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Meditation and Therapy

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  • frayleen
    Hi there, I am sorry if this message seems a little off topic but I was wondering if any one in the group may be able to offer some advice. I have been
    Message 1 of 6 , Jun 1, 2003
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      Hi there,

      I am sorry if this message seems a little 'off topic' but I was
      wondering if any one in the group may be able to offer some advice.

      I have been involved in the study of Western Buddhism for about five
      years now (and I am still very very much a beginner). Over the last
      few years I have been studying the interface between Psychology-
      therapy techniques and Tibetan Buddhism. As part of my training
      course I am required to take part in many hours of personal therapy.
      Although to date I have found this very useful recently I have run
      into a problem. My therapist has asked me to stop practising
      meditation (to put it on the shelf) for a few months as she feels it
      is impeding my true understanding of my 'self'. She has also
      suggested that I do not become involved in any further study and I
      should limit my reading of academic books to those she
      reads/reccomends.After many years of study of Western Buddhism/
      psychology I find this concept most disturbing/dishearting and I am
      also questioning the wisdom behind it? I don't want to give up on my
      training in psychotherapy, but likewise I cannot let go of my faith.
      Any advice?

      Thanks

      Frayleen
    • Bryan
      Hi Frayleen, Get a new therapist....or is your therapist one of your professors? She sounds like a bit of a control freak. In the dance of education, it seems
      Message 2 of 6 , Jun 1, 2003
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        Hi Frayleen,
         
        Get a new therapist....or is your therapist one of your professors?  She sounds like a bit of a control freak.
         
        In the dance of education, it seems one of the moves is to have to go in the direction a professor directs you.  Some professors can try to push students into areas they favor, or to develop attitudes and ideas they consider appropriate. 
         
        I would try to understand why she is asking this of you, how she arrived at the conclusion your practice is limiting you.  Understanding goes a long way, and she might have some psychological insight that could come in handy for you down the road in your interactions with your patients.  Or, is she simply projecting her own biases (is she athiest?  fundamental Christian?)
         
        If you want to stay with your studies, you may have to do what she asks - and you may or may not find it beneficial.  Perhaps there is something your therapist is seeing that you should work through before you can take full advantage of a spiritual practice.  In the long run, her reccomendation may actually cause you to get more out of your spiritual practice.
         
        However, with my (limited) understanding of psychology, I would think your therapist has done a lot more damage to your trust by asking this of you.  You've demonstrated a pretty clear lack of trust in her by posting your problem to the list.  Perhaps you should talk to her also about how her request makes you feel.  If the underlying goal of therapy is to develop an intimate relation with someone, I wonder to what end her request is?
         
        If you can't resolve your differences, I'd try requesting a different therapist before giving up my studies.  I don't think there's any shame in acknowledging a conflict of personality, if that's what it is.
         
        I hope I've helped.
         
        Bryan
         
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: frayleen
        Sent: Sunday, June 01, 2003 2:33 PM
        Subject: [Buddhism_101] Meditation and Therapy

      • Ryk Tompkins
        1. simply continue your practice 2. Change therapists What is being asked isn t even germane to the psychotheraputic process. I would also wonder, if you
        Message 3 of 6 , Jun 1, 2003
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          1. simply continue your practice
          2. Change therapists

          What is being asked isn't even germane to the psychotheraputic process. I
          would also wonder, if you were a devout Muslim or Catholic if this therapist
          would have the same approach to the mandates of those religions or if this
          imposed mandate of hers is because of prejudice toward your chosen path. I
          for the life of me cannot offer any other explaination for her attitude. As
          one practicing meditation and at the moment personally wading neck-deep in
          my psychological "shit" that has been brought to the fore as a side effect
          of meditation, and my experience being a very common one at that, I would
          have to say that meditation is an invaluable tool in knowing yourself and
          reconciling your psychological issues and would be an aid to your goal
          rather than a hinderance.

          Drudche


          >From: "frayleen" <rebecca@...>
          >Reply-To: Buddhism_101@yahoogroups.com
          >To: Buddhism_101@yahoogroups.com
          >Subject: [Buddhism_101] Meditation and Therapy
          >Date: Sun, 01 Jun 2003 21:33:10 -0000
          >
          >Hi there,
          >
          >I am sorry if this message seems a little 'off topic' but I was
          >wondering if any one in the group may be able to offer some advice.
          >
          >I have been involved in the study of Western Buddhism for about five
          >years now (and I am still very very much a beginner). Over the last
          >few years I have been studying the interface between Psychology-
          >therapy techniques and Tibetan Buddhism. As part of my training
          >course I am required to take part in many hours of personal therapy.
          >Although to date I have found this very useful recently I have run
          >into a problem. My therapist has asked me to stop practising
          >meditation (to put it on the shelf) for a few months as she feels it
          >is impeding my true understanding of my 'self'. She has also
          >suggested that I do not become involved in any further study and I
          >should limit my reading of academic books to those she
          >reads/reccomends.After many years of study of Western Buddhism/
          >psychology I find this concept most disturbing/dishearting and I am
          >also questioning the wisdom behind it? I don't want to give up on my
          >training in psychotherapy, but likewise I cannot let go of my faith.
          >Any advice?
          >
          >Thanks
          >
          >Frayleen
          >

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        • Denroche
          Dear Frayleen, Thank you for voicing your question and your difficulties which I find so very relevant. We live in a society that has largely adopted
          Message 4 of 6 , Jun 2, 2003
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            Dear Frayleen,

            Thank you for voicing your question and your difficulties which I find so
            very relevant. We live in a society that has largely adopted psychology as
            a replacement religion and I think a lot of us, including psychotherapists,
            do not know exactly where we stand. Practising Buddhism and also being
            involved in therapy, necessarily brings us in contact with a conflict -
            strengthening the 'self' and/or letting go of the 'self'.

            I have been a Buddhist for many years and am now in a Jungian therapy -
            meditation and practice brought up a lot of issues and feelings and, as I do
            not have a personal relationship with a lama, I decided to seek help from
            the only source available - a therapist.

            I believe that every conflict in therapy is useful, as it is a chance to
            look at what really motivates us, moves us. I would wholeheartedly agree
            with Bryan and Drudche, that it may be necessary for you to break with your
            therapist. However, I think it would be very useful to look honestly at this
            issue in depth - not only from your own perspective but also from that of
            your therapist. Therapists have a lot of experience but they are also human
            and, even the very best, have blind-spots and project onto their clients.

            I came to a point in my therapy where I started 'hiding' the Buddhist part
            of my life, because my therapist appeared to get annoyed every time I
            mentioned it. I then asked him why. He told me that he thinks Buddhism is
            inhuman. After a long discussion, it turned out that his view (through lack
            of personal experience) is that Buddhists meditate for hours at a time and
            are very hard on themselves. Basically, he wanted to protect me, but he was
            working on false premises. He did not know how I try to practise Buddhism.

            It is easy to look at therapists as authority figures but, as my therapist
            said, a therapist should be there to work with you as an equal, to help you
            find out who you are. His/her job is not to form you!!

            Look at the issues in depth, but don't let anyone tell you what you should
            or should not read!!!

            Much love and support on your path.
            deni.
          • Karen
            Dear Frayleen, I sounds like your therapist is suffering from an overly scientific mind. This tends to limit one from using techiniques that are not strictly
            Message 5 of 6 , Jun 2, 2003
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              Dear Frayleen,
               
              I sounds like your therapist is suffering from an overly scientific mind.  This tends to limit one from using techiniques that are not strictly western (ie: psychology) and in fact, limits their growth and unfortunately, the growth of their students.  She also seems a bit controlling.  It seems you have two choices, but with in those choices are sub choices. 
               
              !.  Give up your practice.  Not something I would recommend nor do I think anyone on this group.  Now, you can simply not mention to her anything about your practice.  I would not recommend this tact to anyone who was truly trying to get something out of therapy; however, it seems you are simply trying to complete a course of learning.  In my opinion, she is not a very understanding therapist and here you have already learned something.  I am sure in your practice of psychology, you will never do that to a client.
               
              2.  Give up your studies.  Again, I would not recommend this.  I am sure you have put a great deal of time and effort into your courses and to give up now would seem a shame.  Is there anyway to get a new therapist?  Can you tranfer to a new school?  Maybe the type of therapy is not to your needs or liking. 
               
              Just some thoughts.  I hope they are helpful.
               
              Namaste'
              Karen


              "Existence needs you. Without you something will be missing in existence and nobody can replace it."  Osho


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            • Karen
              Touche Karen Existence needs you. Without you something will be missing in existence and nobody can replace it. Osho ... Do you Yahoo!? The New Yahoo!
              Message 6 of 6 , Jun 2, 2003
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                Touche'
                 
                Karen


                "Existence needs you. Without you something will be missing in existence and nobody can replace it."  Osho


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