Episode 118: Understanding Attachments and Inner Movements in Soul Care (Discernment Process Part 1)

Understanding Attachments and Inner Movements in Soul Care: A Journey into the Discernment Process

Welcome back to another enriching exploration of spiritual direction, spiritual formation, and soul care. Inspired by recent podcast episode discussions, today we’ll delve into the discernment process, focusing on critical concepts like attachments and inner movements such as constellation and desolation. 

Introduction: A Personal Journey

“Hi there. Welcome back. It’s Dawn your host. Today is a solo episode, which I heard a lot of you want to hear more of, so kind of an up close and personal on spiritual direction, spiritual formation and soul care.” 

Discovering Discernment

Dawn Gabriel, your host, shares her journey of learning about discernment during a two-year spiritual direction course based on the Ignatian spiritual tradition. “This topic is going to be on discernment. And specifically today on constellation and desolation and which would also be referred to as attachments.”

Attachments: Healthy vs. Unhealthy

Gabriel discusses the concept of attachments, explaining how essential it is to become self-aware of our unhealthy attachments, using biblical examples for clarity. “It’s really digging in deeper to those like false sense of security that we tend to get into. I would say, like, for example, money, if you look at the parable of the story of the rich man in the Bible.”

Constellation and Desolation

The two key terms in Ignatian discernment are constellation and desolation. Gabriel emphasizes the importance of recognizing these inner movements.

  • Constellation: “An interior movement that moves you toward an increase of faith, hope, and love. For example, it might be something that helps you feel more open to God or a strong response of beauty and joy in creation.”  
  • Desolation: “An interior movement including thoughts and feelings that lead toward a decrease of faith, hope, and love. You might experience a feeling of confusion, gloom, restlessness, turmoil, or even temptation.”

Practical Application: Discernment in Decision-Making

Gabriel shares a personal anecdote about using the discernment process while deciding to expand her practice. “I had did this discernment process for months beforehand. Like it was a four month process and I prayed about it. I spoke with my spiritual director about, I spoke with my husband. I spoke with my team, my leadership.”

Rules of Ignatian Discernment

Gabriel mentions the rules that helped her navigate through periods of desolation: “One of the rules, which I’ll go through like the rules of decision-making or discernment rules that Ignatian gives us, is don’t overturn a decision you made in constellation when you’re in desolation.”

What is next for You?

Are you intrigued by the discernment process and its potential to enrich your spiritual journey? Reach out to me, Dawn Gabriel, with any questions you might have. Connect with me on Facebook and Instagram at SoulCare for Therapists or email me directly at Dawn@SoulCareforTherapists.com. Let’s continue this journey together, exploring how holistic care can renew and ground us as we grow personally and professionally.

Links and Resources

  • Soul Care Retreats: Exclusively for therapists who want to recharge in a deep and fulfilling way. You will engage in your own spiritual journey, find some release from the work you do, as well as connect with other therapists all while enjoying the beauty of Colorado at a secluded and peaceful retreat center. Limited to 6-8 therapists.


Show Notes and Podcast Production by Course Creation Studio.