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Synopsis

This book explores the similarities and differences between the practice of psychotherapy and spiritual direction and suggests that, whilst there may be distinctions between the two activities, the process is essentially the same. The purpose of the book is to improve the understanding between therapists and spiritual directors, to encourage dialogue and discussion between them, as well as to offer challenges and learning to both.In the process of exploring the interface between the practice of therapy and the practice of spiritual direction, questions arise about how to address issues of spirituality in a psychological context and psychological issues in a spiritual context. A brief overview of the historical background to spiritual direction is given, and attention drawn to the links between this tradition and the development of psychotherapy. Spiritual issues that may arise in therapy together with psychological issues that occur during spiritual direction are discussed, leading on to a comparison between 'dark night of the soul' experiences and clinical depression.Ethical practice and the recognition of possible misuse of power in both the therapeutic and spiritual direction relationships are examined and the subject of the inclusion of prayer in either is also considered. The provision of relevant and effective training is discussed.The book concludes with a proposition that, taking common factors theory into account, spiritual direction might be considered to be a modality of psychotherapy, and an invitation to those engaged in either psychotherapy or spiritual direction to engage in further discussion and conversation in the interests of developing good practice in both.

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