A process improvement approach is more directive, structured and performance-based than spiritual direction. These differences are reasons why the Project-Transform method may be a useful complement for spiritual direction. A process improvement approach may help support spiritual direction, as well as psychotherapy and pastoral counseling, in four ways.
First, the individual may utilize a process improvement approach to analyze their whole life, their activities as well as their thoughts and feelings, for how well the individual is following the “direction” received from spiritual direction. Based on the review, changes may be made to optimize the individual’s adherence to the “direction.”
Second, the individual may focus on any specific activities or situations identified during spiritual direction as obstacles to spiritual growth. A process improvement approach can help:
1. Determine the root causes of the obstacles.
2. Identify action steps for removing or mitigating those obstacles.
3. Facilitate executing the actions.
4. Provide an ongoing mechanism for alerting the individual should those obstacle begin to reappear.
Third, the individual may enhance the quality of their participation within a spiritual direction session by identifying what hinders them from more fully participating in the session and then removing those hindrances. The individual may find that eating lunch before the session leads to drowsiness or they may find that an hour of meditation prepares them to be fully present to their spiritual director. The individual may treat the preparation for a spiritual direction session as a process and identify the steps that best prepare the individual for being truly present during the session. For some individuals, the process may be as simple as not eating lunch right before a session to prevent drowsiness. For others, it may be that they need to eat so that a growling stomach does not distract them. A more involved process might also be created and include activities similar to the following list. For example:
1. Review their to-do list so that they won’t be worried about what obligations they have to fulfill.
2. Review notes from the last session.
3. Journal about what to bring up in the session.
4. Meditate for 30 minutes to improve the ability to listen.
A process improvement approach provides the benefit of systematizing the preparations and may enhance the individual’s readiness for their session. Systematizing the process also provides the benefit of making it easier for the individual and director to discuss and optimize the preparations.
Fourth, a process improvement approach may help the individual evaluate the effectiveness of the type of spiritual direction they are involved with. Additionally it may provide a framework for deciding when it is time for the individual to end spiritual direction with their current spiritual director.