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212 | A New Lens for Transformational Change: The Intersection of Counseling and Spiritual Formation

Spiritual Formation, Interventions, and Discipleship, Thursday 9/14 2:15 – 3:30 PM, Workshop Tracks


Bill Buker, Ph.D.



Approved For CE

Psychologists, Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Chemical Dependency Counselors

Approved For CME/CEU




Since effective counseling involves second-order change, and both second-order change and spiritual formation involve addressing the assumptive worlds of Christian clients, then facilitating this deep change provides an avenue where counseling and spiritual formation intersect and potentially intertwine. Using Jesus as an example, this workshop examines His ministry through the lens of second-order change, focusing on the transformative wisdom of His assumptive world. From investigating the distinctiveness of Jesus’ epistemological assumptions to analyzing His change tactics, both the content and process of second-order change will be discussed with an eye to what research findings support. Psychologists and licensed mental health professionals will give attention to how the conventional wisdom of culture compares to the transformative wisdom of Jesus, emphasizing how facilitating a shift from the former to the latter constitutes second-order change and fosters spiritual formation. Additionally, how this process can be conducted in an ethical manner applicable to all clients, whether or not they identify as Christian, will be considered.

Learning Objectives

1. Distinguish between first and second-order change when conducting a clinical assessment by describing how the assumptive worlds of clients influence their behavior
2. Organize a Christian client’s epistemological assumptions to determine primary influences when discussing their behavior and formulating treatment goals
3. Develop second-order change interventions, informed by Jesus’ assumptive world, that ethically integrate best practices and spiritual formation
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