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Spiritual Direction - Differences between Spiritual Direction and Other Disciplines
Larry Warner
Steve Summerell

SPIRITUAL DIRECTION DIFFERS from pastoral counseling, mentoring, and discipleship in that spiritual direction is not need driven but focuses on the everyday experiences of the directee and the presence of God in those experiences. The agenda is revealed and guided by the Holy Spirit, while the director and directee pay attention to the Spirit’s leading and prompting as they talk together. The goal is for the directee to grow in experiential knowledge of God and self. The role of the director is to provide a safe, caring environment, as well as to truly ‘be’ with and listen to the directee and to help the directee explore and sit with what God is offering. The focus of spiritual direction is not teaching or problem solving.

How does it differ from pastoral counseling, mentoring and discipleship?

Varieties of Spiritual Companionship

Agenda Process Role of Helper Goal of the Learner
Pastoral Counseling Set by Counselee Problem solving
Crisis management
Healing of past wounds
Facilitator "Healthy"
Mentoring Chosen by mentor and mentee and influenced by an "external" such as a workplace or educational institution Development Coach Improvement "like the external"
Discipling Set by the discipler Instruction Transmitter Learning incorporation "like the teacher"
Spiritual Direction Revealed by the Holy Spirit Noticing
Paying attention
Imago Dei
"like God"
"like Christ"

Jeannette Bakke, Holy Invitations
If you are interested in learning more about spiritual direction I would recommend Holy Invitations by JeannetteBakke and Holy Listening by Margaret Guenther. These are two excellent books on the topic of spiritual direction and related issues.

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