Spiritual leadership can be a pretty complex and isolating role. When things are challenging many have few or no colleagues that they can lean on to share what is really going on and get honest caring feedback. The ASI’s mission includes a commitment to supporting the ongoing development of spiritual leaders (i.e. teachers, counselors, coaches, guides, mentors, healers, transpersonal psychologists etc.), and at the ASI we endeavor to create and offer innovative and qualitative responses that will impact leaders and whom they serve.

We know that spiritual leaders are not immune from having their pre-existing biases and blind spots impact their work.  Even with the high ethical standards most aspire to, leaders can be challenged by situations with complex tradeoffs, nuanced gray zones, and ambiguity.

Phase Two is now underway and currently not open for further sign ups.

Critical Need

Spiritual leaders need safe and trustworthy containers to speak to the tensions that arise for them personally and are often reflected in their professional work. Leaders need to be supported in the self-reflective journey of living in ever-increasing integrity with their personal values while being of greatest service to their students and clients.

We believe that the collective practices of deep listening, loving inquiry, honest feedback, and authentic sharing will encourage new and higher standards of integrity in the profession of spiritual leadership.

ASI Responds

Our goal in the ASI is to create a landscape where learnings are shared, and peers can join in vulnerabilities and celebrations. Gathering spiritual leaders together in small groups of peers where a new quality of relationship is sensitively guided will offer a new model of peer support appropriate to a broad community of spiritual leadership. We believe that quality peer support for spiritual leaders must be normalized within the culture of spirituality if we are to create new and higher standards of spiritual integrity in our profession.

We’ve Already Begun

We are engaged in a project to research, design and offer quality peer support structures among our community of leaders. Since the winter of 2021, we have been prototyping support groups lightly facilitated by peers skilled in group facilitation. In the first round of peer support groups, spiritual leaders of many lineages, religious denominations, traditions, and healing modalities gathered in a space of trust and safety where they experienced:

  • Giving and receiving caring, honest, heart centered feedback
  • Being witnessed within a respectful and confidential environment
  • First hand advantages in gaining new insights into personal biases and blind spots within a supportive environment
  • Lively, open, and honest discussions with peers together navigating ‘gray’ areas, ambiguity and gaps encountered within the role of spiritual leader in relationship to students
  • Learnings and feedback from the diverse experience of peers, sharing stories of similar successes and challenges
  • Peers who join in celebration of successes and capacities

This is an action-based research project and at the end of our first pilot we reviewed lessons learned. Incorporating lessons learned from our community of participants we are well on our way to creating open-sourced guidelines for such groups and to scale up the number of spiritual leaders we can support.

Second Pilot is in Progress

We reached out to our membership and other spiritual leaders, and gathered together 8 new peer support groups who met for the first time in January 2023. Facilitator training and tech support training was provided by the ASI. Each of the 8 groups comprise 4 to 6 members. Each group meets online for 90 minutes twice per month, committing to 6-10 meetings.  We are committed to supporting these groups through ongoing communication and creative online environments that we hope will support growth and learning for all.  

What Happens Next

As we gather data regarding best practices, we will inform the wider community through our newsletter regarding next steps. If you would like to email us with any thoughts, comments, questions or ideas, please email Renata at peersupport@spiritual-integrity.org. We would love to hear from you.