Date of Award
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology
Recently, psychologists have been captivated by the utility of mindfulness in treating a number of psychological problems. Despite the prevalence of mindfulness based treatments, Christian psychologists have done surprisingly little work towards integrating mindfulness, an originally Buddhist concept, with a Christian worldview. Using Johnson's (2007) translation metaphor, I proposed a Christian translation of mindfulness. In order to produce a faithful translation, I first described mindfulness as it appears in the psychological literature. Next, I translated the different elements of Kabat-Zinn’s (1994) definition of mindfulness as well as a number of proposed mindfulness change mechanisms into a Christian worldview, showing how such a translation captures the core components of mindfulness while also expanding and enriching the concept. I then argued that prayer, when understood as entering into the ongoing and eternal conversation of the triune God, is a faithful final translation of mindfulness. Like mindfulness more generally, such mindful prayer is a liturgical practice that with practice, changes one’s “feel for the world” in such a way that one’s automatic nonconscious responses—those which lie midway between instinct and conscious decision-making—are transformed. Christian mindfulness, when understood as entering into the eternal conversation of God, leads us more deeply into the story of God’s redemption and is one means through which we learn to “feel” our way within that story. A Christian translation of mindfulness not only connects us with the story of redemption, it brings us into loving and intimate community with God and others; in contrast the mindfulness found in psychology, which leaves a person to delve into his or her own experience alone. Lastly, I suggested directions for future research based on my Christian translation of mindfulness.
O'Farrell, Ryan P., "Modifying Mindfulness: A Christian Translation of Mindfulness" (2016). Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). 201.