Guidelines for Ethical Conduct

After five years of study and three drafts, the Ethical Task Force of SDI completed their work. Their task was monumental: to write ethical guidelines for a community of spiritual companions/directors whose memberships span the globe, embracing a wide range of denominational affiliations, faith traditions, and theologies. The product of their prayer, reflection, and discernment is the booklet called the Guidelines for Ethical Conduct.

SDI recognizes that cultural and environmental factors may require these guidelines to be contextualized for different types of spiritual direction experiences. SDI encourages individuals, formation and training programs, religious institutions, health care systems, spirituality centers, supervision circles and peer groups to review and re-appropriate these guidelines.

Spiritual direction is a service that helps people tell their sacred stories every day. To clarify the relationship between the spiritual companion/director and seeker, SDI recommends the use of ethical guidelines and the use an engagement agreement to clarify roles and responsibilities. Download a sample engagement agreement.

To make the Guidelines for Ethical Conduct more readily available for spiritual companions, SDI publishes it online and in print. Complimentary electronic downloads are available below. To order printed booklets, visit the SDI secure store.

Print brochures available for purchase.

SDI is making the HTML version of our Guidelines for Ethical Conduct available on our website at no cost. Consider purchasing print versions for your workplace, and support our work.

Guidelines for Ethical Conduct (English) (2018 Revision)

Ethical Guidelines Task Force

SDI is indebted to the following people who served on the original or revision Ethical Guidelines Task Force:

Lucy Abbott Tucker

Roman Catholic / Illinois, USA

Bill Creed, SJ

Roman Catholic / Illinois, USA / Ignatian Spirituality Project

Andrew Dreitcer, MDiv, PhD

Presbyterian / California, USA / Claremont School of Theology

Richard M. Gula, SS

Roman Catholic / California, USA / Franciscan School of Theology

Jennifer Hoffmann

Jewish / Ontario, Canada

Joyce McFarland

Episcopal / Minnesota, USA / Institute for Ecumenical and Social Research

Timothy E. O’Connell, PhD

Roman Catholic / Illinois, USA / Loyola University Chicago

Dorothy Whiston

Roman Catholic / Iowa, USA / Soul Friends Ecumenical Ministry

Teaching Notes

SDI believes that spiritual directors should be introduced to the Guidelines for Ethical Conduct as part of training and formation programs. To facilitate that process, Lucy Abbott Tucker, a member of the task force that created the Guidelines for Ethical Conduct, has prepared these tips for incorporating conversations about the Guidelines in training programs. Download the free teaching notes here.