The experience of therapists using the Buddhist Dharma and meditation in their psychotherapy practice

Helen Carter, Dennis Greenwood

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The purpose of this study was to explore the integration of ideas from Buddhism and psychotherapy. Using a qualitative heuristic research design, 8 therapists from both Western psychotherapeutic and ̳contemplative psychotherapy‘ training backgrounds were asked to share their experiences of bringing the Buddhist teach- ings and practices in to client work. The Tibetan Buddhist system of threefold logic was used to organize the emerging 11 themes: Ground (container, presence, suffering); Path (relationship, skillful means, direct ex- perience); and Fruition (human condition, alleviation of distress); with the remaining themes organized under the interface of East and West (mindfulness movement, spiritual bypassing, and dichotomies). During the immersion phase of the research process another theme emerged: loneliness and a yearning to belong, thus bringing a personal understanding of the Buddhist teachings on suffering and interdependence. The findings of this study support existing theory that suggests that Buddhist view and practices can assist the therapist in their work. A Buddhist mandala created from the themes and sub-themes attempts to illustrate the elements of a Buddhism-informed therapy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)105-118
    JournalJournal of Transpersonal Research
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2017


    • Buddhism-informed psychotherapy
    • meditation
    • suffering as a path
    • therapeutic relationship
    • east-meets-west


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