grief is important and essential to the very reality of living.  She states,

“A lot of us are so afraid to admit we are grieving for fear that people may see us as weak or stupid for feeling that way. Honestly, I can’t blame you. In my experience, there were people in my life who would laugh at my grief. They would tell me I deserved to suffer.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Grief is hence an important element of the human condition.  It cannot be ignored but must be acknowledged and dealt with.  To learn more, please review our Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals.


Nursing Certifications Article on Programs Offered by AIHCP

The field of nursing is a very diverse field.  While it is primarily thought of only a career of caring for patients in a hospital or primary practice, the opportunities go well beyond these basic nursing ideals.  With so many opportunities, nurses find themselves in a unique position to branch their careers beyond the basic and into multi disciplined practices that can enhance their patient care or put them in entirely different situations aside from patient care.

Nurses have numerous opportunities to diversify their career through nursing certifications and licenses

Nurses first of all can enhance their careers through licensed specialties.  Many of these specialties are licensed while some are only certified, but most require more advanced education that merely a RN license.  Nurses who look to pursue higher positions and better wages usually must pursue their Bachelors in Nursing, and in some cases, their Masters in Nursing.

Some specialties that require higher education include neonatal nursing, nurse midwife, nurse practitioner, and nurse anesthetist. Nurse practitioners in some states are able to even prescribe medication and see patients due to the high profile status of the position.  Most usually work within a primary care facility.  Nurse anesthetists are one of the highest paying nursing fields and deal with the administration of anesthesia. Nurse midwives deal with helping and aiding women through pregnancy. (1)

These positions increase annual wage considerably, with nurse practitioners earning over $100,000 a year and and nurse anesthetists earning over $160,000 a year. Nurse midwives earn slightly over $100,000 a year.   As one can see these positions considerably increase the annual pay but come with more intense training and patient care. (2)

In addition to these positions, there are also pediatric nurses who care for children, critical care and trauma nursing, and also various titles within the nurse practitioner field, involving geriatrics, as well as psychiatric health nurse practitioner.  Again all of these fields lead to far higher pay raises than the basic RN. (3)

Some positions do not require higher degrees but are merely certifications.  Certifications differ from licenses.  Certifications unlike licenses are not issued or regulated by the state but through an independent for profit or non profit professional organization.  Certifications are not mandatory to operate but are are voluntary awards from a third party reputable organization that can verify a person’s excellence and knowledge within a certain discipline.  Many healthcare professionals as well as nurses seek to utilize certifications as a way to validate their career and help them find a particular niche.  The certifications are sometimes required by employers and help advance many nurses into specialized non licensed fields.

The American Institute of Health Care Professionals has sought to meet this certification demand, as well as CE demand of nurses by offering certification programs particularly designed for nurses.  The programs are all online and for some nurses in various states, not only offer a certification, but also offer CE hours through the required courses to attain certification.  The certifications are all four years and are renewable after that period.  The courses to achieve certification are all online and independent study.   This formula is beneficial to the working professional and affords them the necessary freedom and time to concentrate on their career while also completing course work towards their certification.

The American Institute of Health Care Professionals offers a wide variety of nursing certifications that do not require license. These programs are open to registered nurses.  While an undergraduate is always preferred, one can enter these courses with only an RN license and achieve a professional certification that can serve them in their career.

The American Institute of Health Care Professionals offers a variety of healthcare and nursing certifications that can help enhance any nursing career

One of the most popular certification programs is the Healthcare Case Management Program.  Consisting of five core courses, the nurse can complete this program easily within a few months if preferred and be able to operate in the field of Case Manager.  As a Case Manager, the nurse will be able to coordinate patient information with various branches of care and also ensure that proper care in and after treatment is given to the patient.

Another popular program is the Legal Nurse Consulting Program.  This program helps nurses learn how to take their bedside skills to the courtroom.  In doing so, the nurse is able to combine medical procedural knowledge with legal case law and become an important party in legal malpractice cases, helping either the patient or defending the healthcare provider.   The Legal Nurse Consultant is sometimes part of a legal team and offers expert testimony or behind the scenes with the legal team.

One program that is gaining more popularity is Forensic Nursing.  This certified field trains nurses to deal with cases of rape and other crimes.  The Forensic Nurse is able to aid the police and other law enforcement agencies in identifying key evidence in prosecuting criminals.

The American Institute of Health Care Professionals also offers a certification in Nurse Patient Educator. As a Nurse Patient Educator, a nurse is able to better educate patients about their diagnosis and also guide them through their treatment plans.  In many ways, they can also ease the fears of many patients through education on what they are facing and what to expect.  Numerous hospitals find this role to be very valuable in patient relations and also in follow up care.

Another program that is also growing popularity is Holistic Integrative Care Specialist.  As a Holistic Nurse, one is able to guide patients with other alternative and holistic healing methods, while ensuring these methods do not interfere with any conventional medications the patient may be using.  It is very dangerous for a person to pursue alternative methods without first consulting with a healthcare professional who understands both Eastern and Western medications.  The Certified Holistic Nurse meets those needs.

Finally, The American Institute of Health Care Professionals has created its newest certification, the Healthcare Manager Certification for nurses.  This program is designed for nurses who are seeking to become managers within their department.  This program prepares them to enter into management and how to lead departments to success.  This should not be confused with an healthcare executive position, but is only a healthcare manager position.  With so much competition for advancement within the healthcare ladder, sometimes a certification in Healthcare Management can be the difference between one candidate and another in advancement.

With so many certifications offered by the American Institute of Health Care Professionals, nurses have many different opportunities to diversify and enhance their careers

As one can see, healthcare professionals in nursing have an array of options to diversify their career and also earn thousands more.  Through higher education, licenses, and in some cases, certifications as well, nurses can diversify and earn more than their basic base salary and duties offer.  In seeing this, the American Institute of Health Care Professionals, has in the last 20 years answered that call and certified thousands into these fields.

If you would like to learn more about the nursing certifications offered by the American Institute of Health Care Professionals, then please review our programs and see if they match your academic and professional goals.



  2. Ibid


Grief Counseling Program Article on Grief and Sleep

Great article on grief and how it can affect sleep.  Sleep is important to recovery from anything and sometimes loss can take such an affect on someone that sleep can be negatively affected.  Whether nightmares or insomnia, it is important to find help in dealing with grief when sleep is deprived.

Sleep is key to good health. Grief can disrupt sleep and health. Please also review our Grief Counseling Program

The article, “Sleeping After Loss: Understanding the Effects of Grief on Sleep” by Sleep Adviser offers a comprehensive information chart on grief and sleep.  The article looks at the danger of lack of sleep and ways to regain sleep while dealing with grief.  The article states,

“Losing sleep might be a normal thing that everyone goes through from time to time, especially in times of great distress or sadness, but that doesn’t diminish the terrible impact it can have on the body.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review our Grief Counseling Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.


Christian Counseling Certification Article on Disagreement with Spiritual Elders

Spiritual leaders are not perfect.  In the news we see corruption at all levels of spiritual leaders.   On a smaller scale, spiritual leaders may be sincere but many have imperfections.  We can come into conflict with various spiritual leaders over numerous issues in the life of the church.  How we approach these differences and know how to react are key.   Sometimes we may need to submit to their ideals other times they may be very wrong and need admonished but in a way of charity and respect.

How do we approach the errors of our spiritual leaders? Please also review our Christian Counseling Certification

The article, “The right way to disagree with spiritual elders” by Michael Brown looks at how we can with respect, disagree and work with spiritual elders.  He states,

“I write these words as an elder in the Body, as a father in the faith, and as one who despises abusive and heavy-handed leadership. So, before I talk about how to disagree with a spiritual elder, allow me to speak plainly about the role of Church leaders.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Respect is very important whenever we come into disagreement with our spiritual elders.  It is essential we discuss the error or issue in a charitable, private and respectful way.  Please also review our Christian Counseling Certification and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.

Pastoral Thanatology Program Article on Dying at Home

Palliative care helps individuals face life threatening illnesses with compassion and care.  Hospice helps those who are terminal.  Both can give the comforts of home during an illness or near death.  Is dying at home overrated or is it truly better?

Dying at home is a luxury not all have. Please also review our pastoral thanatology program and see if it meets your academic needs

The article, “Is Dying at Home Overrated?” by Jon Han looks at this question in detail.  He states, 

“It is emotionally and intellectually compelling that patients should die in their own homes, surrounded by loved ones in a comfortable, familiar environment. For patients dying of end-stage disease, be it cancer, heart disease or something else, even the best hospitals are unlikely to be able to “fix” the underlying problem.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Dying at home has many benefits if possible.  It can give the emotional and spiritual needs a person needs.  Please review our Pastoral Thanatology Program and see if it meets your educational and professional needs.

Grief Counseling Training Program Article on Divorce and Loss

Divorce naturally creates loss and grief.  Grief is a natural bi product of divorce and adjusting to this type of loss can take years.  While numerous stresses can occur, some divorces can create complicated grief reactions.  In these cases, extra help and counseling is needed.

Divorce always leads to some type of grief. Sometimes it can more serious than other times. Please also review our Grief Counseling Training Program

The article, “Grieving After Divorce Is Normal, But This Kind Of Grief Isn’t” by Karen Finn discusses when grief and divorce can go terribly wrong.  The article states,

“After all, divorce is the end of a way of life and of your dreams. It makes sense that you’d feel sad about it, mourn who you were in your married life and are no more, and be grief-stricken that all of your plans for a happily-ever-after have come to a screeching halt.”

To learn more about divorce and how to help individuals through it, review the entire article by clicking here

Divorce is never easy.  A trained Grief Counselor can help.  Please review our Grief Counseling Training Program to see if it meets your academic and professional goals.