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School of Spiritual Direction:
Spiritual Direction Supervision
A Review of Discernment
! Following from Larry Warners course, Prayerful Discernment II,
“discernment” in the Ignatian sense refers to a “growing awareness of
our internal movements”.
! These internal movements are those that move us in our heart versus those
that move us into our head (“false reasonings”)
! A review of what constitutes “spiritual discernment”:
! “The discernment of spirits has to do with distinguishing among the stirrings
of our heart.” In this manner, we are able to recognize those stirrings that
move us toward God and leads to consolation versus those that move us
away from God and leads to desolation.
! Through the process of discernment we are able to “sift” through our
experiences by “taking note” or “noticing” and reflecting on our affective
! Through reflecting on our feelings we are able to determine the direction
our feelings are moving us – toward God or away from God – into consolation
or into desolation.
A Review of Discernment
! According to Timothy Gallagher, OMV, one way of using Ignatius’ Rules
for Discernment is:
! “Be Aware”: notice the feelings and thoughts you are having
! “Understand”: notice the direction of those interior movements
! “Take Action”: choose the direction in which you wish to go
! Remember:
! The foundation of discernment is prayer.
! There is no discernment without prayer.
A Process of Discernment in Supervision
! Start with discernment in your direction sessions to
identify what to bring into supervision:
! Notice what stirs within as you (i.e., feelings, emotions, body
sensations) reflect on your direction session(s) either areas of
tension, upset, anger, frustration, stuckness, etc. or joy, peace,
love, flow, elation, contentment, etc. What corresponding
thoughts do you have?
! What happened in the session that gave rise to these feelings,
emotions, sensations, thoughts?
! Do these feelings, sensations, thoughts bring a feeling of agitation
and unfreedom or a feeling of peace and interior freedom?
! Are they moving you into your head or are they coming from your
! What corresponding Rule for Discernment seems to fit with your
interior experience?
A Process of Discernment in Supervision
! In supervision:
! As you bring your focus question and the specific situation
from your direction session to your supervisor, notice your
feelings, emotions, body sensations, inner dialogue, even
memories, as they arise.
! Do these create within you greater agitation and tension or
do they create an inner warmth, a peace, a joy? In essence,
do they signify for you a movement into desolation or a
movement into consolation?
! What might that suggest to you? Is there a “growing edge”
there? What might God’s invitation to you be?
! Any of the above points may be something to discuss with
your supervisor.