The Impact Of Orthodox Christian Neptic-Psychotherapeutic Interventions On
Self-Reported Depressive Symptomatology And Comorbid Anxiety
His Excellency The Most Right Reverend Doctor Andrew Vujisić,
Bishop of Tralles
St. Gregory Nazianzen Institute for Eastern Christian Studies
Orthodox Christianity represents the oldest Christian tradition. However, the tragic schism between the Christian East and West has resulted in a lost cognizance of the East by the West (Chrysostomos, 2007). Ultimately, this loss, for the West, involves the loss of part of its own Christian heritage. As attempts at rapprochement are made, on the ecclesiastical, cultural, and international levels, it is important that the West begin to develop an understanding of human psychology from an Orthodox perspective, i.e., a psychology consistent with the cosmology and soteriology of Orthodoxy. Orthodox Christian Psychotherapy bridges the divide between mystical, neptic, and hesychastic teachings and the methods and goals of modern Western psychotherapy. It is the meeting of the transcendent and the secular, and of spirituality and psychotherapy, as they impact all those in need of inner healing from spiritual, behavioral, and / or psychological disorders and pathologies (St. John Climacus, 1979; Romanides, 2007).
This study in practical theology concretizes the above by examining the intensity of depressive symptomatology and comorbid anxiety before and after a twelve-week treatment plan using Orthodox Christian neptic-psychotherapeutic interventions and techniques. The results represent yet another step in disentangling the mystery of the relationship between spirituality, psychological treatment, and mental health. The findings, which confirm the efficacy of Orthodox Christian Psychotherapy, offer insight into the ways in which neptic-psychotherapeutic interventions may be applied at the pastoral and clinical level and utilized to treat and / or prevent depressive symptomatology and comorbid anxiety, and possibly other spiritual, behavioral, developmental, and / or psychological disorders and pathologies, in both the Orthodox and general populations.
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