Use of Prayer and Scripture in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Outline

Use of Prayer and Scripture in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy 1

Use of Prayer and Scripture in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy


  • Synopsis of the main argument in Tan’s article

  • Explaining how the author promotes use of religion in cognitive-behavioral therapy

  • Discussing the essential features of Christian cognitive-behavioral therapy

  • Pointing out the ways through which the therapist can use Christian CBT to promote the healing process


  • Illustrating why Tan’s argument is compelling

  • Explain why the article is interesting and the insight gained

  • Discussing additional readings that can complement Tan’s article


  • Discussing the ways that the therapist can use Christian CBT approach to help a client with emotional problems

  • showing how the therapist will apply prayer and promote client cooperation


  • Restating the main argument and summary of the journal

Use of Prayer and Scripture in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy


The article explains how to use prayer appropriately and ethically incognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to eliminate patient concerns. AsTan (2007) explains, cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of theevidence-based treatments available for a wide variety of mentaldisorders (p.101). The author utilizes the implicit integration ofproper counseling methods and spiritual tactics that can fosterdivine dynamic in therapy (Tan, 2007, p. 101). The primary objectiveof this treatment method is to provide individuals with the insightthat will empower them to acknowledge the pathways they need toreturn to wholeness in their life. Tan introduces a deliberatecombination of religion and theoretical approach as the foundationalcomponent in counseling. The major features of CBT are related tofamilies, culture, and society thus, it is easy to incorporate anapproach based on the truth of religious teachings (Tan, 2007, p.102).

The beliefs that involve an implicit or explicit combination areadopted to improve the client’s condition using the spiritualevaluation findings (Tan, 2007, p.102). Then again, the Easternreligious traditions are the source of mindfulness, which form aninteraction between the subjective faith-oriented thoughts andinsight (Tan, 2007, p. 101). Hence, the tactic effectively subduesthe anxiety resulting from various behaviors while love eliminatesirrational thinking. Eventually, healing takes place where the mindcan overcome negative thoughts to restructure personality. Therefore,it is in this process that the power of God works through thecounselor to nurture the client’s soul back to health (Tan, 2007,p. 108).

Tan underlines the essential features of Christian CBT that thetherapists can follow. First, there is a need to highlight the valueof God’s love and to form a cordial relationship with the patient(Tan, 2007, p. 102). Then, it is important to carry out acomprehensive analysis of the past events that contributed toclient’s current problems. Subsequently, the counselor shouldemphasize the religious element of life while paying little attentionto a sensible approach to the issues. Additionally, the therapistshould encourage the patient to attribute the cause of negativefeelings to personal thoughts. Besides, the client should beginbehavior changes using the Biblical guidelines, which include totaldependence on God and prayer (Tan, 2007, p. 107). The relevance ofusing the scripture in therapy is essential in guiding anindividual’s focus on the religious basis of the healing process.Therefore, the patient can discern what God says about the issuesthey are experiencing. On the other hand, the counselor gainsspiritual guidance from the relevant Biblical quotes in the articleto help the client by freeing his or her mind from the past toovercome the current problems.

According to Tan (2007), using the spiritual CBT interventionfacilitates a deeper level of emotional processing and cognitivetransformation (p. 102). The author claims that such a tactic opensthe mental doorway that a receptive client can use to promote healingof the soul. Consequently, combining the spiritual elements and CBTcan increase the chances of achieving the required goals for anytherapeutic process. However, the use of scriptures should bedirected by the reason behind choices of spiritual teachings and theexpected outcome and challenges. Besides, Christian CBT is notsuitable for the psychotic patients and those who rebel against God(Tan, 2007, p. 104).


After reading the journal, I found the arguments very compellingbecause the author clearly explains how to include prayer in thetherapy sessions. The article is also interesting because it presentsa unique approach to treating emotional problems. Tan offers logicaltechniques that provide an inner outlook through which the patientcan view the world in a new and better way. Besides, it is wellarticulated on how the therapist can mitigate irrational thinkingusing the truth found in religious teachings that promote the idea oflove (Tan, 2007, p.102). The writer inspires the reader by providinghis opinions in an honest and humble perspective, which is notcombined with the secular academic interpretations.

Tan uses empirical data to support the efficacy of the CBT technique,which has changed from the traditional approach to more integrativemethods. The paper clearly shows how the Holy Spirit works throughtherapists to help individuals with emotional problems (Tan, 2007, p.102-103). The author offers insight into the CBT approach andprovides the necessary aspects that secular methods cannot provide.Tan gives clear evidence to show that cognitive reformation ofirrational thoughts can be achieved using proper use of scripturethat is beyond the mere rational or empirical examination (Tan, 2007,p. 102). The author presents substantive elements to unify the ideasof various scholars. Furthermore, Tan applies a practical therapeuticapproach, which he hopes can be recognized in other studies. TheBiblical teachings cited in the journal are very inspiring hence,they form the major ideology of the Christian CBT (Tan, 2007, p.108).

I intend to read other articles on how religion can be used topromote the effectiveness of CBT. Although Tan gives a comprehensiveanalysis of spirituality in CBT, he only discusses how thosetechniques can be applied to help the clients who hold Christianbeliefs. Therefore, I will read other papers on how spiritual CBT canbe utilized to help even those patients who do not maintain strongreligious beliefs or those who hold views contrary to Christianity.


A client decides to attend therapy to overcome his emotionalproblems, which hinder proper interaction with other people in thesociety. Besides, the patient complains that his life is worthless tothe extent of having suicidal thoughts. The individual is alsoexperiencing anxiety due to his emotional issues. First, thetherapist has to make him understand the spiritual elements of lovethat can be used to eliminate negative thoughts and emotions. Then,the counselor has to use Tan’s approach to remind the patient ofGod’s love for all his creation to show the patient that he isredeemable despite his problems. Therefore, it will promote thereconstruction of the client’s personality, which is bound toachieve positive change (Tan, 2007, p. 102). The therapist canintroduce the ideas of prayer and spiritual teaching to deal with theemotional problems. Applying Christian CBT will allow the patient toexpress irrational thoughts by looking through the religious lensthat offers a new perspective (Tan, 2007, p. 108).

On the other hand, the therapist can refer indirectly to thereligious teachings or quote direct examples from the Bible. Toensure the patient’s compliance, the counselor can start off thesession with a prayer. Then again, the therapist can encourage theclient to end with prayer and focus on forgiveness, healing, andbehavior change (Tan, 2007, p. 104). Consequently, it will also allowthe therapist to assess if the patient has acquired anything usefulduring the session and eventually determine if he is making anypositive progress. Besides, it can encourage the client to expressall his issues in the prayer, which make it easy for the counselor tolearn the problems bothering the patient (Tan, 2007, p.104). It willalso be a form of sharing on top of believing that the scriptures andprayers will offer a solution for those issues. Furthermore, thiswill help the client learn how to apply prayer on a daily basis andeliminate the irrational thoughts.

Lastly, Tan, a licensed psychologist with over twenty-five years ofclinical experience, his article as a guide for counselors willing toincorporate the views of spirituality in their work. Tan applies hisknowledge and expertise to provide the readers with an explanation ofthe ethically appropriate use of religious teachings in thetherapeutic process. The incorporation of the scripture and prayermay improve the outcome to benefit the clients. Through a focusedintegration of morality, the author illustrates the life-changingpower prayer on Christian CBT. Therefore, Tan’s ideas are logicaland can be implemented to improve the outcome in counseling.


Tan, S. (2007). Use of Prayer and Scripture in Cognitive-BehavioralTherapy. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 26(2),101-111.