Ancient Christian Wisdom and Aaron Beck's Cognitive Therapy- A Meeting of Minds
Author: Hieromonk Alexios Trader
Imported from Switzerland.
A ground-breaking and deeply important newly-published book by an American Athonite hieromonk who was a scientist prior to becoming a monk on the Holy Mountain decades ago. This book is unique among many Orthodox books on the topic of psychology in that the author fully understands both disciplines that he is trying to engage and gives fair and equal attention to both. Fr Alexios shows how cognitive therapy can illumine for modern man the very similar teachings of the Holy Fathers on the workings of the human mind, while at the same time he avoids the temptation to let cognitive therapy judge Orthodox spirituality. He sets out his project with an analogy from the ancient Christian fathers, who had to address Hipocrene-Galenic medicine much how Christians today have to address the issue of psychology: Psychology is like a snake. In its truest form, it can be deadly, but once the snake is killed, many of the parts can be healing medicines. Fr Alexios points out how much of the metaphysics undergirding cognitive therapy are toxic and rooted in beliefs that are incompatible with the Orthodox ascetic Fathers, while at the same time highlights how much of the methodology of cognitive therapy is either identical to or very similar to that of the Fathers. The author also speaks about patristic therapeutic methods in the didactic of cognitive therapy, which will be much more readily understandable to the average modern reader. A must for Christian therapists/psychologists, as well as for Christians who are undergoing or have undergone extensive therapy.
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.
Father Alexis Trader is an Orthodox Christian father confessor who has had the opportunity not only to investigate ascetic literature for a period of over twenty years, but also to observe and test how those teachings can be put into practice today by those living in monasteries as well as by individuals struggling in contemporary society. His considerable monastic experience in the ancient monastic republic of Mount Athos and elsewhere has furnished him with a psychologically and existentially relevant hermeneutical context for a fresh approach to patristic texts. Father Alexis received his PhD summa cum laude in theology from the University of Thessalonica in Greece and his MA in divinity from the University of Chicago. He is the author of books in Greek and English as well as a translator of a number of Greek theological and pastoral works.