Spiritual Directors International

The Home of Spiritual Companionship

5 Principles of Spiritual Direction Training Programs

From its beginning, Spiritual Directors International has been engaged in conversation about the training of spiritual directors. In 1991, five principles considered important for this work were presented to the group of trainers gathered at the annual symposium in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, USA. In the years since then, they have been expanded as ways to keep us answerable to one another. In 2016, a group of spiritual directors with experience in formation gathered to revise these principles with intent to publish them as a set of aims and ideals for the training of spiritual companions.

In 2017-2018, a task force was brought together by SDI to bring all this work to fruition—and in addition, to produce its sister document, “A Portrait of a Spiritual Director.”

Both documents are published as resources for all those who teach, learn and practice spiritual companionship and for every seeker on the planet.

Click here for a printable pdf version of the "5 Principles of Spiritual Direction Training Programs"

Click here for a printable pdf version of SDI's "Portrait of a Spiritual Director"

SDI plans to publish a printed brochure of both the Portrait and the 5 Principles in the near future.


Living Document

Spiritual Directors International recognizes that cultural and environmental factors may require this "5 Principles" document to be contextualized. SDI encourages everyone in our community to discern on what is written here and if so moved, respond in writing to SDI. Reflection and review of this document will be ongoing. Suggested revisions are welcome and may be directed to office@sdiworld.org at any time.

Spiritual Directors International

Spiritual Directors International is an educational nonprofit. It serves 6,000-plus members from forty two countries around the world by creating a learning community devoted to the contemplative practice of spiritual direction or companionship. SDI creates guidelines for practice, educates and supports the community but does not accredit or certify individual spiritual directors or companions.

Principles Task Force 2018:

Spiritual Directors International wishes to express its deep appreciation to the following people who served on the Portrait and Principles Task Force. These guidelines are only available to our international community because of their efforts:

Lucy Abbott Tucker, Co-chair

Christine Luna Munger, Co-chair

Jocelyn Burkhart

Vivian Feintech

John Mabry

Mary Nono

Joan Olson

Shawn Zevit

Anil Singh-Molares, SDI Executive Director

Steven Crandell, SDI Director of Content

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