Spiritual Direction

– a Question of Accreditation?

England, Scotland and Wales 2017/2018


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Come and explore the potential for a national accreditation pathway for spiritual directors. This could be a further development from existing regional codes of conduct and a move towards a new organisation for supporting best practice. Whatever your viewpoint, be part of the discussion. Sign up for news using the form at the bottom of the page.

Consultation meetings for those practising as directors or accompaniers:

Wednesday 11 October 2017: Fringe event, Supervision Conference

Saturday 3 February 2018: 1.30 – 4.30pm, Quaker Meeting House, Friargate York
Please book here for the York meeting

Saturday 3 March 2018 10am – 1pm: St Johns Church, Princes Street Edinburgh
Please book here for the Edinburgh meeting

Saturday 28 April 2018 2.30 – 5.30pm: Royal Foundation of St Katharine London, adjacent to Limehouse Station in Zone 2.
Please book here for the London meeting

Consultation meetings are free but booking is required to ensure seating and catering; if you know you would like to attend it is very helpful for our planning if you can book as soon as possible. An online survey, open to all, is also available here

Background and Further Information 

Elizabeth White and Lynette Harborne are both spiritual directors, supervisors and trainers. Elizabeth trained in the Ignatian tradition, and now offers various ‘Reflective Spaces’ alongside coordinating the adult learning programme for the Diocese of Edinburgh. Lynette is also a practising psychotherapist in Buckinghamshire, and has recently completed a doctoral thesis researching What constitutes good practice in spiritual direction and what is the contribution of supervision?

As a result of our shared interest in the development of good practice in spiritual direction, we have been reflecting on some of the issues that are raised as direction develops in the lay domain and within today’s wider society. For us these include questions around accountability, ethics and safeguarding, how practice develops following training, and how we steward the gifts of the Spirit we have been given one with another. There are also questions around how people look for a suitable spiritual director; whilst various lists or contact points are available, these often do not act as ‘referrals’ and it may be difficult to differentiate between those with considerable and those with little experience. Alongside this, valuable ethical guidelines or codes of practice have developed in many regional areas in recent years, but around which there is not as yet a pathway for public accountability. Accreditation may be a next step to address some of these questions within today’s culture.

We are considering the possibility of setting up some form of voluntary accreditation organisation for spiritual directors which would help to indicate levels of training and experience, give more information about individual’s styles and approaches and offer an additional benchmark for continuity and accountability of practice beyond training. We are aware of very varied viewpoints on accreditation and we wish to explore what interest there may be, as well as areas of concern.

The consultation meetings will include:
● exploration of ethical dilemmas and presentation of doctoral research
● consideration of the pros and cons of a national accreditation pathway
● the value of local regional groups
● gauging interest in a new national network
● the who, how and what of possible accreditation

In the meetings we will not be:
● exploring accreditation of training courses, but of individuals
● aiming to introduce mandatory registration

All practising directors will be welcome and we would warmly invite you to attend whichever date or area is suitable. Currently consultation meetings will take place in England and Scotland; Ireland already has an accrediting body If you are part of a local network please feel free to pass on this information. Every contribution will be very welcome!

Donations welcome on the day to cover costs.

If you are not able to come along to a meeting – or even if you can – we would be glad to hear from you via our ONLINE SURVEY . This is open to directors, also people who are receiving spiritual direction, or anyone else who is interested in this consultation in some other way. It will take around 10-15 minutes to complete and is anonymous.

To receive updates on this project, survey outcomes or other email news please subscribe below.

For general enquiries  contact