Therapy and Spiritual Direction

Journeys Counseling Ministry

Written by: Tiffany Modica, PsyD
Interview with: Megen Phillips, MA, MS, LMFT, Spiritual Director

Spiritual Direction

Have you ever had life questions such as: “Why did I have to go through this situation? Or Where is God in the midst of this challenging trauma?” Each of these questions touches on two different approaches: traditional psychotherapy and spiritual direction.

Therapy is a unique experience, in that, there is a special relationship with a trained therapist who facilitates a sacred space of healing and a process that unfolds between the client and therapist to discuss life’s challenges. Similarly, spiritual direction entails working with individuals on a spiritual plane, with the intention of deepening their faith and relationship with God. Through gathering an understanding of an individual’s family of origin and their idea of God image, who God is to them, spiritual directors develop this spiritual scaffolding of an individual based upon their upbringing and attachment figures and perception of God in their life. Principles of spiritual direction include understanding and integrating specialties such as discernment or Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises-a devotional of daily practices, to build character, perfect one’s soul, strengthen one’s faith and attachment to God, and embracing a deeper understanding of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Although therapy can integrate faith and deepen relationships, spiritual direction deepens a person’s faith, with a unique set of spiritual truths, knowledge of the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and in a shared community.

Where is God in this? How can I experience God more deeply?

Typically, therapists provide a broader framework and specialties within the profession to meet the unique needs of clients, which may include: depression, anxiety, PTSD, family conflict, and life transitions. Whereas spiritual directors provide a more specific framework that centralizes on soul care and strengthening an individual’s inner faith journey. This narrower focus may answer questions such as, “Where is God in this? How can I experience God more deeply?” Spiritual directors are trained to stay in this specific lane, and offer referrals to therapists for any concerns or issues outside of soul care. Likewise, therapists can offer referrals to spiritual directors if the primary focus is in deepening individual’s faith in God beyond typical psychotherapy practices and scope. Journeys Counseling offers both therapy and spiritual direction to provide different avenues for strengthening you on your journey and increasing your spiritual relationship with God.

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Megen Phillips

MA Spiritual Formation & Soul Care
MS Clinical Psychology

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