Vedic principles behind cognitive behavior therapy

1) What is counseling? 

A: The mental process involves generation of a thought or idea, which is analyzed and then acted upon. Thought, analysis and action, are the three processes of human mind. Counseling encompasses actions at all the three levels. 

2) What are different types of counseling? 

A: Counseling involves two principles – Cognitive counseling and behavioral counseling. Behavioral counselling focuses only on the actions, while cognitive counselling focuses on the changes in either the thought process or in the interpretation of the thought process. 

3) What is cognitive behavior therapy? 

A: As opposed to pure behavior therapy where a person is counseled to do pre-defined things at regular intervals, cognitive behavior therapy is aimed at changing the actions by altering observations of the interpretation of a particular situation. 

4) What is the origin of counseling in India? 

A: The origin of counseling dates back to the Vedic era. Upanishads were nothing but 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? 

A: Bhagavad Gita is counseling done by Krishna that aims to resolve the conflict in Arjuna’s mind whether to fight or not. Counseling at that time was done by the elders in the family. 

6) Are the principles of Bhagavad Gita followed today? 

A: All the principles of cognitive behavior therapy today have their roots in the principles that have originated from Bhagavad Gita. 

7) What is the first principle? 

A: The first principle is that counseling cannot be done in 1 or 2 sessions. Up to 18 sessions are required. This is what Krishna did in Bhagavad Gita. There are 702 dialogues in the Bhagavad Gita in the form of Shlokas. A proper counseling involves a comprehensive conversation between the counselor and the patient. 

8) What is the second principle of counseling? 

A: The second principle is to listen to the patient in the first session in detail. Krishna did the same in Bhagavad Gita. In Chapter 1, only Arjuna speaks and Krishna listens. A patient listening is half the healing done. 

9) What is the third principle? 

A: The third principle states that the second session between counselor and the patient should be the longest one. Chapter 2 of Bhagavad Gita is the essence of Krishna’s counseling. 

10) What is the fourth principle? 

A: After a detailed counseling in the second session, the patient is expected to be confused. In start of Chapter 3, Arjuna says to Krishna that he is confused. He says that sometimes Krishna is talking about one path and at other times, he is talking about another path. He asks Krishna to guide him again. The third counseling session is the most important where counselling must be done slowly and in great detail. 

11) What is the fifth principle? 

A: The fifth principle involves giving reasoning to the counseling. The patient must not be taken for granted. Krishna discusses all aspects of life with Arjuna in great detail giving scientific reasoning. 

12) What is the sixth principle? 

A: Provide reassurance to the patient repeatedly. During his counseling, Krishna assures Arjunarepeatedly to do his job and not to worry. 

13) What is the seventh principle? 

A: The seventh principle talks about creating some fear in the patient’s mind. Krishna does this by showing his ‘viratswaroop’. This helps particularly in patients of addiction. Some degree of fear with re-assurance from the counselor works well. 

14) What is the eight principle? 

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

15) What are the ingredients of counseling? 

A: Counselingencompasses in-depth knowledge of dharma, artha, kama and moksha. They have described in great detail in Dharmashastra, Arthashastra, Kamasutra and Upanishads through Vedas. 

16) What is stress? 

A: Stress is the reaction of the body or the mind to the interpretation of a situation. 

17) How can stress be managed? 

A: Stress can be managed by either changing the response of the body by means of yogic living, or altering the interpretation of the situation by understanding the principles of counseling or changing the reaction by wilful actions. 

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

A: Yes. VidurNiti was the counselingthatVidur gave to Dhritarashtra when he was not sleeping and ChanakyaNiti involved how to rule a country. Yoga Vashishtharefers to the counseling given by Vashishtha to Rama to attain higher levels of spiritual knowledge.

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