Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Inner Healing Prayer

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  • Topic: Cognitive behavioral therapy, Clinical psychology, Psychotherapy
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J ournal of Psychology and Christianity

Copyright 2007 Christian Association for Psychological Studies

2007, Vol. 26, No. 2, 101-111

ISSN 0733-4273

Use of Prayer and Scripture in
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Siang-Yang Tan
Graduate School ofPsychology
Fuller Theological Seminary
This article covers the appropriate and ethical use of prayer including inner healing prayer, and Scripture in a Christian approach to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), Expanded CBT now includes MindfulnessBased Cognitive Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Implicit and explicit integration in therapy are briefly described, A composite clinical case example is included to illustrate how prayer and Scripture can be explicitly used in Christian CBT, Results of outcome studies on the efficacy of religiously-oriented CBT are also briefly mentioned.

Hayes, Strosahl, & Wilson, 1999), MindfulnessBased Cognitive Therapy (MBCT; Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002), and Dialectical
Behavior Therapy (DBT; Linehan, 1993), CBT
today has therefore been expanded to include
such mindfulness and acceptance-based therapies as ACT, MBCT, and DBT (Hayes, FoUete, & Linehan, 2004), Bishop et al, (2004) have recently proposed the following operational definition of mindfulness:

Cogntive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of
the most empirically supported treatments (ESTs)
available for a wide variety of psychological disorders (Chambless & Ollendick, 2001; see also Butler, Chapman, Forman, & Beck, 2006; Nathan
& Gorman, in press; Roth & Fonagy, 2005; Tan,
2001a), It should be noted however, that a more
recent randomized placebo-controlled trial of
behavioral activation, cognitive therapy and
antidepressant medication (paroxetine) with 241
aduit patients with major depressive disorder
(MDD) found that for severely depressed aduits,
behavioral activation is as efficacious as antidepressant medication and more efficacious than cognitive therapy (Dimidjian, et al,, 2006),
Empirically supported therapy relationships
(ESRs) and empirically supported principles of
therapeutic change (ESPs) have also been more
recently emphasized in addition to ESTs, In fact,
evidence-based practice in psychology (EBPP)
presently focuses not only on the best available
research, but also on therapist clinical expertise,
and client characteristics, culture, and preferences (see Tan, 2007), Hayes, Luoma, Bond, Masuda and Lillis (2006)
recently pointed out that a historical overview of
behavior therapy can be divided into three
major generations or waves: the first generation
or wave consisted of traditional behavior therapy; the second generation or wave consisted of CBT (which is now more than 30 years old); the
third generation or wave presently consists of
relatively contextualistic approaches such as
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT;

We propose a two-component model
of mindfulness. The first component
involves the self-regulation of attention so that it is maintained on immediate experience, thereby allowing for increased recognition of mental
events in the present moment. The
second component involves adopting
a particular orientation that is characterized by curiosity, openness, and acceptance, (p, 232)
Mindfulness and acceptance-based CBT has
some spiritual roots in Zen Buddhism and similar
meditative and contemplative religious or spiritual traditions, including those that emphasize the sacrament of the present moment from a Christian perspective (see De Caussade, 1989), More explicit religiously-oriented or spiritually oriented CBT has also been developed in recent years, especially within Christian and Muslim traditions

(Tan & Johnson, 2005), In such explicitly religious or spiritual approaches to CBT, the use of prayer and sacred Scripture (e,g,, the Holy
Quran for Muslims, the Bible for Christians) is a
core component, especially with religious clients
desiring a...
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