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Use of Prayer and Scripture in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Summarized by Dr. Charles Nolan

Author: Siang-Yang Tan

Date: 2007

Journal of Psychology and Christianity; Vol. 26, No. 2, 101-111

Key Terms/Concepts:

Mindfulness – 2 component model: self-regulation of attention so that it is maintained on immediate experience, so increased recognition of mental events in the present moment and adopting a particular orientation that is characterized by curiosity, openness, and acceptance.

A Biblical, Christian Approach to CBT – 8 key features discussed

Implicit integration – refers to a more covert approach that does not initiate the discussion of religious or spiritual issues and does not openly, directly or systematically use spiritual resources

Explicit Integration – refers to a more overt approach that directly and systematically deals with spiritual or religious issues in therapy, and uses spiritual resources like prayer, scripture or sacred texts, referrals to church or other religious groups or lay counselors, and other religious practices.

Intentional Integration –is the key in professional practice: prayerfully depending on the Holy Spirit to lead and guide the therapeutic session, using implicit or explicit integration or both in a professionally competent, ethically responsible and clinically sensitive way for the benefit and growth of the client.  Done with clear informed consent.

Inner healing prayer – help clients with painful memories or even traumatic past experiences that are continuing to negatively impact them.  Form of prayer to help a client’s ability to process affectively painful memories and ask for the presence of Christ.  7 steps are discussed for inner healing prayer.

Different forms of prayer are discussed – intercessory, contemplative, inner healing, listening

Example of use of Inner Healing Prayer - Verbatim

Discusses the use of scripture and when it is important

Example when Bible use was helpful - Verbati

Main Statistics (if any): None

Key Findings: Prayer and Scripture can therefore be ethically and effectively used in Christian CBT, especially when explicit integration in the therapy room is appropriate, with clients who have given informed consent for such an approach to be taken.