Spiritual direction is not the same as therapy.The content is similar but the method is different.
Julie comes to a session happy because she received a compliment from her boss but she quickly becomes negative.
As Julie’s Therapist I might say, “How quickly you move from this place of joy.” We might then explore why this is and if this has been a common experience throughout her life.
But, as Julie’s Spiritual Director I might say, “At the beginning of the session you were touched by your boss’ words. Let’s pause and see what else God might say in this place of joy.” My response leads us into a time of listening prayer.
Most therapy sessions begin with a problem and seek resolutions. The relational dynamic that plays out between therapist and clients is talked about because then the client can understand on a deeper level their style of relating and how others experience them.
Counseling may be a better fit if you are struggling with emotional or personality disorders, addictions, or deep family issues, or if you are feeling highly depressed or driven by phobias.
Spiritual direction doesn’t necessarily start with a problem. Instead, it starts with a person’s health and desire for a deeper union with Christ. Often times, someone seeking a spiritual director has spent time with a counselor or currently is engaged in counseling. The session is not about seeking solutions but about seeking God. The goal is not to resolve issues but to seek God’s voice and guidance. The relationship between the spiritual director and the client is important and can be used by God to bring healing, but the real focus is the client’s relationship with God.
Rebecca Fuller is a Master’s level mental health counselor committed to providing compassionate, change-oriented and affordable counseling for adolescents, adults and families. For a free life changing 1 hour consultation visit www.FullerCounseling.com or call 206-999-9537