220 – Carditive Therapy: Working with the Heart in Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy


Media Format: Audio USB (MP3)

SKU: WC19-WK220A Category:


Christianity is a religion of the heart. In addition, Christians are united to Christ and have access
to communion with God. In this workshop, we will explore how the foundational truths of the
Gospel provide rich, therapeutic resources for working with the hearts of Christian clients. In
addition, we will show how Christians can appropriate empirically-validated interventions from
contemporary secular therapies???such as emotion-focused, relational and brief psychodynamic,
and acceptance and commitment-based therapies???within a Christ-centered framework. The
result is a contemporary, yet distinctly Christian, approach to soul care that uses biblical truth,
the Christian story, and relationship with the triune God to promote the healing and flourishing
of Christians. Union with Christ provides a host of therapeutic benefits for counselees:
forgiveness, reconciliation with a perfect God and Father, the gifts of righteousness, holiness,
becoming a child of God, and the indwelling Holy Spirit. These features of salvation in Christ
promote access to God?۪s presence and love through meditative prayer and enable the
resolution of debilitating emotions like shame, guilt, and anxiety. This facilitates the
development of greater self-awareness; emotion experience, expression, and regulation; and
productive activity. These skills, in turn, enable greater honesty, authenticity, and
psychological-mindedness; self-examination; distress tolerance; healthy differentiation of self
from others; and the development of a new identity based on Christ?۪s perfection rather than
one?۪s own performance. Such processes are especially helpful for Christian counselees who
struggle with anxiety and depressive disorders and high levels of shame. Christian therapists
foster these processes through empathic attunement, vigorous support, affirmation, transparency, and strategies that enhance emotion processing, like one- and two-chair
techniques, guided imagery, and client meditative prayer.

Presented by: Eric Johnson, Ph.D. & Michael Strating, M.A.

Learning Objectives
Participants will:

  1. Articulate a Christian framework for working with the emotions, desires, thoughts, behaviors, and interpersonal experiences of Christian clients, rooted in their identities as adopted children of God
  2. Utilize distinctly Christian techniques for modifying the emotions, desires, thoughts, behaviors, and relational patterns of Christian clients
  3. Work with the stories of Christians in light of their union with Christ’s death and resurrection in order to promote emotional and relational change