Evidence-Based Practices for Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy


Are Christian treatments as effective as secular treatments? What is the evidence to support its success?

Christians engaged in the fields of psychology, psychotherapy and counseling are living in a unique moment. Over the last couple decades, these fields have grown more and more open to religious belief and religion-accommodative therapies. At the same time, Christian counselors and psychotherapists encounter pressure (for example, from insurance companies) to demonstrate that...

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Evidence-Based Practices for Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy

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Are Christian treatments as effective as secular treatments? What is the evidence to support its success?

Christians engaged in the fields of psychology, psychotherapy and counseling are living in a unique moment. Over the last couple decades, these fields have grown more and more open to religious belief and religion-accommodative therapies. At the same time, Christian counselors and psychotherapists encounter pressure (for example, from insurance companies) to demonstrate that their accommodative therapies are as beneficial as secular therapies. This raises the need for evidence to support Christian practices and treatments.

The essays gathered in this volume explore evidence-based Christian treatments, practices, factors and principles. The authors mine the relevant research and literature to update practicing psychotherapists, clinical researchers, students, teachers and educated laypersons about the efficacy of certain Christian-accommodative therapies. Topics covered in the book include:
devotional meditationcognitive-behavior therapypsychodynamic and process-experiential therapiescouples, marriage and family therapygroup intervention
The book concludes with a review of the evidence for the various treatments discussed in the chapters, a guide for conducting clinical trials that is essential reading for current or aspiring researchers, and reflections by the editors about the future of evidence-based Christian practices. As the editors say, "more research is necessary." To that end, this volume is a major contribution to a field of inquiry that, while still in its infancy, promises to have enormous implications for future work in Christian counseling and psychotherapy.

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Editorial Reviews

Todd W. Hall
"The concept of evidence-based practice is continually evolving and needs to be applied more systematically to a Christian context. In this volume, top researcher-clinicians come together to provide the state of the art of evidence-based practices for Christian counseling and psychotherapy. It is both broad and deep, and represents a significant advancement in the field of Christian counseling. I highly recommend it for lay counselors, graduate students and seasoned clinicians alike."
Mark R. McMinn
"I love this book for all sorts of reasons. It is edited by some of the most gifted and insightful people I know. The chapters illustrate a variety of treatment approaches as well as diverse ways of gathering evidence to support those treatments. I also appreciate how thoroughly this book reflects wise collaboration between researchers and clinicians, and among early-, mid-, and late-career psychologists. This volume is timely and essential, reflecting both Christian wisdom and prevailing professional standards."
Stanton L. Jones
"The publication of this excellent volume marks a developmental step in the maturation of Christian engagement with and reflection on quality provision of counseling and psychotherapy services. The editors and authors represent knowledge of best practices in alleviating human distress in a number of key areas, particularly related to preventing and assisting troubled marriages, and we can hope that the movement they seek to inspire will flourish."
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Everett L. Worthington Jr. (Ph.D., University of Missouri) is professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a licensed clinical psychologist and former executive director of the Templeton Foundation's A Campaign for Forgiveness Research.

Worthington has studied forgiveness since the 1980s and has published more than two hundred articles and papers on forgiveness, marriage and family, psychotherapy and virtue in a wide variety of journals and magazines. He was the founding editor of Marriage and Family: A Christian Journal and sits on the editorial boards of several professional journals. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN and The 700 Club and been featured in award-winning documentary movies on forgiveness such as The Power of Forgiveness and The Big Question. He is the author of seventeen books including Handbook of Forgiveness, Hope-Focused Marriage Counseling and Forgiving and Reconciling.

Eric L. Johnson (Ph.D., Michigan State University) is trained as an academic psychologist and is Lawrence and Charlotte Hoover Professor of Pastoral Care at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in
Louisville, Kentucky. He is coeditor of God Under Fire and the author of Foundations for Soul Care. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Psychology and Theology, the Journal of Psychology and Christianity, and the Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care, and he is the director of the Society for Christian Psychology.

Joshua N. Hook (Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University) is assistant professor of psychology at the University of North Texas. He is a licensed clinical psychologist, and has written several journal articles and book chapters, mainly on the topics of humility, forgiveness, spirituality and religion.

Jamie D. Aten (PhD, Indiana State University) is the founder and codirector of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute, and Dr. Arthur P. Rech and Mrs. Jean May Rech Associate Professor of Psychology at Wheaton College (Wheaton, Illinois). Previously he served as the assistant director of the Katrina Research Center and as assistant professor of psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Aten has been awarded close to $2 million in external funding by numerous state, federal and nonprofit organizations for psychology of religion and disaster research. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and co-edited several books, including two American Psychological Association Books bestsellers. He is also an American Psychological Association's Division 36 (Psychology of Religion) Margaret Gorman Early Career Award winner and Mutual of America Merit Finalist Award winner.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction to Evidence-Based Practices in Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy
Everett L. Worthington Jr., Eric L. Johnson, Joshua N. Hook and Jamie D. AtenPart 1: Evidence-Based General Psychotherapeutic Factors
2. Evidence-Based Relationship and Therapist Factors in Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy
R. Scott Stegman, Sarah L. Kelly and T. Mark Harwood
3. Lay Christian Counseling for General Psychological Problems
Siang-Yang Tan
4. Christian Devotional Meditation for Anxiety
Fernando Garzon Part 2: Evidence-Based Approaches to Psychotherapeutic Treatment of Individuals
5. Christian-Accommodative Cognitive Therapy for Depression
David J. Jennings II, Don E. Davis, Joshua N. Hook and Everett L. Worthington, Jr.
6. Christian-Accommodative Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Children and Adolescents
Donald F. Walker, Heather Lewis Quagliana, Morgan Wilkinson and Dana Frederick
7. Evidence-Based Principles from Psychodynamic and Process-Experiential Psychotherapies
Keith J. Edwards and Edward B. DavisPart 3: Evidence-Based Psychotherapeutic Treatments for Couples and Groups
8. Preparing Couples for Marriage: The SYMBIS Model
Les Parrott and Leslie Parrott
9. Christian PREP: The Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program
C. Gary Barnes and Scott M. Stanley
10. The Hope-Focused Couples Approach to Counseling and Enrichment
Jennifer S. Ripley and Vickey L. Maclin
11. The Marital Conflict and Restoration Model: Empirical Evidence for Pain-Defense and Grace-Trust Patterns in Couple Reconciliation
James N. Sells
12. Marital Couples and Forgiveness Intervention
Frederick A. DiBlasio
13. Christian-Accommodative Group Interventions to Promote Forgiveness for Transgressions
Julia E. M. Kidwell and Nathaniel G. WadePart 4: Reflecting on Evidence-Based Treatments
14. Promising Evidence-Based Treatments
Everett L. Worthington Jr., Joshua N. Hook, Eric Johnson and Jamie D. Aten
15. Conducting Clinical Outcome Studies in Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy
Joshua N. Hook, Everett L. Worthington, Jr., Jamie D. Aten and Eric Johnson
16. Evidence-Based Practice in Light of the Christian Tradition(s): Reflections and Future Directions
Eric L. Johnson, Everett L. Worthington Jr., Joshua N. Hook and Jamie D. Aten
List of Contributors
Subject Index
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