The Zen of Therapy: Uncovering a Hidden Kindness in Life
Drawing on decades of personal and professional experience, Dr. Mark Epstein considers how his practice of psychotherapy and meditation can be used in tandem to lead his patients, and himself, to greater awareness and fulfillment.
For much of his career, Dr. Mark Epstein kept his beliefs as a Buddhist separate from his work as a psychiatrist. But as he became more forthcoming with his patients about his personal spiritual leanings, he was surprised to find how many of them were eager to learn more. The divisions between the psychological, emotional, and the spiritual, he soon realized, were not as distinct as one might think.
In The Zen of Therapy, Dr. Epstein reflects on a year’s worth of selected sessions with his patients and observes how, in a given hour, his Buddhist background influences his work. He emphasizes how Western therapy can be considered a two-person meditation, and how mindfulness, much like a good therapist, can “hold” awareness, creating the necessary conditions for inner peace. Throughout this deeply personal and wise inquiry, Dr. Epstein illuminates the therapy relationship as a spiritual friendship, and reveals how a therapist can help us realize that there is something magical running through our fraught lives. For when we understand how readily we have misinterpreted ourselves, when we touch the ground of our own being, we come home.
Praise for The Zen of Therapy: Uncovering a Hidden Kindness in Life
“A warm, profound and cleareyed memoir . . . this wise and sympathetic book’s lingering effect is as a reminder that a deeper and more companionable way of life lurks behind our self-serious stories.” —Oliver Burkeman, New York Times Book Review
“Epstein draws on a lifetime of personal and professional experience to deliver a profound and optimistic examination of the links between psychotherapy and meditation . . . A warm and accessible explanation of topics that defy easy explanation . . . Epstein makes abstract concepts understandable, and his accounts of his patients’ struggles and progress are laced with humor and hope . . . It’s a message receptive readers will embrace in these dark and difficult times. Empathetic and persuasive—one of the better books on psychotherapy and meditation in recent years.” —Kirkus (starred review)