Psychotherapy
Resources

 email page    print page

All 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 HealingDoing CBTE-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

Related Topics
Healing the Heart and Mind with MindfulnessReview - Healing the Heart and Mind with Mindfulness
Ancient Path, Present Moment
by Malcolm Huxter
Routledge, 2016
Review by Lee David Perlman
Jun 28th 2016 (Volume 20, Issue 26)

Healing the Heart and Mind with Mindfulness seems intended to be a practical course of study, which applies the theory and practice of Buddhism to modern psychological dilemmas.  It is meant, I think, not so much to be 'read' as to be employed.  Itis a useful book.  I found myself putting it to use almost immediately, and experienced changes in my own attitudes and approach to the world as I read through it and put it into practice.  The book is inspiring, not so much in the writing style which, while it occasionally contains inspirational flourishes (especially in the guided meditations), is often straightforward and a little textbook-ish.  But the immediate usefulness of much of the book is inspirational in itself.

The book is a bit of a hybrid.  For the most part it takes the reader on an active journey of mindful attention to different aspects of personal experience.  The journey is informed largely through a reading of the core Theravedic text, Satipatthana Sutta, but it does so with continuing reference to contemporary psychological treatment modalities, specifically Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).  While providing a progressive practical course in mindfulness, the book also proposes particular approaches and exercises for specific psychological disturbances, such as depression and anxiety.  In this lies the hybrid character of the book.  In those instances it addresses specific audiences rather than the general reader.  For me, this interrupted the flow of the book, and made it less of a 'read' and more of a resource.   Those sections also read as if the primary purpose was to provide tools for the therapist for a variety of psychological conditions.  Organizationally, I would have preferred to see these section consigned to an appendix.  I also found the references to the particular treatment modalities, while often interesting and helpful, somewhat scattered and unsystematic.

The general theoretical stance of the book is that mindfulness is a 'technology' developed by the Buddha and within Buddhism, but that it stands on its own; as the algebra developed by Islamic thinkers need not be regarded as a Muslim art, so the teachings of Satipatthana Sutta and other Buddhist texts need not be treated as Buddhist religious doctrine (pg. 9).  These teachings are truly psychological technologies which, employed correctly, will inventory our physical and psychological state on all levels.  The result of that inventory is a return to 'freedom' and psychic health, suggesting that the human organism is psychologically homeostatic, not just in terms of survival, but we have a homeostatic impulse towards freedom from dukkha (unsatisfactoriness).  Huxter never stakes that claim in theory, but his book presupposes it (perhaps most strongly in the guided meditation "Settling the mind in its natural state").  I was at first a little disappointed that studies and other evidence were not brought to bear on this central thesis, nor on the more particular claims that mindfulness exercises can dispel depression, anxiety and other psychological infirmities.  But once I realized that this is not that kind of book – it is more a 'proof is in the pudding' approach – I set out to put his exercises into practice.  Doing so I encountered substantial evidence in favor of this presumption.  For instance, I have experienced that the simple mindfulness practice of 'noting' – of simply bringing to awareness and naming what is present in the body and the psyche can have an almost automatic equilibrating effect.  Though Huxter eschews metaphysical and spiritual speculation, the claim that mere awareness of our unbalanced condition – without any evaluation or judgement of that condition – will dissolve destructive patterns, seems to point strongly to a harmony of the human organism with the cosmos that far exceeds evolutionary needs.  That this claim is validated experientially, rather than theoretically, both supports it more strongly, and perhaps obviates the need for theoretical articulation.

But those less interested in philosophy (it's my job), will not need to entertain such questions.  The book contains some interesting intellectual background, but again, this is a book that you don't simply read, but rather do.  The path you are taken on proceeds from [1] exercises for mindfulness of body and body sensation ('bare awareness') through [2] mindfulness of feelings (not the equivalent of 'emotions' – but rather awareness of sensations with the addition of the hedonic evaluation pleasant/unpleasant/neutral), through [3] mindfulness of thoughts to [4] awareness of emotions, which, unlike feelings, are fully developed response patterns to external and internal stimuli, and then finally, [5] contemplation of the 'self' (pg. 184). This course has the feeling of a progression, though Huxter does not explicitly present it as such.  I found the section on emotions most interesting.  Huxter presents a convincing anatomy of emotion as a process response, and the isolation of the elements of the process is itself, for me, a tool of awareness.  Based in this clarity of elements, Huxter gives specific strategies for inducing balance and dissolving destructive patterns at each stage of the process.

In addition he begins to describe a kind of dialectic of 'serenity meditation' and 'insight meditation'.  I found this distinction helpful and the description of the interaction between these two types of meditation intriguing.  I would have like to have seen this woven more throughout his progression of levels of mindfulness.

In conclusion, I found this book helpful and strong in its core.  The strongest aspect was the very well formulated meditation exercises and guided meditations.  As an extra bonus, these are all available as audio downloads at the author's website.  There were a number of peripheral aspects that I found less helpful, but perhaps this will be untrue for other readers.  For instance, his summaries of psychological maladies with accompanying catalogues of symptoms, found primarily in the first chapter but sprinkled throughout, seemed unnecessary and interrupted the flow of reading.  Huxter also has a habit of throwing bits of information in that don't advance his argument.  An example – at one point he notes that Buddha was not the only person in history to teach how to live a happy life – Aristotle did too! (pg. 158).   Again, I found these kinds of extraneous detours distracting, and they made reading at times tedious.  Last, he very occasionally gives a 'case study', seemingly as a piece of empirical evidence.  I didn't find these helpful, and they obstructed my ability to appreciate the strength of the book.   All of these distractions obscured the structure of the book for me.  When I did pull that out, however, and put it into practice, I found a well-organized and practical path of personal discovery and equilibrium.

 

© 2016 Lee David Perlman

 

Lee David Perlman is Senior Lecturer in the Experimental Study Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Share

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 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