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10 Day Schools – Life & Counselling Skills Course

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Details of the Living Wisdom Life & Counselling Skills Course

This unique Two Week Course teaches basic competency in Pastoral Therapy and some advanced psychological skills to anyone with a desire to improve their own life, heal the lives of their family/friends, and acquire helping/counselling skills for the wider community.

Described affectionately as a ‘check-up from the neck-up’ and ‘uncommonly common sense’, it has been widely attended by more than 3,000 students from all walks of life over since 1992. As Founder and Dean, I will be your primary tutor, assisted by my wife, Rosemary, along with other tutors as necessary.

My formal training was at Otago University, and Otago Polytechnic, with several years served as an Industrial Chaplain and Family Counsellor. Rosemary and I have a great interest in the ongoing equipping of people – both inside and outside the Church, for the profound and difficult challenges that life and family bring.


A copy of the curriculum can be downloaded here, but broadly speaking students attending for the first time come in at Level One. This introduces them to the basic Living Wisdom methodology, mental/emotional health in the context of Christianity, counselling/pastoral care skills, psychological awareness, marriage/relational/sexual issues, toxic religious insights, and theological input.

Because of the concentrated nature of the material, students are not expected to fully process the information in the two weeks available. Consequently many repeat Level One as a Refresher Course some time later, which all have reported to be a worth-while exercise.

Level Two students simultaneously repeat Level One while composing an Assignment designed to further their own abilities in a chosen area. Level Three is a supervised Research Essay of not less than 5,000 words focused on a life related topic for the purposes of publication, heightening one’s profile and increasing academic competency.

Two Week Course

Lectures run 9 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, for the full two weeks, with about an hour for lunch (bring your own, tea/coffee supplied). Assignments are given each day at home. Each class begins with a brief time of sharing and monitoring progress, and students are expected to set their own pace in regard to their selected reading. On the final Friday we have a ‘pot-luck’ lunch and social time together as a finale to the Course.


The full fee for the 2 week course of $950 incl. GST. This covers Tuition, Texts, and one professional Counselling Session. A $100 non-refundable deposit will secure a place in any School, with the remaining fees due first day of the Course (unless otherwise negotiated). Many students are sponsored in part or full by their Churches and families, as that is where many benefits will accumulate.

In Summation

Although the 2 Week Course is too brief for NZQA accreditation, it does qualify as a ‘pre-entry’ for tertiary study, as well as belonging to the Living Wisdom network of support, study notes and ongoing supervision is also available. A curious characteristic of this Course is that those with little formal education and those with many years’ University education are equally enthusiastic about it. A difficult phenomena to explain, but together with many stories of how students are miraculously enabled to attend, repeatedly confirms that this Course is Divinely guided. Students frequently report this being one of the most profound learning experiences they have ever had.


Limited boutique style accommodation is available at the Living Wisdom College, Stoke, Nelson, during Nelson courses. (Courses are also held in these premises). The College has fully equipped kitchen and laundry, sheets/towels are provided and laundered for you. Bring your own food. Spa/swimming pools are available. It is an easy 15 minute walk from the College to Stoke shops. Nelson city would be a 40 minute walk, but bicycles are available and the College is on a bus route. Costs are $45 per person per night (twin share). Early booking is essential.