This book explores the similarities and differences between the practice of psychotherapy and spiritual direction and suggests that, while there may be distinctions between the two activities, the process is essentially the same. The purpose of the book is to improve the understanding between therapists and spiritual directors, to encourage dialogue and discussion between them, as well as to offer challenges and learning to both.
In the process of exploring the interface between the practice of therapy and the practice of spiritual direction, questions arise about how to address issues of spirituality in a psychological context and psychological issues in a spiritual context. A brief overview of the historical background to spiritual direction is given, and attention drawn to the links between this tradition and the development of psychotherapy. Spiritual issues that may arise in therapy together with psychological issues that occur during spiritual direction are discussed, leading on to a comparison between ‘dark night of the soul’ experiences and clinical depression.
Ethical practice and the recognition of possible misuse of power in both the therapeutic and spiritual direction relationships are examined and the subject of the inclusion of prayer in either is also considered. The provision of relevant and effective training is discussed.
The book concludes with a proposition that, taking common factors theory into account, spiritual direction might be considered to be a modality of psychotherapy, and an invitation to those engaged in either psychotherapy or spiritual direction to engage in further discussion and conversation in the interests of developing good practice in both.
"In a clear and well-argued book, Lynette Harborne demonstrates why therapists and spiritual directors need to be open to each other’s disciplines. This informative book raises important issues both for practising therapists and directors and for those in training."
- Canon Robert Wright, Canon Emeritus of Westminster, formerly Sub-Dean and Archdeacon of Westminster, Rector of St Margaret's, and Chaplain to the Speaker , the House of Commons
"This is clear, well organized, and elegantly written. Whilst not everyone will agree with some of the conclusions, students and practitioners of both disciplines will find much to provoke, inspire, challenge, and usefully engage with."
- Andrew Walker, Director of the Ignatian Spirituality programme, a Psychosynthesis trained supervisor and counsellor, founder director of the London Centre for Spirituality, and presently priest in cha , St Michael’s Church in Lewes
"This is, for me, the first significant book on the British scene that addresses the question of where and how spiritual direction and psychotherapy overlap. The result is a powerful statement that addresses both sets of practitioners with remarkable effect and is just the beginning of an important encounter. It is my wish that this book becomes a catalyst to a rich and fruitful conversation that will be seen as the source of considerable movement for all concerned. All of its points need to be taken seriously."
- John Eatock, FBACP, BACP Lead Advisor for Spiritual & Pastoral Care and Counselling 2007–2011
Table of Contents:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
1) Setting the scene
2) A common heritage?
3) Spiritual issues in therapy: the hidden ingredient?
4) Psychological issues in spiritual direction
5) Depression or Dark Night of the Soul?
6) Ethical and boundary issues
7) Power in the encounter
8) Spirituality in the therapy room—is it OK to pray?
9) Training: or should it be formation?
10)My heretical question: can spiritual direction be considered a modality of psychotherapy?