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How Spiritual Directors Love Their Clients

You’ll usually hear non secular administrators speak about how a lot they love their directees. And it’s true that after we maintain tales of vulnerability and ache or power and pleasure, we really feel a way of affection. What sort of love are we speaking about?

Love, not Romance

First, let me be clear that beneath no circumstance ought to a non secular director start a romantic relationship with a consumer (present or former). That could be extremely unethical. And, the Code of Ethics for Spiritual Directors (1992 Dove Publications) advises non secular administrators to look at for “leaky margins,” together with locations the place the path relationship turns right into a particular friendship.

Special Kind of Love

The sort of love a non secular director holds for his or her directee must be an unconditional one the place we’re not searching for any specific consequence nor are we making an attempt to form that directee’s path. Your non secular path reveals love by:

  • Observing clear boundaries—realizing the place “you end, and they begin.”
  • Staying inside their function as non secular director—not veering into the advisor or instructor function.
  • Keeping confidence.
  • Holding you in constructive regard. Liking you sufficient to help you making your personal choices.
  • Knowing when to probe deeper into your reactions and responses to occasions in your life, and realizing when to easily maintain the house and preserve silence.
  • Allowing your time collectively to be about you.
  • Praying for you.
  • Accepting you simply as you’re.
  • Trusting your knowledge in discernment.
  • Believing that you’re all the time in God’s palms, and God is your true non secular director.

We Stay in Our Role

The extremely moral non secular director will gently refuse a blurring of boundaries or roles. They will:

  • Be cautious to not steer you in a selected path or provide you with recommendation.
  • Decide the bounds of contact outdoors of appointments. Some administrators are strict about this and others “play it by ear.”
  • Sometimes flip down requests for the director to be part of any exercise outdoors of the path session.
  • Be very cautious about twin relationships (i.e., if they’re your pastor they seemingly won’t conform to be a long run non secular director with you.)
  • Not inform others who they’re working with. They might merely say “hi” and never cease for a chat in public whenever you or they’re with different folks (in order that confidentiality isn’t damaged.)
  • Not share a lot in any respect about themselves until they really feel sure what they share meets your wants and never their very own.
  • Set boundaries for the way lengthy periods will go and the way a lot they cost. And be clear about sticking to them.
  • Refer you to a different serving to skilled in case your wants enormously exceed what they’ll do in non secular path.

As you’ll be able to see, there are lots of methods of exhibiting love. Basically, we love our directees by honoring their autonomy, uniqueness, and knowledge.



Teresa Blythe is the Director of the Phoenix Center for Spiritual Direction and writer of the guide Spiritual Direction 101. She presents non secular path, supervision, and trains folks 1:1 within the Apprentice Training Program for Spiritual Directors. For details about her work go to her web site www.teresablythe.web .


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