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Workshop Tracks

122. Hope for Burnout: Decisions That Can Change You When Situations Don’t Change

As mental health professionals, we can all agree that burnout is dangerous for individuals and our profession. We can talk about how it starts – long hours, heavy client loads, slow progress, apathetic community members, ongoing stress, and more, and what it causes – every kind of exhaustion, ineffectiveness due to being overwhelmed, turnover, fear, depression, dissatisfaction, irritability, and more. As professionals, it is our duty to make sure that we stay healthy for our clients so that we can help them when they need us, which means mental health professionals, coaches, and ministry leaders need to think more about solutions, including how people try to meet their needs, the role of resiliency, and some unique approaches to self-care. In this practical workshop, the presenters will help participants evaluate their level of burnout, how burnout is connected to meeting the five core needs of security, identity, belonging, purpose, and competence, and how to utilize God-given traits to turn burnout around and move towards resiliency.

711 | Imprints that Matter: Helping Clients and Caregivers Find Lost Treasure Within Their Redemptive Story

This workshop is meant to inspire, challenge, and encourage ministry leaders and coaches to pursue digging deeper within one’s own redemptive family story for the purpose of leaving their legacy to those they love. Furthermore, this workshop will aid participants in finding unique ways to help clients dig deeper into their genealogical family tree to find more strengths and weaknesses from their extended family legacy and, more importantly, better heal from the brokenness left by generational issues that may still impact the immediate family. With the support of Ancestry.com and other family research applications, the presenter will show attendees how to help clients find an amazing epiphany story using the client’s genealogical family tree, as the presenter has done for himself. The presenter will explain that this story can unlock family secrets, help heal deep wounds within the client and the client’s family, and even possibly discover family members the client never knew existed.

712 | The Promise of “Life Abundant:” The Whole-life Discipleship Framework for the Church to Address Mental Health Challenges

What many researchers identify as a mental health crisis and that the Surgeon General has labeled a “national emergency” is, even now, only very slowly being embraced by a reticent church community. Counselor-supported coaching of pastors, church leaders, and lay caregivers can expedite a much-needed multiplication of “first responders” as mental health challenges are better contextualized into the biblical discipleship mandate with an emphasis on experiential scriptural support. This workshop will explore the challenges, outreach opportunities, and skills for coaching pastors and churches in a more complete and biblical perspective on mental health as critical to human flourishing and the call to make disciples better realized (Mt. 28:19-20).

713 | Aloneness and Fallenness: Adam’s Dilemma and the Church’s Mental Health Challenge

The Creation Story of Genesis 1-3 presents a biblical anthropology for understanding the relational nature of humankind and certain mental health issues. Adam’s dilemma is based on the “not good” of being alone, in spite of the fact that he had the right relationship with the Creator. The Genesis 2 issue of aloneness and the Genesis 3 issue of fallenness often underlie mental health struggles. Church leaders are sometimes ill-equipped to adequately respond to the mental health issues of congregants because of not appreciating the connection between these essential existential issues. This workshop will formulate a model for therapeutic ministry for congregants suffering from mental health challenges so counselors and ministers, professional and lay, can effectively respond with restorative soul care.

724 | Exploring the Possibilities: Transitioning from Counselor to Coach

Are you wondering if traditional counseling or the clinical setting is where you are meant to finish your career? Do you love helping people find freedom and hope but are unsure how to continue doing that outside an agency or private practice? Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit and want to be a business owner? Then consider coaching. This workshop explores the possibilities of combining an entrepreneurial spirit with a masterful knowledge of guiding people to find new hope. We will sift through the vast world of coaching, help you to discover your niche, uncover what available resources and support there are to help you create this shift, and give you the next steps toward owning a coaching/consulting business. Like so many others, you will find how coaching can breathe new life into your spirit and give you back the excitement from the early years as a practitioner.

725 | Strategically Leading: Utilizing Transformational Leadership to Foster Post-traumatic Growth Opportunities and Greater Organizational Success

Pre-pandemic percentages of people who reported suffering the effects of a traumatic event topped nearly 90%. Leaders often experience traumatic events doubly, as well as the personal effects of being traumatized and secondary effects from those they lead. So, is there a path for leaders to move themselves and others from surviving to thriving personally and organizationally? This workshop will present research on pre-pandemic interpersonal reactions with which leaders must contend. The presenter will utilize the four characteristics of transformational leadership to provide a framework for attendees to learn how to create five main “seedbeds” necessary for opportunities for post-traumatic growth and organizational success. This workshop will give attendees tools for personal growth and strategically leading others.


Sleep deprivation has become a significant problem today, with 10-30% of adults struggling with insomnia and poor sleep (Bhaskar et al., 2016). The negative effects of insomnia range from the economic impact (Hafner et al., 2017) to the impact on personal well-being, such as increased depression (Nutt et al., 2008). Many clients who seek help from medical professionals or ministry leaders struggle with sleep, yet sleep is seldom the presenting problem (Barnes et al., 2014). In this workshop, evidence-based research on sleep will be reviewed, and a biblical framework for sleep will be examined. Attendees will apply and receive the “Sleep Better Plan,” a sleep tool they can use in their people-helping roles. They will also gain an overview of existing sleep improvement devices.

625 | Foresight: Are You a Future Ready Leader?

Leadership was God’s idea, but leading Christian organizations has become increasingly challenging over the past few years. How did the pandemic change everything? How have the conversations regarding nationalism, sexual abuse, scandals, and generational shifts affected today’s leaders? And more importantly, what will it take to succeed in the near future? What issues will leaders face that might derail or even destroy their organizations? How can AACC leaders succeed in moving forward? In this workshop, ministry leaders will be able to explore some of the recent challenges that Christian leaders face and develop strategies and skills to effectively help others lead Christian organizations.

703 | The Gift of Lament: Utilizing the Ancient Biblical Practice in Therapy

Lament is an ancient practice used throughout Christian history to sustain believers through the darkest of times. However, lament is not often used today, even though people continue to walk through dark times. This workshop will define, compare, and contrast lament with grief. Ministry leaders will explore a brief history of how the practice of lament has been used throughout Christian history and discuss the benefits of this ancient biblical practice for those journeying through suffering. Finally, the presenter will examine the steps of lament, which can be utilized when working with others and applied for personal self-care.

524 | Strategies to Grow Your Coaching Practice: Developing Successful Online Group Programs, Courses, and Memberships

With all the technology and software available today, expanding a coaching practice has never been easier. Online courses, group coaching programs, and memberships are the easiest way to reach more clients and boost your influence. With affordable online platforms and user-friendly software, creating engaging curricula and video content no longer needs a professional developer. Plus, your clients will appreciate the opportunity to receive care from the convenience of their own living rooms or offices. This presentation will examine how coaches can develop dynamic online group coaching programs, courses, and memberships. Through the creation of audio and video content, as well as relevant handouts and worksheets, participants will explore effective strategies to market their programs to increase the profitability of their practices and attract clients from all around the world.

525 | Coaching Business Leaders in Attachment Response Training: A Pathway to Transformational Leadership

Researchers have started applying attachment theory, commonly used in counseling, to the workplace in employee relations literature. Attachment style predicts workplace dynamics, such as leader-follower relationships (LMX), trustworthiness perceptions, organizational commitment, proactive behavior, responses to organizational change, and attachment to workplaces. In an era of instability, attachment theory provides tools for leaders to increase performance and decrease turnover. Further, leaders can provide resources that specifically address attachment styles, as employees with secure attachment styles demonstrate greater organizational involvement, higher performance, and lower turnover. Coaches play an integral role in training Christian leaders to apply interventions that promote secure attachments, reflecting God as the ideal attachment figure and demonstrating transformational leadership. Attachment Response Training provides tools drawn from attachment-based counseling theories, such as Trust-Based Relational Intervention and Emotionally Focused Therapy, to equip business leaders with simple strategies for promoting secure attachment in the workplace. These relational strategies reflect the value of LMX and transformational leadership, promoting efficacy and relational ethics in the workplace.

611 | Manifestations of the Supernatural in Session: Discernment and Resources for Assessment and Treatment

Sometimes things happen in a counseling session that cannot be explained in a secular manner. At these times, there is often a powerful sense that what is occurring is not of this world. In this workshop, participants will learn to identify when the supernatural has entered the counseling session. Assessment tools will be discussed and utilized in case examples. The presenters will provide participants with insight into the spiritual forces of evil that attempt to influence patients through agreement with lies. It will consider the 14 root spirits mentioned in the Bible and the remedy to be liberated from their influence based on biblical principles coupled with empirically-based techniques. Presenters will also discuss how clients can open themselves up to spiritual forces and prevent such influences on their lives.

613 | Rebuild Their Gospel Identity: The Power of the Attuned Church on the Post-abortion Community

Abortion can be a traumatic experience leading to significant distortions of how men and women view themselves, others, and God. Pastors, pastoral counselors, and lay counselors can play an active role in leading and guiding the post-abortion person in reconstructing a positive personal narrative and transforming broken lives. Through accessing and analyzing deficiencies in clients’ biblical doctrine and formative prayer, they can rebuild their Gospel identities and find purpose and meaning in life. Furthermore, identifying three unique subsets of abortion harm in men will be recognized, and a specific plan to restore biblical masculinity will be addressed. Finally, through live testimony and observation, this session will assess abortion as morally injurious, a traumatic loss, and a prolonged grief disorder.

502 | The Healing Church: What Churches Get Wrong about Pornography and How to Fix it

A hidden cycle traps Christian men and women in a repetitive course of porn use and private confession. The answers most ministry leaders offer fail to free the ensnared. It is not enough to say the local church has a hidden porn problem. Church leaders deserve a primer on how people become trapped, why they often stay stuck alone, and how the Church can help people come out of hiding and find lasting healing and freedom. This workshop will explore how pornography impacts the lives of people and the spiritual health of local congregations. The presenters help ministry leaders discover how to create safe spaces and use safe processes to help those trapped in compulsive behaviors with pornography. Successful examples will be outlined from local churches doing this hard work well. Attendees will receive a free copy of the new book, The Healing Church: What Churches Get Wrong about Pornography and How to Fix It.

506 | Hope for Clients with Unwanted Same-sex Attraction and Gender Dysphoria: Examining Scripture and Science

Often, clients who experience unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria feel hopeless about their struggles. Some are bombarded with the culture’s lies—“born gay, can’t change; it’s harmful to try to change; gay is good; dissent is bad; gender is inconsequential.” Even some Christian clients find themselves thinking they have few options. However, these clients do have options and reasons for hope. Both Scripture and science provide insight into these struggles and a path forward that ministry leaders can lead people through. In this workshop, each cultural myth will be examined through the lenses of Scripture and science, and participants will see that good science is always consistent with Scripture. In addition, the presenter will explain some of the possible factors that put a child at risk for developing same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria. Likewise, some of the potential underlying therapeutic issues will be presented. Participants will be taught a foundational understanding of these important issues to relate more effectively and provide accurate information to their clients.

511 | Bondage Breaker: Identifying Spiritual Warfare’s Effect on the Christian’s Worldview and Mental Health 

In the Christian worldview, only by divine revelation can believers in Christ understand the reality and coexistence of the natural world and the unseen spiritual realm that surrounds them. Both realities impact mental and emotional health. Ministry leaders and coaches will be more effective with a biblical worldview. In this workshop, participants will learn how a holistic methodology should include God in the process and enable pastors and coaches to help clients discern between good and evil. This workshop aims to provide a holistic and biblical worldview that enables Christian caregivers to set captives free and heal their wounds.

512 | The Enneagram and Spiritual Formation: A Model for Emotional Health Coaching

The core distressing emotions of anger, shame, anxiety, and sadness can disrupt relationships, work, and faith for many people. This workshop is for a coach, spiritual director, pastor, pastoral counselor, or lay counselor to learn how to use the Enneagram as a coaching tool to help Christian clients identity their type’s maladaptive schema that is shaped by anger, shame, anxiety, and/or sadness. A path is charted for each type to overcome its self-defeating personality pattern and grow in emotional health through coaching that fosters self-awareness, empathy, and relying on Jesus as the perfect expression of their type. Different Scriptures and spiritual disciplines are recommended for each type to learn to trust in God’s compassion for self and others. This model for emotional health coaching and Christian spiritual formation has been field-tested with clients in coaching and spiritual direction and students earning a certificate in coaching and/or spiritual direction.

407 | The Dream Home: Essential Techniques for Helping Couples Increase Marital Intimacy

The divorce rate in the U.S. continues to be high (Perry, 2018; Stepler, 2017). Life coaches, pastors, pastoral counselors, or lay counselors can play a significant role in helping couples increase marital intimacy, strengthen their marriages, and avoid divorce (Cheney, 2017; Hatch et al., 2021). Multidimensional intimacy is a complex concept (Köstenberger & Jones, 2010; McNulty, 2016; Sears et al., 2022). However, life coaches, pastors, pastoral counselors, or lay counselors can use creative metaphors and specific strategies to help Christian couples enhance their marital intimacy (Moitinho & Moitinho, 2020). This workshop will describe multidimensional intimacy from biblical, biopsychosocial spiritual, and multisensory perspectives. It will identify creative metaphors to help Christian couples gain insight into marital intimacy. Also, it will explore strategies that life coaches, pastors, pastoral counselors, and lay counselors can use to help Christian couples succeed in their marriages.

409 | Life Mapping: A Powerful Biblical Tool for Moving Families and Youth from Stuck to a Special Future

There is so much chaos and confusion in today’s world today. So many families and young people are stuck in unhealthy loops and despairing of any kind of positive future. So many are asking, “Where do I go from here?” LifeMapping® is a biblically based tool to use with licensed mental health professionals and coaching clients that helps individuals and families capture, regain, and reframe a positive and prayed-over picture of their own past strengths and struggles. It can assist participants in understanding what is blocking their clients from choosing authentic living over image management and help them create a clear, prayed-over plan toward a God-honoring future.

411 | Put Down Your Sword: Disarming Angry People

Many of the best minds in Christian counseling are attending to the critical issues of abuse and trauma. While that research flourishes, ministry leaders do not want to neglect the age-old human struggles, especially the problem of anger, which is a prominent contributor to abuse and trauma. Anger remains one of the most recalcitrant expressions of the human heart—people who are intensely angry are incredibly confident that they are right. Angry people are blind to their anger. This workshop will consider strategies that have helped angry Christian clients see their anger and how to resolve it biblically.

412 | Practical Tools to Help Clients Have a Healing Encounter with God

Moving the client from talking about God to experiencing God is difficult for many ministry leaders. In this workshop, participants will explore practical tools that shift the focus from talking about God in session to facilitating encounters with God in session. As informed by 1 Thessalonians 5:23, these tools address clients’ physical, spiritual, and mental health needs by repairing or deepening their connection with God and accessing divine wisdom, love, and power for transformation. Participants will learn about the psycho-spiritual barriers hindering a client’s connection with God. Individuals will learn various tools to increase their intimacy with God, and these tools can be integrated with other interventions.

424 | What is Your Number?: Using the Enneagram to Enhance Your Coaching and Consulting Practice

This workshop is designed for coaches, pastors, pastoral counselors, or lay counselors interested in incorporating the Enneagram into their coaching and consulting practice. The Enneagram is a powerful tool for personal and professional growth, and this workshop will provide an overview of how it can be used to enhance coaching and consulting practice and benefit clients. The workshop presenters will share their stories of how they developed a global Enneagram platform. They will demonstrate the contribution of the Enneagram to personal, professional, and relational coaching and the steps to incorporating it into an existing practice.

425 | Front Stage/Back Stage: Your External Success Requires Internal Health

Like a theater play, leaders have a frontstage and a backstage. The frontstage is the public world, and the backstage is the private world. An authentic story originates backstage. Clients live in a frontstage-dominated world, yet core longings such as belonging, love, empathy, significance, and safety are backstage. What roots are to a tree, the backstage is to the frontstage. It empowers and sustains a leader’s frontstage success. This workshop will apply the S.T.O.R.Y. system, which is the heart of the backstage, to assist ministry leaders and coaches in helping clients produce authenticity in their lives.

312 | Relational Spirituality in Coaching: Building a Secure Base to Help Your Clients Flourish

Social disconnection is on the rise. As a result, many Christians, including leaders, feel disconnected, leading to unhealthy relational patterns, spiritual struggles, and ineffective ministry. How, then, do ministry leaders and coaches help clients cultivate authentic relational connections with God and others? This presentation will apply the relational spirituality model (Hall, 2021), including an attachment lens, to coaching and mentoring roles. The presenter will explore the importance of creating a secure base with clients and strategies for doing this using a tool called the comfort-challenge matrix. In this workshop, participants will see the core needs of each insecure attachment pattern and how they show up in clients’ narratives, stances toward themselves, and ways of relating to the issues they bring to coaching conversations. The presenter will highlight several coaching strategies for each attachment pattern and emphasize the importance of coaches and mentors developing their own internal secure base. Finally, the presenter will explain how to use the Spiritual Transformation Inventory to facilitate the development of a secure internal base in a coaching context.

324 | Empowering Assessments: Using Emotional Intelligence, Enneagram, Clifton Strengths, and Personality Inventories

There are several emotional intelligence and personality tools for coaches and ministry leaders, and many to consider. It can be confusing and overwhelming with all the available options. This session explores best practices for integrating Emotional Intelligence, Enneagram, Clifton Strengths, and more into your practice. We will compare and contrast these assessments and their benefits to clients in various areas of their lives. Participants will gain confidence in determining which ones will benefit clients and the strategies to help them apply these newly acquired insights to their personal and/or professional lives. Medical professionals will also gain an understanding of these emotional intelligence and personality tools that their patients talk about in their appointments.

325 | The Leadership and Trauma Cycle: Assessing and Treating Integrity Gaps

Leaders are often the last to come to mind when one thinks about trauma. After 20 years of groundbreaking research, counseling, and consulting, the presenters have found a common thread among high-capacity leaders—most have unresolved childhood trauma that eventually runs interference if not addressed. Sadly, this causes a disconnect between a leader’s public and private life, impacting the fabric of the entire family, church, and society. In this workshop, the presenters will explore the 10 most common symptoms leaders face, such as narcissism, isolation, and compartmentalization. This workshop will integrate the latest insights from neuroscience, trauma research, leadership development, and spiritual formation. It will provide a clear roadmap for ministry leaders and coaches to develop their clients’ inner lives as their influence grows. Whether one is an executive coach or pastor working with leaders, learning how to assess and treat the leadership and trauma cycle is vital to bringing about long-term healing in this and the next generations.

224 | Becoming a Master Coach: Meeting the Standards through Best Practices

The field of professional Christian coaching continues to be a growing opportunity, especially in these challenging times, to partner with others and transform lives. My passion is to train every coach to become a master coach. This workshop will teach you the essential skills to become a master coach. Some of these master coaching skills include coaching the person and not the problem, embracing your unique coaching style, and looking for insights and not just outcomes. You will observe some masterful coaching, and we will review the coaching model tool to help you become a masterful coach.

225 | Imposter Syndrome: Timely Insights and Proven Strategies to Address One of the Nation’s Most Overlooked Mental Health Issues

Thousands of people seek help from life coaches for their low self-esteem and confidence each year. Even some of the most famous public figures in the world, like Albert Einstein, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep, and Tom Hanks, have suffered from what is known as “Imposter Syndrome,” or the feeling that you do not deserve the position or responsibility you have been given. According to the American Psychological Association, nearly 70% of U.S. adults may experience Impostor Syndrome at least once in their lifetime. Highlighting the most up-to-date scientific research, proven evidence-based treatment strategies, and emerging approaches, this workshop will deepen participants’ understanding of Imposter Syndrome and equip them with the most current, evidence-based therapeutic practices to utilize with clients.

307 | From Anger to Intimacy: Reignite Your Marriage with Forgiveness, Understanding, and Appreciation

Many have heard it said, “Unresolved anger is like drinking poison expecting your spouse to get sick.” Some sip the poison, while others drink it by the gallon each day. Unresolved anger drains a marriage of kindness, care, gentleness, and honor. This poison threatens relationships at work, home, church, and in the community because many never fully resolve their anger. If anger is unresolved in the family of origin, past relationships, or a previous marriage, it will resurface, and spouses usually get the brunt of it. The bond of relational, emotional, spiritual, and physical intimacy strengthens when both spouses feel safe, heard, and valued. This workshop explores the factors and skills necessary to experience high levels of marital satisfaction and deep levels of intimacy. It will benefit pastors, pastoral counselors, lay counselors, and coaches working with struggling couples in crisis and prevent thriving marriages from drinking the poison.

124 | The Great Resignation: Effective Career Coaching in the Digital Era and the Waning Workforce

This session will prepare coaches to excel in career-focused sessions with clients seeking to change industries, improve job satisfaction, get promoted, or make career decisions. Career trends in recent years have spanned “The Great Resignation,” “The Great Reshuffle,” a “work from home” phenomenon, the “gig economy,” “quiet quitting,” and other shifts. Employees and employers are finding each other through different mediums and rejecting each other for new reasons. Best practices for interviewing, resumes, and networking have rapidly evolved. Young professionals joining the workforce report core values that differ from previous generations and significantly impact career decisions. A well-prepared career coach can address these issues and more for clients across generations. This session will prepare life coaches to strategize, advise, and train clients to identify and pursue work-related goals.

125 | Precision Targeting: Super Effective Needs Based Coaching and Consultation

Coaching, whether Life Coaching or Executive Coaching, requires the coach to facilitate the client’s development. For clients to reach their goals and resolve their obstacles, they must have certain fundamental internal needs met and addressed, giving them the skills to take their next steps. In this workshop, the presenters will provide a structure to help coaches identify what they need, offer helpful conversational interventions to strengthen those needs, and then tie it into achieving the goals that are most important to them. From content based on Dr. Townsend’s book, People Fuel, and the model of Relational Nutrients, coaches will be able to accelerate their clients’ growth from this structure.

207 | Revolutionary Marriage Tools: SYMBIS, Loveology, and Better Love Featuring the Five Love Languages

Whether you are new to marriage ministry/counseling or have been doing it for years, this workshop will equip you with powerful and proven tools for helping the couples in your care. Learn about the innovative and free Loveology resource that can add value to your efforts at every turn. Discover the powerfully updated Better Love Assessment and its new way of using the Five Love Languages. And, of course, the proven SYMBIS Assessment and how it can help you effectively work with couples at any age or stage.

209 | Navigating Today’s Culture: Helping Parents Guide Teens and Adult Children

In the not-too-distant past, understanding teens and doing life with adult children seemed easier and much simpler. Today’s Gen Z and Millennials have been raised in a vastly different culture than previous generations, and many reject their parents’ morals and values. According to recent Barna research, many are straying from faith, with twice as many atheists in Gen Z than Millennials. Many parents, church leaders, and counselors are baffled by the choices this generation is making about key issues in their lives. In this workshop, ministry leaders will become students of this generation’s perspective and look for practical ways to help teens and young adults navigate this culture with practical ways to become responsible adults who love God and make good decisions.

210 | The Cultural Pivot: Five Social Environment Shifts That Have Impacted Youth Mental Health

Ministry leaders have long recognized that changes in culture affect mental health. This is especially true for those who have only known life through a digital framework and lens: developing adolescents and emerging adults. The “Cultural Pivot” describes five cultural and social environmental shifts that have affected everyone, especially young people, in ways that impact how they think about themselves and relate to one another. Specifically, five shifts have been noted, youth and young adults live as virtual selves, are mosaic versus linear thinkers, experience life as transactional, feel increasingly isolated, and have never been lonelier. This work explores these five cultural shifts, examines their impact, and provides therapeutic, pastoral, workplace, and parental skills and strategies to promote relational understanding and connection for those seeking to make a difference in young people’s lives. This workshop particularly applies to a coach, pastor, pastoral counselor, or lay counselor.

213 | Empower: Mental Health Awareness Training for the Local Church

One in five adults experiences mental illness every year, yet fewer than half of those receive treatment. Mental health problems affect people from all walks of life—no one is immune from psychological distress. Although mental illness is common, those who suffer often feel too ashamed to seek help. This can ultimately have devastating consequences—mental illness lessens an individual’s quality of life and can result in suicide. This practical workshop for ministry leaders will describe how to create a safe environment within a church community for those struggling with mental illness, develop safe and effective situational responses, and build a network to quickly connect those in distress to professional care.

111 | Faith and Hope: Providing Pastoral Care and Counseling to Alleviate Stress and Anxiety

The Bible illustrates and addresses the nature of anxiety and the call to live godly lives of hope and faith. How, then, should Christians deal with stress and anxiety in their lives, and how can ministry leaders and coaches bring God’s healing word to the subject? In this workshop, the differences between healthy and unhealthy anxiety will be explored, along with a study of biblical references and recent research on hope and the role of spiritual faith in the field of effective counseling. Insights and contributions from the historic church will be explored, with practical examples of pastoral care and counseling that provide guidance for Christian counselors. A number of biblically-based counseling approaches and strategies will be examined that address ways to help people who struggle with stress and anxiety. Discussion will focus on building faith and hope within the context of Christian counseling and how pastoral counselors, lay counselors, and coaches can incorporate these dimensions from a biblical perspective.

113 | How to Create a Healthy Congregation: The Role of Emotional and Relational Intelligence in the Church Culture

If God’s purpose of church leaders is to help their people “become conformed to the Image of His Son,” then what might that look like? What does it mean to “grow in Christ” and become a “mature” Christian? What impact should sanctification have on the moods, behaviors, and thought patterns of church members? What might Christlikeness look like in the emotional, relational, mental, and spiritual lives of those who attend church? Starting with a sound biblical and theological foundation, this workshop will look at specific and very practical ways that the emerging science of Emotional and Relational Intelligence (ERQ) and recent developments in Interpersonal Neurobiology can help ministry leaders more effectively impact their congregation in the process of looking, living and loving more like our Lord Jesus Christ, and better fulfill the clarion call of Christ in John 12:34-35.

116 | Beyond Chemical Imbalance: How to Talk with Faith-based Clients about Psychiatric Medications

Speaking about psychological struggles as chemical imbalances or as disorders of neurotransmitter systems is common in today’s culture, but this is a folk metaphor more than a scientific conclusion. Although individuals’ brains are involved when they struggle, mental health problems cannot be reduced to disorders of the brain or neural circuits, partly because psychological struggles often reflect challenges and difficulties in one’s external world. Furthermore, while describing mental illness as a chemical imbalance may decrease shame and self-blame, it may also increase pessimism about recovery, harm social connections, devalue the therapeutic alliance, hinder self-exploration, and reduce client engagement in therapy. In this workshop for psychologists, licensed mental health professionals, and medical professionals, a psychiatrist will discuss practical strategies for speaking with clients and their prescribers about medication in a way that avoids reductionism. The presenter will also explore how St. Thomas Aquinas’ image of the human as a wayfarer and his faith-based view of the emotions of the body-soul relationship offer a holistic way to understand both when medications are appropriate and evaluate their effects for faith-based clients.