“Spiritual Advising Sessions” FAQ’s

Northeastern’s one-on- one Spiritual Advising sessions are available to all members of the student community. In one-on- one meetings, Spiritual Advisors (SAs) offer assistance and support for a wide range of spiritual and personal needs. All are welcome!

Who:

Northeastern’s group of Spiritual Advisors represent and serve diverse religious, spiritual, and atheist/humanist traditions. Each brings a distinctive approach to spiritual advising, congruent with their own tradition and training, yet there is a common thread, which advisees may expect in a Spiritual Advising session.

Where & How:

A Spiritual Advising session may take place in the Spiritual Advisor’s office in the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue, and Service (203 Ell Hall), where the glass-windowed door may remain open or closed at the preference of the visitor. Or the SA and the student may agree to meet in, for example, the Catholic Center on St. Stephen Street. They may agree to meet in the Sacred Space in Ell Hall, take a walk around campus, or meet over a non-alcoholic beverage or snack. The main guidelines here serve the comfort and safety of the student seeking spiritual care and the professional accountability of the Spiritual Advisor.

When:

Spiritual Advisors are available to students by appointment and during drop-in hours. The visit may last a few minutes or up to an hour, which can be agreed on by the visitor and the Advisor. A general rule of thumb in some traditions holds that the scope of spiritual care suits up to three sessions on a given topic. If a student’s needs exceed that guideline, the Spiritual Advisor would support and even accompany the student in connecting with further resources on campus.

What & Why:

Spiritual Advisors do:

✓ Listen

✓ Accompany

✓ Mentor

✓ Guide

✓ Advise

✓ Ask questions

✓ See the whole person

✓ Offer moral support

✓ Offer spiritual resources such as texts and teachings for reflection

✓ Offer and teach spiritual practices to support well-being

✓ Create and hold safe and brave spaces

✓ Wonder

✓ Illuminate tradition

✓ Teach

✓ Guide moral and ethical decision-making

✓ Reflect

✓ Promote growth, healing, and human understanding

✓ Connect present struggles with larger realities and traditions

✓ Practice compassion

✓ Liaise with other University resources and services

✓ Keep confidentiality (with a few notable exceptions)

✓ Listen, listen, listen

Sample themes a student might bring to a Spiritual Advising session could include:

• Grappling with questions of personal identity and/or vocation and career direction
• Managing and balancing stress
• Searching for and discovering or making meaning in life
• Exploring spiritual, theological, philosophical questions
• Dealing with suffering
• Making life-giving choices
• Building and healing relationships – with family, roommates, friends, co-workers
• Wrestling with a text or teaching from a religious tradition
• Cultivating personal well-being

Spiritual Advisors do not:

❖ Provide psychological evaluation, treatment, or counseling
❖ Mediate conflicts – but may assist in the process
❖ Insist that a student adhere to certain religious practices
❖ Socialize with, nor befriend, students in a peer-like way
❖ Directly provide safe haven – but may accompany student in connecting with NUPD or other safety resources
❖ Directly provide financial assistance – but may help students connect with other University services in cases of financial stress
❖ Provide social work services
❖ Speak against the University or its personnel either in public or one-to- one encounters

 

To arrange a Session, email csds@northeastern.edu, call 617.373.2728 or stop by 203 Ell Hall. You may also wish to reach Rev. MaryHelen Gunn, CSDS’ Spiritual Advising Outreach Coordinator, at mhgunn@uuma.org, or contact individual Advisors listed on the Center’s webpage (www.northeastern.edu/spirituallife)