This unit moves the student beyond a general understanding of spiritual direction to begin to address more specific topics. Students will explore how contextual issues such as gender, sexuality, abuse and various forms of marginalisation affect the people with whom we accompany. This intensive also covers the importance of vulnerability and emotional validation for the practice of spiritual direction. Throughout the intensive students will have the opportunity to reflect upon the impact of these topics in their own lives as well as listen to the stories of their peers. This unit will focus on the relevance of these topics for the practice of spiritual direction.

Unit code: DD8743Z

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Foundational

Unit discipline: Spiritual Direction

Proposing College: Uniting College for Leadership and Theology

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Learning outcomes


Analyse a variety of contextual issues such as gender, sexuality, spiritual abuse, marginalisation and wounding that influence the practice of spiritual direction.


Critically reflect on own context and experience of spirituality as it influences the practice of spiritual direction.


Evaluate how psychological issues impact the practice of spiritual direction with particular emphasis on vulnerability and emotional validation.


Describe the distinctive aspects of masculine and feminine spirituality and how these may impact the practice of spiritual direction.

Unit sequence

A required unit in the Graduate Diploma in Spiritual Direction (program 3) DD8740Z Contemplative Stance and Soul Care

Prerequisite Units: DD8740Z Contemplative stance and soul care, DD8741Z Spiritual Direction Praxis 1 and CH8740Z History of Contemplative and Apophatic Spirituality


The unit engages students through readings, workshops, group discussions, spiritual direction practicum sessions and personal reflection.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Bentley, Peter, and Ann Lock, eds. Companioning at the Edges: Exploring New Dimensions of Spiritual Direction in Australia. Ashburton, Vic.: Wellspring Centre Inc., 2021.
  • Bisson, Donald. Melting the Iceberg: Spiritual Direction for Men. In Spiritual Direction in Context, edited by Nick Wagner. Morehouse Publishing: Harrisburg, PA: 2006, 30-37.
  • Callahan, Annice. Some Women’s Perspectives on the Ministry of Spiritual Direction. The Way s091 (1998): 88-100.
  • Creed, Bill. When Religious Institutions Injure. Presence 6.2 (May 2000): 38-46.
  • Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin, White Masks. Translated by Richard Philcox. London: Penguin Random House, 2021.
  • Fischer, Kathleen. Working with Emotions in Spiritual Direction: Seven Guiding Principles. Presence 12.3 (September 2006): 26-35.
  • Rossiter, Rich. Spiritual Direction with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Person. In Still Listening: New Horizons in Spiritual Direction, edited by Norvene Vest. Morehouse Publishing: Harrisburg, PA: 2000, 77-92.
  • Reed, Juan. Can I Get a Witness? Spiritual Direction with the Marginalised. In Still Listening: New Horizons in Spiritual Direction, edited by Norvene Vest. Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing, 2000, 91-104.
  • Ruffing, Janet. Spiritual Direction: Beyond the Beginnings. New York: Paulist Press, 2000.
  • Tan, Siang-Yang. Integrating Spiritual Direction into Psychotherapy: Ethical Issues and Guidelines.Journal of Psychology and Theology 31.1 (March 2003): 14-23.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Summative Reflection

A summative reflection of the student’s learnings from the experience and content of the unit

2000 30.0
Critical Review

Critically assess the implications of one of a specified article

2000 30.0

The essay will focus on the implementation of theoretical concepts in spiritual direction practice.

2500 40.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Prof Albert Haddad on 20 Oct, 2022

Unit record last updated: 2022-10-27 18:35:44 +1100