Southwestern College advocates vision quests as a means of self-discovery and healing.
Southwestern College’s Course Catalog (2013-2014) states that “For modern people, a wilderness vision quest is a powerful tool for growth and self-renewal” (14). For a graduate institution whose motto is Transforming Consciousness through Education, it seems only a natural extension that students would be able to not only learn about this ancient ceremony, but would also be able to participate in one, and many of the school’s graduates do so.—
“We are the only graduate college in the United States offering a vision quest as part of the curriculum,” says Dr. Jim Nolan, President of Southwestern College. “Other institutions may offer a course named Vision Quest, but they are disparate; using the term as metaphor and not actually incorporating the ancient rites.”
In addition to providing an opportunity to experience the ceremony through participation, the school also is an advocate of using the rite in long term healing of patients. It has recently introduced a Vision Quest Leadership Certificate, which aims to train mental health counselors and other professionals in the basics of organizing and leading a vision quest.
“A Vision Quest is both a valuable tool, and a powerful experience. While each participant has their own goals, most come back with a renewed sense of self and an increased awareness of their place within the world.,” concludes Nolan. “The ultimate point is not “I have done it.” In the Mayan, Cheyenne, Lakota and other indigenous traditions (Vikings, Celts) the point is to ‘In-corpo-rate’—bring it back into your body and back to your people, your family, your workplace, your Tribe. You went to find out something, answers maybe, or to find a vision, a learning, something you lost. Then you bring it back and share it, publish it.”
Now in its 34th year, Southwestern College’s motto is Transforming Consciousness through Education. It is a graduate level institution that focuses on counseling and art therapy. Offering a holistic environment for learning, students undergo rigorous academic work that follows national standards for the Counseling and Art Therapy professions while also afforded opportunities for deeply meaningful interaction and sharing.
Southwestern College can be reached by phone at 877-471-5756 or online at http://www.swc.edu.
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