The Lived Experience of Group Spiritual Direction

by Rose Mary Dougherty. Paulist Press, 2003.

This resource well illustrates its author’s encouraging insight: "Wherever you have people wanting God and wanting to support others in going for God, tremendous energy is released." Rose Mary Dougherty provides an inside look at the experience of group spiritual direction—from the perspectives of those who have taken part in it as either participants or facilitators.

The essays included are a helpful adjunct to the author’s earlier manual and video (Group Spiritual Direction) and address such wide-ranging practicalities as how to choose between individual and group spiritual direction, the advantages and pitfalls of programs held within a worshipping community, group spiritual direction in the workplace, and the pros and cons of "clergy-only" versus "clergy-and-laity" groups.

The rich experiences shared in this book make spiritual direction available to a wider circle of participants: in communities where there is no "credentialed" person available for individual spiritual direction, group spiritual direction may offer an answer. The interested reader will find ideas for adapting procedures to unique situations, examples of how to announce a proposed program, advice on how to screen and select participants, and rituals and practices that the contributors have found helpful.