Contemplative counseling offers an awareness-based approach to moments of opportunity, choice and challenge. Working one-on-one with a contemplative guide, the client develops a basic curiosity and simple friendliness toward lived experience. Through facilitated attention to embodied sensation, emotion and thought, individuals become more attuned and aligned with their core.
Contemplative counseling thus offers a chance to explore life's direction. Sessions are anchored in guided awareness practice (meditation, mindfulness, etc.) and gentle inquiry spurred by that practice. The contemplative arts are sometimes used as well. Sessions may include the opportunity to journal or sketch, to respond to archetypal imagery, to resonate with the sounds of poetry or music.
Contemplative counseling is neither psychotherapy, nor life coaching. Psychotherapy often invites us to work through the past; life coaching typically aims toward the future. In contrast, contemplative counseling sits squarely in the present moment, helping us regain our innate equilibrium and ease through embodied awareness. Like so-called "spiritual direction," contemplative counseling helps us discern the deep currents and movements of our life.
Given the emphasis on a specific process of discernment or clarification, clients typically meet on a very short-term basis with the contemplative guide (e.g. weekly for several consecutive weeks), or they meet infrequently (e.g. once a month) over a longer period of time.