Buddhism and psychotherapy. Public Talk, Bremen, 1994

James Low

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Bremen, Germany
29 January 1994
Transcribed by Liz Fox
Unedited

Excerpts

Photo by Krishan Siegfried Beutel, Todtmoos, 2008

“Our topic is psychotherapy and buddhism so I will start by saying something about the Buddhist understanding of the mind’s mental processes, and then reflect on that in relation to psychosis, anxiety and depression. After that we can look at whether there is any contribution that buddhism might make to psychotherapy and vice versa”
“Ethical responsibility in the sense of a responsiveness, an openness to respond to others in terms of their presenting need, is probably the most pressing problem we have at the moment. I think a concern with ethics, with finding some way in which the buddhist view can support the clinical work of psychotherapy, can be very helpful. But the clinical work of psychotherapy should not to be mixed in with buddhism, otherwise one gets into some nebulous pseudo-spiritual activity.”
“The cuckoo goes into another bird’s nest to lay its eggs and the ego, this self-referencing function, is like that; it will go into any nest that arises and say “This is me, this is me”!”

Contents

Prince Siddhartha’s experiences 2
Language and labelling 2
Non-sequiturs: mind the gap 4
When the Buddha taught about emptiness, people felt frightened 5
Depression and anxiety are common experiences 7
Psychosis is an experience considered out of the ordinary 8
Transference and countertransference 10
Ethical responsibility 10