The Spiritual Development Process (SDP) is a Spiritual Counseling approach which is designed to consciously integrate an individual’s principles, values, and practices with their physical, mental, and emotional life.

As spiritual care providers, we recognize spirituality at the center of our work, rather than seeing it as a component. We are not therapists, nor do we act in place of denominational religious ministers. We take a holistic approach vs. traditional pathologic approach, observing the unified system that contributes to personal health and development. This is Sensible Spirituality. We work with our clients to help them unify all three dimensions of their lives (physical, mental, and emotional/ body, mind, and heart) in order to access and support the spirit and soul of the individual.

An inductive, “bottom-up” approach to spirituality relies upon lived experience as the foundation for creating a spiritual life. Our approach thus counters more common deductive, “top-down” spiritual approaches, which try to mold or form people and organizations to its beliefs, rules, and practices. In other words, this is a reality-based, empirically-oriented approach to a spirituality that is sensible.

After a free initial consultation, the Spiritual Development Process unfolds over a season of commitment, typically at least 90 days. In the initial phase, we will assess, reflect and counsel clients as they identify their principles, values, and practices and come to terms with what needs to change. Meditation is introduced as a recommended practice at this point. We then move into a navigational mode, providing regular weekly sessions to set and meet goals. We also identify tools and practices helpful for spiritual development. Finally, we support the spiritual practices which ground their sustaining story in a new sense of integrity, citizenship, growth and spiritual development. If a client desires a deeper meditative practice, we will work with them to find a balanced approach that will serve their sustaining story.

Doing the Spiritual Development Process has created a paradigm shift that is steadily evolving... I was able to identify what spirituality is to me in a daily framework, and
to cultivate how that looks, feels and sounds... creating practices that promote the growth of my spiritual life.
— J.S., Salem, OR

The Spiritual Development Process (SDP) begins with a written questionnaire to be filled out by the client, which serves as the basis for an initial interview. This is a way of beginning to map an individual’s spiritual journey. Talking about values, experiences, memories, feelings and losses helps avoid defensive reactions and discern where an individual finds meaning and purpose. The questions are designed to help an individual begin to articulate principles, values, and practices which will allow them to develop a sustaining story of grounded spirituality.

Key Points of the Questionnaire and Initial Interview:

  • Sensible Spirituality is the conscious integration of a person’s principles, values, and practices with their physical, mental, and emotional life.

  • The process identifies physical, mental, and emotional experience as essential lenses for spiritual integration.

  • The process addresses formation of character, conscience, and the principles, values, and practices that undergird an ongoing spiritual life.

Purposes of the SDP:

  • To identify and build on an individual’s areas of strength.

  • To identify the person’s areas for growth related to the Key Points as stated above.

  • To assist the individual in developing consciousness of their physical, mental, and emotional life.

  • To assist the individual in articulating their principles, values, and practices in order to develop their own integrative spiritual path.

Sensible Spirituality Associates will provide an interpretative, qualitative analysis of the individual’s responses in order to:  

  • identify key spiritual resources from their life

  • identify areas for growth

  • help the client identify principles, values, and practices culled from their responses

  • help the individual see these as spiritual resources

From the story-telling practices of all the great spiritual traditions, we have refined a narrative methodology which is particularly well-suited to navigating all stages of spiritual development. As Spiritual Care Counselors, we avoid antagonism and arguments about ‘God’ and the relative merits of any particular belief system. As Spiritual Coaches, we help our clients focus on the principles, values, and practices that are part of their own life experience. With this new awareness, they can then begin to articulate and navigate the foundational and evolving stories of their own spiritual journey, and find their sustaining story.