Spiritual Directors International

The Home of Spiritual Companionship

Guidelines for Ethical Conduct

Spiritual Directors International is indebted to the following people who served on the original or revision Ethical Guidelines Task Force:

Lucy Abbott Tucker
Roman Catholic | Illinois, USA

Bill Creed, SJ
Roman Catholic | Illinois, USA | Ignatian Spirituality Project

Andrew Dreitcer, MDiv, PhD
Presbyterian | California, USA | Claremont School of Theology

Richard M. Gula, SS
Roman Catholic | California, USA | Franciscan School of Theology

Jennifer Hoffmann
Jewish | Ontario, Canada

Joyce McFarland
Episcopal | Minnesota, USA | Institute for Ecumenical and Social Research

Timothy E. O’Connell, PhD
Roman Catholic | Illinois, USA | Loyola University Chicago

Dorothy Whiston
Roman Catholic | Iowa, USA | Soul Friends Ecumenical Ministry

After five years of study and three drafts, the Ethical Task Force of Spiritual Directors International completed their work. Their task was monumental: to write ethical guidelines for a community of spiritual directors whose memberships span the globe, embracing a wide range of denominational affiliations, faith traditions, and theologies. The product of their prayer, reflection, and discernment is the booklet called the Guidelines for Ethical Conduct.

Spiritual Directors International recognizes that cultural and environmental factors may require these guidelines to be contextualized for different types of spiritual direction experiences. SDI encourages individuals, formation and training programs, religious institutions, health care systems, spirituality centers, supervision circles and peer groups to review and re-appropriate these guidelines.

Spiritual direction is a ministry and service that helps people tell their sacred stories every day. To clarify the relationship between the spiritual director and seeker, SDI recommends the use of ethical guidelines and the use an engagement agreement to clarify roles and responsibilities. Download a sample engagement agreement.

To make the Guidelines for Ethical Conduct more readily available for spiritual directors and seekers, SDI publishes it online and in print. Complimentary electronic downloads are available below. To order printed booklets, visit the SDI secure store.

Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Chinese, simplified
Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Chinese, traditional
Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in English
Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in French
Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in German
Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Korean
Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Norwegian
Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Spanish


국제영성지도자 모임이 제공하는 윤리가이드개정판은  영성지도자 개개인이 가지는 고유한 삶의 자리를 존중하고 배려하고 있다. 그래서 다른 지침서와는 다른 느낌을 준다. 마치 잘 우려낸 국물 처럼, 이 조그만 책자는 영성지도자가 추어야 하는 마음가짐과 기본적인 행동양식을 잘 설명하면서도, 다른 문화나 정황에서, 이 지침은 의미가 있는지를 살펴 상황에 맞게 적용할 것을 잊지 말라는 따스하고 깊은 지혜를 이야기하고 있다.

The Spiritual Directors International Guidelines for Ethical Conduct is not a legal document but rather a spiritual guide, so that it is like a soup made with hearty ingredients of wisdom. Without forcing any rules or standards, it provides spiritual directors with foundational and essential elements, and invites them to reflect on
possible adaptations according to their unique social and cultural contexts.

—Jung Eun Sophia Park, SNJM, PhD

Certains des premiers enseignements du Bouddha portent sur l’importance de l’éthique (sīla en pali). En tant que pratiquant bouddhiste, je prends ces enseignements à cœur dans ma relation avec moi-même et avec les autres, y compris ceux que je rencontre dans la direction spirituelle. Les Directives pour un comportement éthique élaborées par Directeurs Spirituels Internationaux nous aident à nouer de bonnes relations avec tous ceux à qui nous rendons service au sein de notre belle ministère.

Some of the Buddha’s earliest teachings were about the importance of ethical conduct (sīla in Pali).  As a Buddhist practitioner, I take these teachings to heart in my relationship with myself and with others, including those who I meet in spiritual direction.  The Guidelines for Ethical Conduct developed by Spiritual Directors International help us to be in good relationship with all who we serve in our beautiful ministry and service. 

—John Pollard, MA

Teaching Notes

Spiritual Directors International believes that spiritual directors should be introduced to the Guidelines for Ethical Conduct as part of training and formation programs. To facilitate that process, Lucy Abbott Tucker, a member of the task force that created the Guidelines for Ethical Conduct, has prepared these tips for incorporating conversations about the Guidelines in training programs. Download the free teaching notes here.

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