Dr. John Chambers Christopher is a psychotherapist, consultant, and coach, and an internationally recognized expert in mindfulness, well-being, and self-care
Before going into psychotherapy private practice full-time, John was a Professor for 23 years at Dartmouth, the University of Washington, Montana State University, and the University of Guam. In 2012 and 2013 John was a Fulbright Scholar in India and a Visiting Professor at The University of Delhi. John is a founder of the Bozeman Center for Mindfulness and Mindful Self-Care and currently provides consultation to corporations and businesses, health care agencies, higher education and schools, bringing the practice of mindfulness into these settings to enhance performance and creativity, promote resilience and self-care, and prevent burnout and stress-related illness.
John is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and a Past-President of the Society of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology (a Division of the APA). John is also a Fellow of the Mind & Life Institute. He was a founding member of the Mind & Life Institute’s Ethics, Education and Human Development Project to develop a pedagogy and curriculum to promote the Dalai Lama’s vision of teaching ethics in the schools.
John is an expert in mind/body medicine and stress management and has been teaching Mindfulness for over 30 years. In addition to over 35 years of experience in his own daily practice of meditation and yoga, he brings over 15 years of experience practicing qigong to his practice of integrative medicine. John has pioneered the application of mindfulness to counselor training. His innovative graduate counseling class “Mind-Body Medicine and the Art of Self-Care” was featured in the American Counseling Association’s Counseling Today magazine. His research articles on applying mindfulness appear in the Mindfulness, The Journal of Counseling & Development, Counseling and Psychotherapy Research, The Journal of Mental Health Counseling, The Journal of Humanistic Psychology, and The Teachers College Record.
John specializes in therapy that integrates the latest findings in developmental and cognitive science with mindfulness, body-centered therapies, and interpersonal/attachment-focused interventions. His practice brings together his experience from years of his own training and therapy, personal mindfulness practice, and over thirty years of theoretical training to develop a framework for psychotherapy. John coaches and counsels clients and patients with a broad range of emotional, behavioral and medical issues to help them develop awareness of their internal states and more effectively work with their emotions, lessen their stress response, and improve their immune function. For over twenty years he has assisted health care professionals and the general public in cultivating self-care and preventing burnout. In addition to being licensed in Montana, Vermont, and New Hampshire (inactive), John is a National Registrant of Health Service Psychologists and has a Certificate of Professional Qualification from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards
As a scholar, John’s work spans the fields of health psychology, cultural psychology, theoretical and philosophical psychology, and developmental psychology. The author of over 60 articles and chapters, he has written on the cultural, moral, and ontological underpinnings of theories of psychological well-being, moral development, and psychotherapy. John is the recipient of the 2003 Sigmund Koch Early Career Award by the Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology of the American Psychological Association. He also received Montana State University’s top research award, The Wiley Award. Most meaningful to John is the Bozeman Peacemaker Award for which his students nominated him. His scholarly work appears in the leading journals in psychology and counseling and he has guest edited special issues of the journals Theory & Psychology and The Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology. His recent article “Critical Cultural Awareness” was the lead article in a recent issue of The American Psychologist, the flagship journal of the APA. John is also on the editorial boards of The Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, The Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Counseling & Spirituality, The International Journal of Spirituality, and The Annals of Yoga and Physical Therapy.
For over thirty John has been bridging traditions: science and spirituality, and Western and non-Western healing traditions. To gain perspective on American society, he has traveled extensively to study indigenous practices of healing in non-Western cultures. In 2012-2013 he was a Fulbright-Nehru Scholar in India where he focused on Indian indigenous psychology. His scholarly research has also included participant observation in various forms of mindfulness training as well as fieldwork with traditional healers and shamans. John has spent over twenty years learning from Balinese shamans and was initiated as a balian by Jero Tapakan and Jero Kobayan. These experiences have provided John a vantage point to observe what is presupposed in Western understandings of health and have expanded his training in practices that are increasingly being integrated into behavioral medicine. He brings these perspectives into his teaching as well, emphasizing how Western views of the self can obscure how we are embedded in socio-political-economic practices that have consequences for health. Focusing on consumerism, health disparities, social determinants of health, he helps others understand how working downstream with patients will never solve the deeper structural problems that contribute to mental illness and health disparities. He sees this broader program of work as critical for promoting health across our society and avoiding the pitfalls of looking at health in solely individualistic terms, such as focusing on individual health risk factors.
PhD The University of Texas: Counseling Psychology (1992)
MEd Harvard: Counseling & Consulting Psychology (1987)
AB The University of Michigan: The Psychological & Philosophical Foundations of Culture (1984)
Interpersonal psychotherapy with Adults and Couples, Mindfulness, Stress Reduction, Self-Care, Mind/Body Medicine, Integrative Medicine, Biofeedback
Well-Being, Mindfulness, Self-Care, Ethical Development, Multiculturalism, Psychotherapy Training
COPYRIGHT © 2017 JOHN CHRISTOPHER PH.D
Christopher, J. C., & Howe, K. (in press). Future directions for a more multiculturally competent (and humble) positive psychology. In & J. Teramoto-Pedrotti& L. M. Edwards (Eds.), Perspectives on the Intersection of Multiculturalism & Positive Psychology. Springer.
Christopher, J. C., Wendt, D. C., Marecek, J. & Goodman, D. M. (2014). Critical cultural awareness: Contributions to a globalizing psychology. American Psychologist. doi: 10.1037/a0036851
Campbell, J. C., & Christopher, J. C., (2012). Teaching Mindfulness to Create Effective Counselors. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 34 (3), 213-226.
Christopher, J. C., Chrisman, J., Trotter, M., Schure, M., Dahlen, P. & Christopher, S. (2011). The long-term influence of mindfulness training on counselors and psychotherapists: A qualitative inquiry. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 51 (3), 318-349.
Christopher, J. C. & Maris, J. (2010). Integrating Mindfulness As Self-Care Into Counselling and Psychotherapy Training. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 10, 114-125.
Christopher, J. C. (2010). Situating positive psychology. In C. R. Snyder, S. Lopez & J. Teramoto-Pedrotti (Eds.), Positive Psychology: The Scientific and Practical Explorations of Human Strengths, 2nd Edition (pp. 80-82). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Christopher, J. C. (2010). Peak experiences, mindfulness practices, and the search for meaning. In M. Trotter-Mathison, J. M. Koch, S. Sanger, & T. M. Skovholt (Eds.), Voices from the field: Defining moments in counselor and therapist development (pp. 37-40). New York: Routledge.
Christopher, J. C., Foster, G., & James, S. (2009). A hermeneutic approach to culture and psychotherapy. In H. D. Friedman & P. K. Revera (Eds.), Abnormal psychology: New research (pp. 225-261). New York: Nova Science Publishers.
Chrisman, J. A., Christopher, J. C., & Lichtenstein, S. J. (2009). Qigong as a mindfulness practice for counseling students: A qualitative inquiry. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. 49, 236-257.
Smith, A. J., Thorngren, J., Christopher, J. C. (2008). Rural mental health counseling. In I. Marini & M. A. Stebnicki (Eds.), The Professional counselor’s desk reference (pp. 263-274). New York: Springer.
Campbell, R. L., & Christopher, J. C. (in press). Fragmentation and hyperspecialties in psychology and the study of mind. New Ideas in Psychology.
Türk Smith, S., Smith, K. D., Christopher, J. C. (in press). Respecting the complexity of values systems: Psychological realism and the case of Turkish culture. In S.J. Kulich & M.H. Prosser (Eds.). Intercultural research Vol. 3: Cross cultural values research –Domains, applications and regional values systems. Shanghai: Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press.
Christopher, J. C. (2008). Culture, moral topographies, and interactive personhood. Journal of Theoretical & Philosophical psychology, 27, 168-191.
Christopher, J. C., & Campbell, R. C. (2008). An interactivist-hermeneutic metatheory for positive psychology. Theory & Psychology, 18, 675-697.
Christopher, J. C., & Hickinbottom, S. (2008). Positive psychology, ethnocentrism, and the disguised ideology of individualism. Theory & Psychology, 18, 563-589.
Christopher, J. C., Slife, B. D., & Richardson, F. C. (2008). Thinking through positive psychology. Theory & Psychology, 18, 555-561.
Christopher, J. C., Slife, B. D., & Richardson, F. C. (Eds.). (2008). Special issue on positive psychology. Theory & Psychology, 18(5).
Hoshmand, L. T., & Christopher, J. C. (2008). Theorizing on the cultural. Journal of Theoretical & Philosophical psychology, 27, 141-145.
Hoshmand, L. T., & Christopher, J. C. (Eds). (2008). Special issue: Theorizing on the Cultural. Journal of Theoretical & Philosophical psychology.
Schure, M., Christopher, J. C., Christopher, S. E. (2008). Mind/body medicine and the art of self-care: Teaching mindfulness to counseling students through yoga, meditation and qigong. Journal of Counseling & Development, 86, 47-56.
Christopher, J. C. (2007). Situating positive psychology. In C. R. Snyder & S. Lopez (Eds.), Positive psychology: The scientific and practical explorations of human strengths (pp. 90-91). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Christopher, J. C., & Bickhard, M. H. (2007). Culture, self, and identity: Interactivist contributions to a metatheory for cultural psychology. Culture & Psychology, 13, 259-295.
Christopher, J. C., Foster, G., & James, S. (2007). A hermeneutic approach to culture and psychotherapy. In A. Columbus (Ed.), Advances in Psychology Research, Volume 48(pp. 1-38). New York: Science Publishers.
Smith, K. D., Türk-Smith, S., & Christopher, J. C. (2007). What Defines the Good Person? Cross-Cultural Comparisons of Experts’ Models with Lay Prototypes. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 38, 333-360.
Christopher, J. C. (2006). Hermeneutics and the moral dimension of cultural psychotherapy. In L. T. Hoshmand (Ed.), Culture, Psychotherapy, and Counseling: Critical and Integrative Perspectives (pp. 179-203). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Christopher, J. C., Christopher, S. E., Dunnagan, T., & Schure, M. (2006). Teaching self-care through mindfulness practices: The application of yoga, meditation and qi gong to counselor training. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 46, 494-509.
Christopher, J. C., & Smith, A. (2006). A hermeneutic approach to culture and psychotherapy. In R. Moody, & S. Palmer (Eds.), Race, culture and psychotherapy: Critical perspective in multicultural practice (pp. 265-280). New York: Brunner/Routledge.
Newsome, S., Christopher, J. C., Dahlen, P., & Christopher, S. (2006). Teaching counselors self-care through mindfulness practices: the application of mindfulness-based stress reduction to counselor training. Teachers College Record. 108, 1881-1900.
Christopher, J. C. (2005, Spring). Situating positive psychology. Naming & Nurturing: The e-Newsletter of the Positive Psychology Section of the American Psychological Association’s Counseling Psychology Division 17, 2.
Christopher, S., Knows His Gun McCormick, A., Smith, A., & Christopher, J. C. (2005). Development of an interviewer training manual for a cervix health project on the Apsáalooke reservation. Health Promotion Practice, 6, 414-422.
Christopher, J. C. (2004). Moral visions of developmental psychology. In B. Slife, J. S. Reber, & F. C. Richardson (Eds.), Critical thinking about psychology: Hidden assumptions and plausible alternatives (pp. 207-231). Washington, D. C.: APA Press.
Christopher, J. C., Nelson, T., & Nelson, M. D. (2004). Culture and character education: Problems of interpretation in a multicultural society. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 23, 81-101.
Christopher, J. C., Richardson, F. C., & Christopher, S. E. (2003). Philosophical Hermeneutics: A Metatheory to Transcend Dualism and Individualism in Western Psychology. History & Theory of Psychology Eprint Archive (HTP Prints). http://htpprints.yorku.ca/.
Campbell, R. L., Christopher, J. C., & Bickhard, M. H. (2002). Values and the self: An interactivist foundation for moral development. Theory & Psychology, 12, 795-823.
Christopher, J. C., Manaster, G. J., Campbell, R. L., & Weinfeld, M. (2002). Peak experiences, social interest, and moral reasoning: An exploratory study. The Journal of Individual Psychology, 58, 35-51
Smith, K. D., Christopher, J. C., Richardson, F. C., Christopher, S. E., Della Fave, A., Massimini, F, Bhawuk, D. P. S. (2002). Post-Newtonian metatheories in the natural sciences and in cross-cultural psychology: Post-Newtonian worldviews. In P. Boski, F. J. R. van der Vijver, and A. M. Chodynicka (Eds), New directions in cross-cultural psychology (pp. 107-125). Warsaw: Polish Psychological Association.
Christopher, J. C. (2001). Culture and psychotherapy: Toward a hermeneutic approach. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, and Training, 38, 115-128.
Christopher, J. C., Bickhard, M. H., & Lambeth, G. S. (2001). Otto Kernberg’s object relations theory: A metapsychological critique. Theory & Psychology, 11, 687-711.
Christopher, S., Christopher, J. C., & Dunnagan, T. (2000). Culture’s impact on health risk appraisal psychological well-being questions. American Journal of Health Behavior, 24, 338-348.
Campbell, R. L., and Christopher, J. C. (1999). Factional science, intradisciplinary cooperation, and the study of mind. Dialogues in Psychology [Online], 15.0, 56 paragraphs. Available: http://hubcap.clemson.edu/psych/Dialogues/1.0.html [1999, September 11].
Christopher, J. C. (1999). Situating psychological well-being; Exploring the cultural roots of its theory and research. Journal of Counseling and Development, 77, 141-152.
Richardson, F. C., & Christopher, J. C. (1999). Clashing views of social inquiry. In F. C. Richardson, B. J. Fowers, & C. Guignon, Re-envisioning psychology: Moral dimensions of theory and practice (173-198). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Christopher, J. C., & Fowers, B. J. (1998). Placing culture at the center of multiculturalism: Moral visions and intercultural dialogue. Dialogues in Psychology[Online], 1.0, 56 paragraphs. Available: http://hubcap.clemson.edu/psych/Dialogues/1.0.html [1998, September 14].
Lightsey, O. R., & Christopher, J. C. (1997). Stress buffers and dysphoria in a non-Western population. Journal of Counseling and Development, 75, 451-459
Schmitz, S. E., & Christopher, J. C. (1997). Trouble in Smurftown: The moral visions of youth gangs on Guam. Child Welfare, 76, 411-428 .
Campbell, R. L., & Christopher, J. C. (1996). Moral development theory: A critique of its Kantian presuppositions. Developmental Review, 16, 1-47.
Campbell, R. L., & Christopher, J. C. (1996). Beyond the noumenal self: Eudaimonism and the prospects for moral personality. Developmental Review, 16, 108-123.
Christopher, J. C. (1996). Counseling’s inescapable moral visions. Journal of Counseling and Development, 75, 17-25.
Christopher, J. C., & Fowers, B. J. (1996). Multiculturalism, culture and moral visions. In What is Multiculturalism in Psychology and Education? Proceedings of the 12th Annual Teachers College Roundtable Discussion on Cross-Cultural Psychology and Education (pp. 11-22). New York: Columbia University.
Christopher, J. C. (1995). Not just another book on the self. Contemporary Psychology, 40, 1060-1061.
Bickhard, M. H., & Christopher, J. C. (1994). The influence of early experience on personality development. New Ideas in Psychology, 12, 229-252.
Christopher, J. C., & Bickhard, M. H. (1994). The persistence of basic mistakes: Rexploring psychopathology in Individual Psychology. Individual Psychology, 50, 223-231.
Richardson, F. C., & Christopher, J. C. (1993). Social theory as practice: Metatheoretical options for social inquiry. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 13, 137-153.
Stark, K. D., Christopher, J. C., & Dempsey, M. (1993). Depression. In A. Bellack & M. Hersen (Eds.), Handbook of behavior therapy in the psychiatric setting (pp. 427-452). New York: Plenum.
Stark, K. D., Dempsey, M., & Christopher, J. C. (1993). Depressive disorders. In R. T. Ammerman, C. G. Last, & M. Hersen (Eds.), Handbook of prescriptive treatment for children and adolescents (pp. 115-143). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Stark, K. D., Humphrey, L. L., Laurent, J., Livingston, R., Christopher, J. C. (1993). Cognitive, behavioral, and family factors in the differentiation of depressive and anxiety disorders during childhood. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 61, 878-886.
Christopher, J. C., & Bickhard, M. H. (1992). Remodeling the as if in Adler's concept of the life style. Individual Psychology, 48, 76-85.
Christopher, J. C., Bickhard, M. H., & Lambeth, G. S. (1992). Splitting Kernberg; A critique of Otto Kernberg's notion of splitting. Psychotherapy, 29, 481-485.
Christopher, J. C. (1993). The role of individualism in psychological well-being: Exploring the interplay of ideology, culture, and social science. Dissertation Abstracts International, 53(12-A), 4206.
Spradling, V., & Christopher, J. C. (1990). Working with shyness. In The clearing house for structured thematic groups and innovated programs in mental health. Richmond: George Mason University Press.
Christopher, J. C. (1985). The mind-body relationship and its influence upon lifestyles. Synthesis, 1, 14-17.
My research is interdisciplinary in nature. I pursue themes that I first addressed through an undergraduate major I designed at the University of Michigan entitled The Psychological and Philosophical Foundations of Culture. As a social scientist, my passion is in exploring how culture shapes the self, identity, meaning, moral development and psychological well-being. Much of my scholarly work attempts to examine Western psychology from a cross-cultural and historical perspective. I have been particularly interested in how Western assumptions about the nature of the person, or self, and the good life, underlie Western psychological theories, research, and practice. In particular, I have examined how individualism influences a variety of psychological fields.
Most of my current research considers the limitations of current understandings of positive psychology and psychological well-being and explores the nature of psychological well-being in non-individualistic cultures. Other areas that I have addressed include moral development, character education, and psychotherapy. I have spent a considerable amount of time studying indigenous psychological traditions in non-Western cultures. This has included participant observation in various forms of mindfulness training as well as fieldwork learning from traditional healers and shamans. This research has provided me with a vantage point from which to get more clarity about what is presupposed in Western understanding of well-being, but has also expanded my training in methods that are increasingly being used in behavioral medicine. I see this program of work as critical for the practice of counseling and psychotherapy in general and for working with clients of differing ethnic backgrounds and international clients in particular. Moreover, it has implications for related fields such as public health, health promotion/education, character education, and personality and developmental psychology.
More recently my focus has been developing alternative notions of the self and of well-being that aim to transcend many of the conceptual limitations of much of current theory and research. While this work has been over twenty-five years in the making, it has only been in the past five that I have been able to integrate the two main strains in my intellectual formation – philosophical hermeneutics and interactivism – into what I see as a compelling framework.
One area where I’ve applied my theoretical work is in mind/body medicine and stress management which I’ve been teaching over 25 years. I bring over 30 years of experience practicing meditation and yoga and 15 years practicing qigong to the practice of integrative medicine. I have been pioneering the application of mindfulness to counselor training. My graduate counseling class “Mind-Body Medicine and the Art of Self-Care” was recently featured in article in Counseling Today, the monthly magazine of the American Counseling Association. My research articles on using mindfulness practices in the training of counselors appears in the Journal of Counseling & Development, The Journal of Humanistic Psychology, and The Teachers College Record. The 2006 article “Teaching self-care through mindfulness practices: The application of yoga, meditation and qi gong to counselor training” is currently listed on the Journal of Humanistic Psychology’s website as its most frequently read article.
I have attempted to publish my work in a variety of journals. Some, like the Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology and Theory & Psychology, I chose because they allow me to pursue the furthest reaches of my conceptual work. Other outlets, such as The American Psychologist, The Journal of Counseling and Development and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, and Training I chose because I am deeply committed to making theoretical psychology practically meaningful to practioners and bridging the divide that can sometimes exist between theoretical scholarship and the actual practice of psychotherapy and counseling.