Free to Love: Schema Therapy for Christians

Bruce A. Stevens
Charles Sturt University, Sydney, Australia

Maureen Miner
Director of Research, Excelsia College, Australia

Series: Religion and Society
BISAC: REL012050

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$195.00

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Special issue: Resilience in breaking the cycle of children’s environmental health disparities
Edited by I Leslie Rubin, Robert J Geller, Abby Mutic, Benjamin A Gitterman, Nathan Mutic, Wayne Garfinkel, Claire D Coles, Kurt Martinuzzi, and Joav Merrick

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Schema therapy is an evidence-based therapy with a proven record of effectiveness in international randomized controlled trials—the gold standard of proof in medicine and psychology. This therapy uses innovative techniques that have helped people with even the most complex and difficult personal problems to change. In Free to Love, schema therapy is brought into a Christian worldview and so the authors use biblical insights about human nature together with spiritual resources such as prayer in the therapy.

This book provides a self-help resource for Christians. Simply being a Christian does not make life easy; sometimes, Christians get stuck in “life traps”. This book offers a way out of such traps. The authors believe that the best way out uses both faith and psychological insight. Both are important because “All truth is God’s truth.” The authors outline a truth-infused path to change long-standing patterns of dysfunction.

The authors chose schema therapy because it is an effective, practical, and a good way of explaining the childhood origins of psychological difficulties. Additionally, it draws upon established practices from other therapies, deals with a range of problems from simple to the most complex, and can be integrated with theological insights.

This book’s integration with Christianity uses attachment theory. Schema therapy is partly based on attachment theory, among other influences. Insights from Christian understanding of attachment to God and to other people are used in explanations and in exercises where relevant. As a result, this book provides a sophisticated adaption of schema therapy using insights from Christian work on attachment theory in particular, along with some other biblical themes.

The focus of the book is on providing an up-to-date Christian self-help resource that reflects the evolution of schema therapy over the past twenty-three years. This resource is useful for believers who are seeing schema therapists. It is equally useful for those who read self-help literature for personal growth and want to chart their own course of recovery within a Christian context of understanding. Throughout, the authors use examples from their Christian clinical practice to illustrate ideas and strategies.

Over 90 different self-help exercises are included for reflection, experience, and behavioral change. Some are demanding and even complex, but all are useful. Some are adaptations of interventions routinely used by therapists who do schema therapy. For reflection, we ask the reader to keep a journal, both as a kind of psychological autobiography and as a very useful discipline long associated with the Christian tradition. The experiential exercises help readers experience something in a different way. For behavior change, readers are encouraged to try different activities and reflect on the meaning and implications of deeply held beliefs. This will eventually lead to “behavioral pattern breaking”.

Christians wanting to understand and overcome life traps, or therapists working with Christians, can use Free to Love as a guide and practical resource. There are options to deeply engage with the material either on a first or later reading in the exciting process of understanding and change.

Introduction

Chapter 1. A Christian Foundation for Schema Therapy

Chapter 2. Schema Therapy: A Proven Way to Change

Chapter 3. Past Tense, Present Tense: Understanding Family Patterns

Chapter 4. Back to the Future: About Hidden Learning

Chapter 5. Modes: In the Present Tense

Chapter 6. Mode Awareness

Chapter 7. Mode Management: The Inner Critic Modes

Chapter 8. Mode Management: The Coping Modes

Chapter 9. Mode Change: Meeting the Needs of your “Inner Child”

Chapter 10. Mode Change through Visualization

Chapter 11. Clear Communication, Decision-making, and Relationships

Chapter 12. Putting “Healthy” Back in the Adult

Chapter 13. Healthy Adult and Spiritual Awareness

Chapter 14. Epilogue

Appendix

A Note to Your Partner or Friend

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