Writing for the Spirit Online Courses

It is Dr. Debra's heart that people all over the world be able to participate in Writing for the Spirit workshops.   She cannot be everywhere at once, and not everyone can come to Sanctuary Guesthouse at a given time.  Thus, Dr. Debra offers an opportunity to participate in a group via the web.  Your workshop has some unique features that you may already be familiar with from other Internet interactions.  The courses offer participants the opportunity to work independently, and in a group, as well as receive coaching from Dr. Debra in the process.  So, now time and distance are not a limiting factor - you may select the workshop of your choice and participate from the comfort of your own home or office!

Writing for the Spirit current ONLINE offerings (Please check our calendar for current course offerings)

What's Included for each online offering:

Participants will partake in the following sessions each week, unless otherwise specified:

  • Writing, reading and heart-work assignments made available online for individual completion (to registered participants)
  • Group blog/asynchronous chat- these assignments are designed for group, collective “conversation”
  • Webinar/Skype groups session or Pod cast (teaching w/group input) – coach will teach and provide a framework for the week's lesson
  • Audio Talk show – special guests will share their expertise and participants will have the opportunity to interact with the guest and moderator
  • 30-minute Skype private coaching session with course leader – set at a mutually convenient time for each participant
  • Additional bonus items may be included, as appropriate for individual courses
  • Participants will have the opportunity to acquire additional Writing for the Spirit materials at a discount.

For additional information on the retreat facilitator, please see the biography.


Current Online Course Descriptions

Writing for the Spirit Online

Healing Wounded Hearts


Description of Course:
This course is designed for individuals who are aware that they have been wounded in some fashion by life circumstances – loss, grief, relationship issues, abuse, trauma, lack of an appropriate mother and/or father heart of God representation in their life, or other circumstances. Participant will be provided tools and techniques for working through the issues and coming to resolution. In this 6-week series, we focus on heart-work to break strongholds, replace lies of the enemy with truths of the Father, discovering and removing the root of the wound, forgiveness, healing practices, establishing joy, and affirmations.


Writing for the Spirit Online

Deepening our Spiritual Relationships


Course Description:

This intense 5-week series is designed for those who want to enrich all aspects of their spiritual relationships.  During the 5-week series, participants will address the following topics:
Topics explored in depth:
•    Relationship with God
•    Relationship with Jesus Christ
•    Relationship with the Holy Spirit
•    Relationship with Others

As we embark on the journey of faith, we come to understand that it is an upward spiral, to becoming more Christ-like, to more richly knowing the mind and heart of our maker, to coming into a place of greater guidance by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, to a greater awareness of our purpose in this life and God's plan for us, as well as a deeper love for humankind. Through this 5-part Series, it is my hope and prayer that each of us will be provided with additional understanding, insight and tools for moving ever-upward on that journey of faith spiral.


Writing for the Spirit Online

International Daughters of Destiny Leadership Equipping Series: Claiming our Spiritual Inheritance

To be considered to receive a particpation invitation, email Dr. Debra with your resume and letter indicating the reason you would like to participate at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Course Description:

This 6-week series is designed for International Daughters who are interested in learning to utilize the writing for the spirit and writing in the spirit techniques for use in their own ministry settings world-wide. By walking through the Writing for the Spirit Daughters of Destiny training, each participant will address their own strengths and areas of growth, while practicing the methods they will be equipped to minister in.

During this 6-week series, we will integrate biblical truths and the cathartic effect of writing to effect personal growth and strengthening in ministry. Topics will include the following:

  • Joy of obedience
  • Refreshment of the spirit
  • Truth and transparency
  • I have a home
  • My Father's Daughter
  • Abundance and blessing

Each of us has a spiritual identity and destiny.  The enemy, through many avenues, attempts to distort how we see ourselves and take us off the path prepared for each of us – We must be vigilant in continual renewal and seeing ourselves through the eyes of God to claim our spiritual inheritance.  Regardless of age, directed writing facilitates deep heart work that frees us to be open and present in our relationships, profession, spirituality and creativity.  Working through issues that have kept us bound releases us into our inheritance.
Embark on the journey to claim your inheritance as a Daughter of Destiny through this spirit-led workshop. 

Writing for the Spirit Online

Hearing God's Voice

God's desire is for each of us to be in continual, intimate communication/relationship with HIM. For some, coming to the place of confidence in hearing HIS voice and being obedient is a bit elusive. This WFS series is designed to take each participant to a higher level of hearing and intimacy with the Lord.

Session topics for this 9-week course include:

  • Why do we want to hear God's voice?
  • Know God, Know His Name(s)
  • Know His character, His heart, His intention
  • Know Him by Listening in Silence and Stillness
  • Know who we are in Him
  • Know His face and His Glory
  • Prepare to hear God
  • Hear Him and act in Obedience
  • Live the Tabernacle Experience


Writing for the Spirit Online

Writing and Healing for the Self: Mind, Body, Spirit, Emotion, Relationship


Course Description:

This 7-session workshop addresses the various dimensions of self (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, relational) that tend to become clogged up and cluttered, preventing a healthy flow in the intended inter-relatedness of the dimensions. The enemy uses those clogged areas of woundedness and brokenness to keep us from hearing and interacting with God and others in wholeness. As participants walk through the series, places of woundedness and brokenness are uncovered and a healing and enlightment process is put in motion to affect a more complete relationship between dimensions of self, others, and our creator.


Writing for the Spirit Online

Breaking Chains: Setting Captives Free

Course Description:

The enemy is the master of bondage and uses any means possible to keep us in shackles, and from being and doing all God has created us to be/do. We are continually called to come up higher and allow the Lord to break those chains and set us free. This intense series is designed to take you deeper into the healing process and to understanding the tools to remaining free in Christ. Topics covered include:

  • Breaking Chains
  • Forgive and be free
  • Freedon to Walk in the Light
  • Bonds of love


Writing for the Spirit Online

Women Warriors (for women in the marketplace)

Who can participate: By invitation and referral. If you believe you are a candidate to participate in this 5-week series, please submit two letters of recommendation along with a summary statement of why you would like to participate to Dr. Debra at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Course Description:

As women who have been called to the marketplace as a ministry field, we need to learn from and support one another to grow and challenge the contemporary stereotypes of working women and our roles. The Bible clearly describes several women with prominent leadership roles. Each is placed for HIS specific purpose and receives favor from the Lord, though not always from those one is surrounded by. In this series, we will utilize specific teaching and scripture in addition to learning from and sharing with one another.

Sessions will cover the following topics:

  • Being placed
  • Light in a dark place
  • Intercession
  • Standing in His covering
  • It's not about you

Writing for the Spirit Online

The Character and Nature of God


Course Description:

This online workshop is an ideal follow-up to the “Hearing God's Voice” series, or as a stand-alone series. In this series, participants will learn about root of their perceptions of God's nature and character, how to correct (if necessary) and strengthen truthful aspects of God's nature and character. The names of God are explored in depth, not just as a word study, as we learn more about His majesty and intentions towards each of us. Throughout recorded history, God's nature and character were revealed to His people related to the situation/circumstance. As we grow in our spiritual relationship, we seek to know more of our creator, and thus more of ourselves, and how He seeks to be in relationship with us. Online sessions will address multiple areas, including the following:

  • father heart of God
  • mother heart God
  • names of God
  • He is


Writing for the Spirit Online

100% Grace

Course Description:

There are times in our life when we look around and say to ourselves, “I am not doing too badlly, in comparison to x....” or we want to judge the behavior of another person. Other times we realize that we were pulled from the clutches of the enemy just in the nick of time. Perhaps we were or were not aware of the imminent danger. The one thing that we must remember is that each of us is blessed with unmerited favor, 100% grace, and that the grace is not earned or deserved. Our faith and grace is not comparative in nature and is a gift of God to bestow as is His pleasure.

While this course could take several directions to accomplish the purpose, our sessions will encompass the following as content/topic areas:

  • Grace is a gift
  • Unmerited favor
  • Different place, different pace
  • Walking in the state of grace


Writing for the Spirit Online

The Power of the Dream

Course Description:

There are goals and dreams in life that spur us on and keep us focused on this journey of life. The Lord/God/Holy Spirit often communicates with us through dreams and visions. These communications may take various forms amongst the body, but nevertheless, are powerful in propelling us forward and moving through what may at times seem insurmountable obsticles that the enemy will try to block our path with. Identification of authentic dreams placed in our heart, strategies for removal of obsticles, and achieving victory in overcoming challenges along the way as we walk with the Lord and He makes the way to fulfill the dreams creates a full and dynamic heart-work experience for this weekend workshop.


Writing for the Spirit Online

Real Beauty


Course Description:

Women, in particular, are surrounded by unrealistic media and social expectations of beauty and perfection. As women are innundated with the latest beauty treatments and changing societal norms, it is possible to loose sight of who's image we are created in and that true beauty comes in all colors, shapes and sizes. Many women have been wounded by others and/or feel compelled to reject true self based on fabricated and adultrated images of beauty. Dimensions and aspects of beauty are explored for all ages of women to facilitate a healthy self and God-centered image. Overarching themes shaping the writing and healing process include:

  • Respect yourself
  • Daddy's Girl
  • Proverbs 31 woman
  • Inside-Out


Writing for the Spirit Online

First Love

Course Description:

God is a jealous God and desires to be our God above all Gods. Our first love must always be our creator. However, in these times of high media, materialism, and instant gratification, we can become tempted or simply like the frog in the pot – and not realize we have lost focus on our first love. Participants of this workshop will tease out the very personal ways in which the insidiousness of the world may be creeping into peace and stilting relationship with the Lord and others. Directed writing, deep heart/spirit work and listening to the still small voice of God in an awesomely serene setting amongt the company of others seeking higher still provides a delightful release of tension and forges the way to new heights of partaking in the abundance that our First Love has for each of us. Topics explored include:

  • It's not about me
  • Eyes upward (focus on HIM)
  • Seek ye first the Kingdom of God
  • Your Life is a Love Story
  • This is your life, Don't waste it


Writing for the Spirit Online

Desires of the Heart

Course Description:

The Word tells us if we put God first and central in our lives, seek to love and serve Him with all we do, and delight in Him that He will give us the desires of our heart. Additionally, we know, at least academically that when we give our best and serve Him and are confident in asking Him for the desires of our heart that He has placed there, that we will receive more than we can even ask or imagine....We know that His ways are not our ways, and that His ways are higher than our ways.

What a marvelous set of promises to explore and unpack within the Writing for the Spirit format! This series promises to unleash powerful faith and trust in those who can fully embrace the promise and let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart.


Writing for the Spirit Online

Closure:  Tying up Loose Ends

Course Description:

Ring out the old and ring in the new by treating yourself to a Writng for the Spirit 3-week online course!

As a calendar year rushes towards its ending, each of us can probably identify loose ends that could use "tying up" or relationship and personal issues that would do best to have closure, not carrying over into a new year.  Everyone has the drawer or closet to be cleaned out.  So it is, too, within ourselves.  Even in the rush-rush of the holiday, something in one's spirit says, "stop and tend to this" area, lighten the load, before moving on.  Sometimes in our busyness, we try to push down the voice that is telling us to slow down and resolve what is causing the stress.  The true answer is to go to the source, discover and receive the release.   The loose ends can become a beautiful bow to adorn life's journey when we tie up the loose ends and bring closure.

You may think, how can I take out three weeks for myself at this time leading up to the Thanksgiving and the Christmas holiday?  The better question may be 'how can I not take three weeks for myself at this time at the holiday as the year is winding down?'  Participating in the three-week workshop may provide the closure and release needed to free up space and energy within yourself for friends and family as the holidays arrife, the old year ends and the new one begins.

Writing (journaling) is known to relieve stress, decrease illness symptoms, and be cathartic in the emotional healing process.  The connection between the brain, emotion and the process of actually writing triggers a positive physiological response.   Putting an issue out on paper frees up psychic space within which creative solutions may emerge.  This workshop will utilize several forms of writing/journaling, addressing some guided questions, to bring about a heightened spiritual awareness of the sources of stress and their personalized resolution.

This 3-session course is designed to create space for "hearing" as well as facilitate participant discovery of the root issues that are blocking forward movement, and others that have been elusive in gaining closure.  The overall goal is move through or remove the blockage to relieve negative energy and stress in order for participants to generate the necessary relief or closure to the situation.  Thus, participants will be unburdened to enjoy the holidays and move into the New Year much less burdened and weighted down, with a focus on the positive energy and spiritually lead resolution.

Session I

Letting Down and Listening

This session will consist of teaching, guided reflection, journaling, and sharing.  Our focus will be on attaining a level of relaxation and awareness that facilitates revelation of hidden sources of stress or unresolved issues.  Writing about the associated thoughts and feelings opens up additional space and provides a starting point for tying up loose ends and working through to closure.

Session II

Separating Wheat from Chaff

Based upon areas and loose end issues in one's life that were identified in session I, participants will move through the session II which includes teaching, guided reflection, journaling, releasing and sharing.  Often when issues are raised, we need time and space to work through the implications with a healthy focus for spirit-lead resolution.  Part of that process is to understand, deeply, the root issues and where energies can be focused to effect the desired change.  Another part of the process is gaining an understanding of the parts that are to be acknowledged and released.

Session III

Receiving and Blessing Closure

To tie up the loose ends for each workshop participant, we will explore the creative heart of God and the expansiveness of His plans for resolution and blessing His children.  We will use teaching, guided reflection, journaling, releasing, blessing, sharing and affirming to gain an understanding of God's leading and provision for peace and closure.  We will explore the mechanism for being in agreement with God's plan for closure in this area and the action steps the participant is hearing from God to walk out the victory and receive the blessing.


Writing for the Spirit Online

Reflect and Refresh


Course Description:

As the year has begun, do you find yourself needing a fresh perspective?
Are areas carrying over from the past year that you wish to put into perspective so you can move on unencumbered?

Start out the New Year with a refreshing investment in your spiritual self!  Writing is an avenue of creativity straight from the heart of God.  There is power for healing of the spirit and soul in the written word.   When authentically accessed, powerful truth is released to transform one's life.  Join us as we use narrative, reflection, stories, and other creative writing tools and techniques to explore our own healing and come to a place of greater understanding of self and intimacy with God. 

Are you open to using new tools to open up space and invite your creative side to emerge?

Writing for the Spirit is an emotive and creative expression of layers of self; layers which may have been hidden or not fully formed until the point in time when the spirit connects with the conscious expression.

Writing for the Spirit is a linking mechanism connecting our innermost thoughts and emotions to the exterior self and world we function in.  Utilizing this form of creative expression smooths the sometimes seemingly disconnect between our hopes and dreams and our reality.  Inner healing occurs at the junction of the connection; there is birthing in the spirit of an idea, concept, realization of an aspect of self.

As we explore our thoughts, emotions and dreams in the written expression, patterns and a new level of connectivity to the spirit self emerge.  Through this process, a higher level of awareness bursts forth, freeing up and catalyzing trapped energy that is released to move one upward in the journey of life.

1. Sacred objects, sacred space
2. Listening in the quiet
3. Making peace with the past
4. Unblocking the flow
5. Releasing into the connectedness
6. The next level

Forward a personal narrative intro/bio to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for sharing with the group:  please submit by January 2, 2013 (at least 2 weeks prior to the retreat deadline)

Writing for the Spirit Online

Narrative Medicine: The Art and Science of Health Care


Deadline for Registration: None (though, please allow 24 hours from registration to receive access information to start the course, and 24 hours after completion to receive your certificate)

Course Description:

Dr. Newell developed this continuing education program based on years of experience in the heathcare field and instructing multiple disciplines of health care professionals in this content.

Often as a healthcare professional, we interact with the patient in the context of their disease and illness, rather than understanding the illness or disease as it impacts the person and their life.  Writing about the individual from a personal, as opposed to a clinical perspective, aids in retaining the dignity of the individual and promotes humanity on the side of the patient as well as that of the health care professional.

This series will assist health professionals to integrate hi-touch and hi-tech, identify biases that may influence treatment recommendations, and gain refreshing insights into patients lives.  Several exercises and writing tools are utilized to sensitize participants and provide invaluable alternative prespectives on quality of life in the context of health and wellness.

This 4-hour series incorporated into a self-paced unit for participant convenience. Upon completion of the total unit, a 4-hour Level 1 CE contact certificate will be provided.

Participants will need access to a computer, writing journal, and quiet time and space to read, reflect, write, and develop personal affirmations. Podcast/audio recordings will also enhance the series. The series may be completed in one day, or participants may complete parts on consecutive days, or weeks. Contact hour certificates will be provided upon completion of the total series.

Writing for the Spirit Online

Writing for the Spirit for Health Care Professionals

Deadline for Registration: None (though, please allow 24 hours from registration to receive access information to start the course, and 24 hours after completion to receive your certificate)

Course Description:

As a health care professional, there are times when caring for an individual places a burden, or when we take on more than we ought to.  Other times, we may loose a patient or grieve, leading to choices that negatively impact health.  Writing for the Spirit for Health Care Professionals is an avenue for accessing the deeper part of our empathy for others, and allowing ourselves to process the loss, grief and disappointment, as well as at times, the burden in a healthy way.   Writing and discussion frees up the emotion and makes us available to other patients, family, and friends, while providing tools to maintain a balance in life. Participants will be encouraged to utilize different writing styles, genre's, and forms to express their feelings in a way that allows the spirit to soar.

There are two units, covering various subtopics:

  • Caring for self (3 hours)
  • Caring for others (3 hours)

This 6-hour series provides 6 Level 1 CE contact hours for health professionals.

Participants will need access to a computer, writing journal, and quiet time and space to read, reflect, write, and develop personal affirmations. Podcast/audio recordings will also enhance the series. The series may be completed in one day, or participants may complete parts on consecutive days, or weeks. Contact hour certificates will be provided upon completion of the total series.