What is spiritual Direction?
I am a psychologist and professor of psychotherapy who has chosen to practice spiritual direction & work in pastoral ministry. As I see it, the main difference between psychotherapy and spiritual direction is that the psychotherapy has a psychological challenge as the focus and spiritual direction has spirituality and human wholeness as the focus. I have heard of psychotherapies that are spiritually focused and spiritual directors that are focused on challenges. These are not mutually exclusive. That said, in spiritual direction I encourage a contemplative focus on God, integration and wholeness of the person, and a healthy and balanced cultivation of selflessness.
An alternative name for spiritual direction is 'spiritual companionship'. Companionship better describes the quality of the relationship I encourage. I have had an interesting and winding journey, but I am not an expert qualified to direct someone. I am more like a companion along the journey offering assistance when needed. This emphasizes the walking together on the journey in which our daily lives –with all their details, struggles and celebrations– are encouraged and shared.
My wish to help
I know that life can be very challenging from time to time. Sometimes, we need companions and guides on our journey. After many years teaching and practicing psychology, I decided that I wanted to help people navigate their lives with a stronger focus on spirituality and religion.
If you want a companion listening as you navigate some of your life challenges –who will join you in spiritually focusing yourself through the process– I would like to help you.
If you want to deepen your spiritual life through prayer, meditation or contemplation– I would like to help you.
If you would like to explore your life of faith in order to better understand your role in it or your service to it– I would like to help you.
If you are discerning a vocation as a priest, deacon or other minister of God – I would like to help you.
If you are questioning or doubting your faith and would like help studying or understanding it more fully– I would like to help you.
Finally, if you are a spiritual seeker and want someone to follow along with you and help you in this journey– I would like to help you.
I have great love for many different religious traditions and devotions. My education in religious studies can help in navigating the many different spiritual options and help you find a meaningful and focused path that suits you. I am dedicated to the belief that all religious traditions have been right and wrong in understanding the mystery and truth of our universe and existence. I am dedicated to the value and truth found in science. I am dedicated to practices that focus our spiritual growth toward the absolute truth and toward our fullest humanity.
My special focuses
My special interests include:
Finding and cultivating a contemplation or prayer practice in order to deepen contact with God
Integrating faith and sexuality
Discerning one's vocation as laity or clergy
Integrating faith more fully into life and family
Studying, understanding and struggling with doctrine and religious beliefs
Finding faith communities that are compatible with who you are as a whole person.
Helping people seek and contact the Holy Mystery we call God and all the complexities of that search. This includes all theistic traditions and –because of my own training– especially Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism & Hinduism.
I want those seekers often impacted by religious abuse, inequity and injustice to feel affirmed and welcome to express themselves fully with me. This includes, but is not limited to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, women and direct and indirect victims of abuse.
My office is located in the basement of the Broadway United Methodist Church. This church was founded in 1891 and, for over a decade, worship was conducted in the basement level until the church above was built.
In 1983, a building fire severely damaged the original church and the current building was constructed. However, if you look at my office and many other basement level spaces, you will find many of the original exposed foundation stones. This invites one into the spirit of the historic worship of God that has been conducted in this space. The current decor is meant to embrace the earthy underground aesthetic, encourage contact with the feeling of the historic worship conducted there and invite warmth and safety.
I hope you will get a chance to experience this!