A Christian-oriented psychological self-help guide.
The basic concepts of Roderiques’ nonfiction debut originated in the author’s therapy sessions with an unnamed counselor years ago. In these, he says, he attempted to address the long-term complications of his childhood experiences with psychological, physical, and sexual abuse. The counselor introduced him to a coping method that he called “the Joshua Protocol,” which Roderiques claims offers new hope to people suffering from a number of challenges, including anger, anxiety, low self-esteem, and even such clinical conditions as PTSD or obsessive-compulsive disorder. The author is clearly aiming his book at his fellow fundamentalist Christians. However, he interestingly writes that he intends his material to occupy a shared space between secular psychology and spirituality—with the concept of “sin” doing double duty to describe undesirable mental and emotional faults. Consequently, the book’s vocabulary blends Christian discussion of miracles and personal, divine intervention with popular-psychology sentiments, such as “You can change the functional pathways in your physical brain to reflect and be optimized to support a better outlook on life.” The Joshua Protocol itself is essentially a regimen of prayer-meditations, targeted at specific acts, such as gambling or feeling anxiety, with a key element running throughout: The participant should begin by remembering that they’re not the sum total of their sins; that the sins are separate from the participant; and that they can be defeated with God’s help. In all cases, readers are urged to rely on the foregone assurance of God’s forgiveness as the bedrock on which to build better habits. Overall, this protocol may not prove effective for readers who may be dealing with more serious disorders, such as those involving neurochemical imbalances. However, the book’s clear, encouraging language is certain to help some of those who may be struggling with ordinary and persistent temptations of everyday life. For example, for readers who are trying to avoid being hurtfully sarcastic, the author offers this prayer: “God, thank you for your fellowship; I am not alone in this fight against sarcastic behavior. Your Holy Spirit indwells me and strengthens me.”
An intriguing recasting of prayer in the psychotherapy arena.