Psychoanalysis
Resources

 email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
A Basic Theory of NeuropsychoanalysisA Cursing Brain?A Dream of Undying FameA Map of the MindAfter LacanAgainst AdaptationAgainst FreudAn Anatomy of AddictionAnalytic FreudAndré Green at the Squiggle FoundationAnger, Madness, and the DaimonicAnna FreudAnna Freud: A BiographyApproaching PsychoanalysisAttachment and PsychoanalysisBadiouBecoming a SubjectBefore ForgivingBerlin PsychoanalyticBetween Emotion and CognitionBeyond GenderBeyond SexualityBeyond the Pleasure PrincipleBiology of FreedomBoundaries and Boundary Violations in PsychoanalysisBuilding on BionCare of the PsycheCarl JungCassandra's DaughterCherishmentConfusion of TonguesContemporary Psychoanalysis and the Legacy of the Third ReichCrucial Choices, Crucial ChangesCulture and Conflict in Child and Adolescent Mental HealthDarwin's WormsDesert Islands and Other Texts (1953-1974)Dispatches from the Freud WarsDoes the Woman Exist?Doing Psychoanalysis in TehranDreaming and Other Involuntary MentationDreaming by the BookEnergy Psychology InteractiveEqualsErrant SelvesEthics and the Discovery of the UnconsciousEthics Case Book of the American Psychoanalytic AssociationFairbairn's Object Relations Theory in the Clinical SettingFed with Tears -- Poisoned with MilkFeminism and Its DiscontentsForms of Intersubjectivity in Infant Reasearch and Adult TreatmentFour Lessons of PsychoanalysisFratricide in the Holy LandFreudFreudFreudFreudFreudFreudFreud and the Question of PseudoscienceFreud As PhilosopherFreud at 150Freud's AnswerFreud's WizardFreud, the Reluctant PhilosopherFrom Classical to Contemporary PsychoanalysisFundamentals of Psychoanalytic TechniqueGenes on the CouchGoing SaneHans BellmerHappiness, Death, and the Remainder of LifeHate and Love in Psychoanalytical InstitutionsHatred and ForgivenessHealing the Soul in the Age of the BrainHeinz KohutHeinz KohutHidden MindsHistory of ShitHope and Dread in PsychoanalysisImagination and Its PathologiesImagine There's No WomanIn Freud's TracksIn SessionIn the Floyd ArchivesIntimaciesIntimate RevoltIrrationalityIs Oedipus Online?Jacques LacanJacques Lacan and the Freudian Practice of PsychoanalysisJung and the Making of Modern PsychologyJung Stripped BareKilling FreudLacanLacanLacanLacan and Contemporary FilmLacan at the SceneLacan For BeginnersLacan in AmericaLacan TodayLacan's Seminar on AnxietyLawLearning from Our MistakesLove's ExecutionerMad Men and MedusasMale Female EmailMelanie KleinMemoirs of My Nervous IllnessMental SlaveryMind to MindMixing MindsMoral StealthMourning and ModernityMovies and the MindMurder in ByzantiumNew Studies of Old VillainsNocturnesNoir AnxietyOn Being Normal and Other DisordersOn BeliefOn IncestOn Not Being Able to SleepOn the Freud WatchOn the Way HomeOpen MindedOpera's Second DeathOvercoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and BehaviorsPhenomology & Lacan on Schizophrenia, After the Decade of the BrainPhilosophical Counselling and the UnconsciousPractical Psychoanalysis for Therapists and PatientsPsychiatry, Psychoanalysis, And The New Biology Of MindPsychoanalysisPsychoanalysis and Narrative MedicinePsychoanalysis and NeurosciencePsychoanalysis and the Philosophy of SciencePsychoanalysis as Biological SciencePsychoanalysis at the MarginsPsychoanalysis at the MarginsPsychoanalysis in a New LightPsychoanalysis in FocusPsychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, and the Politics of Human RelationshipsPsychotherapy As PraxisPutnam CampQuestions for FreudRe-Inventing the SymptomReading Seminar XXReinventing the SoulRelational Theory and the Practice of PsychotherapyRelationalityRepressed SpacesRevolt, She SaidSecrets of the SoulSerious ShoppingSex on the CouchSexuationSigmund FreudSoul Murder RevisitedSpectral EvidenceSpirit, Mind, and BrainStrangers to OurselvesSubjective Experience and the Logic of the OtherSubjectivity and OthernessSubstance Abuse As SymptomSurrealist Painters and PoetsTaboo SubjectsTalk is Not EnoughThe Art of the SubjectThe Brain and the Inner WorldThe Brain, the Mind and the SelfThe Cambridge Companion to LacanThe Challenge for Psychoanalysis and PsychotherapyThe Clinical LacanThe Colonization Of Psychic SpaceThe Condition of MadnessThe Couch and the TreeThe Cruelty of DepressionThe Dissociative Mind in PsychoanalysisThe Dreams of InterpretationThe Examined LifeThe Fall Of An IconThe Freud EncyclopediaThe Freud FilesThe Freud WarsThe Fright of Real TearsThe Future of PsychoanalysisThe Gift of TherapyThe Heart & Soul of ChangeThe Knotted SubjectThe Last Good FreudianThe Letters of Sigmund Freud and Otto RankThe Mind According to ShakespeareThe Mystery of PersonalityThe Mythological UnconsciousThe Neuropsychology of the UnconsciousThe New PsychoanalysisThe Power of FeelingsThe Psychoanalytic MovementThe Psychoanalytic MysticThe Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender RoleThe Puppet and the DwarfThe Real World Guide to Psychotherapy PracticeThe Revolt of the PrimitiveThe Seminar of Moustafa SafouanThe Sense and Non-Sense of RevoltThe Shortest ShadowThe Social History of the UnconsciousThe Surface EffectThe Symmetry of GodThe Tragedy of the SelfThe Trainings of the PsychoanalystThe UnsayableThe World of PerversionTherapeutic ActionTherapy's DelusionsThis Incredible Need to BelieveThoughts Without A ThinkerTo Redeem One Person Is to Redeem the WorldTrauma and Human ExistenceTraumatizing TheoryUmbr(a)Unconscious knowing and other essays in psycho-philosophical analysisUnderstanding Dissidence and Controversy in the History of PsychoanalysisUnderstanding PsychoanalysisUnfree AssociationsWalking HeadsWay Beyond FreudWhat Does a Woman Want?What Freud Really MeantWhen the Body SpeaksWhere Do We Fall When We Fall in Love?Whose Freud?Why Psychoanalysis?Wilhelm ReichWinnicottWinnicott On the ChildWisdom Won from IllnessWittgenstein on Freud and FrazerWittgenstein Reads FreudWorld, Affectivity, TraumaZizek

Related Topics
Mixing MindsReview - Mixing Minds
The Power of Relationship in Psychoanalysis and Buddhism
by Pilar Jennings
Wisdom Publications, 2010
Review by Sreekumar Jayadevan
Jan 24th 2012 (Volume 16, Issue 4)

 

Mixing Minds is a striking text consisting of impressive personal narratives as well as lucid explication of theoretical environments both in psychoanalysis and Mahayana Buddhism. With this work, Pilar Jennings has been able to locate herself in a relatively young genre of cross cultural understanding within the milieu containing the two. The structure of the book is shaped such that the reader can comprehend her thoughts without difficulty within the interrelated field of both traditions. She cites thinkers in both traditions and explains their stances wherever required. What makes this book appealing is the ease with which Jennings handled the theoretical backgrounds. Often we can see elaborations of positions with simple and loose language. All the chapters are packed with several theoretical remains of both traditions where the reader can take adequate glimpse and compare them. Chapters are organized in such a way that there is a peak at the right time in terms of addressing the causes of suffering. The last four chapters address various issues that are at stake when one takes up the journey towards annihilation of suffering. The first four makes the interdisciplinary landscape of these two vast traditions and its literature clear. Jennings moves to and fro across concepts in the two traditions as if we are in a matrix of interrelated understanding. This style of writing brings in an uncomplicated explanation of the constitutive features of both traditions and the resulting matrix. Mixing Minds is a fitting title for such a work. It captures the very spirit of an environment of cross cultural understanding.

It is virtually impossible to touch upon all the details of such a rich work. What follows is the main theme and some important notions discussed in it. The book steadily marks the peculiarity of the notion of bodhisattva (seeker of spiritual end) in the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism, within which the individual strikes progress towards spiritual maturity by striking relations to others in the society. The picture of a lone and introverted monk who is disinterested in matters of society is replaced by a person who 'involves', 'cares' and more importantly 'guides' others. It is not just the quality of 'relations' or the 'relata' (the individuals in relation) which plays a role in the subtle progress towards spiritual maturity. It is the relation-relata nexus that function as a platform in Buddhist methods to spiritual well being.  Here we can see a crucial shift in the approach, from an individual-centered stage to that of a relation-centered stage. It was believed in most theoretical backgrounds of psychoanalysis that an intrinsic change within the individual is what is required in improving the state of mind. However, Buddhism shows us another lead, even though intrinsic change in the state of mind is the goal, it is triggered by constructing a relation and addressing a relational-change within the practicing dyad consisting of the teacher and the student. Therefore, the first task at hand for psychoanalytic practitioners in the West is to understand the subtleties of the notion of 'relation' in Buddhism involving the two. A disciplined effort to move from an ego-centered approach to an interpersonal approach is what she proposes. The subtleties in the anayst-analysand dyad (the pair of analyst and the person undergoing analysis) in psychoanalytic practicing and the teacher-student dyad in Buddhism are elaborated throughout the matrix containing the two disciplines. Suggestions and proposals to model the latter dyad to improve psychoanalytic practice have been made in due course throughout the length of the book. Subsequently, Jennings touches upon certain confusions in the Western mind about the seemingly utopian perception of Buddhist conceptions. According to her, the Western mind stumbles often in understanding ideas in Buddhism. She believes that concepts like nirvana are understood with ease by the Eastern Buddhist practitioners, whereas it takes a lot of time and effort for the Western mind to comprehend it. Jennings uses her own interesting experiences with Buddhist teachers to clear the road ahead. The crux of her discussion in the work can be coined that- the causes of suffering are to be realized and obliterated by engaging in an environment of interpersonal contact.

Rather than contrasting too much and loosing the intent of the book, she is able to blend and find affinities within the nuances of the two traditions.  The book does provide contrast but it has a heuristic purpose, the intent is to bring psychoanalysis and Buddhism closer and learn from each other, both in praxis and theory. This would be of immense help to people cutting across a large chunk of disciplines, starting from psychologists to philosophers and from teachers and students of Buddhism to ordinary people. The chapters are organized in such a way that one can peep into any individual chapters and comprehend its content without compromising on continuity. The reason for this is that the common thread running in all chapters is constituted by the affinities she finds in both traditions and the narratives devised to recognize these affinities. These narratives occur fairly frequently in all chapters. However, reading from chapter one through to eight will yield an insight into where improvement can be brought in, in psychoanalytic practices. She leaves open the specific details about praxis but gives us abundant theoretical resources as to how to proceed. The continuity in the chapters is represented in this common goal, that is, the specific tools for improvement in psychoanalytic practice.

 

© 2012 Sreekumar Jayadevan

 

Sreekumar Jayadevan., (Ph.D. student), Department of Philosophy, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India

 


Share

Welcome to MHN's unique book review site Metapsychology. We feature over 7900 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. 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 here.

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
ISSN 1931-5716