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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Psychotherapy Without the Self: A Buddhist Perspective

Psychotherapy without the Self:

A Buddhist Perspective

by Mark Epstein

Mark Epstein has been on the forefront of the effort to introduce Buddhist psychology to the west. This collection of essays span more than 20 years.

Epstein studies Buddha, Freud and Winnicott to explain different relationships of the mind. I especially enjoyed commentaries on creativity and unintegration: Focusing on “good enough ego coverage” when urges are relaxed and the mind and heart are open. Thinking about associating the relaxation experiences after intercourse or the unburdened mind of the artist or musician while creating opened me up to understanding unintegration as the foundation of creativity. These ideas thought about in the context of new base core narcissistic drives was eye opening for me.

By associating Buddha’s egolessness teaching and Freud’s oceanic feeling concept, I began to grasp how these two great thinkers are alike. And how there understandings can help me be more creative in everyday life.

This essay collection is thought provoking and eye opening. I found reading an one essay in a sitting was enough and rereading at times before moving onward was equally satisfying.