We have before us an immensely significant issue; and a very delicate one, which we need to examine very seriously, because this very comparison that the subject denotes – Ecclesiastic Psychotherapy versus Secular Therapeutic Techniques – can generate much confusion and even unnecessary oppositions. Given that the subject is a huge one, I will try –in the limited time that I have at my disposal- to give a simple outline, a somewhat broad one, and also to present to your kind attention some very important meanings with simple words, so that you might have some sort of clue, some level of understanding, whenever you encounter these analyses, which will enable you to comprehend them a little better.
First of all, what does this comparison aspire to? What is its objective? We need to firstly clarify certain meanings; we need to know what we have before us, and what those meanings are exactly; what terminology is involved. What exactly do we mean by the word “psychotherapy”? And secondly, we need to stress something that is both essential and crucial to our Church; that is, the risk of acknowledging inappropriate elements.
2. What is meant by “taking on”?
What is meant by “taking on”? You know, whenever our Church enters a place to minister its poemantic duties, when it does missionary work, it “takes on” the elements of the civilization that exists there – in that land – the “flesh” of that land -so to speak- and within that “flesh”, it proceeds to reveal the love of God. Christ had similarly taken on the flesh of mankind – its human nature. Thus, “taking on” is an important issue. Whatever can be taken on that will sanctify us, we take it on - just as Christ took on human nature; what He did NOT take on however, was the sinfulness of human nature.
So, is there anything that we can take on, from those places where these techniques are implemented, or not? Is there anything - of all these methodologies that are being developed – that we can use as new techniques for approaching psychic phenomena? I need to stress in advance –regarding the areas that I am going to refer to and especially psychotherapy- that those who have preoccupied themselves with the subject all have a positive outlook, a positive predisposition; in other words, there is nothing sinister in their efforts. They sincerely want to help today’s tired and wounded people. It is an honest endeavor to help mankind. The thing is however, HOW they are acting, to help mankind.
Let me begin by first clarifying the terms. The more familiar terms that we have before us are the terms: psychiatry, psychology and psychotherapy. These three differ from one another. I will explain how they differ and what they are, so that Christians may become aware and not be puzzled and confuse matters in their minds.
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