Friday, 21 September 2012

Bhagvad Gita as psychotherapy: The Holy Bhagvad Gita is fast emerging as a clinical tool to treat certain psychological problems particularly those related to anxiety, examination and interview fears, depression and negative attitude towards life and career goals

By Syed Akbar

The Holy Bhagvad Gita is fast emerging as a clinical tool to treat
certain psychological problems particularly those related to anxiety,
examination and interview fears, depression and negative attitude
towards life and career goals. Sustained counselling applying
different psychological methods, as Lord Krishna did to Arjuna, has
been quite helpful in clinical practice.

Moreover, doctors point out the Holy Gita as psychotherapeutic tool
best suits the Indian conditions as the present Western models of
psychological counselling failed to deliver the goods in the country.

Dr MS Reddy, head of the department of psychiatry, Asha Hospital, who
conducted research on “psychotherapy – insights from Bhagvad Gita”,
says “as is the case with any successful model of therapeutic
intervention, which needs to be individualized for maximum benefit,
the psychotherapeutic approach practiced in Bhagvad Gita also has its
place in the repertoire of psychotherapeutic models”.

The Holy Gita remains a useful tool in the hands of an experienced
therapist when applied judiciously for some patients with specific
problems of distress, argues Dr Reddy. His research work appeared in
the latest issue of the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine.

He told this correspondent that for a student of psychology Bhagvad
Gita offers a valuable case study for lessons in psychotherapy. It
helps in resolution of conflict and successful resumption of action
from a state of acute anxiety and guilt-laden depression that
precipitated inaction.

Describing the therapy process involved in Bhagvad Gita in which Lord
Krishna helped the grief-stricken Arjuna through dialogue and
discussion, Dr MS Reddy said “what is more important and relevant is
not what it is but what transpired in the 18 chapters of Bhagvad
Gita”. Also important is the process and content of the dialogue, its
usefulness as a model of counseling and possible contemporary
application value to current day psychological therapies, specially,
but need not be limited to, in the Indian context.

The clinical use of the Holy Gita gains significance as the
applicability and usefulness of Western models in the Indian context
is often taken with skepticism due to varying cultural, religious,
spiritual and societal attitudes.

“The Gita has laid equal emphasis on logic, action, renunciation,
power of self, knowledge, wisdom, trust, universality and immortality
of human spirit. This appears to me a “person-centered therapy,” Dr
Reddy said.

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