FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do I choose a Spiritual Director?
The desire and search for the “right fit” is an important part of the process of finding a spiritual director. Here are some questions that you might consider asking yourself when considering spiritual direction:
What brings you to spiritual direction at this time in your life?
Would you like to meet with a male or female?
What spiritual affiliation or denomination would be most helpful for you?
What time of day would best serve you for meetings?
Today, men and women from many religious traditions, both lay and religious, priests and deacons, ministers and rabbis are trained in the ministry of spiritual direction. Each person seeking a spiritual director needs to take reasonable steps to verify the competency of any potential spiritual director.
Remember, it is up to you to choose your spiritual director wisely. Let them know what draws you to spiritual direction in this time in your life and notice how comfortable it is for you to tell your faith story. Listen carefully for the way the spirit is guiding you in your selection process.
Questions to Ask a Prospective Spiritual Director
What spiritual formation and theological education do you have in spiritual direction?
What is your personal experience tending your own prayer, meditation, and contemplative life?
What is your experience as a spiritual director? How many years? In what environments? What are you most interested in spiritually?
How do you continue your education and supervision for your spiritual direction ministry and service?
What ethical guidelines do you abide by, such as those published by Spiritual Directors International? Have you ever been accused or convicted of misconduct?
What type of engagement agreement will we establish to clarify roles and responsibilities in our spiritual direction relationship?
Spiritual Directors International publishes Guidelines for Ethical Conduct which provides a framework for a healthy spiritual direction relationship. You may want to ask your prospective spiritual directors about their formation and training, on-going education, if they are in supervision for their ministry and service, and if they abide by the SDI Guidelines for Ethical Conduct or some other ethical code.
What is the cost for spiritual direction?
Each spiritual director arranges for payment with you directly. Each of the centers may have a general range but most directors are careful to work with you according to your ability to pay. Directors may charge anywhere from $10 to $70 per one-hour session. There is usually no cost for an initial contact to determine if you want to continue with that director.
How often does a person meet with a spiritual director?
Generally, you would meet with a director once a month, but there may be times that you need to meet more or less often. Here in Phoenix it’s not unusual to take the summer months away. Some directors are happy to meet by phone, or via Zoom or Skype. During times of growth and significant change it might be helpful to meet more often. However, spiritual direction is not counseling. We do not give counseling advice or treat emotional problems, although our emotions are a part of our spiritual life. Treatment of personal crisis, addiction, sexual abuse, etc. are appropriate for counseling and psychological referral. Spiritual directors can work with a counselor or psychologist to address the spiritual dimensions of issues you may be facing.
What are the requirements to be a spiritual director?
The spiritual directors from each of our centers have been trained by a variety of programs across the United States. Each program varies in duration and requirements, but each requires careful work and reflection to earn a certificate of completion. Asking your spiritual director about his or her training is an important question in choosing a spiritual director. Many of our spiritual directors have advanced degrees in theology and/or spirituality and continue ongoing formation, education and evaluation.
What is the difference between spiritual direction and counseling?
Counseling is a healing process that works in a therapeutic way to address psychological and emotional issues in a person’s life. The focus of counseling is healing or “treating” the issue a person or couple brings to counseling. It is limited in scope and time and extremely helpful in times of crisis or when dealing with personal psychological issues.
Spiritual direction focuses on the movement of God and the calling of God in a person’s life. It does not try to solve problems but asks, “Where is God in this?” or “What is God calling me to?” Spiritual direction is often an ongoing relationship with a spiritual director/companion. Growing deeper with God is a lifelong process, so spiritual direction is not limited to a particular timeframe. A person may bring experiences of trauma or crisis to spiritual direction but the focus is not on problem-solving or treatment but on how God works with us in the midst of that trauma or emotional struggle.