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eSpiritual: Vedic principles behind cognitive behavior therapy

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Dr KK Aggarwal    24 March 2018

  1. What is counseling?
  1. The mental process involves generation of a thought or idea, which is analyzed and then acted upon. Thought, analysis and action therefore are the primary three processes of human mind. Counseling involves actions at all three levels.

   2. What are different types of counseling?

  1. Counseling involves basically two principles – Cognitive counseling and behavioral counseling. Behavioral, when the concentration is only on the actions and cognitive, when the concentration is on the changes in either the thought process or in the interpretation of the thought process.

 3. What is cognitive behavior therapy?

  1. As against a pure behavior therapy where a person is counseled to do pre–defined things on regular intervals, cognitive behavior therapy involves changing the actions by changing observations of the interpretation of a particular situation.

 4. What is the origin of counseling in India?

  1. The origin of counseling goes back to Vedic era. Upanishads were basically text books on counseling based on the original knowledge of Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samveda and Atharvaveda.

 5. Is there a relationship of Bhagavad Gita with Counseling?

  1. Bhagavad Gita is counseling done by Krishna to resolve the conflict in Arjuna’s mind whether to fight or not. At that time there were no doctors and hence counseling was done by the elders in the family.

 6. Are the principles of Bhagavad Gita followed today?

  1. All the principles of cognitive behavior therapy today are basically principles that have originated from Bhagavad Gita.

7. What is the first principle?

  1. The first principle is that "counseling cannot be done in 1 or 2 sessions." It requires up to 18 sessions which is what Krishna did in Bhagavad Gita. Bhagavad Gita contains 702 dialogues in the form of Shlokas. Therefore, a proper counseling involves in–depth conversation between the counselor and the patient.

8. What is the second principle of counseling?

  1. The second principle of counseling is to listen to the patient in the first session in great detail and this is what Krishna did in Bhagavad Gita. In Chapter 1, only Arjuna speaks and Krishna does not utter a word. A patient listening is half the healing done.

9. What is the third principle?

  1. As per the third principle, the second (first interactive) session between counselor and the patient should be the longest one. Chapter 2 of Bhagavad Gita is the gist of Krishna’s counseling.

10. What is the fourth principle?

  1. The fourth principle is that after giving a detailed counseling in the second session, it is expected that the patient will be confused. This is what happens in start of Chapter 3 where Arjuna says to Krishna "I am confused. Sometimes you are talking about one path and other time you are talking about another path. Guide me again." The third counseling session therefore, is the most important where one has to counsel slowly and in great detail.

11. What is the fifth principle?

  1. The next principle is to give reasoning to the counseling. One should not take the patient for granted. Krishna discusses each and every aspect of life with Arjuna in great detail giving scientific reasoning at every stage.

12. What is the sixth principle?

  1. Reassure the patient again and again. During his counseling, Krishna assures Arjuna on multiple occasions that you do your job and do not worry. I am with you.

13. What is the seventh principle?

  1. The seventh principle involves creating some fear in the patient’s mind. This is what Krishna does while showing his virat swaroop. This especially works in patients of addiction. Some degree of fear with re–assurance from the counselor always works.

14. What is the eight principle?

  1. The summing up counseling session should be as long as the second session. The Chapter 18 of Bhagavad Gita is as big as Chapter 2 where the whole Bhagavad Gita is summarized again.

15. What are the ingredients of counseling?

  1. Counseling basically involves in-depth knowledge of dharma, artha, kama and moksha. They are greatly described in Dharmashastra, Arthashastra, Kamasutra and Upanishads through various Vedas.

16. What is stress?

  1. Stress is the reaction of the body or the mind to the interpretation of any situation.

17. How can stress be managed?

  1. Stress can be managed by either changing the response of the body through yogic living, or changing the interpretation by understanding the principles of counseling or change the reaction by willful actions.

18. Are different nitis of our scriptures based on counseling?

  1. Yes. Vidur Niti was the counseling given by Vidur to Dhritarashtra when he was not sleeping and Chanakya Niti was based on how to rule a country. Yoga Vashishtha was the counseling given by Vashishtha to Rama to acquire higher levels of spiritual knowledge

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).

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