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Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Introduction and Faith-Based Applications for Christian Clients

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Summary 

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a third wave cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that is a unique, empirically-based psychological intervention, employing acceptance and mindfulness processes and commitment and behavior change processes to produce psychological flexibility (Hayes & Lillis, 2012). Acceptance and Commitment Theory: Introduction and Faith-Based Applications for Christian Clients integrates empirical evidence with a biblical worldview to offer mental health professionals a faith-based strategy for assisting Christian clients in relating differently to psychological suffering in order to live out their faith with purpose and intentionality. 

Learning Objectives 

Participants will... 

  1. Differentiate between pain and suffering
  2. Explain the link between experiential avoidance and mental disorders
  3. Discuss the relationship between language and psychological suffering
  4. Describe the role that psychological flexibility plays in mental health
  5. Identify the six processes of traditional acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) 
  6. Outline assessment strategies, metaphors, and interventions for the six processes of traditional ACT
  7. Analyze the relationship between mental disorders, experiential avoidance, and a Christian view of suffering from a faith-based ACT viewpoint 
  8. Summarize the relationship between language and suffering from a faith-based ACT perspective
  9. Describe the role that psychological flexibility plays in value-based living, including ways for Christian clients to more effectively live out their faith while in psychological pain 
  10. Identify the six processes of faith-based ACT
  11. Apply the six processes of faith-based ACT to Christian clients with depression, anxiety, trauma, and relationship distress in order to help these clients live out their faith in the midst of psychological pain 

Course Presenter 

Joshua J. Knabb, PsyD, ABPP, is a board-certified clinical psychologist and fellow of the American Academy of Clinical Psychology, specializing in individual and couples therapy. Residing in Southern California with his wife and two children, Dr. Knabb is a tenured professor of psychology at California Baptist University (CBU), serving as the Associate Dean for the Psychology Division and Director of the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology Program in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. In addition to his work as an educator and psychotherapist, Dr. Knabb is the Editor for the Journal of Psychology and Christianity, and he was recently elected to a three-year appointment as Member-at-Large with the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Division 36 (Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality) Executive Committee. His writings and research have been published in a wide variety of academic journals over the last decade, and he has written several books on Christian approaches to psychotherapy, the psychology of religion and spirituality, and related topics. His research interests include, in no particular order, marriage and the family, psychological assessment, attachment theory, transdiagnostic constructs and interventions, mindfulness-based therapies, the psychology of religion and spirituality, emic assessment and intervention strategies within the Christian tradition, Christian meditative and contemplative practices, and cultural diversity. 

Course Lessons and Descriptions 

ACT 101: Traditional ACT: Theoretical Foundations 

 Joshua Knabb, PsyD, ABPP 

In this presentation, Dr. Knabb offers a basic introduction to the theoretical foundations of traditional acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), including the difference between pain and suffering, the link between experiential avoidance and mental disorders, the relationship between language and psychological suffering, and the role that psychological flexibility plays in mental health. 

ACT 102: Traditional ACT: Core Processes 

Joshua Knabb, PsyD, ABPP 

In this presentation, Dr. Knabb discusses the six processes of traditional ACT, including present-moment awareness, the transcendent self, defusion, acceptance, values, and committed action. Assessment strategies, metaphors, and interventions for the six traditional ACT processes are also offered. 

ACT 103: Faith-Based ACT: Theoretical Foundations and Core Processes  

Joshua Knabb, PsyD, ABPP 

In this presentation, Dr. Knabb explores the theoretical foundations of faith-based ACT, including the relationship between mental disorders, experiential avoidance, and a Christian view of suffering, the relationship between language and suffering, the role that psychological flexibility plays in value-based living for Christian clients to more effectively live out their faith during psychological pain, and the six processes of faith-based ACT (i.e., practicing God’s presence, the contemplative self, watchfulness, endurance, biblical virtues, and following Jesus).  

ACT 104: Faith-Based ACT: Applications with Christian Clients 

Joshua Knabb, PsyD, ABPP 

In this presentation, Dr. Knabb applies the six processes of faith-based ACT (i.e., practicing God’s presence, the contemplative self, watchfulness, endurance, biblical virtues, and following Jesus) to Christian clients with depression, anxiety, trauma, and relationship distress. Case examples are provided to help mental health professionals better assist Christian clients in following Jesus while experiencing psychological pain. 

Continuing Education 

8.00 CE Credits available for LPC, LMFT, LSW.  

The American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) offers some psychologists, therapists, counselors, social workers, and play therapists Continuing Education (CE) credit due for good standing with certain states . It remains the responsibility of each participant to be aware of state licensure and CE requirements. Participants should check their state and/or local regulations regarding required Continuing Education hours. For more information on Light University Continuing Education programs, please visit https://www.lightuniversity.com/continuing-education-statements/.