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Spiritual Direction

What is Spiritual Direction?
Spiritual Direction is a unique process for exploring the presence of the Divine in all aspects of your life.  Through conversation and reflection you will become more attuned to this Presence; to its rhythms, movements and invitations to greater depth, love and resonance with what is positive in the world.  Sometimes a greater connection to the Holy through prayer and ritual is yearned for and Spiritual Direction can help identify blocks and resistances and create a more vibrant and personal spiritual practice.  Spiritual Direction seeks to help you develop a personal relationship with God.

Spiritual Direction can help you discern a vocational path, sort out relationship issues, examine where the joy is in your life, deal better with chronic illness and pain, and augment recovery efforts.  Unlike therapy, the movement is towards the Sacred and using that relationship to achieve your goals.

Spiritual Direction is a fluid practice which should be attuned to your individual style of relating and processing.  Some people prefer more silence, reflection and slowness; others prefer a less contemplative, more action oriented approach which could include using various media for spiritual self expression.  It is a given that the Divine will work through and with you to lead you to a mode which is most expansive and reflects your true nature.  The director might gently question, challenge, prod, reflect and reframe the ideas, feelings, noticings that you bring in.  The core of spiritual direction consists of “holy listening” . 

Spiritual Direction also helps you to expand your notion of what prayer is.  We sometimes revisit familiar, and sometimes, unfamiliar prayers and other spiritual texts to mine them for new and refreshed meaning.  Sometimes we will help you notice unconventional prayerforms which are already occurring in your life and represent your own personal communion with the Holy (for instance, making music).

Hourly meetings, at my San Francisco office, usually occur monthly but sometimes more frequent meetings are desired.  Fees and policies will be discussed either during the first phone call or first meeting.   I recommend a few introductory sessions to mutually assess if the fit feels right for both of us and I will be  more than happy to help you find another director if something different is needed.

My Background:
I was trained at the Mercy Center’s Spiritual Directors Institute in Burlingame, California.  I am also a licensed clinical social worker who has been practicing for over 30 years with a private practice in San Francisco.  I am Jewish but am interested in working with persons identified with any spiritual tradition; together we will learn about your core beliefs and practices. 

I also have a deep calling to work with those who, for any reason, have felt marginalized in their spiritual life or communities as well as seekers who need to language their experience of the Divine differently or free themselves from religious institutional structures that have not worked for them. I also have a lot of experience working with people who were raised by atheists and are struggling to define a spiritual path for themselves.

On the personal side, I am married, and a former New Yorker with a warm and engaged style and a good sense of humor.  I have a full life with many interests, including playing Appalachian dulcimer in a string band, knitting and quilting, using mixed media to create prayer journals and bird watching.  My favorite prayer time is in the Eastern Sierras and at Mono Lake where I feel very close to God.

I love my work and feel very blessed.


Working with Renna is allowing me to collect, explore and integrate a lifetime of disparate spiritual experiences. Together we work through limiting constructs, find new meaning in the practice of prayer that felt rote, and free the path toward deepening faith. 

She has helped me clarify my own needs in relationship to a religious community, to find and build a collective spiritual experience.

Renna's heightened spirituality, her analytic skills and fiercely supportive nature, have made our work together powerful, transformative and very valuable.

G. R. San Francisco


When I first started meeting with Renna Ulvang as my Spiritual Director, I wasn't sure what to expect. At the time, I felt a need for spiritual direction and help facing new life challenges.

Renna Ulvang has made a wonderful and positive impact over the last 1.5 years. She's opened my eyes about how to recognize the sacred in everyday life. She has shared techniques for me to practice, which bring me a greater sense of peace, clarity and well-being, even during physically and emotionally stressful times. Renna has an extraordinary ability to listen deeply and respond with empathy and wisdom. She's offered guidance that continually helps me pursue my true potential. In addition, Renna suggests resources such as books, websites and healers.

I highly recommend Renna Ulvang as a Spiritual Director for people who are looking for personal spiritual direction.

F.F. San Francisco

"I have been one of Renna Ulvang's spiritual directees for almost a year and have found each and every session substantive, meaningful, uplifting, and occasionally transcendent.  Renna seems to know instinctively just when and how to introduce some "spiritual nudging" without any hint of pontification or heavy-handedness.  She is always very attuned to where I'm at and often provides a most insightful reframing that is both memorable and useful.  Through working with Renna I have been able to increase the quantity and the quality of my connection to the divine, my sense of immediate connectedness to life, and the beginnings of a relationship with prayer. It's definitely one of the most important, hours of my month."

Paul C. San Francisco




My wish is to provide a safe space for you to explore deeper ways to connect with what is sacred in your life  and to tell your sacred story.