Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries Orthodox Psychotherapy


Orthodox Psychotherapy

Road signs towards achieving in-Christ Therapy

The term "Orthodox Psychotherapy" does not refer to specific cases of people suffering from psychological problems or neuroses. Rather, it is something that pertains to all people. According to Orthodox Tradition, after Adam's fall, Man became ill; his intellect (called “dianoia”) was darkened and the mind (“nous” or, the "eye of the heart") lost communion with God. Death entered mankind's life thereafter, giving rise to many personal, anthropological, social, even ecological problems. With the tragedy of his fall, Man continued to be "in the image of God", but he had now completely forfeited the "likeness" of Him, as his communion with God was disrupted.

However, the Incarnation of Christ and His bodily presence among us, and the pursuant opus of the Church (which entails the in-Christ guidance by spiritually illuminated Saints and Fathers throughout Time) are both intended to assist a person to regain the "likeness" of God, that is, to restore his communion with God. By adhering to the Orthodox "therapeutic treatment" as proposed by the Holy Fathers of the Church, Man can succeed to "manage" his thoughts properly, thus solving his spiritual issues fully and comprehensively.

This "therapeutic regimen" of psychotherapy (Greek: literally, therapy of the soul) is closely linked to the Church’s "neptic" tradition (sobriety) and Her hesychastic life (of "quietude") - as preserved in the texts of the Philokalia, in the works of the Fathers of the Church and notably in the teaching of Saint Gregory Palamas. Most certainly, one must not overlook the fact that the neptic and hesychastic ways of life are the same that one observes in the lives of the Prophets and the Apostles, as clearly described in the texts of the Holy Scriptures.


"Wherefore he who professes the science of spiritual medicine ought first of all (...) and to see whether he tends to health or (on the contrary) provokes to himself disease by his own behaviour, and to look how he can care for his manner of life during the interval. And if he does not resist the physician, and if the ulcer of the soul is increased by the application of the imposed medicaments, then let him mete out mercy to him according as he is worthy of it."      (Canon CII of the Quinisext Ecumenical Council)




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File published in English on: 4-8-2005.

Last update: 03-02-2019.