Dharmavidya David Brazier writes here about spiritually informed therapy describing the approach as 'auto-assisted analysis'. Gain insight into the latest thinking and ideas of the author of Zen Therapy and The Feeling Buddha by following the link http://eleusis.ning.com/group/therapeutae/forum/topics/assisted-auto-analysis
Instituto Terapia Zen Internacional is the umbrella organisation managing and supporting programmes in psychology, psychotherapy, chaplaincy and Buddhist studies.
There are two main online courses offered through this site, a distance learning programme in Buddhist psychology and Vow 22, a chaplaincy studies programme for chaplains and those in training as Buddhist Pureland priests with the Amida Order.
Fiona Robyn is soon to finish a training in mindfulness-based supervision for counsellors & psychotherapists, and is currently able to offer a few supervision slots at a reduced rate. Fiona's usual fee is £45.
Fiona can offer 1:1 supervision from this (broadly humanistic) perspective to individual therapists, or to trainees or experienced counsellors at voluntary organisations. She also can work with alternative therapists who want to continue to develop their practice and receive support for the work they do, and for coaches. Fiona offers face to face supervision in Malvern or via Skype.
Fiona has been a BACP Accredited therapist for ten years and has recently completed a training in Buddhist psychotherapy. Visit Fiona's website: www.create-space.org.
Fiona Robyn interviews Manu Bazzano, writer, philosopy teacher and psychotherapist. Manu also teaches on the IZT course programme. Check out the short course calendar for seminars lead by Manu: 2012 and 2013
Somebody showed me a piece of writing about how counselling and Buddhism relate to one another that suggests that counselling is only really appropriate for people who have not yet discovered the true Dharma path. I am myself a follower of the Dharma, but I find that kind of approach less than helpful. Of course, I agree with some of the points made about the great value of Buddhist teaching in helping people to progress spiritually, but that to me, means that Buddhism has some good things to say about counselling. To some extent it hinges on one's definitions. As I see it, if a Buddhist teacher talks to a disciple, that is a form of counselling. I do not agree, therefore, that counselling cannot be a path toward enlightenment or a proper activity for a spiritual guide - they do it all the time. The fact that many spiritual guides think that they have nothing to learn from other counsellors might be true in a very small number of cases, but is probably just narrow mindedness born of ignorance in the majority. Very few spiritual guides really are enlightened and so they are prone to narrow-mindedness just like anybody else; why wouldn't they be? Having subscribed to the idea that the method of their particular school of spiritual practice is supreme they cannot afford to admit that there may be other ways and they perhaps fear that if their disciples find anything else useful it will undermine their own work. However, Shakyamuni's interactions with Kisagotami, Patacara, Angulimala and others show that he was inventive and flexible in generating therapeutic interventions of many kinds.
If we are going to generate a genuinely Buddhist form of counselling and psychotherapy then I suggest that we take Shakyamuni as our first exemplar. I also suggest that we base our thinking in the psychology that is to be found in the Buddhist texts, both Abhidharma and Sutra. In the simplest terms, Buddhist counselling is to talk to another person from within a spirit of love, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity. These and many other classic Buddhist teachings are simply good counselling theory. The difficulty comes in the facts that firstly none of us are so enlightened that we exhibit these qualities perfectly and consistently and secondly that things do not happen in a completely straight-forward way in this world. One can love and wish happiness to another but that does not mean that one knows how to deliver happiness to that person, especially when, as for such as Kisagotami, the path to happiness leads through much grief. So, as I see it, counselling and spiritual guidance are not two things, they are one thing and within that one thing there are many ideas and methods, some associated with psychology and some associated with various religions, and some of these ideas and methods are more conducive to enlightenment, liberation, happiness and sanity than others, and there is room for all of us to learn some things from others. Claims to be the possessor of the one supreme way should be treated with extreme caution. Those who make such claims are probably deceiving themselves. Of course, we are all probably deceiving ourselves in various degrees so even a therapist, counsellor or guide who thinks that he or she has the perfect method may be of some use to some people, but the situation is much more open than such people realise. Nor is the possession of some key idea, like non-self, or emptiness of inherent existence a panacea for human ills. Nor is it legitimate to say that counselling is always attached to theories inconsistent with such ideas. It is not the ideas as such that make the difference anyway, it is the lived life of the person and their ability to communicate. For my money, Buddha was a great counsellor and the Buddhist texts very largely consist of records of his consultations.
Kaspalita, Pureland Preist, writer and therapist has set up a new page on Facebook sharing his thoughts, inspirations and musings. Do have a look and join. Kaspalita's Page
Oya and child-- Between them not a shadow of doubt: This is my joy!
Oya is Amida Buddha - the shape and face we give to the Infinite nature of reality. In this haiku Saichi expresses his great joy at feeling no separation between himself and Infinite; there is not a shadow between him and the true glowing nature of the world, not a shadow of a doubt!
News about the 2013 programme of short courses, the new counselling and therapy centre at Sukhavati and an evening talk being given by Manu Bazzano about his new book Spectre of the Stranger. August 2012 Newsletter
On Dharmavidya's Questions in the Sand blog there is a new Q&A about Zen Therapy, with some questions around human nature (like the one below) and some on the nature of Zen Therapy.
Q: What is the view of Human Nature in Zen Therapy?
A: The core of human nature is love. Our love is never totally unconditional, but we can intuit unconditional love and strive toward it. Actual love in a conditioned world inevitably involves choices, conflicts, frustrations and disappointments as well as joys, satisfactions, creativity and growth. How we cope with and respond to these various challenges and graces makes us the characters that we are. The elements in this mix that we have difficulty resolving crystalize as our personal koan which is our individual manifestation of the universal existential questions about mortality, life, existence and meaning.
You can visit the whole post here: Q&A on Zen Therapy. The rest of the Questions in the Sand blog is worth a look too.
We will explore notions of identity and otherness in the field of existential phenomenology, politics and Zen Buddhism.
A self which does not respond to the other is isolated. And a citizen who does not respond, or worse, demonizes non-citizens and migrants, can he still be called a citizen?
Offering a cup of tea to the guest involves both guest and host. The offering, and the acceptance, is immediate, and both step into a shared domain, the in-between, a realm beyond the mere dialogical sphere, a place of coming-into-being, made possible by a suspension of judgement – not a technique or a strategy but the unadulterated modality of encounter.
Manu Bazzano is an existential/person-centred psychotherapist and supervisor, trainer and an ordained Zen Buddhist monk. He is a lecturer in modern European philosophy.