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Psychotherapy and silent prayer

by
23 May 2014

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From the Revd John Brown

Sir, - While acknowledging with the Revd Peter Mockford ( Letters, 9 May) the valued insights of modern psychology in the treatment of trauma within the Church, it would be tragic if this led to the neglect of the ancient Christian mystic tradition, going back to the Desert Fathers of the fourth century, with their search for a deeper spiritual experience through waiting upon God in silent contemplation.

The author Jane Christmas has recounted her struggle to find healing for the trauma of being raped by an executive of the company where she was employed 30 years earlier, which she eventually found during one Lent while staying with the nuns at St Hilda's Priory in Whitby, where she discovered, in her own words, that "deep faith can silence the brain chatter long enough to transform trauma into something lighter" (Features, 21 March). She never became a nun, but joined the sisterhood as an associate.

Self-awareness is the declared aim of psychotherapy, but can be aided by silent prayer, which, by stilling the conscious mind, allows the content of the subconscious to surface and gradually be transformed by the healing power of God. Many lay people have joined the World Community for Christian Meditation, whose members are committed to spending half an hour every morning and half an hour every evening in silence before God.

JOHN BROWN
3 Manor Way
Middleton-on-Sea
West Sussex PO22 6LA

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