What is Spiritual Direction?

Spiritual direction is a one-to-one relationship with another individual for the purpose of obtaining spiritual guidance. “A spiritual director – or soul friend – will encourage, guide, advise, confront and challenge us on the path toward holiness,” writes Father Chet in An Introduction to Spiritual Direction.

It is not a modern concept as Aelred of Rievaulx, an English Cistercian, eloquently described the director-directee relationship in the 12th century:

“What happiness, what security, what joy to have someone to whom you dare to speak on terms of equality as to make another self; one to whom you can unblushingly make known what progress you have made in the spiritual life; one to whom you an entrust all the secrets of your heart and before whom you can place all your plans.”

A session with a spiritual director is having a respectful conversation, in a safe place, with a soul companion.

Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.

~ Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island

  1. Spiritual autobiography
  2. Personal growth plan
  3. Five hours of prayer, five hours of study per week
  4. Guidelines for spiritual direction
  5. Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): a tool for self-knowledge
  6. Four temperaments, different prayer and spirituality for each
  7. Five methods of prayer using the Bible
  8. How to use the four functions in prayer and spirituality
  9. Place of Jungian psychology in spiritual direction
  10. One hour/day, one day/month, one week/year directed retreat
  11. Qualities to be developed in a directee
  12. What to look for in choosing a spiritual director
  13. What to talk about in spiritual direction sessions
  14. Six steps in the journey of faith
  15. How to discover and use the energy of the unconscious shadow
  16. Seven levels of faith
  17. Four steps of individuation
  18. Three Ps: power, pleasure, possessions
  19. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux’s “little way” of spiritual childhood
  20. Four gender archetypes
  21. Recognizing the persona and complexes and using their energy for growth
  22. Balance between femininity and masculinity (anima/animus)
  23. Working with archetypes of the collective unconscious
  24. Centering prayer – how to develop contemplative prayer
  25. Interpretation of dreams
  26. Twelve signs of spiritual progress
  27. Enneagram – a tool for self-knowledge
  28. Crises of faith
  29. Discerning God’s will
  30. Intensive journaling from Ira Progoff
  31. Personal mission statement
  32. Guided imagery to heal memories, relationships
  33. Listening skills
  34. Pitfalls in spiritual direction
  35. Differing world views
  36. Twelve aspects of mission of Christ / Church
  37. Balanced Christianity
  38. Law of polarity
  39. Theological criteria for Christian growth
  40. Developing an intimate relationship with Jesus
  41. Different senses of scripture: literal vs. symbolic
  42. Jesus of history / Christ of revelation
  43. Love letter to Jesus – daily spiritual journal
  44. How to handle experiences of the Dark Night of the Soul
  45. Ministering to alcoholics, addicts, dysfunctional families
  46. Healing ministry
  47. How to recognize and develop mystical experiences
  48. How to handle extraordinary spiritual phenomena
  49. Ministering to the sick, terminally ill, families of deceased
  50. Positive attitude toward God, self, others, world, future
Skip to content