For some counseling clients, the psychological and spiritual aspects of their work may be interwoven; even if a client is not explicitly interested in spirituality, many of us are drawn towards growth and finding meaning in our lives. (Spirituality in the simplest sense has to do with what has ultimate meaning for us.)
The difference is that Spiritual Guidance focuses specifically on your spiritual journey.
In spiritual guidance I honor and value the practice of Presence as we explore the search for meaning and purpose, the longing for the sacred, and the calling of the Mystery. In the shared space of open-heartedness and deep listening, there is welcome for whatever arises: curiosity, questions, confusion, struggle, wounds, grief and anger, inspiration, love, wonder and awe. Together we listen for the wisdom of the Divine (however you may name this) and open to the beauty of the deep heart within.
I extend a particular welcome to those who consider themselves spiritual but not religious, spiritual “independents” or “not affiliated,” or simply “seekers.” If you are drawn to paths that may be described as nondual or mystical, you are likely to feel at home here. I also offer a safe space for those who seek healing from harm or betrayal experienced in a religious/spiritual tradition, and support for those who have had intense spiritual experiences sometimes described as spiritual emergencies.
Our journey makes room for both the mysterious and the practical, in everyday life as well as in various forms of meditation and contemplation (in nature, through music, writing, silent sitting, walking). We may find it valuable to explore practices of compassion and self-compassion, creative expression, silence. Some may feel a strong desire to awaken to a recognition of the sacred within, to an awareness of the gifts we have to offer – our soul-purpose and calling.
In entering this holy work together, I bring an understanding of the interplay between our spiritual and psychological selves, between our inner and relational lives. It is important to be clear that spiritual guidance is not psychotherapy, but at the same time, our spiritual lives are shaped by our history, our challenges and wounds, as well as by our patterns of growth and unfolding understanding. And some approaches used in counseling may also find their place in spiritual guidance – recognizing the influence of various inner parts, for example. Our experience of the conditions on our planet may be interwoven with our spiritual longings and uncertainties. We are invited to explore the interplay between the various aspects of our being – conscious and unconscious, psychological and spiritual, personal and global, transcendent and embodied.
For instance, in spiritual guidance we may find it useful to explore a simple, but powerful practice known as self-inquiry — asking ourselves on deeper and deeper levels such questions as Who is it who is experiencing this? Who am I, really? and “What do I really want? This exploration is not about coming up with an answer, but about stopping to question the taken-for-granted “me” who is at the center of most of our life dramas. Self-inquiry may lead into the mystery of not-knowing and the spaciousness of silence.
Another focus that may emerge: some clients find themselves confused and concerned in response to unusual experiences – states of consciousness – such as near-death experiences, unfamiliar energetic feelings, or other kinds of spiritual openings. Whether or not these fall under the heading of spiritual emergencies, it can very helpful to work with a spiritual guide who can offer information as well as a context of understanding and practical support for this unfolding process.
My years of experience with loss and grief and life transitions, including death and dying, bring relevant and helpful perspectives to spiritual guidance. I also offer familiarity with the Enneagram as a valuable pathway to insight and growth, and an appreciation of diverse ways of knowing: discerning mind, heart, body, intuition, creativity, dreams.
Sometimes our wounds and stumbling blocks emerge as pointers, and amazingly enough, as sources of spiritual insight – even as gifts.
Discerning which path is a better fit for me
Should I focus on counseling, or spiritual guidance?
If you feel a strong pull towards the spiritual journey, and want to explore that aspect of your life….
If you have been on a spiritual path before and want to explore other paths or go deeper…
If you have done a fair amount of personal growth work and sense that spiritual guidance is where your heart draws you now…
If you have struggled with religion or spirituality, or experienced wounding in that particular part of your life…
Note: If, while we are engaged in spiritual guidance work together, you encounter a significant challenge/wound that seems to call for psychological exploration and healing, and we both discern the need for this (or I feel strongly about the need to shift the nature of our work), it is possible to take a break from spiritual guidance and focus on psych-emotional healing work for a while. This would involve gathering additional information, entering a different “contract” together (which would involve a different fee). The other option is for you to engage in counseling/psychotherapy with someone else, and discern whether we need to take a break from spiritual guidance for a while or continue on a limited schedule.