A Review of: “The Use of Prayer and Scripture in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy”
In Tan’s article, “The Use of Prayer and Scripture in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy” published by the Journal of Psychology and Theology in 2007, he discusses integrating prayer and scripture with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Tan uses examples of integration from real-life counseling sessions that he has been involved in, as a counselor. Tan’s article first discusses the usefulness of CBT and other behavioral techniques in counseling (Tan, 2007). Tan discusses very early in his article that CBT is as effective as antidepressant medications and is more effective that cognitive therapy alone according to a recent placebo study (Tan, 2007).
Tan states that the development of mindfulness and acceptance based CBT, which is the predecessor of Christian based CBT, has its roots in Zen Buddhism and is in of its self a spiritually based practice (Tan, 2007). The evolution of a Christian, Muslim or other religious focus CBT was a natural progression because of the spiritual components of it (Tan, 2007). Tan states that there are now ten studies, six Christian and four Muslim, that provide support for the implementation and use religiously focused CBT (Tan, 2007).
Tan describes the ethical approach to Christian CBT and expresses the need for informed consent. Tan is also very clear on not forcing belief systems on clients. He discusses the need for a lengthy interview and intake process for new clients in order to understand the patient’s history as well as their religious beliefs (Tan, 2007). Tan states that the first session for him is usually two hours (Tan, 2007).
Tan uses Christian CBT to help Christian patients overcome experiences and memories that are painful and stunting for the patient. His approach utilizes biblical truth and emphasizes the Holy Spirit’s ministry to bring healing. Tan states that the integration of Christianity into CBT can be implicit or explicit depending on the counselor or the client (Tan, 2007). Tan also explains that prayer or scripture might not be used in every session but only when appropriate.
Tan describes the seven steps used for healing prayer. The steps for healing prayer begin with a prayer for protections from evil, guided relaxation, and peaceful visualization. This is followed by painful visualization, prayer, patiently waiting for God’s intervention, and communion with God. At the end of the healing prayer, there is a closing prayer and then a debriefing.
The use of scripture in the session can be useful in correcting misconceptions that clients may have about God’s will for them. Utilizing the scripture can better inform clients according to Tan (Tan, 2007). Scripture can also inform clients about areas of their life that need adjusting or are sinful. It can also help clients to adjust their...