Spiritual direction focuses on people communicating their spiritual experiences to other people for the purpose of awakening to the mystery within and the wonder without. Tammy Theis-Satterlee, a prominent Spiritual Director, kindly agreed to this interview with Mystic Mag where she shared some important information about her work, Spirit, and Divine.
When did you first know that being a Spiritual Director was your calling and how did it come about?
At the time that I decided to go to school to become a spiritual counselor, I was working as a special education teacher. I was working specifically with parents with young children who had autism or were going through the process of being diagnosed. A lot of the work I was doing with parents at that time was helping them to come to terms with the diagnosis and to learn how to love and accept their children as they were. Of course, the parents loved their children, but like most parents, they were not expecting to have a child with a developmental delay and there was sometimes a lot of acceptance and fear around raising their child. In addition, parents wanted to do their best to support their children, which sometimes meant finding something bigger than themselves (Spirit) to help them. Part of my work at the time was to show these parents how to love their children exactly as they were. During that time, a friend of mine was attending an interfaith seminary with a spiritual counseling program. He suggested I check out the program. I went to an elective with my friend and as soon as I walked into the building, I knew I had found where I belonged.
What services do you offer?
I offer individual and group spiritual direction, supervision, and Gestalt experiential dreamwork. I am also trained as a SoulCollage facilitator and Reiki Master. In addition, I am an ordained interfaith minister and hold the position of Bridge Pastor at a local UCC church. I help people to plan sacred rituals and officiate weddings, funerals, and baby blessings. I have a loving, creative, and playful heart, and the services I offer to people tend to be infused with that.
How would you describe Spiritual Direction?
The people that I work with tend to be interested in working with Spirit using a creative lens, through imagery, dreamwork, and deep listening. I try to hold sacred space for the counselees that I work with that allows whatever needs to bubble up, to bubble up. I sometimes describe it as walking around in the dark with a flashlight, and then the light catches on something that wants to be seen. Then, we go from there.
What can a person expect from it?
People can expect to learn to love and accept themselves more by developing a deeper connection to the Divine and to their own inner wisdom. Spiritual counseling is an opportunity to make meaning out of our ordinary and extraordinary lives!
What is the most important detail in maintaining a relationship of mutual trust with clients?
The work I do with people is confidential. I do my best to sit with my counselee with an open, honest, and accepting heart. I know that there is a lot of tenderness inside the people I work with and I hope to create space for that tenderness to make itself known. It is important to me that the people I accompany feel respected, loved, and held in their wholeness. I try to help them to trust themselves! Sessions tend to have a fairly consistent beginning, middle, and end, and yet my counselees are welcome to bring the tenderest parts of themselves. All of them are welcome.
What do you love most about your profession?
I love being a witness to the Divine within the counselees that I work with. It is a true gift.