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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably The Best Available Guide For Spiritual Directors
By spiritual direction here is meant that central and often avoided part of pastoral counseling that deals not so much with people's many problems and struggles as with their experience of and personal relationship to God. It is a specialized and all important area that is easy to side step in normal counseling because of the relative ease with which other problems can...
Published on May 24, 2001 by Peter Fennessy

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68 of 84 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Approach seemed "backwards"
Though the knowledge and experience which the authors possess is clear, my impression was that, rather than taking classic concepts of spiritual direction and incorporating the insights of modern psychology, they were accepting the latter as truth and adapting the former to fit them.
Certainly, the sort of distance and authoritarian stance of previous centuries,...
Published on November 4, 2000 by Elizabeth G. Melillo


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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably The Best Available Guide For Spiritual Directors, May 24, 2001
By 
Peter Fennessy (Bloomfield Hills, MI USA) - See all my reviews
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By spiritual direction here is meant that central and often avoided part of pastoral counseling that deals not so much with people's many problems and struggles as with their experience of and personal relationship to God. It is a specialized and all important area that is easy to side step in normal counseling because of the relative ease with which other problems can be addressed and/or because of an inbuilt fear on everyone's part of a relationship with the almighty. This eminently practical book points out in great detail the paths by which one may help another to foster this all-important relationship which is more basic and prior to resolving other symptomatic difficulties in the individual's life. It describes as well the distractions, pitfalls, avoidances and other problems that beset director and directee along the way. This is probably the best text available in this area. Its strength comes from the massive experience of the authors in doing, teaching, and supervising spiritual direction, in their theological, spiritual and psychotherapeutic background, and in their ability to organize and present the material clearly and cogently. It is a must in the library of any spiritual director, could profitably be read by anyone seeking direction, and is well worth frequent rereading.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best of the lot, April 13, 2004
I am currently in a two year process of training in spiritual direction and have been reading numerous introductions to the subject. I found this one easily the most useful of the lot. It is well organized, especially in its analysis of the opportunities and hazards of the relationship with the directee as it develops. Part of the book's strength is that it is based on the experiences of the authors in running a center devoted to direction and training directors, not on one individual's view of the topic. I suspect that some of the writing is more sophisticated and nuanced than I can yet appreciate, so the book will bear rereading at a later stage. I especially enjoyed this quotation in the Conclusion - "As the dialogue and exploration [of the nature of spiritual direction today] continue, both pastoral care and theological reflection can benefit. The divorce of theology from religious experience has begun to be healed, and spiritual directors who are alive to theological issues and regularly in contact the religious experience of Christians will contribute to further healing."
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "It could be easy to misunderstand", February 28, 2006
By 
G. Ebner (Bellefontaine, OH) - See all my reviews
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E.G. Melillo voiced a concern about the response given concerning a married woman who was having a relationship with a divorced man. I understand E.G. Melillo's concern, however, I interpreted the author's words in a different way.

The authors didn't seem to be saying that the relationship was appropriate in any way. They seemed to be talking about how we "approach" a directee which can affect the listening relationship and working alliance. On page 143, the authors say, "In the first place, the directee usually knows that there is a discrepancy...God has an interest in the quality of the directee's life and that behavior that is seriously inconsistent with God's desires will lead to disturbances in the relationship with him...(Then) the director, whose working agreement has been to help her with prayer, can now begin to probe more deeply into the causes of the disturbance and thus help the directee." If the director strongly points out the "sin" in her actions right away, the directee is likely to tune her out. The authors are encouraging a director to be patient and maintain a relationship with the woman and then the director will be able to help "her" discover this discrepancy for herself. Allowing someone to hear God for themselves is always better than trying to be God for them. We can easily get in the way and interfere with the Spirit's action if we try to jump on a subject before the directee is ready to hear.

I found the book to be good, basic knowledge. It doesn't wander from the main thing, which is a clear understanding and knowledge of spiritual direction. They state over and over again that the motivation for spiritual direction has to be the desire to grow in relationship with the Lord.
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68 of 84 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Approach seemed "backwards", November 4, 2000
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Though the knowledge and experience which the authors possess is clear, my impression was that, rather than taking classic concepts of spiritual direction and incorporating the insights of modern psychology, they were accepting the latter as truth and adapting the former to fit them.
Certainly, the sort of distance and authoritarian stance of previous centuries, which the authors rightly see as passe (though it worked in its time), requires much adaptation to be effective today. Yet, in recent decades, the essence, comprising the accumulated wisdom of many centuries, too often has been sacrificed because how to apply the accidental is unclear. The authors make some areas rather murky and puzzling. For example, one case cited is that of a religious Sister who is spiritual director to a married woman who believes her life and prayer have improved in the course of a current adulterous relationship. The authors believe the director should keep silent, because to do otherwise would be following an agenda of defending marriage rather than being open to the other woman's needs - and rely on her having other sources of information, or a personal intuition, that may influence her assessment of her situation. This is quite contrary to any classic view, since one of a director's ministries always has been to assist the other in a truly honest view, unhampered by self-deception - and adultery, a clearly immoral action in Christian teaching which a director would have an obligation to correct, has never been viewed as helpful in the spiritual life.
My impression was that, in encouraging those in this ministry to embrace current trends in psychology and the like, many of the key parts of the ministry (however unpleasant they may be at times) were neglected.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is The Book I've Been Looking For, February 27, 2006
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For some time now I have been searching for a book on the topic of spiritual direction that is comprehensive enough to serve as a base model for ministry. I've searched through many volumes. I recently stumbled upon this book in the library of a retreat center. This is a must have! The authors serve the reader a balanced diet of spirituality and healthy counseling practices. The chapters are comprehensive. Here is a great starter text on the subject.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Practical Advice, July 16, 2006
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I found this book written simply and very practical in the advice given to those guiding others in the spiritual journey. This book does not delve into the realm of theory but remains very concrete which is what I needed when I found myself too busy to read long explanations. Starting from everyday experience, the author concentrates on relationships and building up those relationships. He gives us criteria for evaluating our religious experiences while keeping our balance. A great approach and very helpful. thank you.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview of spiritual direction., September 25, 1998
By A Customer
Very practical and helpful guide to spiritual direction. When one wants to know how to deal with directees' difficulties, this book provides answers across many aspects on opening them to God. For spiritual directors, this book gives many leads on how to reflect on one's spiritual direction.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Practice of Spiritual Direction, August 8, 2010
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As a spiritual director this is one of the books that used during my three years of classes at Saint Thomas University (Miami). It has been so helpful for my formation and now for my spiritual direction practice I keep it handy as a reference.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A practical, lucid and wise guide to the practice of spiritual direction, January 9, 2011
By 
Paul M. Dubuc (Columbus, OH USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Practice of Spiritual Direction (Paperback)
A very practical book which lays an excellent foundation for the practice of a form of spiritual direction that is entirely focused on helping people develop a growing, intimate relationship with a loving God. It helps spiritual directors facilitate, not dominate, the process. This book is very lucidly written and full of wisdom born of long, prayerful and practical experience. This book is must reading for anyone who is considering, or who is fulfilling, a vocation in this form of ministry. It's the kind of book I would want to read over again periodically to let it sink in.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Guide!, September 24, 2012
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This review is from: The Practice of Spiritual Direction (Paperback)
This should be a must read for anyone interested or practicing spiritual direction. The book provides excellent examples of proper questioning and technique for directors.
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The Practice of Spiritual Direction
The Practice of Spiritual Direction by William A. Barry (Paperback - June 2, 2009)
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