Buddhism and Buddhist Therapy

Buddhism and Buddhist Therapy

Brooke-Mindfulness

“You are perfect as you are… and there is still room for improvement!” -Shunryu Suzuki

According to the University of Toronto, Buddhist psychology is defined as the deep understanding of yourself, your choices, actions, emotions, and ideas. 

The buddhist school of thought believes that truly knowing yourself and possessing a transformative attitude are essential to achieving happiness.

And we couldn’t agree more.

Buddhist psychology also focuses on the lessening of human suffering, unhappiness, and dissatisfaction. 

However, it’s important to note that the Buddhist idea of suffering may slightly differ from the mainstream.

It includes the complete range of human unhappiness, and not just the diagnosis of disorders that psychology uses to measure mental health. 

That means everything from little everyday events, like getting in a small argument with a friend, to bigger circumstances, such as a tough breakup or the death of a loved one. 

Buddhism and psychology share a central tenet: that much of human behavior is unconscious and the more conscious awareness we bring into our lives, the more present we can be. 

Using mindfulness and Buddhist principles incorporated with psychological interventions, we will strive to penetrate the conscious mind and unveil the deepest and most powerful force in our lives: the unconscious.

When you notice a discrepancy between the kind of life you want to live and the life you are actually living, it usually means there is a disconnect between the unconscious and the conscious mind. 

This split can lead to anxiety, depression, addiction and relationship problems. 

Our task is to bring greater consciousness to every part of our lives.

As we bridge the gap and embrace every part of ourselves, we create a sense of wholeness, integration, and peace.


BUDDHISM & PSYCHOLOGY

As mentioned above, Buddhism and Psychology share many of the same principles.

Like Psychology, Buddhism embraces the principles of compassion for self and others, mindfulness, non-judgmental awareness, non-resistance, and embracing the polarities and paradoxes in life. 

Through this integrated approach, together we will learn to enter into the present moment, learning neither to cling to what we may perceive as pleasant nor to avoid what we may perceive as unpleasant. 

Much of the suffering we experience is perpetuated by trying to control the uncontrollable. 

As we let go and enter into the present moment, without avoidance or clinging, we find freedom and peace unlike we’ve never experienced before.

Consciousness is also a monumental part of Buddhism. 

While a lot of psychological methods have ignored consciousness, it’s a central focus in Buddhist ideology. 

Mainstream Psychology prioritizes the science of experience, while Buddhism promotes the feeling of subjective experiences.

Every truth—it seems—is a paradox. 

Which is why a strictly deductive and rigidly applied system of thinking can wreak so much unforeseen damage in our lives. 

Through Buddhist principles and mindfulness, we will strive to deconstruct the limiting categories of our minds that categorize things into good and bad, right and wrong, and black and white. 

This dichotomous mentality contributes to a distorted worldview, which accounts for so much of the anxiety, shame, and depression we experience.

According to the University of Toronto, Buddhist psychology has five main components:

  1. Centrality of consciousness and subjectivity
    • The necessity to understand, but not explain, the mind through meditation and self reflection
  2. Human experience exists through the 6 senses
    • The organ that senses the stimulus, and the stimulus, create the sensory experience. For example, the eye will see a puppy, and may create the feeling of care and happiness. Someone else may have a totally different feeling in response to seeing the same object. 
    • Each person’s experience of what they see is subjective and depends on the 6 senses.
  3. Experience in of itself is constructed
    • Transformation and translation of the external environment turns the stimulus into an internal experience. 
    • We can not feel other people’s interpretation of the environment, only our own. 
    • We must strive to transform delusion into wisdom within our own subjective reality.
  4. Experience is constantly changing
    • Sensation, perception, thoughts, feelings, and memory are unique and can never be experienced identically. 
    • Our adaptation of the external environment is subjective and distorts the objective experience. 
    • Buddhism says that the distortions are: 
      • Perceptions of permanence
      • Satisfaction
      • Self
  5. The self is revealed in 5 processes
    • These five things define the self and coherence, and make up who we are:
      • Physicality
      • Consciousness
      • Perception
      • Affect
      • Habit


With a Buddhist-based approach to therapy, we will draw you into a different kind of existence—a way of being in which you are more present and aware of your experience, rather than addicted to your thoughts, attachments, and your illusory sense of control.

As the former system melts away, you will begin to connect with and embody a more authentic, alive, and peaceful self.


OUR BUDDHIST THERAPY METHODS

To experience true and lasting joy in our life, we must face and conquer our pain by healing our underlying trauma and confronting our fears.

Therapy can successfully improve your life by helping you minimize the anxiety in your life, identify and change underlying thought and behavioral patterns that contribute to your struggles, and provide you with strategies to decrease discomfort while restoring an overall sense of peace.

Mindfulness has been empirically validated to reduce anxiety and depression, improve mood and focus, and even improve your sex life and relationships.


WANT TO TALK? SPEAK WITH A BUDDHIST THERAPY EXPERT NOW 

If you have any questions, contact one of our specialists for a free consultation any time.


RESOURCES

  1. University of Toronto

Buddhism and Buddhist Therapists

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