Lecturer in Spirituality and Spirituality Direction

Send an email to Dr Peter Bentley

After ministering for 11 years as an ordained Baptist minister in various parishes, Peter pursued his passion of Spirituality and Spiritual Direction. It started with a Grad Dip focused on Spiritual Direction Formation and led to a Master of Arts Degree where he explored the use of art in a spiritually directed retreat.  He went on to complete a PhD examining spiritual direction formation and its particular approach to learning.

Peter is the Coordinator of Spiritual Formation programs for spiritual directors at the WellSpring Centre, Melbourne and also lectures in Spiritual Formation, Contemplative Practice and Personality as it relates to Spirituality. He was the Director of the WellSpring Centre in Melbourne, Australia prior to embarking on the PhD. He has been the President of the Australian Ecumenical Council for Spiritual Direction (AECSD) and chaired the working group reviewing the national Formation Guidelines for Spiritual Directors. Peter also lectures at the Heart of Life Centre supported by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Order in the University of Divinity. The focus of teaching in this program relates to Personal Awareness and Human Development particularly looking at issues associated with the processing of emotions and professional standards associated with the AECSD code of ethics.

Peter also ministers as a spiritual director and runs retreats and workshops with a particular interest in the Arts and the Enneagram Personality Profiling system.

In his personal life, Peter is married with three adult daughters and recently graduated to the esteemed role of grandparent.


  • PhD, Australian Catholic University (Thesis: An investigation of learning processes and contexts of a curriculum program for the formation of spiritual directors)
  • MA, Melbourne College of Divinity (Thesis: The development of an art retreat that will assist retreatants to describe and more fully understand the experience of spiritual direction through “art creation”.)
  • Grad Dip in Spiritual Direction, Melbourne College of Divinity
  • BA in Theology, Ridley College
  • Grad Dip of Education (Tertiary), State College of Vic
  • Dip of Engineering, Swinburne Institute of Technology


Bentley, Peter. “Bridging the Old and the New in Spiritual Direction.” In Companioning at the Edges: Exploring New Dimensions of Spiritual Direction in Australia, edited by Peter Bentley and Ann Lock, 2 -24. Ashburton: WellSpring Centre Inc, 2021.

Bentley, Peter S, and Buchanan, Michael T. “The Significance of Formation Agendas in a Christian Higher Education Program for Spiritual Directors”. Religious Education 112, no. 4 (2017): 351-65.

Auer, J., Bentley, P.S., Milne, T., and Truscott, S., “Contemplatively forming tomorrow’s spiritual directors.”Presence, 22(4) (2016):50-56.

Bentley, P. S. “The silver-lined cloud.” In Dreams and desires: Anthology of poetry and prose, edited by M. Marburg, 85. Melbourne, Australia: Windsor Scroll Publishing, 2016.

Bentley, P. S., & Buchanan, M. T. Bridging further education and higher education in the formation of spiritual directors. Journal of Further and Higher Education, (2013):  1-16. doi: 10.1080/0309877X.2013.858678

Bentley, P. “An art of contemplative practice course.” Religious Education Journal of Australia, 29(1), (2013) 45-46.

Bentley, P. “Gods and diseases: Making sense of our physical and mental wellbeing.” [Book Review]. Religious Education Journal of Australia, 28(1), (2012): 38.


WellSpring Centre (University of Divinity)

  • Art of Contemplative Practice 1
  • Art of Contemplative Practice 2
  • Mapping the Soul with the Enneagram
  • Spiritual formation: Shaping the teachers and leaders of tomorrow
  • Art of Spiritual Direction 1
  • Art of Spiritual Direction 2
  • Art of Spiritual Direction 3

Heart of Life Centre for Spiritual & Pastoral Formation, YTU (University of Divinity)

  • Personal Awareness and Human Development 1
  • Personal Awareness and Human Development 2


  • Spiritual direction formation and its particular approach to learning
  • The Arts in a Creative Retreat context
  • Contemplation and Contemplative practices

The Enneagram Personality System – Virtues and Vices in our Inner and Outer Work.