What is Supervision?

In their Guidelines for Ethical Conduct, Spiritual Directors International states that all spiritual directors should engage in regular supervision.  This supervision could take place with an individual or in a group of peers.

Why is supervision so important?  Supervision helps directors, whether experienced or in training, grow in the ability to listen "with the ear of the heart" to directees.  The process of supervision encourages directors to notice the many ways in which God can be present in the prayer and life experiences of a directee.

Through the process of supervision, directors grow in awareness of self in relation to God.  They come to perceive times when they held back or were inwardly distracted from listening to a directee.  They become more sensitive to what a directee communicates verbally and non-verbally, consciously and unconsciously.   Most of all, they grow in the ability to maintain a contemplative, prayerful presence which then offers the directee the space to encounter God.          

(Description by Becky Van Ness, Saint John's School of Theology.Seminary, Collegeville, MN)


"Supervision is at the heart of learning to be a spiritual director. It is the means to transform general awarenesses about spiritual direction and discernment into concrete knowledge. Indeed, supervision is the key to unlocking the treasure of experiential learnings that are necessary to be a spiritual director; it is, in short, an essential way to develop a contemplative and discerning heart for the ministry of spiritual direction." (Maureen Conroy, Looking into the Well)