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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 55  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 315-321

The Bhagavad Gita and contemporary psychotherapies


1 Department of Psychiatry, Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, NE, USA
2 Department of Psychiatry University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA, USA

Correspondence Address:
Subhash C Bhatia
Department of Psychiatry, Creighton University School of Medicine, Distinguished Life Fellow American Psychiatric Association, Overseas Life Fellow Indian Psychiatric Society, 3528 Dodge Street Omaha, Nebraska, USA 68131
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.105557

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The Bhagavad Gita is based on a discourse between Lord Krishna and Arjuna at the inception of the Kurukshetra war and elucidates many psychotherapeutic principles. In this article, we discuss some of the parallels between the Gita and contemporary psychotherapies. We initially discuss similarities between psychodynamic theories of drives and psychic structures, and the concept of three gunas. Arjuna under duress exhibits elements of distorted thinking. Lord Krishna helps remedy this through a process akin to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). We ascertain the analogies between the principles of Gita and CBT, grief emancipation, role transition, self-esteem, and motivation enhancement, as well as interpersonal and supportive psychotherapies. We advocate the pragmatic application of age old wisdom of the Gita to enhance the efficacy of psychotherapeutic interventions for patients from Indian subcontinent and to add value to the art of western psychotherapies.



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