Spiritual direction is a way of being more attentive to the presence of God in our lives. It is an opportunity to reflect on our life journey, our prayer and our search for God. As we do this a spiritual director - also known as a spiritual companion or soul friend - carefully listens and prompts us to ask new questions, see life from fresh angles and open up to the opportunities and challenges God brings to us. Spiritual direction is not therapy or counselling. It’s not intended to address specific problems or issues, but instead to give us space to reflect on our life’s journey as a whole.
People meet face to face, often in the spiritual director’s home. The director will open and guide the conversation, which usually lasts about an hour. Most of the time the director will be seeking to listen to your story and reflections, asking questions to ensure they are hearing you fully. They may also offer to spend time in quiet reflection or prayer with you. Most people meet with their spiritual director every two to three months, although some only meet two or three times a year.
Spiritual direction can be helpful to anyone who wishes to explore their faith journey. There are no expectations or special requirements. You just need to be willing to share your story with another person.
Spiritual directors are prayerful people who make a commitment to listen to you, pray for you, and accept you as you are and where you are. Their role is to support you as you discern God’s activity in your life. Spiritual directors have undertaken training to develop their skills of listening, helping you to reflect more deeply about your faith journey, and helping you to reflect on your relationship with God. All our directors are also in spiritual direction themselves and receive supervision for their work as directors.
For some people who offer spiritual direction this is part of their livelihood and they would ask to be paid. Others are able to offer their time without charge. A spiritual director will always be clear with you before you first meet about whether you’ll be asked to pay. .
Your conversations with your spiritual director will always be completely confidential unless they relate to a safeguarding concern (see below) Spiritual directors in the Diocese of Leicester are asked to give the diocese the names and contact details of the people they see for direction. These details are held in complete confidence and are only used to contact you if your director is incapacitated or in the event of a safeguarding concern being raised
Should you make any disclosure relating to safeguarding or potential harm to others your director will be required to follow the diocesan safeguarding policy. This means that any disclosure relating to harm or abuse will be referred to the diocesan safeguarding advisers who may in turn need to involve statutory authorities. Any such action would not be an attempt to take control of what may be challenging circumstances; we would always try to involve you as fully as possible in the process However, we are obligated to ensure that safety is prioritised and that any current risk is assessed and, where possible, addressed and reduced. All our spiritual directors are required to undertake regular safeguarding training and to abide by the diocesan safeguarding policy. Copies of the policy may be obtained by contacting the Spirituality Adviser or from the safeguarding section of this site.
There may be someone whom you already know whom you would like to ask; if you do so you may well find that they offer spiritual direction and that others have asked them before you. But don’t ask a friend or someone who is part of your day-to-day world; you need someone separate enough from your ordinary life that you can speak freely and honestly. A parish priest can often suggest someone or make connections that are helpful. If you live in the Diocese of Leicester there are a number of people in the diocese who are available to offer spiritual direction. To find out more contact the Revd Liz Rawlings email@example.com, 07947 533739