A capacity to engage with the spiritual is an intrinsic part of being human. I see religion as how this becomes organised collectively. There is a rich and complex relationship between the two: religious context shapes how a persons spirituality develops, and the spirituality shapes the religion. In some contexts there is effectively one religion for a people in isolation, but more often particularly in the west the situation is much more complex.
Spiritual direction is a particular conversation, usually lasting 50 minutes, in which someone has the space to explore their spirituality without being forced into a particular religious tradition, or forced out of one. It can be one-to-one, or offered in a group: the difference between the two is very much like the difference between individual and group therapy.
In the context of a retreat, there is usually a daily session of spiritual direction (and sometimes more on short or group-guided retreats). Outside the context of a retreat spiritual direction is less frequent: once a month is a common formula, though more frequent work can also make sense, particularly if working through something specific like the Ignatian spiritual exercises.
As a director, one of the key principles is that ones own experience of spirituality is a resource for recognising the richness of the territory, but one is always working with what the directee brings, and not attempting to push them in to a particular mold.
I am an Elder in the United Reformed Church, which is a liberal and diverse tradition, but have worked in Anglican and Catholic centres. I also owe a huge debt to spiritualities encountered directly or through friends in south east Asia, which provides both a way to see my own heritage from a distance, and a grounding in exploring something very different.
Spiritual direction is essentially about exploring rather than teaching or being taught, but is a space to deepen ones spirituality and experience of the divine.
For some people, creativity and the creative arts are an important part of their spirituality and rich territory to explore in spiritual direction.
I also offer supervision for spiritual directors.
I learned about spiritual direction and retreat-giving at Osterley Retreats, an Ignatian centre (now closed) in West London, and was on the full-time retreat-giving team at St Beunos Centre of Ignatian Spirituality 20062014. Ive given retreatsand ongoing spiritual direction in a range of contexts, which has become wider since leaving there.