1 Neptic Psychotherapy

by Andrea Elizabeth

from Orthodox Interventions by Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Dr. Andrew (Vujisic)

“In reaction to the ever-increasing compartmentalization and fragmentation of Western ciilization, interest abounds regarding methods of holistic healing. Contemporary worldviews, which are entrenched in individualism and which are mystialogically pathological, in that they deny, or fail to perceive the mystical connection or relationship between spiritual and/or psychic meaning/purpose and the physical world (including events, actions, or behavior), separate the individual from both community and ontic reality (Vlachos, 1993). This spawns an alienating and distressing social order, bereft of communal character, which offers little opportunity for intercommunion and/or connectivity, resulting in general dissociation, i.e., the internal/mental process that severs the connection between and individual’s thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, and/or sense of identity and responsibility, and erodes the possibilities for attaining full personhood and true self-consciousness in terms of spiritual, psychological, emotional, and social achievement (Chrysostomos, 2007). The results are devastating and lead to cognitive dissonance and/or distortions, including (a) selective abstraction, i.e., the focus on one event or situation and the exclusion of all others; (b) arbitrary inference, i.e., drawing conclusions that are not supported by facts; (c) personalization, i.e., attributing personal intent to an event and/or situation; (d) polarization, i.e., perceiving and/or interpreting events or situations in ‘all’ or ‘nothing’ terms; (e) generalization, i.e., the tendency to see things in ‘always’ or ‘never’ categories; (f) demanding expectations, i.e., personal opinions or preferences that are transformed into rules that must be obeyed; (g) catastrophizing, i.e., the perception that something is utterly terrible or awful; and (h) emotional reasoning, i.e., the perception that feelings are facts. These distortions are often accompanied by reduced self-capacities, including (a) characterologic difficulties associated with identity, emotional, and attachment/relational schemata, etc. and (b) inadequately developed affect and/or tolerance regulation skills. In turn, these are a fertile breeding ground for depression and anxiety. Ultimately, humanity is sick and in desperate need of a Divine remedy (Vlachos, 1997). However, this sickness is not solely neurological or psychological, but ontological, (i.e., it touches the very being), and eschatological, (i.e., it points to the genuine need to move beyond ‘ordinary’ reality to epistemic reality through energetic union with the Divine).”