Psycho-Veda: Ancient Ayurvedic approaches to Psychotherapy

Updated: Jun 11

Ayurveda Psychotherapy, also referred to as Psycho-Veda, is a potent combination of the ancient field of Ayurveda, “the science of life,” and the art of conventional psychotherapy. It entails non-pharmacological concepts for treating various mental health disorders. Better understanding of the psyche and the internal patterns and conducting routine activities while consciously keeping a balance with the external environment can bring a radical impact to the mental and physical well-being of individuals. Psycho-Veda characterizes and names gross behavioral abnormalities according to the similarity of their breakdown in terms of appearance, speech, behavior, and psychomotor activities to those of ‘Bhootas’ of mythological creatures.


This article will dive deeper into Ayurvedic psychotherapy approaches.

What are some components of mind control?

Known conventionally as Satvavajaya Chikitsa (SC), the concept was shaped by Acharya Charaka, the father of Indian medicine. ‘Sattva’ means mind or consciousness while ‘Avajaya’ means the control over it. ’Mind control’ can be attained through 5 major components- spiritual knowledge, fortitude, concentration, remembrance, and philosophy. SC can also be attained through Mantra (incantations), Oushadham (Amulets), Upavasah (fasting), Vrtam (vows), and Japah (prayer). The psycho-spiritual approaches deal only with the mind and its related elements.

The approach of SC is to strengthen ‘Sattva’ (goodness, harmony, purity, and wisdom for enlightenment) while modifying the maladaptive behavior as a result of ‘Rajas’ (passion and arrogance) and ‘Tamas’ (indolence and ignorance). SC entails 5 techniques, 5 methodologies, 3 psychotherapeutic domains, 3 dimensions, 2 principles. Integrating psychotherapy with Vedic principles inclines us towards rediscovering analytical knowledge and recognition of the natural patterns that support our experiences.

What is the methodology of SC?

The physician’s intervention with patient’s mind control can be achieved through various ways, also referred to as methodologies. The core is to replace negativity with positivity in the patient. The methodology ‘Vicharya’ replaces the ideas; ‘Chintya’ regulates the thought process; ‘Dhyeya’ focuses on polishing the objectives; ‘Uhya’ channels the presumptions; and ‘Sankalpa’ focuses on proper guidance regarding taking the right decision.

The SC is based on two major principles that target the emotional imbalance to alter the patient’s attitude towards the situation. The first principle works on empathically providing emotional support to the patients experiencing loss of persons or objects. The second one focuses on inducing emotions that are opposite to the ones associated with the patient’s negative feelings. For example, a patient developing psychosis because of an emotional disorder such as excessive ‘Kama’ (desire or affection) towards smoking can be alleviated by inducing ‘Krodha’ (aversion or anger) towards that emotion.

Psychotherapeutic domains of SC

The three main domains of SC are ‘Dhee’ (a faculty closely related to the Manas) whose probable mode of approach is uplifting intelligence, ‘Dhairya’ whose approaches focus on boosting confidence and will power, and ‘Atma Vijnana’where consciousness is stimulated, or the self-realization is established. These domains can provide a deeper level of understanding that can support better control of mind. SC also includes ‘Mano Nigraha’ that subjugates mind from unwholesome interactions.

Conclusion

The concept of SC is centered around the mind where positivity in an individual’s mindset can promote better physical and mental health and treatments for abnormalities. The essence of SC has been established in various civilizations where from birth itself, counselling by elders is considered supportive or rehabilitative for mental health. There has been a global shift in approaches towards healthcare improvement from modern medicine to traditional sciences such as Ayurveda. For mental health disorders, there is an enormous need for better therapeutic strategies. The principles and methodologies of Psycho-Veda have thousands of years of established research that has the potential to bring such an improvement.


 

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A friendly reminder: We've done our research, but you should too! Check our sources against your own and always exercise sound judgment.



Rathi, R., & Rathi, B. (2021). Application of Ayurvedic Principles in Prevention and Management of Behavioural Problems in Children. International Journal of Ayurvedic Medicine, 11(4), 636-643.
 
Belaguli, G., & Savitha, H. P. (2019). An empirical understanding on the concept of Sattvavajaya Chikitsa (Ayurveda Psychotherapy) and a mini-review of its research update. Indian Journal of Health Sciences and Biomedical Research (KLEU), 12(1), 15.

Image Credit: https://satyayogaveda.com/929-2/


 

About the Author


Kanikah Mehndiratta


Guest Writer for the Hope Project



Kanikah Mehndiratta is a geneticist, currently based in Chandigarh, India. She has worked on various scientific research projects that centered around genetic and genomic approaches that can bring a translational impact on healthcare. Her primary focus is neurological and psychiatric disorders,and she avidly promotes education and awareness regarding mental health.



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