Use of Prayer and Scripture in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

1 January 2017

Liberty University Summary In the article titled “Use of Prayer and Scripture in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy”, a discussion arises about the incorporation of scripture and prayer into the practice of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Cognitive-behavioral therapy is widely supported by empirical evidence for treatment in a wide variety of psychological disorders (Tan, 2007, p. 01). The article discuses how to approach biblical Christian values in therapy and how to incorporate those approaches into CBT. Tan discusses the history of behavioral therapy throughout the years and the two main components of mindfulness. The two components of mindfulness include self regulation of attention and adopting a specific orientation (Tan, 2007). Tan then describes eight key features of a biblical Christian approach to CBT.

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The key features of this biblical approach include: agape love; unresolved past issues; spiritual meaning; the use of biblical truth when approaching organic problems; Holy Spirit’s discernment in bringing about healing; make use of community resources; use techniques that are biblical; use research before making definitive statements about the superiority of CBT (Tan, 2007, p. 102). Tan goes onto describe the two types of integration: explicit and implicit. Explicit integration deals with spiritual or religious issues in therapy, and uses spiritual resources in the therapeutic process (Tan, 2007, p. 68). Implicit integration does not incorporate religious or spiritual aspects into the therapeutic process. Tan describes his approach as explicit and has used this approach to reach a clientele with problems that include: phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders, stress, burnout, anger control problems, marital and family problems, adjustment disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, epilepsy, pain, hypertension, and religious conflicts and issues (Tan, 2007). Tan goes onto explain how he assesses whether an individual will benefit from the use of prayer and scripture in therapy.

In 1992 Tan developed a seven step model that has played an integral part in the healing of his clients. Tan believes that the model can be modified when necessary but that prayer and scripture cannot be used for clients that are psychotic or severely disturbed. The rest of the article explains subtle ways in which Tan incorporated biblical aspects into the therapy session. He notes that the appropriate use of Scripture in a Christian approach to CBT from a counselor who is sensitive to the needs of the client can benefit Christian clients through the use of scripture and prayer in the therapeutic process (Tan, 1996).

In closing Tan states that prayer and scripture can be effective in a Christian approach to CBT and should be used when clients give informed consent for such an approach to be taken. Interaction My initial response to this article was finally. Finally Christians are developing empirically supported studies that support the notion of prayer, scripture and biblical aspects into the treatment process. This study I believe will open many doors to effective treatment and also help with people in their reconciliation with the Lord.

I was happy knowing that this author stepped out of the box and approached this issue that has been traditionally overlooked by the scientific community. As believers we understand that truth comes from the Lord and that scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness 2 Timothy 3: 16. Hebrews 4: 12 states “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”.

From this passage we can see that God’s word brings life and can break down the many barriers we put up. As counselors we come into contact with many people who are burdened, unhappy, and ultimately broken. We need to incorporate scripture into every aspect of our lives especially when dealing with broken people. Psalm 147:3 says “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”. As counselors we can do our best to help our clients but ultimately God is the sole comforter and healer and we need to call upon him when serving the broken world.

Understanding the importance of incorporating scripture and prayer has lead me to gain further understanding into this field and thus has encouraged me to expand my knowledge. I believe the design of the study was appropriate and has offered some great insight into the world of therapy with the incorporated Christian approaches. I do believe however that further investigations must be considered and further research and study will prove to be beneficial as this approach is fairly new to the scientific community. Application

As a once broken individual myself I have first-hand knowledge of the importance of prayer and scripture in the healing process. It was only in communication with the Lord that I heard of his love and plans for my life. As I meditated on scripture I became more Christ like and began to feel his word breathe life into my broken soul. As a future counselor I believe it is important that I incorporate God, prayer, scripture, and biblical principles into all aspects of my life, including the counseling session. I truly believe that God will use me as a channel to serve between the healer and the broken.

And it is with this concept in mind that I will seek the Holy Spirits wisdom and discernment in every counseling session. In order to remain culturally sensitive one must obtain consent from the patient in order to gain the right to incorporate scripture and prayer into the therapeutic relationship. Once consent is gained I would start the session with prayer asking for me to be sensitive to hear God’s voice and for the Holy Spirit to lead the therapy process as well as open the patient to healing and comfort. Above all I would pray that God’s love may be felt in the therapeutic relationship and that he fill me with his love for this client.

I would also offer any scriptural references that can be beneficial in helping the client overcome their struggle as well as offer any other resources in the community that may be helpful. I will ask the client to meditate on the truth gained from scripture until our next session. I would close the session with a prayer of thanksgiving for what is revealed and the truth that can be found in God that will set us free from the troubles of this world. References The Holy Bible NIV. Tan, S. , Y. (2007). Use of prayer and scripture in cognitive-behavioral therapy. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, Vol. 26, No. 2, 101-111.

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