ACT with Faith: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with Christian clients, A Practitioner's Guide.

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APA Citation: 

Ord, I. R. (2014). ACT with Faith: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with Christian clients, A Practitioner's Guide. UK: Compass Publishing.

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Conceptual
Publication Type: 
Book
Language: 
English
Abstract: 

Have you ever been faced with a Christian client who really wants to include their beliefs in therapy, but all your best efforts at understanding what these are end in frustration for both of you? Have you ever felt it in the best interests of your client, to refer them to someone who may be better placed to understand their Christian beliefs? This book is for the ranks of highly qualified and skilled ACT therapists and practitioners who have, or will have this dilemma.

To help the therapist to assess whether the client before them will benefit from this specific protocol or not:

  • An early chapter summarises the Christian’s worldview. This is short and factual and the reader is urged not to skip this.
  • With the diversity of denominations and groups who carry the name ‘Christian’ it is difficult to be absolutely definitive and no attempt is made to claim this.

The bulk of the book considers the six ACT processes.

  • Many Christians are subject to teaching about the dangers of Psychology. Any search on the words ‘Psychology’ and ‘Christianity’ will reveal one or other instance of this.
  • Within each process there are potential pitfalls and/or advantages when working with Christians. The pitfalls may confirm that Psychology is ‘dangerous’.
  • An example may be the question ‘does that work for you?’. Careful explanation of this is provided as one of the extensive handouts.
  • Other phrases that may cause concern are addressed in the extensive handouts which therapists are free to copy and distribute.
  • The writer has been ideally placed in both the ACT and Christian communities for many years, which has enabled an understanding of where the areas of apparent conflict may be.

Overall focus:

  • A major consideration is rule-governed behaviour.
  • Developing a flexible, non-judgemental sense of self has proved itself extremely important when working with Christians. A very focussed approach to facilitating this is explained.

Encouraging a functional, contextual approach to behaviour change which is congruent with the Christian worldview will mean that ACT is considered a ‘safe’ option for Christians, even if the therapist is not a Christian.