by Andrea Elizabeth
For Christmas George took heed of my wish list and got Orthodox Interventions, Orthodox Neptic Psychotherapy in Response to Existential and Transpersonal Psychotherapy by Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Dr. Andrew (Vujisic). My goal is in reading it is in the Forward:
“With increased attention by scholars to the relationship between spirituality and science, religion and physical/mental health, and holistic views of the human being that connect the body and the mind, or spirit, this volume provides a framework in the establishment of cross-cultural dimensions to the study of science and spirituality and the holistic concept of humans and their environment. Ultimately, it bridges the divide between mystical, neptic, and hesychastic teachings and the methods and goals of modern Western psychotherapy. It is the potential meeting of the transcendent and the secular, of spirituality and psychotherapy, and of neptic treatment and mind biochemistry as they impact all those in need of inner healing from spiritual, behavioral, and/or psychological disorders and pathologies.”
Past the Preface to the Introduction/Chapter 1
“Existential psychotherapy is, in reality, a comprehensive synopsis of existential theory, or rather, multiple existential theories…. It has its roots in the work of Soren Kierkegaard…. The basic tenet of existential psychotherapy is that inner conflict occurs as a result of confrontation with existential givens related to (a) freedom, responsibility, and agency/action; (b) death, human limitation, and finiteness; (c) isolation and connectedness; (d) meaning vs. meaninglessness; and (e) emotions, experience, and embodiment…. Accordingly, existential psychotherapy emphasizes free will and responsibility, and involves relieving tensions in the physical, social, personal, and spiritual dimensions/levels of human experience and existence. It is while successfully confronting the tensions and paradoxes of these dimensions that wo/man encounters the world and shapes/reshapes his/her worldview.”
“Existentialists generally agree that it is not possible to fully answer existential questions because of inherent human limitations… Some, embracing a non-spiritualist approach which has been extensively popularized, suppose that there are no ultimate transcendent answers, and have widely promoted the singular idea that existentialism is intrinsically atheistic, nihilistic, and pessimistic. However, according to Hoffman, many existentialists embrace the spiritual existential approach, which integrates the belief that ultimate transcendent answers to existential questions actually exist, and are accessible in degrees.
From the Orthodox perspective, Feodor Dostoevsky, who many revere as one of the major contributors of the existentialist movement, stresses the hostility that emanates from the world and the possibilities for mystical and transformative experience through life in the Orthodox Church…”
I like how the above also connects literature and the Church with the therapeutic process. I would add cinematherapy. And Sherlock therapy. Not so much Downton Abby. Everyone too self-centered? Too clothes conscious? I like it and will catch up with the new episode, but I don’t find it as thought provoking as other things I’ve written about on this blog. I don’t think I relate to any of the characters, except maybe the blond maid, Anna, but she’s better than me. The one with the most potential was the rebellious daughter who married the chauffeur, but that fell flat. We’ll see how everyone else goes through their delimmas. Ho hum.