As I talked about here, spiritual direction is a practice that centers on holy listening.
What You Should Expect from a Spiritual Director: to meet with someone who respects and honors your journey, creates a contemplative and quiet space for holy listening, gently keeps the focus of conversation on the spiritual life as you experience and seek it, and practices complete confidentiality.
On a Practical Level: Most spiritual directors typically meet with individuals once a month, for 60 or 90 minutes. (For myself, these meetings take place in a room reserved for this purpose in a local church building. If you are unable to travel due to illness, disability, or lack of childcare, this meeting may be held at a more convenient, mutually agreed upon place. Skype may also be an option.) As with most directors, my fees are based on standard practice with a sliding scale for those on a limited income. Payment and further details such as ethical guidelines and expectations are discussed in the initial contact and/or the first meeting.
What Spiritual Direction Is Not: Along with training and experience in the art and practice of spiritual direction, many spiritual directors have training and backgrounds in other professions or vocations. Many spiritual directors, for instance, are also clergy, but spiritual direction is not centered on theological instruction. Nor is it a form of psychotherapy, marital counseling, medical advice or life-coaching, though a spiritual director may possibly have training in one or more of these disciplines. If issues arise that pertain to areas beyond the spiritual direction context, referrals or contact information may be offered for social work issues, traditional therapy, mental or physical health concerns, legal issues, and so on.
SDI: The Professional Organization: For a comprehensive overview of spiritual direction as a concept, tradition, and living experience, visit Spiritual Directors International . SDI is the professional, umbrella organization of which I am a member. SDI also produced this important document which guides my own practice: Ethical Guidelines for Spiritual Directors (a downloadable PDF from SDI). For a helpful comparison chart on the most common differences between various pastoral or therapeutic roles, click here.
Wherever your own journey leads, I wish you well.