Flourishing within the Christian Tradition: Communion with God, Christian Contentment, and Christian Gratitude
For over half a century, flourishing has been a focus of interest in psychology. As an example, psychology of religion researchers have often examined spirituality as a correlate of well-being, with findings commonly revealing a positive association (Park & Slattery, 2013). In these widespread efforts, researchers frequently focus on a “universal” approach, that views spirituality outside irrespective of any religious community. Yet, some authors have argued for a more balanced strategy, employing both universal and worldview-sensitive methods for studying the psychology of religion and spirituality (Hill, 2013; Zinnbauer & Pargament, 2005; Kim et al., 2000). In an effort to help rectify the apparent imbalance, this presentation discusses three aspects of Christian flourishing: communion with God, Christian contentment, and Christian gratitude, drawing from the Bible, and other Christian writings (Kim et al., 2006; Pankalla & Kosnik, 2018). A part of the session will review the reliability and validity of three scales that were investigated empirically, and corelated with spirituality and flourishing/well-being.
- Participants will be able to identify the similarities and differences between etic and emic approaches to studying the psychology of religion and spirituality.
- Participants will be able to define and describe the psychometric properties of three emic scales within the Christian tradition—the Communion with God Scale, Christian Contentment Scale, and Christian Gratitude Scale.
- Participants will be able to explore the role that communion with God, Christian contentment, and Christian gratitude play in the well-being of Christian adults.
Christian Meditation in Counseling and Psychotherapy: A Four-Step Model for Anxiety and Depression
In the last few decades, researchers within the clinical psychology literature have increasingly investigated a variety of mental processes associated with anxiety and depression (transdiagnostic processes, e.g., repetitive negative thinking, distress intolerance, behavioral avoidance, perfectionism, impaired mentalization) and interventions (e.g., mindfulness meditation, loving kindness meditation) for treating clients in counseling and psychotherapy. One popular intervention, Buddhist-influenced mindfulness meditation, helps practitioners to develop present-moment, non-judgmental awareness, relating differently to unpleasant inner experiences in the process. Yet, some Christian clients in counseling and psychotherapy may prefer to draw from their own spiritual heritage, which offers many psychospiritual practices that are more consistent with the spiritual goals of Christianity. Certainly, several recent empirical studies in the psychology literature have elucidated that Christian meditation may hold promise as a Christian alternative to the abundance of Buddhist-inspired approaches currently promoted in counseling and clinical circles. Drawing upon his recently-published workbook with InterVarsity Press, the presenter offers a theoretically-grounded, four-step Christian meditative process for Christian clients in counseling and psychotherapy, helping Christians in therapy to target a variety of mental processes associated with anxiety and depression in counseling and clinical practice. In addition, participants will be guided in the therapeutic practice of Christian meditation in the workshop.
- Participants will be able to describe the burgeoning clinical psychology literature on mental processes associated with anxiety and depression (transdiagnostic processes, e.g., repetitive negative thinking, distress intolerance, behavioral avoidance, perfectionism, impaired mentalization).
- Participants will be able to describe a four-step, theoretically-grounded Christian meditative model for working with Christian clients in counseling and psychotherapy.
- Participants will be able to describe several specific Christian meditative interventions for targeting transdiagnostic mental processes when working with Christian clients in counseling and psychotherapy.