The Importance of Spiritual Growth in Mental Health
In an attempt to compliment our psychological services, St. Raphael Counseling also offers spiritual direction based on Catholic Church traditions and is faithful to the Magisterium. Spiritual direction can be a compliment to someone already in therapy as well as for someone who is solely interested in seeking spiritual direction. Though spiritual direction focuses primarily on the growth of the Christian life within the soul, it also seeks to integrate the whole person. The following five characteristics give a snapshot of the type of spiritual direction one seeking spiritual direction can expect.
Companionship: Spiritual direction is rooted in the words of our Lord, “for where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt 18:20). In this context the spiritual director seeks to be first and foremost a friend and companion along the path of the one being directed to holiness and heaven.
Personalized: God creates everyone in a very individual manner and calls each of us to follow him in a unique way that is specific to each person. The spiritual director views the one being directed under this perspective and takes into account how grace is acting in a personal way.
Freedom: “Human freedom is a force for growth and maturity in truth and goodness; it attains its perfection when directed toward God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1731). A St. Raphael’s spiritual director respects human freedom acknowledging that the one being directed has the final decision regarding what to do in his or her spiritual life.
Growth: The ultimate goal in spiritual direction is for the one being directed to develop the life of grace which was planted in his or her soul at Baptism. Whether uprooting sin or advancing in the higher levels of prayer, spiritual direction is always focused in an optimistic desire for spiritual growth and human maturity.
Discernment: An important goal in spiritual direction is for the director to help the one being directed discern how the movements of the Holy Spirit are active in his or her life. This discernment can greatly assist in one discovering how to discover and follow God’s will in both small and large issues along one’s path.
We see spiritual direction as an important outreach to the Church, and so the fee is decided upon with your spiritual director based on a sliding scale. Also, you will normally meet with your spiritual director once a month for 50 minutes.