Advancing Sexual Health for the Christian Client is an essential toolkit for professionals working at the intersection of Christian belief and sexual health. In this book, Beverly Dale and Rachel Keller deconstruct potentially harmful Christian beliefs around sexuality to support clients stuck in sexual guilt, shame and fear.
Combining the experience of an ordained Christian clergy with a certified sexologist, this guide promotes a new approach to sex and faith for therapists, which will help their clients to reconcile a belief in God’s love with sexual knowledge and fulfilment. Grounded in historical and cultural contexts, and drawing from both academic research and scriptural exegesis, the authors offer practical clinical applications and interventions to enable clients to re-examine their sexual beliefs in a way that encourages sexual healing.
By understanding the goals of a sex-positive, body-positive Christianity, professionals can find a common language with the person of faith and build an effective therapeutic relationship. This book will be a key point of reference for any sex therapist, educator, or student looking to integrate faith-based concepts into their approach.
Table of Contents
1. A New Mindset 2. The Influence of Culture 3. Jesus: A Liberating Spiritual Movement that Got Off Track 4. The Bad News 5. From Ignorance to Knowledge 6. From Scarcity to Abundance 7. From Suspicion of Pleasure to Freedom 8. Embracing Discernment 9. Joining with the Client 10. Identifying Negative Sexual Beliefs 11. Reframing Sex Negative Beliefs 12. Healing Rituals and Meditations 13. Tools 14. Case Studies 15. Sex-Positive Christian Resources: An Annotated Bibliography
Beverly Dale, DMin, is an ordained clergy in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who has served in local parishes and as an ecumenical campus minister at the University of Pennsylvania. As founder and chair of the Incarnation Institute for Sex & Faith she teaches an inclusive, science-friendly, sex-positive Christianity.
Rachel Keller, LCSW-C, CST, is a practicing psychotherapist specializing in sexuality and trauma. She is certified through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, licensed with the Maryland Board of Social Work, and is an active member of the American Academy of Psychotherapists.
"Here is the perfect resource for sex therapists. And it is equally perfect for anyone who can grasp ideas that may have harmed them but understood differently may now bring healing. Goals are specific; definitions are clear; necessary contrasts are sharply drawn; fascinating case studies illustrate the more theoretical information. The Bible and Christian faith are honored; and healthy sexual pleasure is equally honored. This is a book to be treasured by therapists, their clients, and curious readers as well."
Dr. Virginia R. Mollenkott, author of Sensuous Spirituality, Omnigender and Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?
"It is time for this book. Authors Dale and Keller combine their specialties and their knowledge to look at sex and religion in a new way, with the passion and honesty this discussion deserves. Their discernment framework helps readers look at sexuality without having to deny their beliefs, but challenges the dogma that has persisted over the centuries to create a historical unease around sexuality. This book informs, educates, and delights the senses with its wisdom and liberating voice. Those who have been wounded in their capacity to be fully human and "fully divine" will find hope and healing in this book. For readers who feel guilt and shame about sex, this book will help them find pleasure and flexibility around intimacy. Anyone, even non-practicing Christians, will appreciate this book. We all can use the wisdom here to heal and move into our most powerful, sensual selves."
Tammy Nelson, PhD, author of Getting the Sex You Want and The New Monogamy and Executive Director of Integrative Sex Therapy Institute in Washington, DC.
"This comprehensive book integrates the healthy and positive aspects of human sexuality and practice with core Christian beliefs. This is a must read for Christians who want to work with negative attitudes and fears concerning sexuality and find healthier approaches to self and relationships."
Rev. Dr. Stephen R. Treat, LMFT, United Church of Christ pastor (UCC), systems therapist, and former Director of Council for Relationships
"In their book, Advancing Sexual Health for Christian Clients: Data and Dogma, Reverend Beverly Dale and Rachel Keller outline a sex-positive approach to psychotherapy with Christian clients. Christians, Dale and Keller demonstrate, can have particular challenges when it comes to sexuality. With grace and understanding, these two authors go where angels fear to tread: from the underpinnings of the historical biases of the early church to the humanity of Jesus Himself. Chapters of this book can benefit almost any Christian, but for the intended audience, Dale and Keller lead the reader through an enlightening journey and specific strategies that will allow the therapist who works with Christian clients to respond to their specific needs, desires and fears with more confidence."
Dr. Rosalyn Dischiavo, certified sexologist and Founder and Director of the Institute for Sexuality Education & Enlightenment and author of The Deep Yes, The Lost Art of True Receiving
"This is a unique book in the field of Christianity and sexuality. I know of no other book like it for those in the sexual health fields...The authors make the sex-positive case for expanding gender diversity and expression, non-monogamous sexual relationships, bisexual and homosexual behaviors, and against rigid gender roles. They make excellent recommendations for choices of treatment options and approaches. While this is an important resource book for Christian sexual healing and liberation, this book is not for those not open to confronting their faith or giving up their old sex-negative beliefs."
Rev. Dr. William R. Stayton MDiv, ThD, PhD, Professor Emeritus and Former Director at the Center for Human Sexuality Studies, Widener University and Former Assistant Director at the Center of Excellence for Sexual Health, Morehouse School of Medicine.