Here are a couple questions I often get about the individual spiritual direction or personal growth guidance work I do with people.
What is spiritual direction or personal growth guidance?
There are several reasons why people contact me for spiritual direction or personal growth guidance. A person may contact me about this because they are:
• Seeking a more expansive or deeper spirituality.
• A life crisis has caused them to question their personal or religious beliefs.
• Searching for answers to life’s existential questions such as the meaning and purpose of life.
• Interested in exploring faith and spirituality beyond the boundaries of their religious background or tradition.
• Wanting to address the root cause of suffering in their life.• Desiring a more whole relationship with themselves through self-discovery, self-acceptance, self-compassion, self-trust, self-confidence and self-reliance.
• Needing to unshackle themselves from toxic religious beliefs.
• Wanting to break through self-sabotaging inner dialogue and self-imposed limitations that are holding them back in life.
• Wanting to explore a non-religious spiritual path or secular philosophy for life.
Generally, Spiritual Direction is the practice of being with people as they attempt to deepen their relationship with the divine, or to learn and grow in their own personal spirituality. This includes people whose spiritual path involves questioning and letting go of one’s former religious beliefs, the volatility of leaving one’s religious tradition or community, and addressing the damage done as a result of the indoctrination of toxic religious beliefs, attitudes, and mindsets.
The word “spiritual” is meant to convey the universal desire among all human beings to find or create a sense of deep meaning and purpose to one’s existence, and a life of inner peace, well-being, wholeness, and contentment. For many people, “spirituality” includes transcendent experiences through practices such as meditation, a sense of awe and wonder through the study of science or time spent in nature, artistic or creative expression through music, dance and the arts, or living one’s life with a reverence and mindfulness for the interdependent web of all existence.
A person’s spiritual path may be associated with a particular belief in God or not. Spirituality relates to people across a wide spectrum of religious, spiritual and philosophical beliefs, ranging from Monotheism to Atheism. Spiritual direction is not meant to persuade a person toward any particular belief or path, but to support a person in their quest to cultivate a more authentic, liberating and gratifying experience of life, and the full realization of one’s true self and potential.
What people often gain through spiritual direction or personal growth guidance include:
• Identifying and trusting one’s own spiritual experiences
• Integrating spirituality into the whole of daily life
• Living with more intention and purpose
• Processing hopes, hurts, struggles, and losses
• Addressing the root causes of one’s inner suffering
• Self-acceptance and self-compassion
• An inspiring and robust sense of self
• Being an authentic and fully expressed person
• Cultivating a life attuned to spiritual things
• Deeper awareness with the spiritual aspect of being human
• A renewed relationship with oneself, others and the world
What actually happens during a spiritual direction session?
In the city where I live, I will meet a person face-to-face for a spiritual direction session. If you are located somewhere else in the USA or world, I do spiritual direction sessions through another means of communication and interaction such as a Skype video call. Before our first session, a person completes a personal inventory and needs assessment, sent by email, which helps me know you better and what you hope to gain through spiritual direction. I may have a few follow-up questions based on a person’s responses, which can be answered through email correspondence.
I typically approach the first call with the following things in mind: (1) Being sure to address a pressing or important matter that the person may be bringing with them into the call and want to discuss; (2) Offering thoughts and observations about the key themes from the personal inventory and needs assessment, and unpacking and probing them more thoroughly; (3) Determining a basic direction for working together in subsequent calls.
During every spiritual direction call, we establish a point of focus for the person in light of our conversation and what surfaced during the call. This could include: something to observe about oneself; paying attention to the dynamics of one’s life; simply being mindful of one’s inner world; personal journaling; self-care; taking an action or trying on a new way of being that supports one’s needs and desires; exploring new ideas or possibilities; practicing self-acceptance and self-compassion; a specific assignment or project to work on. It’s common for there to be some interaction through email between calls.
Spiritual direction can be a short-term arrangement such as weekly calls for 4-6 weeks, or a long-term arrangement such as every other week or monthly call for 4-6 months. People often will start with a short-term arrangement, and then transition to a more long-term monthly call arrangement.
It is sometimes the case that in the context of my working with individuals that we uncover a matter that needs further attention through a more specialized form of therapeutic involvement, and I can assist the individual in seeking this kind of help. For example, a person may be suffering from untreated clinical depression and I can assist the person in exploring the resources available to them to address this.
If spiritual direction or personal growth guidance is something that interests you, contact us
and include your email address so I can send you additional information and correspond with you further about it.