Is Spiritual Direction Therapy?
Yes and No. Therapy for the soul, yes, but it is not what we know today as therapy which is counseling, but there is an overlap.
What are the Differences?
Pastoral Counseling: It is a problem-solving, crisis management faith-based spiritual care.
Spiritual Direction: Is a form of pastoral counseling, where two people come together listening for the whispers of the Holy Spirit (who is the Spiritual Director) in the directee’s life, where the process is prayer and attention. The primary role of the human spiritual director is a holy listener.
What is the Training of a Spiritual Director?
Some have formal education with certificates or advanced graduate degrees in spiritual direction from universities, some may have short-term or long-term study within an organization, while some may have no formal or informal education yet are called to a ministry of holy listening - companions.
Directors can be lay, religious, or ordained, working in retreat houses, monasteries, within parishes as part of their regular duties, or in private practice. Most spiritual directors work part-time in this ministry and have degrees and training in other disciplines which may or may not be related to ministry, counseling, or religious formation.
Am I looking for a Spiritual Director or a Spiritual Companion?
A trained Spiritual Director utilizes the skills of counseling to help one in developing a conscious and active relationship with Christ, integrating it within a formation model of a solid foundation of the Church's teachings, along with an understanding of the stages of growth in the spiritual life and human development.
A Spiritual Companion walks alongside in accompanying one in their spiritual journey as a spiritual friend, as does a Spiritual Director, yet does not have the formal or has limited training for the roles of instruction or guiding.
Are there Fees for Spiritual Direction?
Depending on the training of the director, where they work and live fees may vary. Those in full-time ministry working in retreat centers do not charge directly for spiritual direction. Stipends are collected by their organizations, while those directors who minister in parishes do not, since it is part of the services of the local church. Most spiritual directors minister part-time in centers or parishes and privately. Fees vary depending on the locale.