This Holy Week, I’ve been reflecting on a psychotherapy system called “Christotherapy.” Yes, you read that one word right: Christotherapy.
Christotherapy is a way of bringing together psychological and spiritual methods of effecting inner healing and wholeness. It’s a system developed by psychotherapist Bernard Tyrrell, SJ, which seeks to integrate psychotherapy with spiritual direction.
According to Tyrrell, Christ is directly and intrinsically related to the healing not only of sin, but also of psychopathology. He argues that Christ, not any psychotherapist, is the healer, and His healing is intended for the whole person.
Believer or not, when you heal through any psychotherapy or personal growth process, Christ is the Presence and the Healer. “Whether or not he recognizes Christ’s presence, Christ is in fact present in all healing and growth,” explains Tyrrell. Christotherapy therefore asserts that all humanity is connected under one universal healing power (Christ).
I’m generally of the belief that healing should merge psychotherapy and spirituality. This integration approach addresses the “whole person,” including other sources of psychological woundedness or emotional instability such as occult, divination, demon possession, exorcism, life after death, existential emptiness etc. — issues that secular licensed professional therapists are incompetent to handle or don’t want to touch.