Biblical Stories for Psychotherapy and Counseling : A Sourcebook book cover
1st Edition

Biblical Stories for Psychotherapy and Counseling
A Sourcebook

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ISBN 9780789022134
Published April 15, 2004 by Routledge
238 Pages

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Book Description

Integrate Biblical spirituality into psychotherapy and examine centuries-old answers to modern psychological questions!

The Joint Commision on the Accreditation of Hospitals now mandates taking spiritual assessments of all patients. This book is devoted to helping therapists employ Biblical spirituality in the actual treatment program. Biblical Stories for Psychotherapy and Counseling: A Sourcebook organizes the wisdom of the Old Testament into episodes that can shed light on specific psychological issues. From the familiar to the obscure, these stories can help us better understand self-esteem, loyalty and obligations, decision making, temptation, anger, morality, various disorders, family dynamics, support systems, developmental issues, recovery issues, aging, suicidal behavior, and more.

From the authors: “As brilliant and as penetrating as Freud's insights are, they are limited in the sense that Freud relied heavily on Greek myth and literature for his models and ideas. His view of man was in many ways that of the Greeks—a view that concentrated on the pathological underside of man and on the bedrock of his developmental problems. The Greeks could never really shake the sense of doom, the foreboding and the fatalism that led so many great figures in Greek literature and in real life Greek history to depression and, in a surprising number of cases, to suicide. In contrast, the focus of the Bible is far more optimistic; depression can be successfully dealt with, and suicide is a sad error that should be—and usually can be—avoided. It encourages people to hope and teaches that day-to-day human effort has a purpose and meaning and that heroism is not a fair or useful aim for man to set for himself. The Bible offers the hope of filling every moment of human life with greater meaning and feeling.

“New solutions to mental health problems are always welcome. Ours is a new approach, yet a very old one. We present stories that offer a vast treasure of knowledge and wisdom about the way people think and act, and why they do so. The stories are drawn from the Hebrew Bible, a compendium whose latest books are already twenty-four hundred or so years old. Yet, through all those centuries, the basic story of man's searching and yearning has changed little. We shall concentrate on the psychological meaning of these narratives and what they tell us about how their characters dealt with challenges of family, handicap, depression, and more.”

You'll also find information drawn from modern clinical research that parallels the Biblical narratives. The wisdom gained from these ancient stories is applied to help people gain self-understanding and deal with their own situations today. For psychotherapists, these Biblical foundation stories can be used as a basis for integrating spirituality into psychotherapy. The story of Moses, who overcame a speech problem, can be applied to the problems of a Midwestern college student, and the account of David and Goliath can help a businessman overcome his fears of “lack of macho.”

A small sample of the Bible stories—and their clinical implications—that you'll find in this volume:

  • the foundation of self-esteem: Saul
  • the courage to emigrate: Abraham
  • assuming responsibility for one's self: Lot's wife
  • focusing on one's main aim: Sarah and Hagar
  • dealing with commandments: Abraham and Isaac
  • dealing with temptations: Adam and Eve
  • drunkenness and disrespect: Noah
  • reciprocity between generations: Naomi and Ruth
  • amoral intellectualism: Balaam
  • aging: Ecclesiastes
  • dealing with disability: Moses and Aaron
  • abandonment: David
  • protected regression: Jonah
Biblical Stories for Psychotherapy and Counseling: A Sourcebook will become a well-used reference in your professional/teaching collection. These Biblical stories will be helpful to therapists, cle

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • The Greek Bias in Medicine
  • The Greek Bias in Psychology and Psychiatry
  • Biblical Stories
  • Chapter 1. Self-Esteem: Strengths, Sources, Disabilities, and Healing
  • Introduction
  • The Basis of Self-Image: Adam and Narcissus
  • Definitions of Strength: David and Goliath
  • Dealing with Special Gifts: Samson and Delilah
  • The Source of Health: Elisha and Naaman
  • The Foundation of Self-Esteem: Saul
  • The Courage to Emigrate: Abraham
  • Chapter 2. Obligations and Loyalty to Self and Others
  • Introduction
  • Assuming Responsibility for Others: Jonah
  • Assuming Responsibility for Self: Lot’s Wife
  • Singing One’s Own Song: Miriam
  • Completing Another’s Vision: Joshua and Moses
  • Friendship and Love: David and Jonathan
  • Saving One’s People: Esther
  • Chapter 3. Making Difficult Decisions
  • Introduction
  • Weighing Abilities: Rebecca and Her Two Sons
  • Focusing on One’s Main Aim: Sarah and Hagar
  • Distinguishing Motivations: Michal, David, and Saul
  • Two Views of Wisdom: Solomon and the Two Mothers
  • Two Types of Giving: Cain and Abel
  • Chapter 4. Commandments, Oaths, Parables, and Temptations
  • Introduction
  • Dealing with Commandments: Abraham and Isaac
  • Dealing with Oaths: Jephthah and His Daughter
  • Communicating Through Parables: Nathan and David
  • Dealing with Temptations: Adam and Eve
  • Rejecting Temptations: Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife
  • Chapter 5. Good and Bad Anger
  • Introduction
  • Confronting Immorality: Phinehas
  • Taking Revenge: Simeon and Levi
  • Misplaced Mercy, Misplaced Violence: King Saul
  • Protecting the Innocent: Moses
  • Escaping Cynicism: Hezekiah versus Rabshakeh
  • Chapter 6. Various Disorders
  • Introduction
  • Overcoming Eating Disorders: Adam and Eve versus Erysichthon
  • Drunkenness and Disrespect: Noah
  • Work versus Workaholism: Adam
  • Unrealistically Heavy Burdens: Cain
  • Hoarding or Enjoying: Manna
  • Chapter 7. Overcoming Family Problems
  • Introduction
  • Forgiving Deceit: Rachel and Jacob
  • Covering a Family Problem: Achan
  • Overcoming a Bad Start: David and Bathsheba
  • Wise Mate Selection: Rebecca, Isaac, and Eliezer
  • Kindness for Kindness: Boaz and Ruth
  • Chapter 8. Parental Blessings, Permission, and Support
  • Introduction
  • Being Careful with a Blessing: Isaac and His Sons
  • Spreading the Blessing Around: Joseph and His Brothers
  • Supporting One’s Son: Hannah and Samuel
  • Reciprocity Between Generations: Naomi and Ruth
  • Controlling One’s Daughter: Lot
  • Chapter 9. Good and Bad Development
  • Introduction
  • Amoral Intellectualism: Balaam
  • Totalitarian Utopianism: The Tower of Babel
  • Acquiring Wisdom: Solomon
  • Undone by Ambition: Jeroboam
  • Using Others: Amnon
  • Chapter 10. Recovery from Misfortune, Weariness, Loss, and Disability
  • Introduction
  • Dealing with Disaster: Jeremiah
  • Feeling Rejected: The Curser
  • Aging: Ecclesiastes
  • The Experience of Almost-Loss: Sarah
  • Dealing with Disability: Moses and Aaron
  • Knowing That Life Has Meaning: The Fugitive
  • Chapter 11. Suicide Prevention
  • Introduction
  • Recovering form Weariness: Elijah
  • Feeling Overwhelmed: Moses
  • Friends in Need: Job
  • Abandonment: David
  • Protected Regression: Jonah versus Narcissus
  • Epilogue: Freud, Oedipus, and the Hebrew Bible
  • Bibliography
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