What is spiritual direction?
Spiritual direction is the practice of accompanying and supporting others as they attempt to discover, develop and deepen their relationship with the Divine. In a quiet, private setting, the spiritual directee shares his or her spiritual experiences, challenges or questions. The spiritual director listens attentively and responds accordingly, often by asking probative questions to stimulate new thinking or insights or by sharing helpful information or experience. The focus is not on specific, day-to-day life challenges, but on the individual’s overall relationship with the Divine in spiritual counseling.
My Spiritual Belief
I believe that spirituality is the natural state of human beings and one that is evidenced through the felt senses. When we find ourselves in awe of something, when we feel intrinsically connected to others, when we feel good, energized, creative, joyful or “in the flow,” these are all indications that we are experiencing our true spiritual nature.
My Approach to Spiritual Counseling
The key to living one’s spirituality is knowing how to access these numinous states in day-to-day life. I help my directees identify the people, places and activities that produce within them that sense of awe, connectedness, creativity or joy that is at the heart of their spiritual nature.
In some cases, this requires first addressing obstacles to one’s experience of the Divine, such as institutional conditioning (particularly relevant for my gay male clients), past trauma, or self-limiting beliefs. It is here that my skills as a psychotherapist intersect with those around spiritual direction. In other cases, or at a later stage, I also help spiritual directees adopt time-honored spiritual practices such as mindfulness meditation or develop prayerful, ritualistic or creative practices of their own design.
How often should I come?
Those who are new to spiritual direction generally find weekly sessions most helpful, at least until they develop a consistent and clearly beneficial spiritual practice. Others elect to come twice or once monthly. The choice is always yours.
What will it cost?
I aim to make spiritual direction available to any sincere seeker and therefore provide it on a sliding scale. If during our initial, no-charge consultation we feel we’re a good fit for one another, we can then discuss your personal circumstances and come to a mutually agreeable fee arrangement.
A Word to Other Spiritual Directors and Clergy
As a psychotherapist, as well as a certified spiritual director, I regard the spiritual life of individuals as essential to their well-being. Should you find that a spiritual directee may benefit from psychotherapy, rest assured that you can refer them to me with complete confidence, knowing that I will support their spiritual growth in the course of treatment. Should you desire spiritual direction or psychotherapy for yourself, know also that I welcome and often work with pastors, priests and other religious leaders.
About Marc Andrews, LCSW, DCSW, MS
Marc Andrews is a Certified Spiritual Director, as well as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Gestalt Psychotherapy, Cognitive Therapy, and Advanced Treatment of Sexual Abuse Survivors. He has been practicing psychotherapy since 1990 and is one of the rare few spiritual director-psychotherapists in the U.S. who work primarily (though not exclusively) with gay men. Marc holds multiple degrees from St. Bonaventure University, University of Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University and was certified as a Spiritual Director through the Urban Spirituality Center in Portland, OR.