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Anna Freud August 1st, 2004 10:11 PM

Praying in session

Meditation in psychotherapy? How about having the clinician pray with the client in the session? Does anyone do that in their practices?


George Neeson August 2nd, 2004 08:13 AM

Re: Praying in session
Working as an Adlerian therapist, should a client request prayer and the request would support the work and not avoid the task, yes I will pray with them. I will first ask why they wish me to pray and what it is they seek from God. I assure them that I "have no hot line" and that the effects of prayer rest very much on their belief, but I do believe in that which is greater than we, and it seems unwise to not draw on all available resources.
George Neeson M.D.

Anna Freud August 3rd, 2004 11:38 PM

Re: Praying in session

I brought that topic up for a reason. I did my thesis on prayer and when i went looking for journal resources most of the stuff i came across were articles against praying in session. Most said that was regarded for the field of pastoral counseling. Presently i have a therapist who has honored my request for opening the session and/or ending the session in prayer and me reading a short prayer from a bok. The therapist is also a christian as i am though he/she is not listed as a christian counselor. I guess it helps greatly if the therapist is of the same religion as the client. Some articles i found informed me that most secular therapists who are't religious do not become knowledgable of the clients religious background because they do not want to engage in it even though it is important to the client. I guess it greatly depends on the therapist and the client and their religious backgrounds. Personally, i have found great solice in others praying for me to the point of inner healing. But it is hard to find a therapist who will openly pray. I think most therapists find they do not believe in anything outside of theories that will "heal."

Now this brings up another point that has been bothering me:Where is the power to change in secular therapy? How does the client change? With God, He is the changer, if you will. Just a few thoughts.

George Neeson August 4th, 2004 07:00 AM

Re: Praying in session
Anna I would not like to imply that "God is the changer" but rather that He will assist us to change in a cooperation with Him. I too am a Christian and praying in session is a helpful thing to do. I do not wish it to appear as a "magical solution to human difficulties" but rather to make it clear that God is willing to assist us in our difficulties but also cares enough about us, and respects us sufficiently, that a psychological maturation process is part of growth just as it is in a child. I am more apt to request His help for myself when I can't, based on Adler's theory, figure out the client's movement. It is helpful to know that the "Designer of the human mind" is willing to assist us!

Anna Freud August 4th, 2004 09:16 AM

Re: Praying in session

Yes God "assists" us. But in my worldview He is the one that changed/healed me from two addictions i had. I asked for his help and prayed and over time it wasn't anything that i did differently. I asked for His help. HE changed me. How can you explain that? That ties into the second problem i was talking about that you didn't address. How does the client change? I understand about "bottoming out." But before that happens how does change happen? Is it wanting to please the therapist? For me talking about my problems didn't help. And talking about them didnt help me to want to change. But with God His power or whatever you want to call it, He stopped me and took away the desire from these addictions. How can a humanistic theory assist anyone to want to change? I know that could be another topic for a different group but it doesn't fit into the other categories.


Jassmine August 8th, 2004 03:07 PM

Re: Praying in session
Hi Anna,

Ah, but you did do something different, you asked for help through prayer. You also had the will and the desire to conquere your addictions. Will power is very strong. I feel you should give yourself some credit for your overcoming your addictions, for you did have the will power to do so, and that strength comes from within one's self.

Anna Freud August 12th, 2004 06:29 AM

Re: Praying in session

Thats just it, people give no credit to GOD for his help in delivering me from those addictions. Trust me when i tell you it wasn't my will power to overcome, God took the desire away from me. My will power only helped for a time but i still had strong desires for the addiction. It took a while, it wasn't instant. But presently i have no desire to be addicted to those things. Where before i prayed i was addicted. I craved the addiction, i thought about it. It plagued me night and day. I would be out at a restaurant and had these strong desires to go back to it. I was up late at night and early in the morning feeding this addiction. It was only in praying and pleading for Gods help is when i was released from it. I continually give thanks to God for this gift of freedom and take no glory for my self.


Dave Birren September 14th, 2004 06:16 PM

Re: Praying in session
This is really a difficult subject. Anna, you believe God changed you. I don't believe in God as people usually conceive of him/her/it, but I understand what you're saying and will not argue with you. My own view of personal change is that there is an inner well of authenticity that we draw upon in order to bring our perceptions and behavior into line with our values. There are many ways to access this well, and IMO they all involve letting go of the normal human dynamics associated with ego - primarily attachment to the desire for things to be different from how they are. Some people believe that God opens the inner doors, and that's fine. To me it's a metaphor, but what do I know? If I believed in God as you do, I'd probably just nod my head and say to myself, "She has it right."

I think it's important to not give anyone credit for the change. It happened, and that's good enough. After all, credit - and it's counterpart, blame - are just more manifestations of ego, which is the problem in the first place. Something happened within you and that's all that matters. If you want to look at how it worked, great. But ultimately we have our lives to live, so it seems to make sense to learn about the change and use it to improve other areas of your life.

Our need to know intellectually can be so great it obscures what we know intuitively.

Be well, stay well.


George Neeson November 21st, 2004 10:13 AM

Re: Praying in session
What I would like to point out is that He did it in cooperation with Him. He does not violate or impose. I can't remember the Biblical reference off the top of my head, but in the NLB Paul refers to us as "cooperators with Him". He does not do magic tricks but in all that He does He seems to work teleologically, not randomly. Of course He heals and not we! A more cogent concern is that we so seldom ask! :o

George Neeson November 21st, 2004 10:29 AM

Re: Praying in session
Dave a question for you please, you speak of our "inner values". Are they just ours, or are they intinsic in the system? I studied social anthroplology at Toronto under Edmund Carpenter (an avowed anti-theist) in the mid-sixties. What really shocked me as an atheist at that time, was how very universal these values really are. Many had no apparent value to the survival of the species in natural selection terms, as far as I could see. It made no sense that the strong should lay down their lives for the weak and thus degrade the human genome, so I got in a big quandry and finally concluded that values appear to be intinsic in the fabric of Space-Time in some way I could not understand. If that is the case, it is no big intellectual jump to assume a "mind" as part of the cosmological model. By the way, I am a member (sorry it is lapsed at the moment) of the Royal Canadian Astronomical Society and my son is a physicist specialized in quantuum mechanics. My special interest is cosmology and I have astronomer friends in the field most of whom are theistic. So although I am lacking in a mathematical background sufficient to work in this area, I am not uninformed. It troubles me that only in the biological sciences is their such a high proportion of anti-theists!

So Dave, from whence do you acquire these "values" and why do they exist? That will be a very difficult question to answer if you think deeply about it. A theistic view helps while at the same time I gladly acknowledge that any knowledge of a "mind" of such proportions, can at times be at best misleading, unless of course that mind should show His hand and be interested in us.

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