Buddhism in Psychology and Psychotherapy

William S. Waldron

in Buddhism

ISBN: 9780195393521
Published online September 2010 | | DOI:
Buddhism in Psychology and Psychotherapy

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In the early 1960s Chogyam Trunpga Rimpoche famously declared that Buddhism would come to the West through psychology. Events have borne this out. Buddhist ideas and practices have arguably influenced the thought and practice of psychology and psychotherapy more than any other area of Western life. There is now a bewildering array of works treating their divergences and convergences, interaction and integration, reflecting an equally bewildering array of viewpoints. Heuristic categorizations are nevertheless helpful and appropriate. The first serious engagements between Buddhism and Western psychology were dominated by the early-20th-century depth psychologies of Freud and Jung, contrasting their respective models of mind and comparing psychotherapy with meditation. Transpersonal Psychology began in the mid–20th century by recognizing a continuum between the medical aim of ameliorating psychopathologies and the spiritual aim of transcending “individual psyches.” These are united at the practical level in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s popular Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, which took the Buddhist practice of mindfulness (satipaṭṭhāna), aimed at developing insight and understanding, and adapted it for nonreligious, therapeutic purposes. More recently, the cognitive sciences have joined the dialogue, influencing all the other perspectives due to the strength of its scientific findings and the prestige of its institutional bases. Finally, there are works that so fundamentally integrate Buddhist and Western perspectives that they defy any simple categorization. They are nevertheless well worth investigating.

Article.  3864 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism ; Tibetan Buddhism ; Zen Buddhism

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