After many requests to make this protocol available to a wider audience, I gathered the material I use in therapy and group work, and sat down to write (after many false starts). It started out as a self-help handbook for Christians; however I soon realised that the work I was producing was more suitable for therapists who already know ACT, rather than for the average layperson. I saw tricky areas that can really best be worked through with a therapist and decided that, by trying to explain in self-help language, I may be doing a disservice to all. I therefore decided to take the more technical route.
There are excellent ACT textbooks already published and so, in order not to reinvent the wheel, I have not included detailed discussions of the processes of ACT. Some resources for learning ACT are listed in the references, although this list is by no means conclusive. My aim in this text is to facilitate a knowledge base for use with the Christian population, and to provide reference material for all therapists, whether they are familiar with Christianity or not.
Why a Specific Protocol for Christians?
Making sense of the world through Christianity is an important part of life for a large proportion of the population in many Western countries. According to a Pew Forum study, dated December 2011, 77% of the population of the USA, 75% of Europe, 63% of sub-Saharan Africa and 90% of Latin American/Caribbean populations identify themselves as Christians.
For those who consider Christianity as defining their worldview, help is most likely to be welcomed from those who can best speak their language. The Bible provides a ready reference for what this language may be and, in reading it through, I have found repeated mention of what ACT researchers are discovering. The connection between ACT and what has been revealed in the Bible forms the backbone of the information provided in this book.
Albert Einstein reportedly said: “Information is not knowledge.” I saw a need for a protocol for Christians that was not based on information alone. In this book I am offering you the knowledge that I have gained by putting into practise the information gained by simultaneously learning ACT and reading the complete Bible annually. I have learned experientially, through a number of workshops and conferences, how to apply ACT in my life. At the same time I have studied the Bible and have developed the habit of reading it right through once a year.