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Ethical Covenant for those in Formation, Faculty, and Mentors

The Haden Institute

Adapted from Spiritual Directors International, the ECC, and internal policy of The Haden Institute


 Ethical conduct flows from lived reverence for God, self, and others.  The purpose of this covenant is to inspire all within The Haden Institute toward integrity, responsibility, and faithfulness in our relationships with one another.  This Covenant applies to all faculty, mentors, staff, and participants in our Spiritual Direction and Dream Work programs.


Spiritual Direction and Dream Work are ministries of listening, discernment, prayer and guidance.   In confidential individual and group settings we provide encouragement and compassion. The spiritual director and the dream worker are companions:  listening to help another discern the presence and work of the Spirit. Such companions intentionally set aside the concerns of their personal life so they can attend to those with whom they journey.


This means that we view those with whom we journey in practice, those with whom we journey in formation, and each other as a sacred trust.  It is our responsibility to seek their wellbeing, safeguard their interests, and protect them from harm. While this Covenant applies to all, it is especially crucial where any influence or power imbalance exists.  It is the responsibility of all associated with The Haden Institute to serve the best interests of those under our care, even when to do so does not serve our own needs or interests.


The benefits of integrity in the companion’s role are profoundly positive. When boundaries are maintained, the result will be wholeness and wellbeing, for the companion and those with whom we journey.


The Haden Institute expects the following of those in formation, faculty, mentors, staff and guests:



Personal Spirituality

  1. Assume responsibility for personal growth by

    1. Participating in regular spiritual direction and supervision

    2. Following a personal spiritual practice

    3. Fully developing holistic formational lives through disciplines such as

      1. Exercise

      2. Study

      3. Meditation

      4. Prayer

      5. Sabbath-keeping

      6. Mentoring relationships

      7. Collegial companionship

      8. Lifelong learning

      9. Others as desired

    4. Providing for one’s own physical, psychological, self and soul care through

      1. Recreational activities

      2. Scheduling time off for family and friends

      3. Nurturing personal friendships

      4. Participation in a yearly retreat

      5. Participation in yearly continuing education

        1. At least 6 hours of continuing education

        2. An ethics review yearly

      6. Recognizing ethical behavior as a result of self and soul care.




All associated with The Haden Institute engage in continuing formation opportunities such as:

  1. Ongoing discernment of their call to spiritual direction and/or dream work.

  2. Nurturing self-knowledge and freedom

  3. Cultivating insight into influences of culture, social-historical context, environmental setting, and institutions

  4. Studying scripture, theology, spirituality, dream work



Spiritual Directors and Dream workers engage in supervision by:

  1. Receiving regular supervision from qualified peers or supervisor while maintaining client confidentiality.  This commitment includes avoiding any information about a client that might lead to their identity.  It also means not offering unnecessary details.   We also hold in confidence what we hear from others in supervision.

  2. Seeking consultations with other qualified persons when necessary.

  3. Paying special attention to relationships where our influence or position creates a power imbalance.  Wherever there is a power imbalance, extra accountability and consultation are ethical responsibilities.

  4. Recognizing the possibility of compromised judgement when isolated. We avoid such isolation by maintaining professional contacts with colleagues and consulting with them regularly.



We meet our needs outside the companion relationships in a variety of ways such as:

  1. Self-care and life balance. Time for worship, work, leisure, family, and personal relationships.

  2. Recognizing that failure to live out methods of self-care and soul care through a healthy lifestyle and through balance in our vocation, personal life, family and financial obligations can lead to misconduct. Supervisors can be accountability partners and truth tellers that encourage, challenge, and walk beside us.

  3. Addressing the challenges that multiple roles or dual relationships pose to the effectiveness or clarity of the spiritual direction and dream work relationship.

  4. Removing oneself from any situation that compromises the integrity of the spiritual direction, dream work, or formation relationship.

  5. Entering the ministry of spiritual direction, dream work, mentoring, teaching, to benefit those served, not oneself.

  6. Considering the potential impact of social media on friendship, the ministry of spiritual direction, dream work, the formation process of The Haden Institute, and healthy boundaries.



Spiritual Directors, dream workers, and those in formation recognize the limits of:

  1. Energy by restricting the number of those with whom we work.  We are good stewards of our time in ministry.  We avoid burnout and workaholism.

  2. Attentiveness through appropriate spacing of meetings with those with whom we journey.

  3. Our own personal limits and seek appropriate professional assistance for any personal or interpersonal issues that may impair our ministry or judgment.

  4. We also recognize our personal limits by referring as appropriate issues that are outside our scope of practice.

  5. We acknowledge appropriate boundaries by being clear about our role – we are not therapists.  We provide companionship on a spiritual or dream work journey, not therapy. We seek to work cooperatively with qualified therapists, clergy, and supervisors.  We refer whenever that serves our client’s best interest.  If uncertain about the need, or other aspects of our role, we seek supervision and/or consultation.

  6.  We honor the requirements of mandatory reporting laws in various jurisdictions and understand when for the safety of a person with whom we journey or others, a report to the proper authorities must be made.



Spiritual directors and dream workers value the necessity of competency by:

  1. Completion of all requirements and graduation from The Haden Institute or from another recognized training program.

  2. Participating in appropriate continuing education      

    1. Six hours of continuing education yearly

    2. One hour of ethics review yearly (included in the six above)

  3. Participating in regular supervision either with qualified peers or individual supervisors.



The Spiritual Director and Dream worker establish agreements with those with whom we journey about:

  1. The nature of spiritual direction and/or dream work

  2. The roles of the director/dream worker and those with whom we journey

  3. The length and frequency of sessions

  4. Compensation to be given to the spiritual director/dream worker or institution

  5. The process for evaluating and terminating the relationship

  6. The role of supervision and gaining permission for some sessions to be brought to supervision anonymously.



Spiritual directors/dream workers honor the dignity of those with whom we journey by:

  1. Respecting their values, conscience, spirituality and theology

  2. Inquiring into the motives, experiences, or relationships of those with whom we journey only as necessary.

  3. Recognizing the imbalance of power in the spiritual direction/dream work relationship and taking care not to exploit it.

  4. Establishing and maintaining appropriate physical and psychological boundaries with those with whom we journey.

  5. Refraining from any and all sexualizing behavior, including, but not limited to, manipulative, abusive, or coercive words or actions toward anyone with whom we journey.



Spiritual Directors and dream workers maintain the confidentiality and privacy of those with whom we journey by:

  1. Protecting the identity of all with whom we journey.

  2. Keeping confidential all oral and written matters concerning spiritual direction and dream work sessions.

  3. Conducting sessions in appropriate settings.

  4. Understanding that confidentiality simply means to hold information in trust and not divulge it.  Confidential information may be shared with others in the best interest of the person involved only with her/his permission. For example, it might be wise to seek consultation with an outside professional.

  5. We recognize that the one ethical exception to confidentiality is the duty to warn in cases where serious harm is at risk: such as child abuse, elder abuse, and physical harm to self and others. We also honor legal regulations that require disclosure to proper authorities in such circumstances.



Mentors and Staff through formation

  1. Mentors receive and respond to book reports, special papers, verbatims, dream group reports, and final culminating projects throughout the formation period.

  2. Mentors do not journey with those in their small groups as spiritual directors or dream workers.

  3. Mentors do not serve as therapists for those actively in formation until at least 5 years after formation has been completed



Spiritual Directors and Dream workers maintain collegial relationships with others and supervisors by:

  1. Maintaining mutual accountability with other members of the Haden Community as a safeguard for personal life and ministry.

  2. Spiritual Directors and Dream workers maintain memberships in appropriate professional organizations such as SDI or IASD.

  3. Requesting those with whom we journey inform his/her therapist about the spiritual direction and/or dream work relationship.

  4. Respecting other spiritual directors, dream workers, and professionals by not disparaging them or their work.



Spiritual directors and dream workers preserve the integrity of these ministries in public by:

  1. Representing qualifications and affiliations accurately

  2. Defining the nature and purpose of spiritual direction and dream work accurately

  3. Respecting all persons regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, national origin, marital status, political belief, mental or physical handicap, or any preference, personal characteristic, condition or status.

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