Qualifications and Experience
Hi, my name is Jen Eckles and I am a Spiritual Director who works with LGBTQ+ young adults and teens. I received my Certificate in Spiritual Direction from The Phoenix Center for Spiritual Direction and am a member of Spiritual Directors International (SDI). I recently completed 48 hours of mental health first aid training through the ACPE Pastoral Care Specialist program. I also have a Doctorate in Audiology from A.T. Stills University and worked as an audiologist for 20 years, so I have many years of previous experience caring for people in various capacities both in ministry and in healthcare.
After leaving my career in audiology, I felt God calling me to the work of spiritual direction. As a Spiritual Director, I love sitting with and holding space for people as they journey to deepen their relationship with God. As part of the LGBTQ+ community myself, my passion is for young adult LGBTQ+ persons of faith who have been outcast from their churches and have become spiritual refugees, yet long to maintain and nurture their relationship with God.
What is Spiritual Direction?
Spiritual direction is not crisis-based counseling or psychotherapy. Spiritual direction is the practice of one (Spiritual Director or companion) sitting with another (called the directee) as they deepen their relationship with God and grow in their own spirituality. As the directee shares of their encounters with God and how they are curating a life that is attuned to the Spirit, the Spiritual Director listens deeply. The Spiritual Director may ask questions that are intended to assist the directee in their reflection and spiritual growth.
Who I Work With
Having been in church my entire life, I recognize the good that church can do, but also recognize and acknowledge the damage it can do. Having experienced spiritual abuse myself by some in a church family after coming out, I have wrestled with the idea of the need for safe, sacred spaces outside of the church. A gentle space where those who have been hurt by the Church may feel invited and be seen, heard, and valued exactly as they are. A place for individual growth, as well as the chance to interact in a spiritual community through classes and retreats. Most importantly, a space where people can come, knowing that God is inside them, and listen as God whispers the truth into their lives that they are a beloved child of the Creator. They are welcome and have a place of belonging at the table.
My practice is centered in prayer and contemplative listening. I welcome all persons, including pastors, from diverse denominations and faith backgrounds. I also sit with those who are Spiritual But Not Religious (SBNR). I utilize the evocative method, which means I engage in deep listening. You can expect a 90/10 approach from me, where I listen 90% and speak 10% of the time. I look forward to meeting you, hearing your story, and walking with you through this journey we call life.
I am able to meet directees online via telehealth or in-person at my office in Central Phoenix: 1407 N 2nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85004