Frequently Asked Questions

about spiritual direction and end of life doula care

Q: What is Spiritual Direction?

Spiritual Direction is the practice of creating and nurturing sacred space where two people pay attention to and pray about what God (the Holy Spirit) is doing in their life without goal or agenda. Spiritual direction is rooted in the belief that God is always present and active in a person's life.

Spiritual directors seek to help others make sense of what's happening in their everyday experiences. We listen and pray together while you ask, what is God doing in my life or what is God saying to me? Direction creates space for soul searching, growing in trust, and deeper connection with God.

There is no judgment in this space. It's a safe place to be with God. It's both peaceful and confidential.

Q: What does a Spiritual Director do?

Spiritual Directors can help you explore your personal experiences with God or integrate spiritual practices into your daily life. They can also help you discern important decisions or changes in your life, as well as explore struggles in faith or doubts about faith in a safe environment. They are willing to sit with you when you don't feel God's presence in your life or when you need to spiritually heal from past wounds or hurts.

Q: What do I do in a Spiritual Direction session?

There is no real preparation. In your everyday life, events, circumstances, relationships, struggles, questions, even doubts will appear. You may notice a dominant theme - a thought, question or situation - that repeats itself again and again. If so, bring these to our sessions.

You may have experienced religious trauma or have religious triggers and want to nurture your relationship with God outside of a formal church setting. You may have left the church, but have not given up on your relationship with Jesus. You find yourself drawn to him and seek to hear his voice in your life. These are all good reasons to enter into spiritual direction.

Q: What type of Spiritual Direction do you offer and how do we get started?

I offer Christian Contemplative Spiritual Direction. I am familiar with most denominations and Christian traditions. Generally, we begin with a free initial spiritual direction session and then discern together whether to commit to regular monthly sessions.

Q: What can I expect when I set up an appointment with you?

We can either meet in person, over the phone, or via Zoom. Typically, each session lasts from 45 minutes to an hour and it takes place once a month. Every meeting is confidential and I will guide the dialogue through prayer and attentive listening.

Q: What additional spiritual services do you offer?

I facilitate workshops, classes, and retreats in spiritual formation for groups of varying sizes. I offer Soul Care Mini Retreats in my home office for groups of five or less. Mini Retreats (3 hours) are also available online via Zoom. Feel free to contact me for a complete list of additional spiritual formation offerings.

Q: What are the differences between an End of Life Doula, Hospice, and Home Care?

Hospice: Hospice manages the medical care, performs clinical tasks, and dispenses medications. They also teach the patient's loved ones how to care for them. Depending on the patient's condition, you would see a hospice nurse once a week and an aide for 1-2 hours, 1-3 times a week.

Family or Home Care Aides: They perform the direct hands-on care (for example: bathing, toileting, feeding, positioning, medication reminders, etc.)

End of Life Doula: They provide the client and their loved ones with comfort and care during all phases of the dying process. Many are trained professionals who provide meaning-work, as well as emotional and spiritual care at what can be an especially stressful time. Doulas want to support and empower their clients as they come to terms with their diagnosis, set about making plans for their death, and what they would like to leave behind for their loved ones. Dying and death is draining and difficult. Doulas offer kind, peaceful, and thoughtful support at the end of life.

Q: What is an End of Life Doula?

As an end of life doula, I'm a specially trained, non-medical person who provides support (emotionally, spiritually and mentally) to a client who is dying, as well as their loved ones and caregivers. I help support my clients in their efforts to have a good death. It is a holistic approach supporting the mind, body and spirit.

I am available to provide support at any time during the dying process, whether it be near the diagnosis of a life-limiting/terminal illness, during the active dying phase, or after the loved one has already passed. My support and services are customized to serve each client where they are and what best supports their individual needs.

Q: What does your doula support include?

As an end of life doula, I companion the dying and their loved ones. I listen to concerns, wishes and problems that arise, as well as support family communication. I am able to explain the dying process. I also bear witness to client's lives helping them find precious nuggets of meaning and connection. I can assist with unresolved feelings or business, as well as guide clients toward peace and acceptance through guided imagery, prayer or poetry.

As an end of life doula, I also help plan the vigil (during the active dying phase) and prepare the client's room as a sacred space with candles, music or whatever helps the client feel more at ease and peaceful. I also offer respite care for the client's loved ones and caregivers during such a stressful and exhausting time.

I am also able to facilitate remembrances or legacy gifts and can help with facilitating rituals that provide meaning and connection. I can help with obituary or eulogy writing. I am also a support for the family in early grief reprocessing. I am available for follow-up sessions to check in on the family and caregivers.

Q: When should I contact an End of Life Doula?

End of life doulas can be contacted at any time during the end of life process. The sooner the doula can enter into the process, the more time can be spent getting to know the individual and family, creating quality care plans, prioritizing end of life needs, and creating sacred space and meaning for the individual and family.