Guidance or Counseling with Rev. Rebecca
I offer premarital counseling for all couples - whether or not you are having me officiate your wedding. I am certified in the Prepare-Enrich counseling technique and can also offer sessions through the Marriage Foundation. Both of these offer online questionnaires to help you focus your thoughts and provide important background for discussing your relationship.
If you are interested in this kind of premarital counseling, please see the links at the bottom of this page.
I also offer a less formal style of counseling called spiritual direction, spiritual guidance or soul coaching. This is helpful if you want to focus on your own life path and the issues that are presenting themselves right now. Read on to learn more about Spiritual Guidance.
Q. What is Spiritual Guidance?
A. A Spiritual Guide can be thought of as a companion on your soul journey -- Companioning is literally 'breaking bread with,' so a Spiritual Companion is someone who shares the feast of life with you - both by helping you to articulate your spiritual hungers, and by guiding you towards those things that will feed your soul. The focus of this work is the soul's journey - its deep desires and refreshments, its commitments and longings, its pleasures and pains. Through Spiritual Guidance we come to recognize the lineaments of soul in our life and thus honor the soul's intentions in everyday affairs.
Clarity, focus, patience, joy, a sense of destiny, peace, satisfaction, greater integrity, renewed energy for dreams and ideals, expression of talents, balance between the inner and outer life, a deepened capacity for compassion, a feeling of being deeply rooted in one's life - these are all outcomes of being spiritually companioned. Your commitment and willingness to do the work of 'walking the talk' makes this possible.
Q. Does my Spiritual Guide need to have the same religious views as I do?
A. No. Spiritual Guidance is not didactic; it is not about preaching or teaching; there is no imposition of beliefs. It is about active listening and reflecting - being a mirror for your soul. Like a good friend, your Spiritual Guide holds his or her own beliefs, while allowing you to hold yours in mutual respect. Most Spiritual Guides follow their own course of directed spiritual guidance, so that when they are with you, they are free to be entirely present to you and your path. Some of the most successful partnerships are between persons of vastly different belief systems, where the contrasts themselves allow the contours of the spirit to stand forth in beautiful relief. Rev. Rebecca's training as a Unitarian minister and her many years of interfaith work with the Parliament of World's Religions make her sympathetic to many belief systems. Her personal stance is that all paths, followed with honorable intention, lead to truth.
Q. Do I need to believe in God to participate in Spiritual Guidance?
A. No. There are many spiritual traditions which are non-theistic: Buddhism, Taoism, Religious Humanism, to name a few. The sacred is a multi-faceted idea which may or may not include a belief in or relationship to God or supreme being.
Q. Who may become a Spiritual Guide, Director or Companion?
A. Traditionally, Spiritual Companions, Directors or Guides have been members of religious orders who acted as mentors for lay persons or younger clergy. Today, people from many disciplines are turning to Spiritual Companioning and bringing their special expertise to the calling. You will often find Spiritual Companions who have had training in one of the counseling professions - minister, mediator, therapist, chaplain - or someone whose life experiences have given them a spiritual ripeness which qualifies them to walk with others on the spiritual path. Rev. Rebecca has three professional degrees in ministry including a doctorate. She has worked as a chaplain, served in two congregations, practiced as a mediator and has worked with many couples and individuals in exploring deep life issues over the last fifteen years. She is a member of Spiritual Director's International; is a certified practitioner in pre-nuptial guidance; and is a certified Mediator. In addition, she brings her lifetime study of mythology and the poetic arts into service as a mirror for reflection on the archetypal dimensions of love, work and destiny.
Q. What does a session of Spiritual Guidance look like?
A. The spiritual companioning offered by Rev. Rebecca is for individuals and couples. An individual session is usually an hour in length and may include any of the following: prayer, meditation, journaling, dreamwork, active imagination, artwork, poetry, role-playing, creative writing, ritual, conversation, and many other forms of spiritual play/work. The creation of a spiritual biography is usually undertaken at the beginning of a partnership, so that some sense of the soul's direction, wounds, and personal language becomes clear to both companions. Some companioning is augmented by phone calls or email consultations in addition to the face-to-face meetings. Each style of communication has its own strengths and each partnership can decide what balance works best for them.
SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE BY PHONE ~ Rev. Rebecca has many clients for whom a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly phone call is the preferred method of working.
Q. How does Spiritual Guidance affect a marriage or relationship?
A. Great resources must be brought to a relationship to keep it flourishing. This is an enormous task that lasts many years and sometimes it is wise to return to the deep waters of the soul to refresh and reinvigorate the high goals of the marriage vows. While a good relationship can and should 'support' the partners, the partners must continually be bringing new resources to the relationship. When this does not happen, stagnation or emotional starvation can set in. Rev. Rebecca has done much work in studying the deep stories of love and its challenges from the world's storehouse of myth and legend. She helps couples discover the mythic patterns that they have been living out and so bring new understanding, forgiveness, humor and acceptance to the inevitable foibles of human love. Very often, the insight that reveals one's place in the drama is sufficient to bring balance and perspective into what otherwise might seem an intolerable situation. The ability to reframe one's perception of “the story” is invaluable in choosing how to respond to various challenges in the unfolding narrative of a marriage or committed relationship.
Q. Can Spiritual Guidance help in the ending of a relationship?
A. Having a companion who offers both empathy and honesty can be most effective during times of great confusion and distress. Especially in relationships where emotional pain tempts one to blame and scapegoat, it can be very healing to remember that the deep soul requires us to suffer through challenges to our esteem and ego so that we can learn lessons we might not otherwise care to learn. Returning to a place of gratitude and trust in the soul's deep wisdom and the recognition that each of us charts our own course and chooses our own players can bring one back to center in the midst of the storm.
Q. What is the frequency and duration of Spiritual Guidance and what are the costs?
A. Most Spiritual Companioning partnerships are entered into for a period of months, with monthly or bi-weekly meetings. Some partnerships last for years, some for decades, some only for the duration of a spiritual or personal crisis or decision-making period, and some for a single session to work through one issue. The precise form of each relationship is arrived at through mutual negotiation and may be altered by mutual consent. Spiritual Guides are offering a valuable service and are compensated for their work through payments for individual sessions; a monthly fee; or by some exchange of goods or services agreeable to both parties. Rev. Rebecca charges $75 for a session.
Q. What makes Spiritual Guidance with Rev. Rebecca unique?
A. Rev. Rebecca Armstrong is a spiritual humanist and is devoted to affirming and supporting the realization that individual spiritual growth is intertwined with one's compassionate relationship with the world. She recognizes the vast continuum of personal spiritual identity and the need for a clear, open field of inquiry and support. Her many years working with the Joseph Campbell Foundation have made her aware of the archetypal dimensions of the soul and the need for you to discover and in some way FOLLOW YOUR BLISS.
"While I recognize that there are rhythms of engagement and withdrawal from the world, I feel that spiritual isolationism is no longer a viable option for western seekers. I aspire to The Awakened Heart -- a term pioneered by the late Brother Wayne Teasdale, one of my religious mentors. To awaken the heart I believe in four pillars of soul work: constant attentiveness to one's soul through the honoring of dreams and intuitions; spiritual accountability to someone or some idea that commands your respect; pilgrimage - the engagement in the arts or some other form of honoring the soul of the world; and active participation in service to the people, animals or nature body of the world."
Q. How can I start my Spiritual Guidance?
A. You may call directly to discuss your needs and desires for spiritual guidance, or set up an appointment to meet by sending me an email.