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220 | Healing Conversations on Race: Biblical and Secular Psychological Foundations

Christian Psychology: Theory, Practice, and Integration, Thursday 9/14 2:15 – 3:30 PM, Workshop Tracks


Veola Vazquez, Ph.D.; Joshua Knabb, Psy.D.; Charles Lee-Johnson, M.S.W., D.Min.; Krystal Hays, Ph.D.



Approved For CE

Psychologists, Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Pastors, Pastoral Counselors, Lay Counselors, Coaches

Approved For CME/CEU




In this session, the presenters will describe the Healing Conversations on Race (HEAL) model (Vazquez et al., in press) for building unity in cross-racial relationships through intentional conversations about racism and race-related topics, utilizing a Christian psychology approach (Johnson, 2010) that draws upon psychological and spiritual insights from the Bible as a foundation for Christian clients. Specifically, the presenters will discuss the biblical principles of the model, focusing on the grand narrative of Scripture (Wolters, 2005) and nature of God, humanity, sin/sinfulness, and sanctification/Christlikeness (Anderson et al., 2017; Bonhoeffer, 1955). With Christlikeness as the ultimate goal of conversations on race, spiritual formation (Wright, 2017) will be described as the process whereby growth toward Christlikeness in cross-racial relationships occurs. The presenters will build upon these astute psychological and spiritual insights from the Bible with theory and research-supported methods from secular psychology, including attachment theory (Bartholomew & Horowitz, 1991; Bowlby, 1982; Hazan & Shaver, 1987), emotionally focused therapy (Becker-Weidman et al., 2012; Johnson, 2019; Makinen & Johnson, 2006), and the diversity literature (i.e., cultural humility; Hook et al., 2017). Tethered to this understanding, the presenters will explore the key elements of the HEAL model for psychologists, licensed mental health professionals, and ministry leaders to implement, which include humility (H), empathy (E), acceptance of race-related emotions (A), and Christlike love (L). Each practice/principle of the model will be illuminated in detail, anchored to the aforementioned biblical underpinnings and secular psychological theory and research. To conclude, the presenters will provide examples of ways to include the practices and principles of the model in congregational, counseling, and clinical settings.

Learning Objectives

1. Describe the biblical and secular psychological foundations of the HEAL model
2. Outline the four practices of the HEAL model
3. Identify the HEAL model’s areas of application in clinical and counseling contexts
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