Learn more about spiritual direction: spiritual conversation, nurturing, and guidance.
We are pleased that you are interested in learning more about Spiritual Direction and possibly seeking the services of a Spiritual Director.
We are pleased that you are interested in learning more about spiritual direction
and possibly seeking the services of a spiritual director.
Frequently Asked Questions
Spiritual Direction is a practice of spiritual conversation with a trained guide to aid a person on their faith journey.
It is actually an ancient practice found in many faith traditions, of conversation about life through the lens of spirituality. At its core, spiritual direction helps individuals discern God’s presence in their lives.
A Spiritual director is a trained guide, either lay or ordained, who serves as a spiritual companion.
Spiritual directors are trained in the art of active holy listening and sacred conversation and may offer guidance/direction in various forms – questions to explore, advice, discernment guidance, or suggested reading.
As you explore the list of available spiritual directors you will find that they completed their training via various programs.
While the training programs may differ, they consistently share a focus on standards of professional boundaries, ethical conduct, confidentiality, and certification supervision.
It all depends on the directee, the director and the Holy Spirit. The content of the conversation is dependent on your individual spiritual journey.
Spiritual direction is not a therapy or counseling interaction, but rather the spiritual director’s role is to listen and help the directee discern where God might be nudging the directee to explore deeper understanding of their spirituality.
Before you contact prospective spiritual directors take some time to ask yourself a key question: What are you looking for in a spiritual director?
The answer to that question will likely help you generate some initial areas to explore with potential spiritual directors. It is important that you feel comfortable with the spiritual director you select. It may take some exploration to find the right “fit” for your needs. You will be sharing your personal story with this person – so feeling comfortable and safe are key ingredients for success.
What are some things you need to know about a potential spiritual director to be at ease? The easiest way to begin is to review the list of bios. What jumps out at you as you read each bio? Is there something in a bio that you connect with or want to learn more about?
Additionally, you will find that the spiritual directors mention different styles and focus areas. Don’t be afraid to ask the spiritual director to explain what those styles or focus areas encompass or mean. If there is something in the bio that is not clear, make sure to ask clarifying questions to help you better understand.
Once you have narrowed the list down to one or two individuals contact them and explore further if you feel you would be comfortable having one of them as your spiritual director.
Spiritual Director Listing
The list of spiritual directors that you can access here is comprised of individuals who self-identify as having earned credentials/certifications in spiritual direction. The individual spiritual director bios are self-reported by each spiritual director.
The Diocese of Southern Virginia shares the listing but does not endorse, evaluate, or recommend individual spiritual directors. If you are seeking a spiritual director, it is important for you to evaluate each individual and their credentials to your individual satisfaction.
Resources to explore
- Principles of Spiritual Direction for Faith Formation and Education. Kathy Bozzuti- Jones. 20 May 2014.
Discover the principles of spiritual direction in faith formation and education, emphasizing a deeper spiritual connection and intimacy with the Divine.
- 10 Reasons to Get a Spiritual Director. Marks, Larissa. Online posting. 10 June 2016. HuffPost.
Discover 10 compelling reasons to consider a spiritual director, from deepening your relationship with God to finding your true purpose in life.
- Heart Work is Hard Work – The Spiritual Direction Workout. Teresa Blythe. 6 July 2020. Patheos.
Explore the demanding yet rewarding nature of spiritual direction, where ‘heart work’ involves soul-searching and wrestling with inner shadows, leading to wisdom and discernment.
Mansions of the Heart: Exploring the Seven Stages of Spiritual Growth by R. Ashbrook
Embark on a transformative journey through seven stages of spiritual growth, delving into the depths of your faith and soul.
The Discerning Heart: Exploring the Christian Path by Wilkie Au and Noreen Cannon
Explore the Christian path of discernment, a deep dive into the art of making faithful choices and listening to the heart’s wisdom.
Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence by Ruth Haley Barton
Find God’s transformative presence in solitude and silence, inviting you to experience spiritual growth on a profound level.
Letting Go of The Person You Used to Be: Lessons in Change, Loss, and Spiritual Transformation by Lama Surya Das
Learn the art of letting go and embrace spiritual transformation as you navigate change and loss in a secular world.
Discernment: A Path to Spiritual Awakening by Rose Mary Dougherty
Embark on a path of spiritual awakening through the practice of discernment, exploring your innermost self and connection with the divine.
Spiritual Exercises For Today: A Contemporary Presentation of the Classic Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola by Tad Dunne
Modernize your spiritual journey with a contemporary presentation of Ignatius Loyola’s timeless Spiritual Exercises.
Hearing with the Heart: A Gentle Guide for Discerning God’s Will for Your Life by Debra K. Farrington
A gentle guide to discerning God’s will, this book offers wisdom for those seeking direction in life’s important decisions.
Celebration of Discipline, Special Anniversary Edition by Richard J. Foster
Celebrate the discipline of spiritual growth and discover timeless practices that nurture the soul.
Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction by Margaret Guenther
Uncover the profound art of spiritual direction and how it can enhance your spiritual journey through deep listening and understanding.
The Way of Discernment: Spiritual Practices for Decision Making by Elizabeth M. Liebert
Discover spiritual practices that guide your decision-making, helping you make choices that align with your faith and values.
Starting Spiritual Direction: A Guide to Getting Ready, Feeling Safe, and Getting the Most Out of Your Sessions by John R. Mabry
Prepare yourself for the journey of spiritual direction, offering insights on readiness, safety, and making the most out of your sessions.
Do You Believe? Living the Baptismal Covenant by Nancy Ann McLaughlin
Explore the depths of your faith and live the baptismal covenant with a profound understanding of your beliefs.
Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World by Henri J. M. Nouwen
Navigate the secular world while leading a spiritual life as Nouwen’s profound insights guide you towards true spiritual living.
Spiritual Direction: A Practical Introduction by Sue Pickering
Gain a practical introduction to the world of spiritual direction and how it can enrich your spiritual growth.
Spiritual Direction: A Guide to Giving and Receiving Direction by Gordon T. Smith
Discover the art of giving and receiving spiritual direction, a guide to deepening your spiritual understanding and practice.
Discover your Spiritual Type: A Guide to Individual and Congregational Growth by Corinne Ware
Explore and nurture your spiritual type, individually and within congregations, as you embark on a journey of personal and communal growth.