Student Spiritual Directors

Students in the practicum of the spiritual direction training program at Perkins School of Theology will meet with two or more directees. A directee is someone seeking a relationship with a trained spiritual director. Spiritual directors are supervised regularly during the practicum year and follow the ethical guidelines of Spiritual Directors International (SDI). Student directors do not charge a fee for this ministry.

What is spiritual direction? A trained listener sits with another to take a long, loving look at what is real, to seek freedom from bondage, to savor and celebrate with the Holy, to discover a deeper meaning and purpose in life.

Why spiritual direction? As human beings created for community, we are better listeners in the presence of others. Spiritual directors are compassionate companions trained to hold space for the Holy to emerge.

How do I find a spiritual director? Begin to read over the names listed here and pray for the Holy to guide you to this relationship. Discern what you desire in this relationship. Contact several directors via telephone or teleconference. At the bottom of the page you will find a good list of questions to ask a potential spiritual director.

Amy Bird
I am seeking to become a trained spiritual director because spiritual direction has been the most powerful source of transformation in my life over the past three years, and I want to be a part of that beautiful process for others.   I am a female in my early 40’s, hold a masters in theological studies, have a background in evangelicalism, am continually deconstructing and reconstructing my faith, and am a social worker by profession.  My personal interests in direction include the emergence of the true self, Enneagram work, contemplative practices, spirituality and sexuality, and dream work, although I do not hold any additional certifications in these areas.

Sandy Centeno
My ministry in Spiritual Direction is to walk along side young families as they connect to God through compassionate observation and deep listening while they navigate the joys and challenges of parenting. 
What I bring into Spiritual Direction sessions with parents and children are the unique lessons and experiences I learned, practiced and absorbed as a Montessori guide and teacher for children and families for over 30 years. I also bring the understanding, the experiences and the challenges of parenting my own adopted daughters. 

John Conard

Tyler Dawn

Welcome and congratulations to anyone who is reading this introduction, as you have taken an earnest and important step in your spiritual journey! I, too, did the same 8 years ago. As a divorced woman with 2 grown sons entering my 50’s, I sensed that there was more to life than the one I was living. After a profound spiritual awakening experience, I began to question, seek and ask for guidance. The paths that I have found most helpful in my own journey have been the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, Christian Mysticism, Buddhism, yoga, the enneagram, centering prayer and mindfulness. The gifts of spiritual direction that were given to me, I humbly offer to others.

Emily Everett

Emily Everett is an Ordained Deacon in the United Methodist Church. She is currently living in Austin, Texas and training to become a Spiritual Director through Perkins School of Theology. Through Spiritual Direction, Emily brings the gift of a non-anxious presence, compassionate listening and companionship to people looking to reflect on God’s presence and movement in their life to be able to gain greater clarity, peace and freedom. Whether you are in a specific period of discernment or simply want to practice paying more attention to your inner/outer life, Spiritual Direction invites you to a sacred and grace filled space as we journey together along the way. 

Tripp Gulledge
There are many things that I do not know, and many things that I can’t count on. The one thing I know, and the one thing I count on, is that God wants our best and gets excited when we pursue it in God’s presence. Through the practice of spiritual direction, it is our joy to come alongside one another as we seek to encounter God. For me, spiritual direction is primarily a pattern of listening, noticing, and processing life experiences together. It would be my honor and pleasure to join you in seeking to know and love God more.

Cara Gilger
MDiv, Vanderbilt University 
My practice of spiritual direction is shaped by 15 years serving as a spiritual formation pastor in the congregational setting and five years as a congregational consultant. Through these two experiences, I’ve learned the value of deep listening as a practice for personal and community thriving. I believe that spiritual direction reveals God at work in our lives through a practice of stillness and presence. 

Jill M. Johnson
Jill M. Johnson is a nonprofit consultant and freelance writer who lives in Austin, Texas. A lifelong believer in the importance of cultivating our spiritual lives, Jill loves exploring the interior life with others. She is training to be a spiritual director through the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and is in her practicum phase. Spiritual direction is a sacred space and time, set aside just for you, to share your questions, joys, and struggles about life and your faith journey. A trained director guides, as together, we both listen for that third, Other Voice in the room (the Holy Spirit). Spiritual direction, at its best, brings us back to union with the Divine and reminds us that God is always near us and for us.

John Middleton
God has called each of us to look out for the wellbeing of others. Where-ever you are in your journey, God is speaking to you, guiding you; however,  like the first disciples experienced on the road to Emmaus,  we often don’t recognize the voice that is speaking. Something is preventing us from seeing and hearing clearly. Like them we need a “community” where we can be enabled to see and hear. 
Our bodily human journey is meant to be experienced in such community, with God and others along the way.As a spiritual companion my role is to walk along with as a fellow traveler on this way, for a season.
If you are curious about the process or would just like to talk, reach out.

Pres Ida Pimentel
I received an MAM degree in Pastoral Care from Perkins, class 2020. My ministry is in spiritual formation and pastoral education for Philippine clergy & laity, a ministry that is needed. My spiritual formation class helped me with discernment and transformation experiences. As a spiritual guide in a ministry setting, I welcome the opportunity to walk with you.

Bob Rice
Hello, my name is Bob Rice and I and working on a certificate in spiritual direction at Perkins School of Theology. I would invite you to consider allowing me to be your spiritual director. I have had a mediation practice for over 20 years and have been a nurse/nurse practitioner for 30 years. Through these experiences I have come to know a God who is very loving, caring, and very personal in my life. I am a seeker of the Divine. If you would like someone to walk with you to discern how God is working in your life and gain a deeper sense of the God who abides within then let us walk together. 

Pam White
In a fast-paced world with so many decisions routinely coming our way, we often fail to include a spiritual dimension in our discernment process. I believe that spiritual direction gives an important opportunity to engage in deep listening to the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives.

SDI Finding a Spiritual Director:

Here are the kinds of questions that you might consider asking yourself when finding spiritual directors to interview:

  • What is your experience with working with a spiritual director? Is this a first experience of spiritual direction?
  • What brings you to spiritual direction at this time in your life?
  • Would you like to meet with a male or female?
  • What spiritual affiliation or denomination would be most helpful for you?
  • What time of day would best serve you for meetings?

The desire and search for the “right fit” is an important part of the process.

Remember, it is up to you to choose your spiritual director wisely. Let them know what draws you to spiritual direction in this time in your life and notice how comfortable it is for you to tell your faith story. Listen carefully for the way the spirit is guiding you in your selection process.

Each person seeking a spiritual director needs to take reasonable steps to verify the competency of any potential spiritual director.  As a ministry and service in many nations and many faiths, spiritual direction does not have a centralized certifying body that verifies qualifications of spiritual directors since each faith tradition handles spiritual directors differently.

Spiritual Directors International does not endorse or recommend particular spiritual directors. We are not a certifying body, but rather a global learning community that supports spiritual directors in their ministry and service with educational programs, publications, and contemplative practices.

Questions to Ask a Prospective Spiritual Director

Spiritual Directors International recommends you ask each person you interview to become your spiritual director questions such as:

  1. What spiritual formation and theological education do you have in spiritual direction?
  2. What is your personal experience tending your own prayer, meditation, and contemplative life?
  3. What is your experience as a spiritual director? How many years? In what environments? What are you most interested in spiritually?
  4. How do you continue your education and supervision for your spiritual direction ministry and service?
  5. What ethical guidelines do you abide by, such as those published by Spiritual Directors International? Have you ever been accused or convicted of misconduct?
  6. What type of engagement agreement will we establish to clarify roles and responsibilities in our spiritual direction relationship?

Spiritual Directors International publishes Guidelines for Ethical Conduct (in English and Spanish), which provides a framework for a healthy spiritual direction relationship. You may want to ask your prospective spiritual directors about their formation and training, on-going education, if they are in supervision for their ministry and service, and if they abide by the SDI Guidelines for Ethical Conduct or some other ethical code.

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