First, do no harm!

“Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:10 )

I did a little bit of research, and while the phrase, “first, do no harm” is part of thought to be part of the Hippocratic oath, its origins are not as far back as Hippocrates. The Hippocratic Oath, sworn by doctors not only in the western hemisphere but globally in some form or another, is a promise to be careful in healing and respectful to all who come for medical aide.

Spiritual directors do not swear the Hippocratic Oath, but in spirit and intent they might as well. Spiritual directors do not deal with the physical aspects of the body, nor do they do psychological interventions, but the soul (meaning that which is capable of interacting with the Holy Spirit) can affect both body and mind. And it is the careful and prudent spiritual director who keeps this in mind and respects its implications.

Therefore, when working with the soul, spiritual directors must be very careful because damage to the soul can result in suffering of the mind and body. Therefore, the exhortations found in the Hippocratic Oath are just as applicable to spiritual directors as to anyone else in the medical helping profession. Spiritual directors are held to as high a standard as any doctor or practitioner. In fact, in some respects to an even higher standard for we are responsible to God for what we do and not do. We are supervised by the Divine Spirit, and consult with the Divine regularly.

Gentle reader, may you seek and find the help you need from the sources and resources that best suit you needs. Selah!

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