Spiritual Direction

– a Question of Accreditation?

England, Scotland and Wales 2017/2018

In Summer 2017 a new project launched to 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. Read further background to this project – and news – below.

The consultation continued into 2018 via an Online Survey This survey closed on 31 March 2018, however if you would like to receive future updates please sign up for news:


Bringing together Elizabeth White’s interest in accountability, how practice develops following training, stewarding the gifts of the Spirit, and the ways people find a suitable spiritual director with Lynette Harborne’s doctoral research into spiritual direction, supervision and best practice, we are inviting views, comments and suggestions in the coming months from both directors and directees. 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. 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 exploring accreditation of individuals not of training courses, and we are not aiming to introduce mandatory registration. We are aware of very varied viewpoints on this ‘question of accreditation’ and we wish to explore what interest there may be, as well as areas of concern. All contributions are very welcome!

UPDATE January 2018

We are delighted in the interest thus far in this consultation project. The response to our online survey since its launch on 1 December has indicated greater and more varied engagement than we had ever anticipated. Views expressed so far range from those that are clearly positive about the possibility of an accreditation pathway to those who are strongly against it. There are also those who have named their uncertainty or indicate reservations. Many people (whatever their overall feeling) highlight the need for further information about what accreditation may involve practically, and also how this sits alongside ministry and charism.

Consultation meetings had been planned for Spring 2018 but in just a short time it has become clear that people are very much preferring the survey as a way of taking part in the consultation. In the light of this, and the survey feedback asking for more information, we have made the decision not to hold consultation meetings as planned. We now intend to re-order our work, responding to the survey data and questions asked, by bringing forward our next reflection stage with a view to disseminating more substantive information in due course. Please do fill in the survey and make it known to others. For news in the coming weeks and months please  sign up using the boxes above.

OUR ONLINE SURVEY WILL REMAIN OPEN HERE UNTIL 31 MARCH 2018. The survey 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 minutes to complete and is anonymous. The survey does NOT automatically sign you up for news; if you would like to receive updates please fill in the form at the top of this page.

Do pray with us in our work on this project that we may listen well to the Spirit as we continue to reflect on and discern the way forward.

UPDATE April 2018

Our online survey was open from 1 December 2017 to 31 March 2018 and is now closed. Interest has been high and we hope to begin to answer some of the most ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ from the survey in the weeks ahead. We will be taking longer to consider any substantial proposals regarding possible accreditation, and news on this will come later. In the next few months we are looking to continue our own reflections and also to take some joint retreat time to consider any next steps. For further news please sign up using the boxes above, or visit this page again in the months ahead.

Elizabeth and Lynette





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