THL434 Spiritual Direction in the Christian Tradition (8)

This subject introduces the nature and practice of spiritual direction. It examines the tradition of spiritual direction as a way of listening, discernment, and responding to God and others. It provides historical background, and an overview of different approaches to spirituality in the Christian tradition. It considers techniques of prayer and meditation and the process of spiritual direction. Personal qualities of a good director are discussed and practised, and the spiritual dimension in pastoral ministry is explored.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 2 (60)
Online *
Canberra Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: THL434. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Theology

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to outline and discuss critically the ministry of spiritual direction and the place it holds within contemporary Christian churches
  • be able to reflect critically on their own experience of the spiritual life
  • be able to examine and discuss critically a variety of historical models of spiritual direction from the Christian tradition
  • be able to outline and evaluate the spiritual dimension in pastoral ministry
  • be able to outline and evaluate their own understanding of the ministry of spiritual direction in various contexts, eg. suffering
  • be able to discuss various techniques of prayer and meditation in the Christian tradition
  • be able to demonstrate research, writing and communication skills.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • the ministry of spiritual direction in the Christian tradition, its practice, principles, theology, discernment, retreat leading and qualities required for a good director
  • theological criteria for the evaluation of various models of spiritual direction.
  • history of spiritual guidance, including major spiritual writers and schools of spirituality in the Christian tradition
  • contemporary models of spiritual direction
  • techniques of prayer which may include: scriptural models, journalling, labyrinth, liturgy, images, dreams, art, and meditation
  • practical issues of supervision, ethics, record keeping and physical surroundings

Residential School

This subject contains a 3 day Compulsory Residential School.

The purpose of the residential school is:
- to provide opportunity for discussion about the meaning of the spiritual life both personal and contemporary as well as historical examples. This will consolidate knowledge gained from the readings.
Activities include:
- students present a short paper on a person of prayer
- various ways of praying
- the development of practical listening skills in triads


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.