THE ART OF
SELF-SUPERVISION
SCHOOL FOR SPIRITUAL DIRECTION:
SPIRITUAL DIRECTION SUPERVISION
Definitions and Descriptions
! The ability to understand one’s capability, evaluate one’s skills, estimate one’s
qualities, and organize oneself in order to grow
! The effort taken to evaluate and assess one’s activities in a particular area
! “Internal supervision”
! A self-initiated and self-maintained process
! Process of engaging in self-awareness, self-action, and self-evaluation
! Specifically in the area of spiritual direction: A process of prayerful self-
reflection on how one was being with the directee, what was said, what wasn’t
said, what one was experiencing (feelings, thoughts, sensations, intuitions),
what was noticed (both in oneself and in the directee), what might have been
missed at the time.
What is Necessary?
! In order to be able to engage in a process of self-supervision, one must
have a good understanding of the theoretical/theological/philosophical
framework that provides the basis or guide with which to “evaluate”
oneself.
! Some guide questions:
! What is your theoretical/theological/philosophical understanding of spiritual
direction?
! What is your understanding of what spiritual direction is?
! How do you understand the role of the spiritual director? What is the stance the
director is to take in relation to God and the directee?
! What is the role of discernment in spiritual direction?
What Self-Supervision is NOT
! It is not a checking of one’s behaviors against a set checklist.
! While there may be certain things that “should” be done or “shouldn’t” be
done, self-supervision in spiritual direction is a prayerful, contemplative self-
compassionate process of the heart that transcends a pre-established series of
do’s and don’ts.
! It is not an opportunity for self-shaming or self-criticizing
! Rather, it is another opportunity to practice self-compassion and self-
graciousness. It is another opportunity to open oneself to the experience of
God’s grace and invitation
! It is not a substitute for supervision
! It can be used when supervision is not available and/or as a preparation for
supervision
Some Means of Self-Supervision
! Journaling (see book chapter by McCormack)
! Utilizing the CRF
! Writing out a dialogue from a portion of the direction session
! Recording and listening to an audio recording of the session
! Videotaping and watching a session
! Walking the Labyrinth with a directee or a direction session in mind
! Engaging in an Examen (see module material)
Self-Supervision as an Art
! The art of self-supervision comes in the form of gentle self-evaluation and
self-reflection colored by self-compassion and a self-graciousness.
! The backdrop of this process is the director’s own ongoing and deepening
experience of God’s gentleness, compassion, and graciousness in their
growing intimacy with Divine Mystery.
! The director holds within them an embodied knowledge of what
constitutes spiritual direction: their theological/philosophical/theoretical
framework for how the Holy Spirit works through the director, as well as
independent of the director (i.e., directly with and in the directee) to bring
the directee into greater friendship and intimacy with God.
! It is within this framework that the director is able to allow God to reveal
any growing edges and/or places of celebration.