The Direction of Desire

  • Mark Murphy St Mary's University College, Twickenham, London
Keywords: Spiritual Direction, Psychological Wholeness, Healing, Individuation, Spiritual Satisfaction, Lacanian Psychoanalysis, Mystical Theology, John of the Cross


In recent years Spiritual Direction has become increasingly sentimental and synonymous to emotional certainty and integrative, psychological wholeness and thus lost some of its past priorities and the resultant vigour. In the name of Spiritual Direction what happens today is a sort of therapeutic relationship between a client/patient and psychologist. Terms like ‘Healing’ and ‘Individuation’ have become key words via which spiritual direction now operates. Spiritual direction as it happens now is creating a sort of spiritual satisfaction and certainty for those who seek out directors. Lacanian psychoanalysis has its roots in a more orthodox conception of mystical theology and spiritual direction than other forms of psychology due to Lacan’s understanding the structural reality of human desire. A recovery of the significance of desire in spiritual direction can be accomplished by engaging in the theoretical work of Lacan and John of the Cross.


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