Spiritual Direction

‘There are no experts in prayer, only people who have been faithful to the ache’ : Macrina Wiederkehr in ‘A Tree Full of Angels’

Spiritual Direction is a place to be faithful to the ‘ache’. It is not for those who are experts. Many people first discover Spiritual Direction during a time of transition or because of a sense of disorientation; others come looking for ‘more’, in new ways – and others stay because they find a place to nourish spiritual well-being. It is a space to listen for what the ‘ache’ is saying, and where this might be leading you; to greater life and freedom. It is a place to find companionship in taking risks into a depth of inner life which ‘costs not less than everything’.

Kilmuir stone steps

A spiritual direction session is an hour, usually monthly (although see below for other options and formats), of confidential and supportive listening; an enabling listening to yourself as you are compassionately listened to. And together listening for how you experience the spiritual – perhaps experiences which are already within you but you may not know it; and what all this means for life.

Spiritual Direction is open to everyone – it encompasses all things, not just the hard-to-pin-down ‘spiritual’. The ‘direction’ does not come from the person you meet with, but in the direction your life has the potential to take at its fullest and most free. And it lies with the Spirit who is the true director of all.

The Ignatian tradition of Spiritual Direction, which is my training, has a particular emphasis on ‘discernment’; noticing inner moods and movements and finding the grace to choose what is more life-giving. For most of us, decisions in life are often actually between ‘two goods’ – how do I know which response is most in tune with who I was created to be. How am I enabled to let go into my truest being and live out life in its fullness, in an ongoing way? This is ‘contemplation in action’.

About Me

I trained in the Ignatian tradition 2004 – 2009 and have integrated a variety of interests and approaches to spiritual direction alongside this, as I live and serve within the Christian tradition and beyond. Therapeutic and creative riches have become increasingly important to me as ‘mediators of the sacred’, ways to encounter the Creator through our whole selves – body, mind, spirit and emotions. In sessions I might use life-story, images and imagination, nature, meditation and music, body awareness and writing interwoven within conversation. I have experience as a safeguarding officer and am trained as a facilitator in Right Use of Power and in Circle of Security – these inform my work exploring how experiences of trust, attachment, harm and love relate to faith, life, meaning and belonging. I resource my own journey so I can more deeply hold space for others.

Elizabeth WhiteGrowing up in church, I became unwell in my teens and in my twenties began to meet with a spiritual director. At a time when my own life experience and my experience of church did not connect, I greatly valued the companionship of another as we talked and listened together. It was a safe place to hold on – however fleetingly – to the things I still wanted and believed in, and to let go of others; to slowly rebuild my relationship with myself, others and God and to redefine my experience of prayer and community. 30 years later I have more sense of being enabled to hold together my experiences of brokenness, grace and gratitude. Out of this, I offer an inclusive space to others who come with their very individual stories, beliefs and ‘aches’.

If you are interested to know more, or for an initial exploratory meeting in Edinburgh, please contact me at elizabeth@reflectivespaces.org.uk

UPDATE (Summer 2024): I am sorry that I do not have availability for new spiritual direction enquiries or supervision at the moment.

Spiritual direction with Elizabeth has given me space and time to untangle thoughts and emotions about my life, my spirituality, and my search for the divine. Each session is like a mini retreat. I have been able to dive deeper into my own sense of self and the world without fear.

This is the most valuable thing I have ever done for my spiritual life

As a spiritual director, Elizabeth is a journeying companion, encouraging you to look around and take notice of the small and the big things that shape your journey. She helps you explore the path you are on without any judgement or expectation, so that you can find your own way forward – or even a place to rest awhile along the way.

Formats and Fees

Spiritual Direction or Accompaniment can come in various forms. For an initial meeting to explore options, and to see if we feel like a good ‘fit’, I invite an offering of £25 for an hour.

  • The most common format thereafter is monthly individual sessions, and these are £50 per hour session.
  • You may wish to come fortnightly for a period of time.
  • Or once a week for six weeks as a ‘retreat in daily life’ experience – perhaps if you have a decision to make, want to dip your toe in the water, explore new ways of praying or feel a longing to find inner refreshment.
  • You may be needing some ‘intensive spiritual care’ for a while when burnt out or in a crisis of some kind.
  • It may be possible to create a way to spend a day in silent retreat, meeting for accompaniment morning and afternoon.
  • I work online by Zoom or phone for people who are unable to travel due to distance or illness.

If you have an idea of another way we could journey together that you feel would work well for you, I would love to explore this with you.

Spiritual Direction, Pastoral Supervision and Workshops are a significant way I make my living; if finance is a considerable barrier for you please be in touch for a conversation to see what will be possible; I have small bursary fund.

All enquiries and sessions are completely confidential. I am trained and insured for this work, hold to the Code of Practice of The Epiphany Group and am a member of the PVG (Disclosure Scotland) scheme.

‘I’d rather be honest than try and pull the wool over peoples’ eyes because there’s an integrity and hopefully something that’s attractive about someone who is being honest because it’s real and it’s human – there’s nothing wrong with not understanding everything’  from An Aching and A Longing CD by Martyn Joseph.