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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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Notes 263


t Notes t Introduction 1. Tertullian Prescription against Heretics 7 (PL 2.20). Unless otherwise noted, all transla- tions are mine own. For patristic titles in their original languages, see the correspond- ing author, volume, and column range in the series Patrologia graeca, Patrologia latina, or Sources chrétiennes, as noted in the bibliography. 2. Jn 1:14 KJV (italics mine). All New Testament citations are taken from this version. 3. In brief, purification refers to the believer’s struggle to purify his heart of the passions, the thoughts, and deceitful desires; illumination refers to the Holy Spirit illumining the heart of the believer who is thereby moved to pray without ceasing; deification re- fers to the vision of Christ that likewise transfigures the one who sees him. These stages assume an ecclesial life of ascetic striving guided by the Christian virtues and nourished by the Holy Mysteries. 4. Beyond this, there is a degree of success in treating certain limited realms of prob- lems, most prominently infantile autism and certain forms of phobic reaction. 5. In the clinical literature and in Dr. Beck’s own works, his therapy is called cognitive- behavioral therapy. Beck explains that his original term was cognitive insight therapy, but as behavioral therapists started to adopt his treatment protocols, they would use the label cognitive-behavioral therapy and that term has remained, although the therapy is strictly speaking cognitive with some behavioral components used for their cognitive effects. Cf. Aaron Beck, interview by Sidney Block, May 4, 2004, Philadelphia,...

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