Spiritual Direction FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions

The spiritual direction FAQ page seeks to answer common questions which are not addressed elsewhere on this site.

Is spiritual direction Christian?
How does spiritual direction differ counseling?
How does spiritual direction differ from mentoring?
How often would we meet?
What kind of training do you have?
What does it mean that you are a certified spiritual director?
Are you associated with a church?
What is spiritual direction? (separate page)

Is spiritual direction Christian?

The practice of spiritual direction has a long history in the Christian church extending all the way back to the early church fathers. Spiritual direction is practiced across faith traditions and a discerning seeker will choose a spiritual director who can guide her wisely.

My practice is rooted firmly in the Christian tradition and values the rich history of Christian spirituality. I affirm the lordship of Jesus Christ and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit to transform lives.

How does spiritual direction differ counseling?

Spiritual direction and counseling differ in focus, approach and timeframe.

Focus People seek out a counselor because they are facing a problem. The focus of the relationship is to build understanding and tools in the person's life which will enable them to overcome the problem. The focus of spiritual direction is to foster a person's experiential knowledge of God and responsiveness to God's work in one's life. Though problems are addressed (and may be what brings a person into spiritual direction) they are not the focus of the relationship.

Approach People look to a counselor to provide a solution for a felt need, and the counselor tends to be quite directive in providing that solution. The spiritual director (ironically considering the term) works in a much less directive manner. Priority is given to conversations about what is current, and the directee is free to bring content to discuss. Conversations often revolve around: attending to the Spirit's presence and work in the directee's life, his inner responses to life's happenings, her daily rhythms of tending to her spiritual life. Exploring such things with a spiritual director holds great potential for increased knowledge of God and self, and for growth in inner wholeness.

Timeframe The counseling relationship is by nature short term. The necessary work is approached intensively and, once the goal is reached, the relationship comes to an end. In contrast spiritual direction relationships may be either temporary or long term. The frequency of appointments may ebb and flow but the spiritual director often remains a trusted long term soul companion who offers a mirror for the important ongoing work of self-reflection.

How does spiritual direction differ from mentoring?

Mentoring relationships in general involve teaching and modeling, directed by the mentor. A spiritual director does do some teaching as well, but teaching is not the main thrust of her ministry. Her predominant role is as a listener and guide, as one who accompanies others on their journey with their Heavenly Father. The spiritual director does not come with an agenda, but allows the directee to bring into the discussion what is currently most relevant in his life. This is the reason that it's good to prepare for a session.

How often would we meet?

A typical frequency is once a month, though some choose to meet more often and some find that once every couple of months is sufficient. You will gain much more from spiritual direction when we meet regularly, for this will assist your level of intentionality and our fruitfulness in making progress together. The first few sessions are scheduled closer together to allow us to quick-start our work together. To facilitate this I offer an introductory rate.

What kind of training do you have?

I have a Master of Divinity degree in Spiritual Formation and a further speciality in spiritual direction. I've studied Christian spirituality from a historical and theological perspective at Tyndale Theological Seminary, an interdenominational school and the largest Evangelical seminary in Canada. My training gave priority to the development of personal spirituality in my own life and the lives of others.

I continue to receive regular supervision from my former spiritual director and Tyndale professor via webcam.

What does it mean that you are a certified spiritual director?

Spiritual direction is practiced within many faith traditions and around the world, and no standardized certification process exists. Currently within Holland several schools offer training for spiritual directors within the Christian tradition, but certification beyond the initial training is quite rare. I've chosen to pursue CSD certification in my homeland, Canada, because of my desire to achieve a tangible and recognized level of excellence in my field.

Are you associated with a church?

I'm an active teacher and leader within Crossroads International Church of Amsterdam where I exercise my gift of teaching in various settings. My practice is an independent entity, registered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel). My church leadership fully endorses me in this ministry and provides me with a means of accountability.

My supervisor is Stephen Kern, an ordained minister in the Anglican Church of Canada and adjunct faculty member at Tyndale Seminary (Toronto). My spiritual directors have been Stephen Kern (Anglican) and Sandy Broadus (Baptist) from Canada, Simone Huisman (Franciscan) and Henk de Vilder (Jesuit), who reside in Amsterdam. My current spiritual director is Kitty Bouwman, a catholic scholar who whose area of study is feminine spirituality. The variety of influences in my life, spanning the ocean and denominations, serves me well in relating to people of various backgrounds and affiliations.

Many other spiritual direction FAQ are answered on other places on this site. Explore the spiritual direction pages for more information. If you have a question which you would like to see included on the spiritual direction FAQ page, you are welcome to e-mail me.


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