Use of Prayer and Scripture in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

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Use of Prayer and Scripture in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: A Journal Article Beatrice St. Surin Liberty University COUN-506 September 23, 2012 Abstract According to the article Use of Prayer and Scripture in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, published in the Journal of Psychology and Christianity in 2007, Siang-Yang Tan talked about how prayer and scripture can be incorporated into the practice of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

Lately, in the field of CBT, there have been an increased on a suggestive awareness regarding a two-component model that involves self-regulation of attention in order to preserved on instant knowledge, centers on present circumstances, and implements an orientation to the acceptance of a person’s situation. Tan demonstrated that this model of CBT can be combined with prayer and scriptural truth to bring long-term benefit to clients.

He mentioned a study by Hayes, Luoma, Bond, Masuda and Lillis (2006) that defined an ancient method of behavior therapy that was divided into three generational actions and involved a gradual transition from traditional behavior therapy and CBT to a collection of views and approaches like Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) (Tan, 2007, p. 101). Tan referred to a self-developed biblical model to this approach that consists of an 8-part process. These processes consist of emphasizing agape love, the necessity to cultivate a sincere and open relationship with the client.

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While they ease the process of settling with past unresolved issues they also help with discovering spiritual meaning; by means of scriptural truth to stimulate behavior change; depend on the Holy Spirit’s ministering; concentrating on the main goal and stick to techniques that are biblical. The discussion of ongoing research before generated irrefutable statements about the advantage of CBT (Tan, 2007, p. 102). Tan also addressed the use of implicit and explicit integration in therapeutic situations.

He vowed that the choice of either an implicit or an explicit method should be decided first and foremost by the necessities of the client, and that the Holy Spirit should be relied upon for guidance (Tan, 200, pp. 102-103). According to the article, Tan however, did not emphasize to take for granted that all clients will be comfortable with the inclusion of prayer and scripture in the CBT process. He stated that this approach may not be suitable with more severely distressed or psychotic clients (Tan, 2007, p. 104).

A complete intake interview will obviously reveal whether the client is open to this method or whether this technique is appropriate. Tan stressed that this type of approach is very beneficial to clients who are experiencing depression, anxiety and anger issues, as well as those struggling with addictions. One method, developed by Tan in 1992, is a 7-step inner healing prayer. This method is a form of communication between the Counselor and the client to concentrate more on Christ than upon the hurt or childhood trauma they have experienced.

It is really good that Tan also described actual interaction between client and counselor (Tan, 2007, p. 105). Tan indicated that the appropriate and ethical use of Scripture and prayer in CBT can be a significant help to Christian’s clients who completely believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God and their definitive authority in life (Tan, 2007, p. 108). He also expressed how the use of Scripture can enhance cognitive restructuring.

Although, this technique of combining prayer and scripture with CBT appeared to be a very good approach, Tan cautioned the readers that there are some clients who will not accept it, even though several empirical studies have shown its benefits. It is evident to see how the author is addressing an approach to therapy that has in the past been overlooked by many typical practitioners. The combination of CBT with prayer and scripture obviously provides most clients with durable, maintenance-free resolution.

Since we are created by God (Genesis 1:27), in my opinion, it makes perfect sense to go to him when something is broken and need repairing. As Christians, we understand that absolute truth comes only from the Scriptures and that God alone is truth. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). I believe Christian counselors should, therefore, make positive use of what God has given them in their attempts to reconstruct an individual’s thought rocesses. Subsequently we all have bad thinking sometimes and are in need to reframe the mind. For instance, according to the word, Jesus died for all of our sins (John 3:16, 1 John 2: 1-2), but after we accepted Jesus Christ in our lives, most of us struggled with self- forgiveness. We can only count on the Holy Spirit to change our thoughts and reveal the truth through the Scriptures to replace all the lies and misconceptions, we formulated from old traumatic experiences.

The knowledge I accrued from this article are similar to what I went through myself last year around this time; but, I would say I found it very encouraging that experimental studies are beginning to demonstrate the benefits of incorporating prayer and scripture into CBT, and that the scientific community is beginning to take notice. After reading this article, I was inspired to look for more information on this subject, and see what others are doing in this area to help people who profoundly brokenhearted.

It’s acknowledged that in CBT a therapist with the best intentions can convince a client to reason differently about themselves and to change their views about their history. Although, after I observed a family member fell into a deep depression after she lost of her husband, got better with Therapy then lost it completely when her mother passed away. It is apparent that at any particular time in a client’s life one day, something dramatic can happen and all the work accomplished can be undone by another disturbing event that can cause the client to regress to the previous defective thinking.

I would say, I truly believe until a client is set free by the Lord Jesus Christ, the giver of life (Genesis 2:7); they will never be completely free. Application As a Christian who had to face my own demons in life, I could say before July 2011 I never used the principles of the inner healing prayer. It was not until I was strike by a very rare illness that was destroying me mentally and physically, no doctor or specialist knew what was wrong with me when part of the sickness was visible physically. All tests ran was very good but no one new or could explain why I was so sick.

It wasn’t until a friend of mine took me to his Co-Pastor at a new Church, and the pastor and his wife are both professional Christian counselors. They used that approach for me and I found it to be a very effective approach. Although, I have to say that I truly believed God did a miracle for me due to the fact that I was not only healed mentally, but also physically. I will definitely use this method when I complete my degree and begin helping people. Furthermore, I plan to use this approach with references to the Scriptures, as the Lord guides me for all my clients who will be open to this method.

Even though, right now I am working as an accountant, my line of work does not involve any counseling or helping people but I have many of my tax clients, business clients, Church brothers, sisters and friends with various problems. Many are depressed, suffer from gender confusion, childhood traumas and addiction issues. I believe with the help God, this extra education and with support from my husband and children, I will incorporate prayer and scripture with CBT in my ministry at my church and in my community. My approach with my clients will be to always begin a session with prayer.

Then a complete intake interview, follow with encouraging the client to reflect and retrieve the memories that have been the most traumatic if it is a new client. I will help the client to develop a warm and open relationship with me, make he/she feels safe and that it is okay to accept the truth of what happened, and recognize the hurts and dishonesties associate with the memories. As the client re-live the events of what took place in the past, I will pray silently and call upon the Holy Spirit to take control, to give me discernment and reveal the truth to me about the memories.

I will then encourage the client to tell me what he/she is feeling and discern from the answers what book of the Bible can be helpful according to the Word of God. I will also tell the client to do a confession prayer to ask God for forgiveness and help to forgive anyone that was not easy to forgive. This will then be followed by giving the client some homework that might include a 3 day of fast while asking God to reveal more memories. I will ask them to write down anything else that God reveals during the fast after the previous session.

After the client has obtained truth from the Lord regarding the painful event, we will then re-visit that place and see how the client feels about the memory and how he/she relates to the new experience. From there I will ask the Holy Spirit to guide me to what to do next. I will encourage prayer, reading the scriptures, meditation on the word and anything that transpires before the next session. I will end the session by asking the client to pray and thank God for revealing the truth.

The use of prayer and scripture in combination with CBT seems to be a very effective technique to help clients make sense of their difficulties. I believe this approach can be the best medicine for a long-term change and freedom from memories who are affecting people’s lives. References Dake Annotated Reference Bible. Tan, S. -Y. (2007). Use of prayer and scripture in cognitive-behavioral therapy. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 16(2), p. 101-111.

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Use of Prayer and Scripture in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. (2017, Apr 25). Retrieved from

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