Spiritual Direction

Spiritual Direction is a particular form of Christian ministry which traces it s roots back to the Desert Mother and Fathers. It is a deeply personal and sacred relationship between two people where the journey of faith and our life with God can be explored, celebrated and deepened. A Spiritual Director will usually have received specific training in a form of spiritual direction but is not there as a “guru” or teacher, but as a fellow companion on the way. Indeed, many people talk about Spiritual Accompaniment or Soul Friendship (Anam Cara) to emphasis the equality of relationship that is fostered, and the reality that it is the Holy Spirit who is the true director in our life of faith.

Who can benefit from Spiritual Direction?

Anyone! It is most particularly for people of faith, and, most people will seek a Director from within their own faith group, although not necessarily from the same denominational background. Women and men in authorised ministry are particularly encouraged to have a Spiritual Director, so as not to lose sight of their own relationship with God in the midst of ministering to others. Nonetheless, any person who has a sense of their life being shaped by God and their relationship with God can benefit from some form of spiritual accompaniment.

What do I talk about?

Your direction session is a sacred space into which you can bring anything; it is space that will be held without judgement in the presence of god. It is not necessary to bring anything at all, and sometimes sitting in silence with someone before God is exactly what is needed, However, some of the things you may with to explore during a session include:

  • Something of significance is happening in your life and you want to explore (Discern) the presence of God in that particular context.
  • A change in your prayer or worship life, where things either seem difficult or dry or, alternatively, fruitful in a new way.
  • Exploring the balance between “prayer life” and times of action.
  • A tentative or growing awareness of seeking “something more” and discerning where God might be leading.
  • there will be times when there is a discussion about life in general with a seeking of god in the midst of it, fit it is where we are that God meets us.

The Ignatian Centre in Glasgow has produced a short document that you may find helpful: “Making the most of Spiritual Accompaniment“.

How often do I meet with a Spiritual Director?

This is largely between you and your Director. It could be on a very regular basis e.g. every few weeks, or just a couple of times a year; however, a typical pattern is to meet every 4-6 weeks. The length of a session might reflect the gaps between session, but they typically last no more than an hour.

Where do we meet?

This is largely down to the Director. When meeting face-to-face, it is usually somewhere out of your home territory. Some directors meet people in their own home, or in a church space, or a room in a community or therapeutic space. Many people now offer meetings over a video-conferencing space platform such as Zoom. The location and type of meeting might be a factor in who you approach to be your Director.

Who offers Spiritual Direction?

The term “Spiritual Director” is neither protected nor regulated so anyone, technically, can work as a Spiritual Director. There are, however, a growing number of people trained in this particular ministry and it is important to understand what someone’s experience, background and training might be. It is also important to stress that this in not a ministry restricted to ordained clergy, and many people find it helpful to walk with a lay person. Ultimately, you would wish to seek someone who is grounded in their own relationship with the Divine and is committed to regular, professional supervision. From there, it is the relationship between you that is key; all the training and experience in the world is worthless if the relational “match” is not good. As such, the initial couple of meetings are key in discerning the “fit” and it is important to take your time over finding the “right” person, not just any person.

How much does it cost?

This depends entirely on the Director. Some are able to provide this ministry free-of-charge but many offer this as part of a tapestry of ministry and so have a per-session or hourly charge. Depending on whether there are costs attached to a session (e.g. room hire) the charge can be anything up to about £50 per session. This would be part of your initial conversation with a potential Director as your form a covenant of understanding between you.

How do I find a Spiritual Director?

You might know someone who offers Spiritual Direction and you may wish to approach them in the first instance. If this person is a good friend or you already have some sort of working relationship, you may wish to be cautious and particularly attentive to the Spirit when discerning this relationship as it may alter any equilibrium you already have. If the [person you know is not suitable – for whatever reason – they may be able to offer some manes. Your priest or rector may be able to do likewise.

The majority of Spiritual Directors in Scotland are trained in the Ignatian tradition, and will be known in some way to either or both of the Ignatian Spirituality Centre in Glasgow who can be contacted here or the Epiphany Group by email. Please contact them in the first instance, who will take some information and pair you with a potential director. For directors across the UK who offer a breadth of direction traditions, see the directory on the London Centre for Spiritual Direction website. Many local retreat houses and venues will offer accompaniment in their context.

Quick Links