Jason A. Nieuwsma, PhD, is assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University, and serves as the Associate Director for the Mental Health and Chaplaincy program in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Nieuwsma has led multiple projects and authored numerous articles focused on improving the integration of mental health and spiritual care services, and has trained hundreds of chaplains and mental health professionals in the application of acceptance and commitment therapy. Robyn D Walser, PhD, is associate director of the National Center for PTSD, Dissemination and Training Division and associate clinical professor at the University of California, Berkeley. As a licensed psychologist, she maintains an international training, consulting and therapy practice. Walser is developing innovative ways to translate science into practice, and is responsible for the dissemination of state-of-the-art knowledge and treatment interventions in her current position. Walser has coauthored three books, including Learning ACT, The Mindful Couple, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Steven C. Hayes, PhD, is Nevada Foundation Professor and director of clinical training at the department of psychology at the University of Nevada. An author of 38 books and over 540 scientific articles, his career has focused on analysis of the nature of human language and cognition, and its application to the understanding and alleviation of human suffering and promotion of human prosperity. Among other associations, Hayes has been president of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy, and the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science. His work has received several awards, including the Impact of Science on Application Award from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy.
This is a timely and important book, making ACT accessible to spiritually sensitive providers, not only as an evidence- and philosophically-based practice, but one capable of informing a range of theological perspectives to human suffering, in demonstrably practical ways. Both clinicians and spiritual care providers will find it a valuable resource. --John Raymond Peteet, MD, psychiatrist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA, and associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School ACT for Clergy and Pastoral Counselors is the perfect resource for clergy, pastoral educators, and mental health providers dedicated to continuing the legacy of Rev. Anton Boisen and Richard C. Cabot of bridging mental health and spiritual care. The book is excellent for clinical pastoral education (CPE) supervisors who want to introduce students to an established, evidence-based practice that is patient centered, flexible, and values based. Clinical staff chaplains will find it provides practical tools to help them work more effectively as a member of mental health interdisciplinary teams. It's an outstanding text for any professional healthcare provider! --A. Keith Ethridge, MDiv, BCC, ACPE CPE Supervisor, former director of the VA Chaplain Service, and associate director of Mental Health Integration for Chaplain Service at the VA National Chaplain Center in Hampton, VA Nieuwsma, Walser, and Hayes have provided valuable guidance to spiritual care providers--congregational clergy, laypersons, chaplains, and pastoral counselors--on how to integrate the principles of ACT into their practice. Without trying to turn spiritual care providers into therapists, they nonetheless show how ACT is consistent with some current practices, and can be used to extend spiritual interventions even further. Spiritual care providers benefit from having an evidence-based therapeutic model to draw on. The authors and editors have held ACT like a jewel to the light, and shown how ACT can be utilized across major faith traditions and in the full diversity of settings in which spiritual care is provided. --Daniel H. Grossoehme, DMin, MS, BCC, associate professor of pediatrics who focuses his research on ways in which faith influences health behaviors in pediatric chronic diseases, and Staff Chaplain III serving the cystic fibrosis team at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center Evidence is mounting seemingly by the day supporting the relationship between meeting spiritual and religious needs and positive health outcomes in both the psychological and physical domains. However, there is a major shortage of tested interventions positioned to help deliver these outcomes effectively and efficiently. This problem is compounded by the long-standing barriers to partnering 'spiritual' and 'psychological' interventions to the benefit of the whole human person. This book makes a major contribution to filling this gap and overcoming these barriers. In doing so, it gives both spiritual care and mental health professions a powerful new tool to help reduce suffering. Bravo! --The Rev. George Handzo, BCC, CSSBB, director of Health Services Research and Quality at the HealthCare Chaplaincy Network ACT's flexibility is marvelously on display in this adaptation for religious persons and contexts. --Timothy A. Sisemore, PhD, director of research, and professor of psychology and counseling at Richmont Graduate University, and author of The Clinician's Guide to Exposure Therapies for Anxiety Spectrum Disorders This superb volume is practically the 'bible' on how to integrate religion and spirituality into ACT. It is the first and last word on ACT in religious contexts and for professional pastoral settings. Highly recommended. --Jeff Levin, PhD, MPH, professor of epidemiology and population health, and director of the religion and population health program at Baylor University Physical and emotional suffering bring to light the spiritual in most persons, whether overtly expressed or not. Frontline care of the spiritual needs of the suffering usually falls to spiritual care providers, such as clergy and pastoral counselors, yet does not escape the responsibility of the 'secular' therapist. When spiritual care providers meet the patient, the encounter can vary widely across the same faith tradition, not to mention different traditions. In addition, persons suffering are both vulnerable to ill-advised comments by these care providers, and resistant to anyone viewed as tampering with their faith. Nieuwsma, Walser, and Hayes provide a guide into and through this most important yet tenuous relationship--the application of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). The central tenants of ACT--openness, centeredness in the present, and engagement through commitment--clarify this confusing experience for those suffering through informed and empathic intervention by the spiritual care provider. 'If I am suffering, what am I to do with my faith?' Recognize who you are, recognize where you are at this critical stage in your life, and recognize and engage your core values. This approach is inclusive yet does not devolve into a watered down generic spirituality. Rather it calls upon the inner values and strengths that each faith tradition brings to the healing of the body and the emotions. --Dan Blazer MD, MPH, PhD, J.P. Gibbons Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, NC