Self-care for students

Graduate theological education places considerable demands on students in terms of time, attention and focus. Navigating the complex challenges that come with balancing studies, family, employment and other life demands can be overwhelming at times. Time management is a vital skill, as well as the ability to effectively manage interpersonal relationships in an environment where the closely-held personal, spiritual, and theological beliefs of oneself and one’s peers will be challenged and stretched. We encourage students to make a frank assessment of these demands and their ability to offer sufficient attention to each, and cultivate lasting networks that can  provide the student with support, encouragement, a sounding board to help with decision making, and alternative perspectives. These can include clearness and support committees within meetings and churches, or formal support groups established among peers.

ESR will assist current students who desire spiritual direction by making financial support of $25 per session for up to two sessions per semester. Talk with Jonelle Ellis for payment/reimbursement options. Students who wish to engage a spiritual director or counselor may consider the following professionals who offer their services to ESR students. 

Spiritual DirectorsFeesContact Information
Ann Beattie
“I have a background of 20 years as a Pastoral Counselor and nine years as a Spiritual Director. I offer a safe, confidential space to companion you as you explore your spiritual path. My background is as a Christian minister but I have a long time interest in Buddhist thought and practice. I work with people face to face and by Skype.”
[email protected]
Kelly Burk
Kelly is ordained in the Church of the Brethren, and has a spiritual direction certificate through Mercy Center.
$25 fee per session for students[email protected]
Paul Eckert
Paul is a graduate of ESR and a former psychotherapist; Quaker; relational therapy (building relationships for healing); brings a very open and accepting presence to sessions.
$40 fee for one hour session; $25 for students[email protected]
Visit website
Donna Elder
“I have been a Spiritual Director for the past 17 years. During that time I’ve also been the co-ordinator for Mt. Gilead Friends (Quaker) Retreat where I offer direction to retreatants. As a Quaker I draw upon the Spirit as felt during the silence at the beginning (and often during) our sessions. I work with people from a variety of faiths and spiritual perspectives.”
[email protected]
Visit website
Sarah Katreen Hoggatt
Sarah lives in Oregon, but is available by phone or Skype.
[email protected]
Visit website
Robert Kern
Interfaith minister; training with the Army Chaplaincy School and the Circle of Miracles School.
$35 for up to a 60 minute session[email protected]
Sue Kern
Sue has worked at Earlham in the Newlin Center for Quaker Studies, trained with the Benedictines at Beech Grove with further study at Mercy Center for Ignatian Spirituality.
$20 (student) fee for one hour[email protected]
Amy Gall Ritchie
MDiv, Bethany Theological Seminary 1991
DMin in Christian Spirituality, Columbia Theological Seminary 2012
Former pastor for 12 years, former Director of Student Development at Bethany Theological Seminary. Offers in-person/phone/Skype.
$40 per one hour session + follow up email
$40 per month for up to four in depth email interactions
[email protected]
Visit website
Carol Sexton
MDiv, Earlham School of Religion; Two-year Spiritual Guidance Program with the Shalem Institute. For six years, provided weekly individual spiritual nurture sessions for students in the Resident Program at Pendle Hill.
$30 to $35 for an hour-long session[email protected]
66 S. 14th St. Richmond, IN or at another arranged meeting place on campus
Jackie Speicher$35 per hour[email protected]
Joel Tishken
Unitarian Universalist minister;
Certificate in pastoral care, 2016;
M.Div., Earlham School of Religion, 2018;
Ph.D. in religious history, Univ. of Texas at Austin, 2002;
resident in Richmond.
Appointments available in-person, phone, or video chat.
$25 per one hour session for currently enrolled students, $50 per one hour session for all others[email protected] 
Susan Yanos
Susan is the former instructor for the Writing Program at ESR. She is trained with the Benedictines at Beech Grove and currently is in full time farming and spiritual direction.
Area CounselorsContact Information
Centerstone–Community Mental Health Center831 Dillon Drive
Toll free 24/7: 888-983-8000
James L. Girdley, LMHC
Professional Christian Counseling, Internet Counseling
325 National Road West
Cindi Goslee, LISW, LCSW1121 Abington Pike Richmond, IN 47374
Loretta Gula, MDiv101 Quaker Hill Drive
Meridian Health Services630 E Main St. Richmond, IN 47374
Student rate: sliding scale
Mary Schwendener-Holt, PhD, HSSP, MDiv103 N 15th St. Richmond, IN 47374
Friday and Saturday only
Student rate: $75 per hour
Accepts most insurance plans