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  • 0 NP0010 Is Mindfulness Enough? NP0010, Mindfulness, Session 6, Mark Epstein 11.07.2011 22:59
    As usual, thougtful and inspiring. But it always makes me chuckle to see or hear efforts to compare Buddhism and psychoanalysis, and I suspect that deep down, under the intellectual brilliance of such exercises, some attachments are still lurking... attachments to the safety and joy of our favorite theories. The fact that some comparisons can be drawn successfully between two entities does not prove any substantive or even useful connection or affinity; after all, both my dog and my desk have four legs, are dark in colour, have German origins and a great pedigree...ok?
    And as a matter of fact it is actually cognitive theory not psychoanalysis that comes closest to the essence of Buddhist psychology; "We are what we think. With our thoughts we create the world", the opening words of the Dhammapada, actually sound like a quote from a cognitive-behavioral manual.
    However, there is no way around this truth: all these oft-compared - and linked - with Buddhism western therapy approaches are still firmly entrenched in the samsaric worldview, and as such, come short. Their concepts do not reach beyond the illusions of the senses and the ego; even if, naturally, there are glimpses, for the most part they don't even know what they are missing. Hence, basic incomparability.
    In other words, the problem with applying Buddhist wisdom in contemporary Western psychotherapy is that it is not just another system of scholarly thought which can be mastered through reading books and articles, and attending presentations. And any effort treating it as such will come with severe limitations and distortions, even if yes, it is still possible and even useful to implement it on this level.
    But such is the process of Dharma coming to the West, so be it, and let's be grateful and patient...
  • 0 NP0008 The Great Attachment DebateNP0008, Attachment, Session 4, David Schnarch 11.07.2011 18:01
    I agree with Susan Rosenthal's frustration about the moderator: please, please allow the speakers to speak more, it is such a short time for them to indeed present a lifetime of their work. Yes, we can read their books etc. but it is so more helpful and interesting to hear THEM summarizing their approach than... well, Rich.
    Very refreshing to have somebody challenge the hegemony of attachment-based therapy. The assumption that the (only?) way to heal "attachment wounds" is through corrective emotional experience of secure attachment recreated in the theraoeutic dyad and in the marital dyad is just a theory-driven assumption, not a scientific fact. In other words, why are we assuming that differentiation is only possible after secure attachment has been achieved and experienced? Just because somebody said, you can't skip develpmental steps? And even if that might be true in childhood, why are we assuming that the same rules apply to dealing with it in - somehow achieved - adulthood?
    The idea that we can achieve security via trust in our significant others has an absurd angle to it, one which can hijack and destroy therapy (although I am not denying the validity of soothing, joy, and a ton of other benefits stemming from connection with others.) The famous question: "Will you be there for me when I need you, will you hold me tight?" can be only aswered, realistically and soberly, with "Are you out of your mind? How can I possibly promise such a thing? I don't know!"
    My perspective as a therapist grounded in Buddhist philosophy, psychoanalytic thought as well as CBT (Third wave) allows me to see these perils quite clearly. But if we focus on differentiation, that will lead to connection in the intersubjective space of freedom and curiosity, rather than safety based on a fantasy about a perfect (or even semi-perfect) holding by another person. Yes there is security in interpersonal relationships - but it is security derived from developing a trusting relationship with oneself and respecting even enjoying other people's separateness. A lot (not only good sex) is possible in such space...
  • 0 NP006 Couples Therapy: Today and TomorrowNP006, Couples, Session 2, Terry Real 07.11.2011 06:00
    Certainly thought provoking although at times a bit simplistic, perhaps due to extremely limited format (1 hour to present one's life work - really!) However, I did not appreciate Terry's highly dismissive tone when talking about other approaches to couples therapy (a touch of grandiosity, perhaps?) nor the fact that almost every single time Rich spoke, Terry broke in before the guy had finished. Granted, Rich's tendency to phrase and rephrase each question in a long-winded, meandering way is sometimes difficult to bear (and takes away from valuable perspective he brings in)... but this constant interrupting made me a bit uneasy since the whole approach trumpets mutual empowerment. So, what about mutual respect? Do as I say, not as I do?

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