A person, lay or ordained, with whom one communicates concerning the spiritual life may also be known as a soul-friend, soul-mate, or spiritual companion. A director listens and, when appropriate, responds by giving "direction" which may include spiritual advice, help with discernment, suggested reading or action, or a question to ponder. Different directors have different styles. Most understand their roles as companions and listeners along the way. Spiritual directors seek to be available for open and honest sharing concerning the spiritual life. They are found throughout religious experiences and history in both eastern and western traditions. Some spiritual directors use highly structured techniques. Others respond intuitively to the present conversation. Kenneth Leech, Margaret Guenther, Alan Jones, and Tilden Edwards are among the best known Anglican and Episcopal writers who have discussed spiritual direction. The Shalem Institute in Washington, D.C., has a ministry of training spiritual directors.
Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.