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Ancient Christian Wisdom and Aaron Beck’s Cognitive Therapy

A Meeting of Minds


Alexis Trader

Ancient Christian Wisdom and Aaron Beck’s Cognitive Therapy details a colorful journey deep into two seemingly disparate worlds united by a common insight into the way our thinking influences our emotions, behaviors, and ultimately our lives. In this innovative study about mental and spiritual health, readers are not only provided with a thorough introduction to the elegant theory and practical techniques of cognitive therapy, they are also initiated into the perennial teachings of ascetics and monks in the Greek-speaking East and Latin-speaking West whose powerful writings not only anticipated many contemporary findings, but also suggest unexplored pathways and breathtaking vistas for human growth and development. This groundbreaking interdisciplinary volume in the art of pastoral counseling, patristic studies, and the interface between psychology and theology will be a coveted addition to the working libraries of pastors and psychologists alike. In addition, it is ideal as a textbook for seminary classes in pastoral theology and pastoral counseling, as well as for graduate courses in psychology dealing with the relationship between psychological models and religious worldviews.
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Foreword by H. Tristram Engelhardt ix


t Foreword t his volume is a rare and important bridge between two worlds: that world within which cognitive psychotherapy developed and that world which sustains the spiritual therapy of the Christian fathers. What Father Alexis has accomplished is unique. Recently, there has been a trend to explore Indian and traditional Chinese approaches to medicine, although these have proven difficult to integrate into modern health care. This volume, in contrast, offers a serious Christian examination of psychotherapy in a fashion that can be integrated into contemporary mental health care. Re- markably, Father Alexis has produced a Christian study of psychotherapy that is no mere superficial or wooden reading of the Bible, but a study of mental health grounded in a Christianity that possesses two millennia of serious and nuanced reflection in the area. In a readable and engaging fashion, Father Alexis [Trader] brings reflec- tions on secular spirituality in the sense of psychological understandings of mental health into contact with traditional Christian understandings of spiritual health. As the therapeutic attempt to reduce excessive emotional reactions and self-defeating behavior by modifying the erroneous thinking and the maladaptive beliefs that underlie such behaviors, cognitive psychotherapy has a deep consanguinity with the disciplines engaged by the Christian fathers. Father Alexis has woven together an account of cognitive psychotherapy with an account of the Christian struggle to be granted union with God. This volume is a bridge between the concerns of psychotherapy and the concerns of ascetic discipline; it is destined to become a...

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