An Overview

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 & DevelopmentThe 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.

My Publications

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).

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: [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: [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.