email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
Maximizing Effectiveness in Dynamic Psychotherapy Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy101 Healing StoriesA Clinician's Guide to Legal Issues in PsychotherapyA Map of the MindA Primer for Beginning PsychotherapyACT With LoveActive Treatment of DepressionAffect Regulation, Mentalization, and the Development of SelfAlready FreeBad TherapyBecoming an Effective PsychotherapistBefore ForgivingBeing a Brain-Wise TherapistBetrayed as BoysBeyond Evidence-Based PsychotherapyBeyond MadnessBeyond PostmodernismBinge No MoreBiofeedback for the BrainBipolar DisorderBody PsychotherapyBoundaries and Boundary Violations in PsychoanalysisBrain Change TherapyBrain Science and Psychological DisordersBrain-Based Therapy with AdultsBrain-Based Therapy with Children and AdolescentsBrief Adolescent Therapy Homework PlannerBrief Child Therapy Homework PlannerBrief Therapy Homework PlannerBuffy the Vampire Slayer and PhilosophyBuilding on BionCare of the PsycheCase Studies in DepressionCaught in the NetChild and Adolescent Treatment for Social Work PracticeChoosing an Online TherapistChronic DepressionClinical Dilemmas in PsychotherapyClinical Handbook of Psychological DisordersClinical Intuition in PsychotherapyClinical Pearls of WisdomCo-Creating ChangeCognitive Therapy for Challenging ProblemsCompassionConfessions of a Former ChildConfidential RelationshipsConfidentiality and Mental HealthConfidingContemplative Psychotherapy EssentialsControlConversations About Psychology and Sexual OrientationCoping with BPDCouch FictionCounseling in GenderlandCounseling with Choice TheoryCouple SkillsCrazy for YouCreating a Life of Meaning and CompassionCreating HysteriaCritical Issues in PsychotherapyCrucial Choices, Crucial ChangesDeafness In MindDecoding the Ethics CodeDeconstructing PsychotherapyDeep Brain StimulationDemystifying TherapyDepression 101Depression in ContextDialogues on DifferenceDissociative ChildrenDo-It-Yourself Eye Movement Techniques for Emotional HealingE-TherapyEarly WarningEncountering the Sacred in PsychotherapyEnergy Psychology InteractiveErrant SelvesEssays on Philosophical CounselingEssentials of Wais-III AssessmentEthically Challenged ProfessionsEthics and Values in PsychotherapyEthics in Plain EnglishEthics in Psychotherapy and CounselingExpectationExploring the Self through PhotographyExpressing EmotionFacing Human SufferingFairbairn's Object Relations Theory in the Clinical SettingFamily TherapyFavorite Counseling and Therapy Homework AssignmentsFear of IntimacyFlourishingFolie a DeuxForms of Intersubjectivity in Infant Reasearch and Adult TreatmentFoundations of Ethical Practice, Research, and Teaching in PsychologyFreud and the Question of PseudoscienceFrom Morality to Mental HealthFundamentals of Psychoanalytic TechniqueGenes on the CouchGod & TherapyHalf Empty, Half FullHandbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for TherapistsHandbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual ClientsHandbook of Evidence-Based Therapies for Children and AdolescentsHealing the Heart and Mind with MindfulnessHeinz KohutHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHigh RiskHistory of PsychotherapyHow Clients Make Therapy WorkHow Psychotherapists DevelopHow to Fail As a TherapistHow to Go to TherapyHypnosis for Inner Conflict ResolutionHypnosis for Smoking CessationI Never Promised You a Rose GardenIf Only I Had KnownIn Others' EyesIn SessionIn Therapy We TrustIn Treatment: Season 1Incorporating Spirituality in Counseling and PsychotherapyInside the SessionInside TherapyIs Long-Term Therapy Unethical?Issues in Philosophical CounselingIt's Not as Bad as It SeemsItís Your HourLearning from Our MistakesLearning Supportive PsychotherapyLetters to a Young TherapistLife CoachingLogotherapy and Existential AnalysisLove's ExecutionerMadness and DemocracyMaking the Big LeapMan's Search for MeaningMetaphoria: Metaphor and Guided Metaphor for Psychotherapy and HealingMind GamesMindfulness and AcceptanceMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for DepressionMindworks: An Introduction to NLPMockingbird YearsMoments of EngagementMomma and the Meaning of LifeMotivational Interviewing: Preparing People For ChangeMulticulturalism and the Therapeutic ProcessMultifamily Groups in the Treatment of Severe Psychiatric DisordersNarrative PracticeOn the CouchOne Nation Under TherapyOur Inner WorldOur Last Great IllusionOutsider ArtOvercoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and BehaviorsOverexposedPathways to SpiritualityPersonality and PsychotherapyPhilosophical CounselingPhilosophical Counselling and the UnconsciousPhilosophical Issues in Counseling and PsychotherapyPhilosophical PracticePhilosophy and PsychotherapyPhilosophy for Counselling and PsychotherapyPhilosophy PracticePhilosophy's Role in Counseling and PsychotherapyPillar of SaltPlan BPlato, Not Prozac!Polarities of ExperiencesPower GamesPractical Psychoanalysis for Therapists and PatientsPrinciples and Practice of Sex TherapyPsychologists Defying the CrowdPsychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, and the Politics of Human RelationshipsPsychosis in the FamilyPsychotherapyPsychotherapyPsychotherapy and ConfidentialityPsychotherapy As PraxisPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsPsychotherapy for Personality DisordersPsychotherapy Is Worth ItPsychotherapy Isn't What You ThinkPsychotherapy with Adolescent Girls and Young WomenPsychotherapy with Children and AdolescentsPsychotherapy without the SelfPsychotherapy, American Culture, and Social PolicyRapid Cognitive TherapyRational Emotive Behavior TherapyRational Emotive Behavior TherapyRationality and the Pursuit of HappinessRebuilding Shattered LivesReclaiming Our ChildrenRecovery OptionsRelationalityRent Two Films and Let's Talk in the MorningSaving the Modern SoulScience and Pseudoscience in Clinical PsychologySecond-order Change in PsychotherapySelf-Compassion in PsychotherapySelf-Determination Theory in the ClinicSelf-Disclosure in Psychotherapy and RecoverySerious ShoppingSex, Therapy, and KidsSexual Orientation and Psychodynamic PsychotherapySigns of SafetySoul Murder RevisitedStaring at the SunStraight to JesusStrangers to OurselvesSubjective Experience and the Logic of the OtherTaking America Off DrugsTales of PsychotherapyTales of UnknowingTalk is Not EnoughTalking Cures and Placebo EffectsTelling SecretsThe Behavioral Medicine Treatment PlannerThe Body in PsychotherapyThe Brief Couples Therapy Homework Planner with DiskThe Case Formulation Approach to Cognitive-Behavior TherapyThe Challenge for Psychoanalysis and PsychotherapyThe Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Clinical Child Documentation SourcebookThe Clinical Documentation SourcebookThe Complete Adult Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Couch and the TreeThe Couples Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Crucible of ExperienceThe Cure of SoulsThe Death of PsychotherapyThe Education of Mrs. BemisThe Ethical Treatment of DepressionThe Ethics of PsychoanalysisThe Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Gift of TherapyThe Great Psychotherapy Debate: The Evidence for What Makes Psychotherapy Work The Healing JourneyThe Heart & Soul of ChangeThe Heroic ClientThe Husbands and Wives ClubThe Love CureThe Making of a TherapistThe Mindful TherapistThe Mirror Crack'dThe Mummy at the Dining Room TableThe Neuroscience of PsychotherapyThe Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Healing the Social BrainThe New Rational TherapyThe Older Adult Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Other Side of DesireThe Pastoral Counseling Treatment PlannerThe Philosopher's Autobiography The Pornographer's GriefThe Portable CoachThe Portable Ethicist for Mental Health Professionals The Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday LifeThe Problem of EvilThe Problem with Cognitive Behavioural TherapyThe Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender RoleThe Psychotherapy Documentation PrimerThe Psychotherapy Documentation PrimerThe Psychotherapy of HopeThe Real World Guide to Psychotherapy PracticeThe Schopenhauer CureThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Talking CureThe Therapeutic "Aha!"The Therapist's Guide to PsychopharmacologyThe Therapist's Guide to Psychopharmacology, Revised EditionThe Therapist's Ultimate Solution BookThe Trauma of Everyday LifeThe UnsayableThe Way of the JournalTheory and Practice of Brief TherapyTherapy with ChildrenTherapy's DelusionsTheraScribe 3.0 for WindowsTheraScribe 4.0Thinking about ThinkingThinking for CliniciansThinking for CliniciansThoughts Without a ThinkerThriveToward a Psychology of AwakeningTracking Mental Health OutcomesTrauma, Truth and ReconciliationTreating Attachment DisordersTreatment for Chronic DepressionTreatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety DisordersUnderstanding Child MolestersUnspeakable Truths and Happy EndingsWhat the Buddha FeltWhat Works for Whom?What Works for Whom? Second EditionWhen the Body SpeaksWhispers from the EastWise TherapyWittgenstein and PsychotherapyWorking MindsWoulda, Coulda, ShouldaWriting About PatientsYoga Skills for Therapists:Yoga Therapy
In the introduction to his very ambitious book, The Couch and the Tree, Anthony Molino notes that in 1995 there were only 23 articles or books listed in the computer catalog of a major American university on the topic of "Buddhism and Psychology." Hence the publication of this book of 30 quite varied essays on the dialogue between Psychoanalysis and Buddhism.
Anyone who is at all interested in the interface between psychology and religion will doubtless find this book interesting, if at times a bit cumbersome and uneven. If you have no knowledge of either Psychoanalysis or Buddhism, it may leave you more confused than enlightened, since none of the essays are designed to define the basic tenets of either discipline. But if you have at least a cursory knowledge of both disciplines, then you will find much to feast on in this large and varied volume.
The implied question at the core of the book is, "What do Psychoanalysis and Zen Buddhism have in common and in what ways do they differ?" The 30 essays in this collection, which cover a period from 1923 until the present, offer varied, and sometimes conflicting, responses to this question. The first section, entitled "Foundations", includes 12 essays that demonstrate the evolution of the dialogue between Psychoanalysis and Buddhism from 1923 until 1979. While this section is interesting both for its content and its historical relevance, the analysts who are included here represent very different schools of psychotherapeutic thought which cannot all easily be included under the rubric of "psychoanalysis": e.g. Franz Alexander, Karen Horney, Erich Fromm, C.G. Jung and Takeo Doi (writing on Morita Therapy). The one thing these authors have in common is having been trained in psychoanalysis, having practiced psychotherapy, and an interest in Buddhism. But they manifest vast differences in their approaches to the psyche which colors their views of Buddhism and Buddhist practice. For example, Jung sees the Buddhist search for enlightenment through the somewhat reductionistic glasses of his understanding of the Collective Unconscious, seeking to find the all-encompassing "Self" while Alexander sees it rather simplistically as a "regression to intrauterine life," typical of early psychoanalytic thought.
In my opinion, the best essay in this first section is by Erich Fromm, who in a very lucid and fluid fashion demonstrates a clear grasp of the concept of living "in the moment", free of obsessions and narcissistic distractions, as central to the Buddhist concept of Enlightenment as well as to good mental health.
The second, longer section of the book, entitled "Contemporary Researches" is comprised of subsections, each containing three essays, on the topics of "Meditation," "Biography", "Critical Perspectives," "In Practice," "Theoretical Reflections," and "The Couch and the Tree." To comment in detail on the myriad essays in this section would be beyond the scope of this review or the expertise of this reviewer. The quality of these essays is uneven, covering a continuum from overly simplistic and reductionistic to incisive and ocassionally brilliant. Those essays which stuck out to this reviewer as being particularly whorthwhile are the following:
- Mark Epstein comparing the experience of Nirvana in Buddhism to the "oceanic feeling" of basic narcissism as described by Freud.
- Nina Coltart (as interviewed by Anthony Molino) sharing her wisdom on the importance of freedom from ego-centeredness in both Buddhism and Psychoanalysis.
- Adam Philips, in his unique provocative fashion, suggesting that Buddhism and Psychoanalysis cannot easily be fit into any one mold.
- Michael Eigen using case studies to demonstrate both the helpful and limiting aspects of Buddhist Meditation when viewed as the primary path to growth and enlightenment.
- Gereon Kopf comparing and contrasting the transference that occurs in Jungian analysis with the relationship that occurs between a Zen Master and Disciple.
- Anthony Molino discussing the parallels and divergences between Lacan's view of the "alien ego" and the Zen view of self (or more accurately, non-self).
The best is saved for last, and if one were to read only the last sub-section of the book, entitled "The Couch and the Tree", one would find this collection of essays to be both interesting and enlightening. In the first chapter of the last section Joseph Bobrow, who arguably has written the best essay in the book, points out with clarity and wisdom how the dialogue between Psychoanalysis and Buddhism has tended to get bogged down in the question "Is there a separate 'self' or 'ego'?" rather than focusing on the more important issue of discerning how the self (however understood or defined) relates to itself, to others and to the world. His point of view seems to be based largely on existentialist philosophy, which, with its emphasis on the significance of the present moment seems most compatible with Buddhist thought.H. Kimball Jones is a Pastoral Counselor who has a full-time practice in psychotherapy for the Psychotherapy and Spirituality Institute on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. While he was trained in Psychoanalytic Theory at the Blanton Peale Graduate Institute in New York, he did his doctoral dissertation on Jung's Theory of Shadow and Evil for the Program in Psychiatry and Religion at Union Theological Seminary. Dr. Jones is both a Methodist minister and a practicing Buddhist, having been a member for several years of the Korean Won Buddhist Temple in Manhattan.
The second essay in this section is an excellent discussion of "Paradox" by John Suler in which he describes the importance to both Buddhist Enlightenment and Psychotherapy of the inescapable paradox of "finding" oneself only by "letting go" of self. This theme is echoed in the final essay, by Polly Young-Eisendrath, who discusses the importance of suffering as a precursor to growth and self-understanding rather than as something to be avoided at all cost or summarily covered over by quick fixes or irresponsible uses of medication.
In sum, there is much to be gleaned from this ambitious volume. Given the diverse analytic perspectives represented, it might better have been entitled "Dialogues in Psychotherapy and Buddhism," since the clinical perspectives presented are not clearly or uniformly psychoanalytic. But that is a small matter. Read selectively and carefully, this book is a welcome compendium on a dialogue between two very rich traditions that continues to be central to our understanding of the inescapable relationship between psychotherapy and spirituality.
Welcome to MHN's unique book review site Metapsychology.
We feature over 7800 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and
We update our front page weekly and add more than thirty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.
Can't remember our URL? Access our reviews directly via 'metapsychology.net'
Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from Amazon.com for purchases through this site, which helps us send
review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your Amazon.com purchases through our Amazon links. We thank
you for your support!
Join our e-mail list!: Metapsychology New Review Announcements: Sent out monthly, these
announcements list our recent reviews. To subscribe, click
Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? Currently, we especially need thoughtful reviewers
for books in fiction, self-help and popular psychology. To apply, write to our editor.
Metapsychology Online Reviews
Promote your Page too
Metapsychology Online Reviews