If you’re interested in beginning to work with a spiritual director or companion, we’ve created this page to offer you some practical tips and questions to help you discern finding the right person to work with.
Generally speaking, spiritual direction and spiritual companionship take place in a one-on-one relationship with an experienced guide, with the aim of helping us experience the eternal and the infinite aspects of our true nature. At SDI, we honor and explore the many orientations and traditions that this sacred relationship draws upon. Learn more about the ways we contemplate spiritual direction and companionship on the What is Spiritual Direction and Companionship page.
SDI offers online resources designed to help you find a spiritual guide. The Find a Spiritual Director or Spiritual Companion Guide is a resource of more than six thousand SDI members who have self-identified as available for spiritual direction or spiritual companionship. You can search based on location, spiritual orientation or tradition, area of expertise, and more. Most spiritual directors or spiritual companions offer a free consultation, so please reach out to a few that you might be interested in working with!
I’m interested in finding a spiritual director or spiritual companion to work with. What are good questions to consider in my search?
The desire and search for the “right fit” is an important part of the process.
Ultimately, it is up to you to choose your spiritual director or spiritual companion wisely. Consider for yourself what might be drawing you to spiritual direction or spiritual companionship in this time in your life, and notice how comfortable it is for you to tell your spiritual story. Listen carefully for the way the spirit is guiding you in your selection process.
Here are the kinds of questions that you might consider asking yourself when finding spiritual directors or spiritual companions to interview:
- What is your experience with working with a spiritual director or spiritual companion? Is this your first experience with this?
- What brings you to spiritual direction or spiritual companionship at this time in your life?
- Do you need to work with someone locally and in-person, or are you willing to work virtually via video conferencing software, e-mail, or telephone?
- Would you like to meet with a male, female, other or non-binary director or companion?
- What spiritual affiliation or orientation would be most helpful for you? Many people search for spiritual directors and companions within their own religion, tradition, or orientation. But many also branch out, seeking wisdom from directors and companions from traditions other than their own.
- What time of day would best serve you for meetings?
OK, I’ve found a few spiritual directors or companions I’m interested in working with. What should I ask them? How can I discern who would be best for me to work with?
Each person seeking a spiritual director or spiritual companion needs to take reasonable steps to verify the competency of any person they are interested in working with. As a modality that can be found across traditions, cultures, and orientations, spiritual direction and spiritual companionship do not have a centralized certifying body that verifies qualifications.
SDI recommends you interview a few spiritual directors and/or companions before meeting in person. We recommend that you include the following questions in your interview:
- What spiritual formation and training do you have in spiritual direction or spiritual companionship?
- What is your personal experience tending your own prayer, meditation, and contemplative life?
- What is your experience as a spiritual director or spiritual companion? How many years? In what environments?
- What are you most interested in spiritually?
- How do you continue your education and supervision for your spiritual direction or spiritual companionship work?
- What ethical guidelines do you abide by, such as those published by Spiritual Directors International?
- What type of engagement agreement will we establish to clarify roles and responsibilities in our spiritual direction or spiritual companionship relationship?
- Would you be willing to offer a free consultation session? (Most spiritual directors and companions offer this)
You and your spiritual director or companion will agree on a convenient location and time for meeting, usually once a month for an hour. Most are also available to meet online through video conferencing platforms such as Zoom. Many spiritual directors or companions request a fee, some receive your free-will donation, and others offer their time with no expectation of anything in return.
Generally payments fall into three categories:
- Spiritual direction or spiritual companionship is offered as a part of the paid staff work of these individuals and a fee or donation is made to the organization that employs them.
- Spiritual direction or spiritual companionship is paid for as a fee for service or by a donation.
- The spiritual director or spiritual companion asks that payments or donations be made to a local charity or organization.
Each spiritual director or companion has unique circumstances and many offer sliding payment scales. When you interview them, please ask how they handle fees.
No, SDI does not endorse or recommend individual spiritual directors or spiritual companions. Qualifications of SDI members and all information in the Find a Spiritual Director or Companion Guide is not verified by SDI.
SDI is not a certifying body, but rather, a learning community that supports spiritual directors, spiritual companions, and seekers with resources such as educational programs, publications, and contemplative practices.
I’ve recently moved. How do I become connected with other spiritual directors in my geographic area?
Through online meetings and video conferencing, it’s become easier than ever to maintain a relationship with your spiritual director or companion, regardless of geographic location. With that said, some do appreciate being able to meet in person locally. Others are interested in connecting with other contemplative friends in their area. When moving to a new area, we certainly encourage you to browse the Find a Spiritual Director or Companion Guide to find other spiritual directors and companions in your new area.
I feel called to become a spiritual director or spiritual companion. Where can I pursue education in this field?
Spiritual direction or spiritual companionship formation and training (FT) programs are also found in our Find a Spiritual Director or Companion Guide. Under the Search parameter “What Are You Looking For?”, check the box for “Formation/Training School”.
Find a Spiritual Director or Companion
Locating and interviewing a spiritual director or companion is an important step in your spiritual journey. SDI’s desire is to provide an easy, inviting way for seekers to connect with a spiritual companion, to find a training program and/or a retreat center. We also help existing spiritual directors and companions find supervisors and additional training resources.