Christian Meditation in Clinical Practice

Christian Meditation in Clinical Practice

A Four-Step Model and Workbook for Therapists and Clients

Christian Association for Psychological Studies Books

by Joshua J. Knabb

Christian Meditation in Clinical Practice
  • Length: 272 pages
  • Published: October 26, 2021
  •  Forthcoming
  • ISBN: 978-1-5140-0024-3
  • Item Code: A0024
  • Case Quantity: 36

Christians are hungry for a return to their own tradition to cultivate meditation practices that are both psychologically and spiritually fruitful. In recent decades, mindfulness meditation, which originates from the Buddhist tradition, has been embraced in many settings as a method for addressing a plethora of symptoms. What would it look like to turn instead to the Christian faith for resources to more effectively identify and respond to psychological suffering?

Over the last decade, Dr. Joshua Knabb has conducted a variety of empirical studies on Christian meditation, focusing on both building theory and testing specific, replicable practices. In this overview and workbook he presents the foundations of a Christian-sensitive approach to meditation in clinical practice. Filled with practical features for immediate use by Christian clients and their therapists, Christian Meditation in Clinical Practice provides

  • an introduction to the rich resources on meditation from eight major streams of the Christian tradition
  • practices from the early desert Christians, Ignatius of Loyola, Celtic Christians, the Puritans, contemporary writers, and many others
  • guidance for targeting transdiagnostic processes—patterns of cognition, affect, behavior, the self, and relationships that may lead to psychological suffering
  • research-based evidence for the benefits of Christian meditation
  • client-friendly tools for practicing meditation, including step-by-step instructions, worksheets, journaling prompts, and links to tailored audio resources

Using the approach of Christian psychology, Knabb's model dually builds on a biblical worldview and integrates the latest research in clinical psychology. As clients engage the variety of meditative exercises in this book, they will move toward healthier responses to difficult experiences and a deeper awareness of, and contentment in, God.

"This is a wise and useful book that straddles the gap between faith and science in a way that does justice to both. Western science provides increasing support for the positive impact of the psychological processes of change engaged by meditation and contemplation, but Christians can feel left out of this conversation if the unique features of a Christian approach are not addressed and harmonized with what psychological science has found. Several other books link modern psychological intervention methods to the Christian faith, but this is the first book of which I am aware that dives deeply into the conceptual issues and practical psychological benefits of a Christian approach to meditation and contemplation, and then provides a step-by-step guide to implementing this understanding. The processes targeted by Dr. Knabb's approach to meditation, prayer, and contemplation—being better able to notice, to shift from a content (or 'earthly') perspective, to accept, and to act—are all empirically well supported. By laying them out so clearly and then providing practical methods to pursue them, the author empowers readers to judge for themselves how the practices in the book are landing in their life rather than being left to take the author's word for it. That is an honorable and empowering approach that is respectful of the reader. I highly recommend this book."

Steven C. Hayes, Foundation Professor of Psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno, and author of A Liberated Mind: How to Pivot Toward What Matters

"Mindfulness meditation is the current psychological bandwagon. But can it be Christian-compatible? Absolutely, argues Josh Knabb in Christian Meditation in Clinical Practice. It is a transdiagnostic treatment approach for people with one or several overlapping psychological struggles. Thoughtful. Practical. Hop on the bandwagon for an interesting and helpful ride."

Everett L. Worthington Jr., Commonwealth Professor Emeritus, Virginia Commonwealth University

"Research clearly shows that meditation is good for mental health and well-being. In this elegant book, Dr. Joshua Knabb explores the underlying processes of meditation and shows how to reap the benefits through Christian contemplative practices. It is a trustworthy guide for therapists and their clients who want to deepen their faith while managing psychological distress. Dr. Knabb offers truly beautiful practices that can be easily integrated into daily life. If you are Christian and want to learn meditation, you have come to the right place."

Christopher Germer, instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and coauthor of The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook

"Christian Meditation in Clinical Practice by Joshua Knabb is a clearly written and substantial book on a distinctively Christian approach to mindful meditation based on Scripture and the writings of well-known Christian authors throughout church history. It contains very practical and helpful exercises in the practice of Christian meditation for repetitive negative thinking, impaired emotional clarity and distress intolerance, behavioral avoidance, perfectionism, and impaired mentalization, when associated with psychopathology, providing empirical support for the effectiveness of such Christian meditation interventions. A must-read for therapists, clients, researchers, and anyone interested in Christian meditation."

Siang-Yang Tan, senior professor of clinical psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary and author of Counseling and Psychotherapy: A Christian Perspective



1. Transdiagnostic Processes: A New Approach to Understanding Mental Disorders
2. Transdiagnostic Interventions: Buddhist, Christian, and Secularized Meditation
3. Christian Meditation for Targeting Transdiagnostic Processes
4. Targeting Problems with Cognition: Christian Meditation for Repetitive Negative Thinking
5. Targeting Problems with Affect: Christian Meditation for Impaired Emotional Clarity and Distress Intolerance
6. Targeting Problems with Behavior: Christian Meditation for Behavioral Avoidance
7. Targeting Problems with the Self: Christian Meditation for Perfectionism
8. Targeting Problems with Relationships: Christian Meditation for Impaired Mentalization

General Index
Scripture Index

Author photo of Joshua Knabb

Joshua J. Knabb (PsyD, Azusa Pacific University; ABPP, Clinical Psychology) is a board-certified clinical psychologist as well as associate professor of psychology and director of the PsyD program at California Baptist University. His publications include Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Christian Clients, Contemplative Prayer for Christians with Chronic Worry, and Christian Psychotherapy in Context, as well as numerous journal articles.

BY Joshua J. Knabb