Art - basis of CBT

What is the basis of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Primal needs

All human needs exist irrespective of awareness.

Typical primal needs include:

  • The need to be accepted and welcomed, unconditionally.
  • The need to belong; to be wanted, appreciated. Having a sense of being rooted.
  • The need to be nurtured, cuddled, and held lovingly in association with food and drink.
  • The need to be comforted. When communicating in basic languages, the response needs to be positive and elevating.
  • The need to feel safe and secure. A need to be protected from dangers (physical as well as psychological). A need for certain freedom from excessive fear and insecurity.
  • The need to know you have purpose.
  • The need to be respected, esteemed as being worthy to be loved.
  • A need to feel good about oneself, worthy and able, to enjoy friendship, being competent with a healthy identity.

To be loved unconditionally encapsulates the multitude of needs.

Dr. Janov (Janov, A., p. 5) powerfully states: “Love is an essential quality in the fulfilment of needs at every level of development and is contained in the satisfaction of all needs”.

The size of a container depicts the capacity of what it can hold. The more stimulated, filled through love and acceptance, the greater the capacity of the person to receive and contain love. Unless loved from a young age, the child will not be able to contain love received later.

Love is displayed through specific demeanour. It is the language of respect and displays room for incompleteness. Every human being needs to be loved though the look in some-one’s eyes, their tone of voice, their soft, gentle touch and the words used when communicating. Time set aside unhindered, to fellowship and enjoy the freedom to discover and experiment new things are love in action.

Man’s conscious and unconscious cry for the fulfilment of these needs, can be compared to having small containers or buckets in our hearts that need to be filled up to the level of overflowing. Man comes into existence at the time of conception with empty containers. These little ‘buckets’ desperately need to be filled as soon as possible in order for the child to develop and enjoy life as our Creator intended.

Parents are the prime humans in the life of the child during these early times. They are mainly responsible for primal process of filling these empty ‘buckets’.

The human being, as God created him, is conceived with basic, primary needs. A need can be defined as a component which humanity is dependent upon, in order to be a happy, functioning person. The meeting of these needs is vital for healthy connections between the newly conceived human being and the brand-new world around him.

As these important others treat the child consciously as well as unconsciously, the containers are being filled either with respect, security, acceptance, etc. or with rejection, insecurity, etc. Unfortunately, parents themselves (more often than not), carry empty or half-filled containers or filled with destructive experiences and do not have anything of the above needs to transfer to their children. They themselves may not have enjoyed the balanced, unconditional love from their own parents in their vital years of development.

The human being, as God created us, will have specific needs at the various stages of development. (Friesen, Wilder, Bierling, Koepcke, Poole). These stages, specified needs, as well as the result of those needs not being met, will be discussed in the following chapters. When the child is not efficiently equipped to grow through each new stage successfully, trauma has probably been the stumbling block.

Trauma occurs when a human being does not receive the primal needs just mentioned.


The body is man’s most outer part: visible, touchable, and dependable. In ranking, the body can be compared to the foot soldiers with the lowest rank, but of vital importance. Imagine pouring so much beauty and splendour onto the lowest ranking of humanity! This assures man that there are vast treasures to be revealed concerning the splendour of the rest of man. Bodies are mortal and temporary. Truly a sad affair it would be should man spend more time, finances, and energy into looking after and caring for the mortal body than for the immortal parts of his identity!

According to Gen 2: 7, man was formed from the dust of the earth. Only after the very breath of God was breathed into man’s nostrils, man became a living being! James states that the body without the spirit is dead. (James 2: 26).

Although the body is mortal, meant for the season on earth and made from dust, it still serves as the vessel that needs to contain God’s Glory. Paul reminds that the body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit and man has to glorify God in his body. (1 Co 6: 19) The body needs therefore to be looked after and treated with great care and respect.  As with the rest of the being, the body needs to be available for the use of God and as an instrument for His Glory.

If, however the body becomes the focus of treatment in the search of full restoration, serious disappointment or deception may follow. As will be discussed more in detail later in this study, restoring the body through change in diet and exercise is extremely important in aiding the process of restoration. It can however never be the main area of treatment, neither the only attempt to become whole and attain true identity.

Sin therefore should never rule in the short-lived, perishable body. Should the flesh (body) be allowed to dictate the human being, Paul assures that such a choice will surely cause death! (Rom 8: 13).

Should the body enjoy top ranking or any position of dictating to the rest of the being, sin will follow, and the fulfilment of God’s plan cannot be met.

If, however, the body can be controlled, man can indeed attain the position of perfection. James compares this process of controlling the body and its components with that of a bit in the horse’s mouth. He states that this control can curb man’s entire nature! (James 3: 2, 3).

As will be revealed later in this study, the body can deceive the soul and the spirit. The body itself can be defiled and can cause the whole of man to go astray from the truth and stumble into the claws of death itself!

Basic information reaches the brain through the senses. This feeds the human being with an array of possible choices, or challenging man to adapt certain convictions to the more present package of information. Since the brain, as part of the body, cannot choose how to interpret information, as mentioned in the explanation of dualism, it is safe to assume that something beyond the body is in charge of the choice making process. These choices as well as convictions, emotions, etc. are then manifested through the display of the body, communicating, and connecting to the outside world what the inner parts of the human being is choosing to believe.

This also displays the powerful tool the body can play if left in the control of the enemy. It can deceive and defile the entire human being and leave man believing the lie that being at peace in his body (relaxed and happy) is the ultimate need to a fulfilled life. These lies as well as the danger of neglecting the temple of His Spirit will be discussed in the following chapters.

Thus, the body manifests what lies deeper, hidden in the heart and mind of man. Therefore, take note of the message of the body. It reveals the level of attention the psyche of man needs for health and healing.


This part of humanity connects man to the spirit world. According to Oglevie (Oglevie, S.) the spirit is deeply tied to the conscious mind. The influence from the spiritual world can affect the rest of the human being. His mind can be directly influenced by the spiritual energy. It can either quicken and elevate the mind or slow and darken the mind. (Oglevie, S.) The spirit can either block or hinder the powerful influence of the Holy Spirit or it can be cleansed and open to the flow of God’s Spirit.

God desires for man to worship Him with an unhindered spirit, in other words, a spirit that is not darkened by the presence of evil. A spirit willing to comprehend and obey the desires of His heart should be the desired goal.

The most common use of the word “spirit” in the Word of God is the Hebrew word: ‘ruwach’, meaning wind or breath.

As the Word of God states that man should live in the Spirit and not according to the demands of the flesh (1 Pet 4: 6).  Man will not attain wholeness in his true redemptive identity unless his spirit man is cleansed, renewed, and filled, guided, and maintained by God’s most Holy Spirit.  It is in this state that man can be guided into truth and revelation, given the ability to move beyond the boundaries of humanity and the limits of the body. God’s Spirit is: “the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the reverential and obedient fear of the Lord “. (Isa 11:2, Ampl).

How can man then claim to possess any of the above -mentioned qualities, unless the Spirit of God fills man’s willing and purified spirit? In the process toward wholeness, the cry needs to be for this  constant cleansing and renewing in order for man’s Holy Spirit -controlled spirits to influence the rest of the humanity.

Elihu in his young age discovered that the possession of wisdom is indeed not encouraged by age or experience, but purely by the Breath of the Spirit of the living God. (Job 32: 8). Therefore, we need to constantly seek the presence of God’s Spirit described in Isaiah 11: 2 by this same Prophet: “The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of knowledge and of the reverential and obedient fear of the Lord – and shall make Him of quick understanding.”

Communication with God, receiving His input occurs in the spirit arena. According to Nee (Nee, W.),  the spirit has three basic functions: the conscience, intuition, and communion. As will be discussed later, the spirit influences the decisions of the heart. It offers either Godly or ungodly advice to the heart in times of choice.

A ‘hardened’ spirit (Deut. 2: 30) cannot operate from the position of a clear and upright conscience. The Holy Spirit cannot penetrate with fresh revelation and the Truth is then blocked from entering the heart and rest of the human being. The hardened spirit, then clouds judgment discerned from the revelation of Truth.

Should man live from a pure spirit, the judgment protruding from it, should guide and influence the whole community. (1 Cor. 5: 3)

Deceit in man’s spirit blocks the flow of input of God’s wisdom, resulting in wrong choices and the difference between purely existing and living a blessed life. (Psm. 32: 2)

The intuition in man’s spirit is revealed in Paul’s teachings in his letter to the church in Corinth. He states that no person is able to know a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man within him! (1 Cor 2: 11)

Jesus also intuitively knew the scribes are holding a dialogue with themselves (Mark 2: 8).

The spirit needs to be in constant communion with God, full of Godly intuition and discernment to protect the rest of the human being from making mistakes and operating out of deceptive judgment.


Man’s spirit breathed by God into the body generates the soul (Gen 2: 7).  The soul in the Hebrew context is “nephesh” or translated, “a breathing creature”. In ranking, the soul enjoys a position of priority since it nestles the inner core of our identity. Persons or people are often referred to as souls in the Word of God. (Gen 46:27).

The soul of man bonds with other human beings.  As the spirit man connects with the spirit world, so the soul bonds with the human world. Soul bonds are formed even from as early as conception. The strongest human bond are the most primal; the bond between Mother and child. These human bonds can be positive, uplifting and building the identity of each participating soul, or negative and destructive.

Positive bonds are called love bonds.

Typical love bonds:

  • All bonds based on love.
  • Truth is part of the bonds
  • These bonds encourage the participants to be themselves
  • These bonds are driven by desire, self-motivated
  • These bonds aid the person to grow to maturity

(Friesen, J.; Wilder, E. J.; Bierling, M. A.; Koepcke, M. A.; Poole, M. A.)

Negative bonds are referred to as fear bonds due to fear forming the foundation of these types of soul bonds.

Soul bonds between humans will be either love bonds or fear bonds. These fear bonds can never contribute to the development of maturity and fulfilment. It drains any relationship and prevents the person from enjoying true friendship.

Typical fear bonds:

  • All bonds based on fear
  • Deception and lies are always part of these bonds
  • These bonds discourages transparency and that the person acts as themselves
  • These bonds are driven by avoidance

(Friesen, J.; Wilder, E. J.; Boerling, M.A.; Koepcke, M. A.; Poole, M.A.)

Healthy love bonds form secure foundations and an increasing capacity for deeper connections with other human beings. This also ensures balanced relationships with the community as man develops toward maturity. As will be discussed in following chapters, this is essential to the basic development of man as a whole, with his Creator, himself, his closest and dearest and the people he needs to influence for God’s Kingdom.

The relationship between David and his close friend Jonathan is an excellent example of a healthy soul bond in friendship. (Sam 18: 1).

Negative bonds will prevent the healthy development of a human being to maturity. Each stage of development calls for specific important love bonds. The absence of love bonds and therefore active fear bonds will leave the person lacking the capacity to enjoy or contain healthy relationships.

The most basic question of the soul can be with whom can I bond?

Bonding with another not only stimulates neural, physical, emotional and spiritual growth it also prepares the platform of influencing our community. The impact one human can have on a group, a community, a nation or even the entire worldwide society has been proven throughout history. Healthy love bonds, motivated by the Creator’s love, are vital in the restoration process from childhood trauma. Isolation, rejection, abandonment, anger, rebellion and pride are all results of unhealthy bonds with other human beings, the mother child bond being one of the most crucial.

The impact of trauma caused by a human within a strong bond would be far greater than that of a complete stranger. The more powerful the person causing the trauma in abuse, the deeper the effect will be on the psyche of the victim.

Therefore, the soul demands special attention in the full assessment of the role of trauma in the human being.


Within the vastness of soul and spirit, the mind lingers as a vital part of humanity. Unlimited and higher in ranking than the physical brain and its neurological workings, the mind operates as the leader, giving constant orders to the brain and thus to the rest of the body as well. The location (and how this was discovered) of the mind, the soul, the spirit, etc. will be discussed in the Chapter on a Holistic Approach to Human Development. It is however necessary at this point to mention the significance of the mind existing of a conscious as well as an unconscious part. The main purpose of the conscious mind would be to make sense of incoming information and data stored in the unconscious mind. This is of importance since this illustrates the inability of the unconscious mind to be manipulated. The unconscious mind’s main function is mainly to store data. Every detail of the life of a human is being stored in the almost unlimited library of the unconscious mind. It is this part of the mind that cannot be deceived. Emotions are derived from basic drives, such as food, pleasures, sex, pain, fear, and aggression. Emotions can motivate and energize behaviour, decisions and actions. It can overrule logical reasoning and moral conviction. If placed at the top-ranking position of control, obeying the emotional demand can result in disastrous, impulsive decisions and actions. This can often result in highly destructive consequences. Emotions seem to operate through the Limbic system and regulation thereof appears to require an intact frontal cortex. (Parker, S.) The left Hemispheres, the analytical mind, may have a limited emotional repertoire. The right hemisphere is more dominant for affect, socialisation, and body image. All information from the primary senses is interwoven with internal drives, (such as thirst and hunger) to assign an emotional significance to sensory experiences. This discloses clearer understanding of the powerful effect of advertising on the human psyche.   The intellect, thought patterns and decision -making process as well as emotions are all stars in the drama of living life, but the director of the play is the heart.


The heart as the Hebrew word ‘leb’ or as the Greek word ‘kardia’ occurs nine hundred thirty-five (935) times in the Word of God. Surely then it should enjoy high priority in the whole psyche of man. The word ‘leb’ is often also translated as mind or will. It is drawn from the root ‘lebab’ meaning: ‘the most interior organ’ and also from ‘labab’ meaning: to be enclosed. (Strong, J.; Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

Within the core of humanity is ‘the hidden man of the heart’! (1 Pet 3:4)

The heart is the centre of man’s identity. Man will not know himself unless he can live from the very centre of his being. ‘For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.’ (Proverbs 20:5) There can be no wholeness, no complete restoration from pain and hurt unless the broken heart is made whole.

The purpose of redemption was to bring restoration of the broken heart.  Trauma A and B both contribute to the wounding of the heart, the shattering of the centre of man’s identity.

Humanity is called to respond to God’s love by loving Him with the whole heart (Math 22: 37) ‘love the Lord thy God with all your heart…’

Out of the wholeness of the heart wisdom, judgment, purpose, and love bubbles forth. Wisdom due to the open flow of the Spirit of Wisdom, insight and understanding directs the action of the will, emotions, thoughts and finally reaction to circumstances. God longs for man to live with a heart filled with wisdom of heart and ability (Ex 35: 35). In the Book of Exodus, it is stated that God filled His people with the Spirit of God, with ability and wisdom, with intelligence and understanding, and with knowledge and all craftsmanship. (verse 31) Also in the following Chapter it states: “…whose heart the Lord had put wisdom”.

The physical make-up of a human heart may also confirm the spiritual purpose of this vital organ of man. The heart pumps an average of 100 000 times per day and supplies more or less 7000 liters of blood to the rest of the physical body. (Gitt, W.) This small organ weighing a mere 300 g, sustains the whole human body. Life as oxygen is pumped to all areas of the body. The heart purifies the inflowing blood and restores the required level of oxygen in the out-flowing blood vital for the cells of the body. Without this supply the body will die within minutes.

This process reveals the spiritual role of sifting and cleansing that occurs within the inner core of man. Life or death, truth or lie, right or wrong, is all filtered through the operations within the heart of man. The power of choice is contained and applied in the intricate surrounding of the heart.

Judgment and discernment is placed upon the heart of man as a breastplate the same way it was physically placed upon the heart of the High Priest Aaron. Through this he was protected to walk in sink with God’s prerequisites. To discern the seasons and the time, to recognize the traps of the enemy of man, ensures a safe walk and sure destiny. The Book of Ecclesiastes states that a man’s heart discerns both when and what to do. (Eccl 8: 5)

Counsel in the heart of man is according to Solomon like water in a deep well. (Prov 20: 50) The writer of Ecclesiastes entered into counsel with his own heart and states that his heart has great experience of moral wisdom and scientific knowledge. (Eccl 1: 16, 17)

Therefore it is essential that man should seek the Lord with his whole heart, allowing His wisdom to flow constantly and to pursue a pure heart. (Prov 22 : 11) In this safe environment he can live from the very core of his being, his true self.

The focus in therapy, in the aim of restoring man from the pain and damage from trauma is to pursue the restoration of the heart to wholeness.

John explains that if the heart does not bring accusation, man can come before God with boldness.

A whole heart is able to receive counsel and wisdom, his heart can ‘draw out the counsel’ from his wise friend. (Prov 20: 5) Man needs to apply his heart to instruction and correction. (Prov 23: 12) The Word sown as the seed must be treasured in the heart otherwise the enemy may snatch the Truth from his heart.

A broken heart cannot defend off evil deceit and false counsel. It is not protected against the manipulations of the selfish and the abusive. A broken and wounded heart is unable to receive counsel in wisdom. Such a man hardens his heart to the touch of pure love. Trust, the key that unlocks the heart to receive and give, is thrown away in a desperate attempt to protect further wounding of the heart in an abusive relationship. A shattered heart cannot direct the will, emotions or thought patterns. These vital shareholders in humanity wander around in a senseless attempt to survive.

To live from a defiled, hardened heart, soon becomes the cradle for bitterness, anger, resentment and having a double mind. (James 4: 8) Out of the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks and brings forth either his inner good treasure or evil form his evil storehouse. (Matt 12: 34 – 35) As the old French proverb states: ‘There is no secret in the heart that is not revealed through action and deed’. (Gitt, W.)

Whatever governs man (controls), owns his heart. Whatever owns man’s heart (through devotion or worship), governs man.

Jesus stated:” It is not that which enters the mouth that defiles man because it does not reach his heart, but only his digestive system. It is that which comes forth from the depths of the heart that has potential to defile man.” (Mark 7: 19 – 21)

Man and his wounded heart are hopeless without the supernatural touch of the Creator of the heart. BUT: ’God is greater than our hearts.’ (I John 3: 20)

‘The Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analysing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart. (Hebrews 4: 12)

The heart is the most inner core and demands the deepest penetration of God’s ‘rhema’ (spoken) Word.

The heart reveals the treasures of man’s being. God sees the inner secrets of our hearts.

Heart Logo

 By Gerdi van den Berg

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